CNBC is getting a new technology correspondent and losing a controversial one. Jon Fortt, a senior writer at Fortune, will be joining CNBC on July 19th in its Silicon Valley bureau. CNBC’s current tech reporter, Jim Goldman, will be leaving to pursue a career in PR. Some will find this an appropriate career shift for Goldman, who has often been criticized in the past as being a mouthpiece for Apple, a company he covers that helped make his career. To be fair, Goldman is also very good at what he does. Being on TV is harder than it looks.
I spoke with Fortt today (disclosure: we used to work together at Business 2.0 magazine back in the day). He says he had no idea Goldman was leaving until today, and was “sad to hear that.” I put Fortt on the spot and asked him if viewers can expect any change in Apple coverage from CNBC once he starts. His says he is going to call it like he sees it: “I covered Apple for a while, it was my first beat at the Mercury News. No journalist wants to be perceived as having undue bias. With Apple, you are perceived as either being a fanboy or a hater.”
We think opinions are fine as long as the reporter tells his audience where his bias lies. Goldman was most definitely an Apple fanboy. That meant he usually came down on the side of Apple, but also got a lot of Apple scoops. As long as you knew that as a viewer, you were fine.
Of course, Fortt has his own biases and to pretend otherwise is doesn’t do anyone any good. I suspect that secretly he is an HP fanboy, but maybe is too embarrassed to admit it. But we will soon find out. As he does already, Fortt expects to continue blogging when he is not on camera.