Victor Asemota Vs PandoDaily: A Twitter Tiff Over Coverage

Geoffrey Ellis Photo

You know, we just launched a new channel called, Drama here on Techloy to capture most of the dramatic moments in tech — the cyber attacks, the corporate lay-offs, the law suits, the tech spats and gossips, the start-up trainwrecks — because we know people naturally have the tendency to watch related incidents.

Since we’re still toddlers in tech reporting (15-months old) you should also be expecting tantrums, sulks and spats, even with offensive words from time to time. Yeah, we know. We need to grow up.

But just so we don’t piss you off here at Techloy or make you get into a Twitter fight with us for reading this particularly non-tech post or future silly posts, you may as well click off. [No pun intended].

Ok now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me say this: tech journalism has really lost its essence. Especially with the way the world’s tech media focuses on the coverage of the specs of consumer products such as the iPhone, while leaving out or simply ignoring more important stories.

Some of the world’s respected technology blogs have even covered politically-related topics such that when a Silicon Valley-based tech blog, PandoDaily which normally covers tech and start-ups while specializing in thoughtful commentary on the Valley’s business culture and trends in the social web decided to run a political commentary, they didn’t realize they were shooting themselves in the foot.

While Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Lacy’s goal of starting PandoDaily was (I quote) “to be the site-of-record for that startup root-system and everything that springs up from it, cycle-after-cycle”, it appears that the site is “becoming hypocritical and patronizing”, as suggested by one of its readers, Victor Asemota who took issue with a story one of the site’s regular contributors, Paul Carr did on Samuel L. Jackson’s patronizing, hypocritical viral message to President Obama voters.

The conversation that ensued was quickly followed by displays of passive aggression peppered with sarcasm to irritating ignorance and flippant insults, resulting in a train wreck with all the parties involved appearing silly for engaging in such unnecessary tiff.

Even though Lacy featured Asemota in a TechCrunch blog post last May about tech start-ups in Nigeria and both were photographed together in a friendly mood (photo above) at a tech event in Lagos last year, she didn’t pull any punches as she expressed her disappointment at Asemota’s somewhat annoying insensitivity and further blocking him on Twitter.

Carr (a.k.a Not Mentally Well), on his part, brought his signature sarcasm to the show calling Asemota an ‘idiot’ and a ‘clown’ for not realising that personal opinions are a part of journalism and telling him off: “Just go. Leave. Begone”. As did Lacy, he blocked Asemota on Twitter.

In the midst of all of the shredding, Asemota stood his ground arguing that the politics story on the site is putting him off as a reader and suggested that such stories be kept to personal blogs, so it doesn’t water down the tech coverage. But he also didn’t tolerate Carr’s tirade of abuse, as he went offensive calling the former drunk a ‘moron’.

Thanks to Storify, we’ve made it easier to read how the conversation played out on Twitter. Enjoy :)

As I said earlier, tech journalism is dead. This is the age of tech blogging where just about anything can pass for a story, as long as there’s an audience waiting for such content. And in most cases, there is.

For readers, it means that if a tech blog isn’t showing you the content you want to watch, you have a choice to change the channel and perhaps come back later when what they’re showing interests you. That isn’t hard to do, right?

As for bloggers, they need to realize that the opinion of their readers matter, regardless of whether they agree with their opinions or not, particularly because their visits and views contribute to the site’s success. Readers deserve respect.

As for me, my head has always been on the chopping block of critics. I’ve been called out for covering some stories, while ignoring other stories. I’ve been criticised several times for writing more stories about particular companies, while leaving out others. I’ve even been described as ‘irrelevant’ to the technology media industry.

While I’ve tried to explain to some people who — in most cases — don’t get how media works, how media really works in this part of the world, I’ve somehow been able to stay sane in the industry for the past eight years without becoming a train wreck.

That, is priceless!

[Image credits: TechCrunch]

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  • Tosin

    Try including tweets in blog post.Most readers won’t come back to read the rest or comment once they get the convo outside techloy

  • Oo Nwoye

    People should be able to disagree without all of this drama. This is sad, unnecessary and had no reason to degenerate into personal insults.

  • Tboy

    It’s one thing to disagree. It’s another to use derogatory words during the process of stating your opposition or disappointment towards an idea or service. I think Victor Asemota in the first place would have simply stated his disappointment without using the word “hypocritical” . Why? Because in all honesty, his application of the word in this context was flawed.
    Blogs have the right to post whatever they wish to..and not just blogs..isn’t that what today’s media has turned into? TV, Radio, Magazines, u name it. Isn’t that word media has been about for the past decades we can remember? It’s simple: If you don’t like it, skip it.

  • Akinbobola Michael Akinola

    Great stuff from you, Loy . You gave a balanced view of the whole issue.

  • Victor Asemota

    When you try to reason with a drunk and a moron that is what happens

  • Victor Asemota

    When you post anything including political rants from a closet racist just to get page views that is hypocritical to me. Blocking critical comments on Pandodaily and preventing them from appearing is even much more so. You should then not start calling other people hypocritical and patronizing. While the media has the right to misbehave we as readers have the right to call them out as we are not morons to be spoon fed garbage in the name of trying to get page views for a failing blog.

  • Victor Asemota

    There are two things a tech blogger should learn not to do and the first one is accusing other bloggers of hustling to get page views (Pandodaily accused BusinessInsider and VentureBeat of that same thing weeks ago) then turn around to do the same thing. That is HYPOCRISY. The second one is trying to disguise a personal political rant by a closet racist as a commentary on “The American Dream”, that is PATRONIZING. insulting your readers for speaking their minds then blocking is on a different level altogether, it shows desperation and cowardice.

    They accused Arianna Huffington of preventing editorial independence at Techcrunch so that was why they left but they use their moderator’s powers to block comments on the Pandodaily blog in response to their insults. They can have independence to say rubbish but readers cannot respond honestly. Mike Arrington was at least honest enough to turn off comments on controversial blog posts rather than selectively block some.

    There is an African saying that “Only your friend will tell you bluntly when your mouth smells from halitosis”. Others will laugh at you behind your back as they are doing here in this post:

    Twitter is not a very good place to have sensible conversations and my goal initially was to point out to Sarah Lacy that they were doing exactly the same thing they were accusing BusinessInsider and VentureBeat of doing when they sit on their high horses on the Pandodaily feature “Why isn’t this news”. Paul Carr (the moron) talks about journalistic ethics and purity accusing others of losing it but allows Pandodaily to shamelessly plug his controversial political story into a tech blog to increase their falling pageviews while also shamelessly publicizing his (Paul Carr’s) own blog.

    I was actually talking to my sick wife on Skype when the Twitter conversation started and lost it when Sarah Lacy started swearing and Paul Carr started with insults. I had to make them realize that there is no monopoly in swearing or insults. If by one in a Billion chance you featured an African who was able to raise funding as a result of the publicity you should not expect others to cower each time you bark.

    They must think that we are sheep to keep taking in all the bullshit and nodding our heads in agreement. Maybe we probably are as Pandodaily’s country ranking in Nigeria is higher than any other country yet their pageviews are dropping into the abyss.

    Sarah Lacy came to Nigeria and ironically told us to stop reading TechCrunch but crazily Techcrunch these days is on point and provides much more relevant content to the tech ecosystem than Pandodaily and their page views have not taken the same dip. Techcrunch was the blog to point our Pandodaily’s mistake in featuring an East African Accelerator as the “First African Accelerator” by sending Mike Butcher to Ghana to talk to the guys at MEST and bring out all the great things happening there over the years. Techcrunch surprisingly is getting more relevant to Africa as they are providing more objective coverage of the continent.

    To borrow from Samuel L Jackson Nigerians should also WTFU to see that reading Pandodaily is not going to help us build anything and we should follow Sarah’s advice and stop reading her blog but read Techcrunch instead.

  • Victor Asemota

    I have put my full response as a blog post here:

  • Segun

    Thanks Loy :D

  • Pity it came to this

    Hmmm… Pity. Sarah should have acted more maturely. Pando is losing page-views but I even thought a blog post i read a few months ago about her was harsh – it said she was finding it hard to keep up with her usual great writing and motherhood. Whatever the case I believe in giving people a chance. Its not easy. So I still read Pando. But What i care about is freedom of speech. Blogs should be allowed to write what they want, but just as newspapers here write biased pieces to keep politicians happy, readers are allowed to call foul. I thought Sarah would have thicker skin. I agree with Victor – if they are selectively deleting comments – that’s not good! Selective truth is not the truth.