The New York Times recently interviewed Brian Lam where the Gizmodo editor discussed his love of surfing, how he got his first job at Gizmodo, and of course, the infamous iPhone 4G escapade …
So did the “spy shot” era play a part in your decision to write about the iPhone 4G?
I can’t get into legal topics on this, obviously, but I knew we had to get it in our hands to see if it was real or not; it could have been an elaborate hoax. People try to send us images of knock-off iPhones from China all the time and tell us they are real Apple prototypes.
Do you have any regrets about the iPhone 4G story?
There were some very contentious internal debates about writing about Gray Powell, who lost the phone. We struggled trying to decide whether to write this story. In the end, it became a story about a guy who made a very normal mistake that we’ve all done before and it added humanity to the entire story of the phone. The phone was just a thing, a simple part of the equation; it was important to show the humanity of it, too. It reminds me of an old set of keys that recently sold at an auction for over $100,000. To some people they just look like keys, but the back story is that they were the keys to a binocular case on the Titanic that a night watchman who was switching shifts forgot to hand to another watchman. They were just keys, but the fact that this simple human mistake played a pivotal role in the Titanic made it a fascinating human interest story.
Why do you think some journalists have been so critical of the iPhone 4G coverage?
I’ve been thinking about it a lot. And I notice it’s usually Apple-only press. I don’t know how they see their jobs, but I think reporters have to be critical of their subjects and hungry for stories that expose the truths that companies may not want in the light of day.