For a long time I have wanted to share my idea of a present-day IT-journalist. Here are three generalized images of today’s typical characters from Germany, the USA and Russia. Please read between the lines, and you will see that the images are quite typical.

Let’s begin with Germany. It is really pleasant to deal with German editors: the employees are polite and professional. If the person you need is absent at the moment, you will be asked to call again at a given time (e.g. Friday, 11 o’clock) or they can even call back themselves no matter where you live. Well then, here is the first image.

Friedrich Hoffmann[*]
Munich, Germany
33 y.o.
Ziff Davis Online Publishing, Internet Professionell, PC Professionell, PC Welt
“I am a wiper by profession!”

Friedrich Hoffmann avoids talking about himself without reference to his work by all available means. In his opinion, what is private should remain private. But he shared his tales about his professional activity and his thoughts about IT-journalism of today with pleasure.

What kind of education do you have?

I graduated from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. My major was “Journalism”, and my minor was “Political Science, Sociology and History of Arts”. But I did not start working at once, as I had to take two years’ break in order to do non-military service in a Hamburg orphan asylum.

And what happened afterwards? Weren’t you disappointed with your profession after a long break and a change of occupation?

Of course, there were a lot of various thoughts in my young head, but I have always felt that it is my vocation to work with the word. I was 23 when I began to look for a job consciously and, as a result, started my career. I was employed as a PR specialist by a company, which dealt with developing b2c and b2b program solutions for financial management. That experience was really valuable. I got a lot of new knowledge about software market, the current state of the World Wide Web and its business potential. I became more and more concerned by the problems of IT branch. I promoted the products of that company till 2005, and I naturally made some contacts with targeted magazines and main news portals.

Therefore, you were invited to join editorial staff?

Not exactly. I am not officially employed. Along with my main job, I became a freelance writer: I wrote articles that were bought by some magazines quite willingly. Soon I began to get orders from magazines, and I decided to quit my job and to commit myself to journalism.

What are your articles about?

About various things – networks, network security, web-design, Internet-marketing, freeware. But the core of my interest is still the social aspects of the Internet: social services, web 2.0 etc. By the way, in 1996, when still going to college, I had written the first German articles dedicated to flirtation, acquaintance and love online long before they became a part of our life.

I know that you also write books. How do you manage to find time for that?

I guess it cannot be helped. Every journalist writes books, as everybody gathers unique experience in the course of his life, not excepting you or me. And everybody needs to share this experience, but a journalist feels this need stronger than anybody else. I satisfy this need with writing books. One of my books on marketing has already been translated to four languages and is successfully sold in Europe. It means that my experience is instructive for somebody!

What can you say about the present-day IT journalism? You must reflect on your profession a lot.

I am a wiper by profession! Everybody is surprised to hear it, but I am going to explain myself. It is commonly considered, that only a “pro”, which has worked in a technical department of an IT company for several years, can work as an IT journalist. So, if you read any IT article, it will be either boring or difficult to understand unless the subject is directly connected to your work. There is too much dust in IT journalism, and somebody needs to wipe it away. That is what I deal with. And, judging by my readers’ comments, I seem to be quite a good contemporary wiper, which wipes the dust properly.

The US. American journalists differ a lot from their German colleagues. First, magazines’ sites contain a great amount of information, which is often irrelevant and difficult to sort out. When you make a call to editorial office, most likely you will hear a cushioned female voice of the answering system, which will make you play a quest game named “If you would like to… then push…” When you eventually manage to talk to somebody, you will be asked to write to the editor’s e-mail, which has been inactive for a long time (as you will tell them later). Though, it must be an “entrance threshold”… and, due to this, overcoming this mental barrier will seem even more rewarding. And here is the second portrait.

Kevin Gordon
California, the US
45 y.o.
Computer Shopper, Computer Power User, The Washington Post, New York’s Computer Click
“I am most likely to be a musician.”

Kevin, please tell us about your job. How did you become an IT journalist?

With pleasure! I live in California, in a small town named Humboldt City, together with my daughter and my wife. Besides, we have plenty of companions: a parakeet, two lizards, a cat and a dog. Our house is not big, but we have managed to transform the basement into a studio: you know that I am keen on music! I adore drums and all percussion instruments. I am a member of a music band and compose music for computer games.

Amazing! And, in addition, as a journalist, you have one of the most hectic professions! How do you cope with everything?

I have excellent leadership qualities and some work experience in a computer company. I got employed as a technical support service manager while still studying at college, proved to be a good employee and became the head of copyrighting department after graduation. In that software company I got deep technical knowledge, and now I possess qualifications, which are virtually exceptional for an IT journalist.

And what kind of education do you have? What college did you graduate from?

By yanam49

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