Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991. With Kara Swisher, he currently co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries. In addition to Personal Technology, Mr. Mossberg also writes the Mossberg's Mailbox column in the Journal and edits the Mossberg Solution column, which is authored by his colleague Katherine Boehret. On television, Mr. Mossberg is a regular technology commentator for the CNBC network, where he appears every Thursday on the mid-day Power Lunch program. He is also a regular contributor to Dow Jones Video on the Web.
In a major 2004 profile of Mr. Mossberg, entitled "The Kingmaker," Wired Magazine declared: "Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures." Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. In May of 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Rhode Island. In May of 2002, he was inducted into the ranks of the Business News Luminaries, the hall of fame for business journalists. That same year, he won the World Technology Award for Media and Journalism.
Question: How do you contribute?
Walt Mossberg: Well my contribution is just to look at new technology products that come along, pick out what I think are the most interesting ones, and try to tell a fairly large group of readers whether I think they’re worth buying. I don’t want to over-inflate it. That’s what I do.
The other thing I do is I explain some of these technologies. Some of my columns are not product reviews, but they are explainers about technology.
A few times a year, I do columns where I take on broader issues. Like what I consider to be the excessive control of the wireless phone companies. And I’ll take them on, and that gets me to kind of be controversial for a few weeks.
But that’s my role. I wouldn’t inflate it. I’m a journalist. I’m a reviewer.
Thankfully, and I’m grateful for it, I have a large following. And so I just help people sort through the thicket of these technology options that they have. But I don’t invent technology. I don’t create technology. And I don’t monetize technology. I write about it.
Recorded: Sep 13, 2007.