Oh HAI, media – #Croydon Tech City needs YOU.

By - Friday 16th November, 2012

Media coverage will be key to Croydon Tech City’s success in 2013

I’m absolutely enthralled by tech media – by which I mean the blogs and media which report daily on the latest news amongst early stage (read: start-up) and mature technical businesses.

There are hundreds of them to choose from, depending on your particular interest, and for every software developer, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, tech founder and wannabe marketing guru, the daily blogs, columns and opinion pieces within each one of them makes for heady and necessary reading.

The world of start-ups and tech is a frenetic one – it never stops; deals are made, companies are formed, rounds of venture funding are raised and new products are released.

However, unlike the staid and myopic concerns of other industries, tech stories tend to incorporate universal issues that affect everybody; success and failure, betrayal and delights, splits and new partnerships forged. Articles often straddle the line between Hollyoaks, Working Lunch and Tomorrow’s World!

The world of tech media is one where the journalists are as much the stars as the people and companies they cover. Tech journalists are king-makers in the industry and a favourable write-up in TechCrunch, for example, is enough to add millions to a start-ups valuation.

Moreover, unlike other types of media, tech journos routinely flout the Tuckerism “don’t become the story”:

The characters that the tech media world cultivates makes it every bit as exciting as the offices of Fleet Street (with perhaps a smidgeon less cocaine).

The rise of the local tech media

It is no surprise, then, that every tech ecosystem worth its salt has a media outlet embedded within it.

Indeed, this phenomenon is not just limited to the written word, but has also spread to various forms of ‘webisodes’ or web tv channels, such as ‘This Week in Startups’ and London’s Hashbang TV which is based out of TechHub – a workspace for start-ups that don’t wish to commit to a permanent office – near Old Street roundabout.

With such a close affinity between subject matter and journalist, localised tech media are fed a near-constant source of activity, rumour and opinion to fuel the public’s need for news.

The result is a vibrant, close-knit and well-informed community of doers.

Croydon Tech City and Croydon Media

This is all to say, that it is my intention over the coming months – and years – to create an ecosystem in which local papers, bloggers and media personalities in Croydon will not want for news. Tech-related or otherwise.

Croydon is replete with respectable and informative media organs; including print-based behemoths Croydon Guardian and Croydon Advertiser, and emergent media propositions such as Inside Croydon, Croydon Radio and – of course – The Croydon Citizen.

DotMailer founders, Tink Taylor and Simon Bird, featured in The Croydon Advertiser.

At the moment, there isn’t enough tech news in the locale to justify a dedicated media outlet of the likes of PandoDaily. However, there is enough in the borough to justify regular coverage in the aforementioned local titles.

Fortunately, local media has begun to wake up to the opportunity afforded by Croydon becoming a ‘tech city’. The first fruits of which have included, a political positioning piece and a great interview with local software giants DotMailer.

However, there is a more to cover in the borough:

  • Why not interview local start-up founder Steve Bardouille of social network Famberry?
  • Or, spend a night embedded with the developers at Croydon Creatives?
  • Or, perhaps profile the Code Academy movement as it rolls out across Croydon primary schools in 2013?

Here is my central conceit; if Croydon’s media were to support Croydon Tech City, Croydon Tech City will save Croydon’s media.

It’s no secret that the borough’s two largest print offerings are going through difficult times. Although I’m not privy to the organisational pressures at these particular organisation, I can appreciate what’s been happening to print media at large over the past few years.

In light of this, I have been buoyed by looking at other local newspapers across Europe and the US who are in similarly straightened times and have turned to tech ecosystems to help abate declining fortunes.

For Croydon’s media, this might look like; partnering with local developers with a newspaper sponsored ‘Hack Day’ to create an app or producing daily webcasts of local news. Or it might just mean simply writing so obsessively about tech news that eventually Arianna Huffington comes along and buys your company for $25million.

The opportunities for local media to capitalise on Croydon Tech City – not just as a source for more stories – but to future-proof their business models will hopefully be an attractive one. And in 2013, if Croydon’s media will get behind Croydon Tech City, then Croydon Tech City can get behind Croydon’s media.

Croydon Tech City FTW.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robin-Smith/100001033246162 Robin Smith

    All the very best of all good luck with this.

    I’m deeply concerned though.

    All the talk I hear from ‘enterprise’ in Croydon is asking for tax breaks, subsidy, social enterprise, business rates discounts, “protection” and “encouragement” from the state in some form.

    I never hear anyone asking for the market to be freed up from high taxation and rents.

    Just protection. That is not the call of an entrepreneur. It’s the call of a dependent mind set. Welfare.

    When I point this out, all I hear back is that I’m being negative. Is it my negativity or their denial though? I’m asking the young Croydon startups with enormous potential to aim high and really go for it.

    I’ve watched what happens in Matthews Yard and felt the energy in there. You ARE entrepreneurs. So when will you be calling strongly for freedom over dependency.

    You have a major opportunity to do that on the 29th. There is only one candidate that supporting this call. A call to commit to what is in the best interest of all people, not just ourselves. The rest are offering you more dependency more self indulgence, encouraging you to aim low.

    I hear you. This is a big commitment with a lot of risk and no certainty. Are you the bold though? I think so from what I see. The Great Social Reformer told us long ago that the greatest rewards come to those who make that commitment even though it is risky.

    Croydon – You are true entrepreneurs. So vote with your conscience for all your brothers and sisters, not your own pockets.

    Robin Smith
    Young People’s Party by election candidate