One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting andinterviewing truly inspirational people. The new digital age has meantthis privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some ofthe most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.
In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.
Shona Ghosh is Senior Reporter at Business Insider UK, with a particular focus on advertising and associated technology. She was previously Technology Editor at Campaign.
What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the tech industry in 2019?
Let’s start with the bad. My biggest fear is that the tech industry – by which I really mean the software giants Facebook and Google –will continue prioritising volume-oriented metrics like views and engagement to the detriment of healthy online conversations and interactions.
That YouTube, for example, is considered the talk radio of alt-right commentators is something to be extremely worried about, and we’ve now seen where that kind of extremism can lead.
My biggest hope is that the US and Europe do become serious about ending tech monopolies and we will see an increase in competition across anything from cloud computing to online shopping to online ads.
What was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?
The changes brought about by #MeToo, which has affected almost every industry I can think of.
In tech and venture capital, it has helped highlight how little funding and support female founders receive, and how few senior investors are women.
It’s still the case, which is an astonishing state of affairs, but at least people are talking about it.
Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?
SarahFriar, the former CFO at Square and now the CEO at Nextdoor. She left Northern Ireland to take up a career in finance and ended up moving to Silicon Valley.
She’s a truly impressive exec and doesn’t have any of that frat bro bluster, which is deeply refreshing.
What one technology are you most excited about this year and why?
At a personal level, Airpods, even if they are absolutely a way for Apple to gouge more money from me. At a broader level, technologies that aim to reduce carbon emissions and waste.
So, lithium ion battery recycling, scooters (as long as they don’t end up in piles like dockless bikes), maybe electric vehicles.
What was your favourite ad or digital experience of 2018?
I will be completely honest and say that I run an ad-blocker.
What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever?
It’s an overused term in tech circles and I generally interpret it as someone being a bit lax about ethics or the law.
Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t?
Mark Zuckerberg. I’d like to see for myself how he feels about his impact on humanity.
How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?
Do something unusual or noteworthy – it’s what most journalists are interested in.
People who are overly salesy, and trying to push a single message are boring and off-putting both to reporters and to readers.