Alex Duner

Is The Verge Still a Tech Blog?

Harry Marks published a post yesterday mocking The Verge for using question marks at the end of its article’s titles.

Even more interesting, in my opinion, are the topics represented in the headlines themselves.

Here are some headlines from the last week:

  • Photos of bloodied Boston bombing suspect published in response to ‘Rolling Stone’ cover (July 18, 2013)
  • Detroit becomes America’s largest city ever to file for bankruptcy (July 18, 2013
  • Simpsons to appear in crossover ‘Family Guy’ episode in fall 2014 (July 18, 2013)
  • ‘Ender’s Game’ star Harrison Ford responds to Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views: ‘humanity has won’ (July 18, 2013)
  • Giant brain sculpture taps into the mind to glow and erupt in flames (July 18, 2013)
  • Cuba’s shipment of 50-year-old weapons to North Korea likely paid for in sugar (July 18, 2013)
  • Massive ‘living’ sculptures turn one garden into freaky alternate universe (July 17, 2013)
  • North Korean missile material seized passing through Panama Canal, president tweets proof (July 16, 2013)
  • Back for another bite: ‘Sharknado’ encore airing July 18th amid sequel talks (July 12, 2013)

The topics represented on that list include economics, foreign policy, entertainment, and publishing.

I don’t read The Verge to find out that Detroit is going bankrupt; instead I go to a site like The Wonkblog where I know I’ll get in depth and well researched coverage of the issue. And if The Verge really wants to start covering economic stories, why haven’t I seen any posts about Obamacare being implemented or about The Federal Reserve?

I don’t read The Verge to hear about North Korean missiles; instead I want to read Foreign Policy for both news and opinion.

I also don’t think any publication should be reporting on the Simpsons doing a crossover episode with Family Guy.

This is not new territory for The Verge. After being criticized for covering the Boston Marathon Bombing with a live blog, the same way The Verge might cover an Apple or Nokia keynote, Joshua Topolsky wrote:

We have never thought of ourselves as a “tech” site (and certainly not a “blog”). We think of ourselves as a news site which covers the culture of now (for lack of a better term), the world at this moment, as it is — what matters to people who live and work in 2013. The site isn’t about stuff, it’s about people, it’s about ideas.

M.G. Siegler’s response is still worth reading:

Okay, so you’re a tech blog that doesn’t want to be considered a tech blog (or even a blog at all). So where’s the coverage of the situation in Syria? Cyprus? Pakistan? The Iranian earthquake? Surely there are tech angles for each of those things too.

Oh wait, not a tech blog. Forgot.

At some point, you’d hope that bloggers, as human beings, would be shocked and appalled enough by what’s unfolding before their eyes that they would lay down their keyboards and stop playing the pageview game, if only for a few hours. Instead, I’m afraid the opposite instincts kicked in.