Why Old-Fashioned Tools Remain Key for Reporting

Why Old-Fashioned Tools Remain Key for Reporting

2017-11-29 16:00:13

Legacy media companies like HBO are increasingly competing with streaming services and tech companies that are producing original content, like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and, soon, Apple. How do you see this playing out?

Right now, we’re seeing a very competitive race among the streaming services as they all attempt to distinguish themselves to consumers. One way to do that is through opening up their checkbooks and ramping up the investment in original programming. The money is flowing!

My colleague John Koblin reported in October on Netflix’s plans to spend $8 billion on content in the coming year. Apple already has signaled that it will spend more than $1 billion. That surge in spending has ushered in a new era of creativity, with acclaimed programs like “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu and “Stranger Things” on Netflix. It certainly will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Beyond your job, what tech product are you currently obsessed with using in your daily life?

I’m getting married next year, so during breaks in reporting I am deep in the world of wedding planning. I’ve found that a lot of the wedding websites and apps are completely overwhelming. I’m signed into one that put more than 100 items on my to-do list!

But my fiancé, Dan, and I also have managed to find some cool sites and apps that have streamlined the process and allowed us to add some of our own personal touches.

One was a site called Postable, which allowed us to quickly collect our guests’ addresses and update our address book before sending out our save-the-dates. It was much easier than a series of emails and texts requesting people’s details.


The smartphone stays at home when Ms. Steel, who enjoys her unplugged time, goes for a run.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

After a bit of research, we also used the site Minted to turn a photo of Dan’s artwork into a save-the-date postcard. It turned out great! (We also built a wedding website with Minted.)

Like many brides, I’ve also spent an extraordinary amount of time on Pinterest, collecting and curating ideas. Our amazing florist has created a special board to help us brainstorm flowers for the big day.

And my other favorite technology of the moment is the app called 1 Second Everyday, which creates a video diary out of one-second video clips. Dan and I thought it would be a special way to track the year before our wedding.

Before I worked at The Times, I wrote pretty extensively about the pervasiveness of online tracking technologies. As a result, I’m fairly cautious about what technologies, apps and services I use. Even though Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have taken off in the past year, I don’t want a device that can listen to me all the time in my home. But I did want to be able to turn the lights on and off on command, so I bought an old-fashioned Clapper. It’s a little temperamental, but I still love it!

As a media reporter, what is your media setup at home? Are you a cord cutter?

I am a cord cutter, but I’ve still managed to watch all the programming I want to see with the mix of a digital antenna and a rotating mix of streaming services, including HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Because I’m in front of a screen all day, I try to unplug a bit when I’m at home. I love to read books, listen to music and leave my phone at home when I go for a run.

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