Interview: Thomas Goetz

Thomas Goetz is deputy editor of Wired and author of the blog epidemix.org. He also wrote a recent New York Times Op-Ed on the medical community's reluctance to switch to a universal electronic record-keeping system.

Thomas Goetz is deputy editor of Wired and author of the blog epidemix.org. He also wrote a recent New York Times Op-Ed on the medical community's reluctance to switch to a universal electronic record-keeping system.

PRWeek: How was journalism impacted by the original dot.com boom and bust?

Thomas Goetz: The ripples from the technology boom carried over right into journalism. As went technology, so went those journalism startups, [with] layoffs, retrenchment and all that. [Recently,] there has not been the journalistic hiring frenzy that happened with technology. If the first boom gave birth to something like TheStreet.com, this boom has given birth to something like TechCrunch.

PRWeek: To what do you attribute Wired's success?

Goetz: Wired started in 1993, at the dawn at the popularization of the Internet. What happened is, after that boom turned into a bust, we had to remake the magazine and rethink what the magazine was about. No longer were we going to be about this thing that was about to happen, but about how this thing was going to change our everyday lives.

PRWeek: How have online publications changed how traditional media covers Silicon Valley?

Goetz: I don't know about the actual business practices of the Journal and whatnot aside from what I read. But I think what the mainstream media has done is they no longer treat it as some kind of foreign world. Entertainment Weekly used to have a digital section as a separate category, for example. They got rid of that a couple years ago, and rightly so. Everything is digital today. I think that's the way digital technologies have changed the culture and it is appropriate people would cover it that way.

PRWeek: Your recent Op-Ed in The New York Times made me wonder why the medical community has been so slow to adopt universal electronic medical records. What accounts for this?

Goetz: There are two issues. One is getting the healthcare industry to move towards electronic records. Then there's the greater ambition of having a standard [system]. The point in my editorial was you can actually do both, if you go cheap. I think what you're talking about is creating a standard in an incredibly decentralized and fragmented industry.

PRWeek: You once wrote a piece asserting we were entering the era of open-source, not just in software but everywhere in our world. Four years on, how do you see that?

Goetz: It's one of the few things I've written that's absolutely come true all over the place. When you're writing about technology and future trends, you cross your fingers and hope you get it right. As people got more comfortable using the Web as an interface, and as the Web itself has gotten better at processing information from groups, it's manifested all over the place.

PRWeek: Do you have any tips for PR people?

Goetz: PR can be an incredibly useful tool. I think, personally, people mistake Wired for a technology trade magazine, so I get all sorts of things about networking interface and hardware protocols, and all sorts of things we don't write about. The best relationships I've had with PR people and their companies are ones where we build relationships.

Name: Thomas Goetz

Outlet: Wired

Title: Deputy editor

Preferred contact method: Thomas_Goetz@wired.com

Web sites: Wired.com; Epidemix.org

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