TWIT Drops Anchor

The Tech Journalism landscape is covered with partisans and homers. It isn’t very often when one comes about with the trusted demeanor of one of the stallworths of the golden age of broadcast journalism. Too often would-be news presenters take shortcuts in their reporting and confuse strong personalities with good journalism. It’s like everyone wants to be Rush Limbaugh. When I first found tech news podcasts the best one was C/NET’s Buzz Out Loud. It was a great mix of the latest stories and good banter. Tom Merritt, Molly Wood and a wide variety of co-hosts explored the stories. As is always the case with new media, Tom left C/NET to join Leo Laporte and began the Tech News Today daily podcast. For me Buzz Out Loud lost a lot of its journalistic integrity and became too much about the personalities because there was no one left to reign in Molly’s rants. I fear that Leo’s decision to drop Tom is a case of history repeating itself.

Who knows what if anything is happening behind the scenes, but requiring the news director to be local (as in the Bay Area) seems to be more than an unfortunate decision. My experience with working remotely is that it is really is a huge pain in the ass and does require a lot of extra effort to support the remote member of the team. I would think having Tom on the team would be worth it. We’ll see who picks Tom up and how that changes to tech news scene.

TNT Host, Tom Merritt
Former TNT Host, Tom Merritt

The decision to replace Tom with Mike Elgan greatly worries me because he’s willing to air his opinion, one hopes in the interest of promoting interesting dialog (the recent “Apple Blacklist” for example), but it comes off as too much punditry and not enough real objective news reporting. It’s an interesting problem that new media and news-info-tainment has these days. We want to identify with those we follow online and have a much closer “relationship” with them than the sterile facade of traditional news/journalism. But too often when adding some “personality” to their stories, they include too much of themselves in the story and fill in the gaps with their own experiences too much. I appreciated how Tom ran the TNT news show because he knew when to reveal his personal take, how to work with and get the best from others on the team and where to stop when it was becoming too much conjecture and not journalism. We’ll see if Elgan can pull it off without putting too much of his experience into the “news” show. I’m willing to be surprised but am fearful that TWiT dropped the wrong anchor.



  1. Ryan K

    With BOL I didn’t mind Molly so much, but I agree that in both BOL and TNT Tom always seemed to be the voice of reason when it comes to balancing the news and personalities. With him, Molly, Veronica, and Jason I felt there was a good balance of personalities. BOL did seem to go off the rails sometimes with Molly and Brian sometimes near the end of its run, and while I personally still enjoyed it, I viewed it more of an editorial piece then something objective.

    For me, I would have rather seen Sarah replaced. I have nothing against her as a person, but she’s very opinionated, a bit hyperbolic, and I sometimes wonder how much she actually knows about how the tech its self. In my perspective, she’s much more on the personality side compared to the other host, and it sometimes starts to annoy me. Almost every episode also contains a “weeeellll” or something similar. Sarah also seems to have been remotely hosting herself a lot lately.

    I don’t really have many complaints about Iaz. My feelings are fairly neutral regarding him. I’m not too familiar with Elgan however, so I can’t say I have an opinion on him yet.

    I guess only time will tell on how TNT turns out with its new lineup and with Tom’s future endeavors. Molly’s left C|Net recently as well…


    1. joebustillos

      Seems like the only thing that remains the same is change… It looks like Tom Merritt is doing a Daily News podcast on his own called Daily Tech News Show and Iyaz is busy putting C/NET’s webpage together. It’ll be interesting see what happens with these moves and departures. The fact that Tom did (does) such a great job pulling the news together and still have an opinion without resorting to just personality is something worth paying attention to. Funny that the replacement news show that TWiT is putting together with Elgan is being promoted as a quick less than 30-minute thing, when Leo is notorious about hating the kinds of time limitations that traditional media puts on it’s presenters. Also, watching Elgan this past week, it really feels like he’s reading from a prompter, another thing Leo has always hated. I know that Leo isn’t a visible part of TNT, but we’ll see if these things will continue to float on what is essentially Leo’s network. I wish them well, but I’m looking elsewhere from my daily tech news.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.