Walt Mossberg retires this week and we should all thank him

3 min read

There’s been a long line of great tech journalists across the internet. Over the last few decades, talented individuals like Michael Fisher, Josh Topolsky, and Dieter Bohn have graced our connected screens with knowledge surrounding the latest gadgets available. But as with any industry, somewhere a select few laid the groundwork to make this coverage popular enough to create a market for it. One such pioneer is Walt Mossberg and all of us in the blog-o-sphere should thank him.

For those that don’t know, Walt Mossberg started one the first ever technology columns at the Wall Street Journal. His Personal Technology column was a very popular weekly spot that started way back in 1991. As consumer tech grew, so did Walt’s coverage and presence. He helped found the Journal’s All Things Digital technology conference.

During the event, Mossberg and his partner Kara Swisher would rub elbows with the gods of the tech industry. He interviewed Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and even formed a close friendship with the late Steve Jobs. At the height of the conference, he even convinced Gates and Jobs to join him on stage together which seemed to warm somewhat of a Cold War of the PC boom.

Walt and Kara soon moved their show to the digital age as well by launching All Things D website in 2007. This is really where Walt’s career evolution is impressive. He didn’t allow himself to get cornered into the past ways of covering news. He saw the importance of the web and embraced it. The technology was creating new markets left and right, but so was the way the media presented it to the public.

The final turn in Walt’s career is, of course, more recent. Walt decided to leave the Wall Street Journal, and All Things D, in 2013. By early 2014 he, and Swisher again, launched the ReCode tech site to further their online personas. And by 2015 the media company Vox, who holds The Verge under the same umbrella, purchased the rights to ReCode. This new venture led to Mossberg again becoming a strong player in one of the largest online tech websites as an editor of The Verge.

Walt Mossberg isn’t just another technology writer. He may as well be the father of the segment. Without Walt and his phenomenal coverage over the years, I’m not sure I’d be writing these words right now. His column at the Wall Street Journal built a trust within Silicon Valley that the tech industry could be viewed seriously, and right alongside political and world views.

Walt is stepping away from us this week and leaving us to steer the bus going forward. We should make sure we keep it on the great four lanes he’s paved for us. It’s not about click-bait and page views. We owe it to Walt to approach it with the same integrity and class he has over the decades. We should all take a minute to say thank you to Walt. For his great articles. For his awesome tech conferences. And for making us all want to be web bloggers. Thank you, Walt, and I hope retirement is the next great chapter you hoped it will be.

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