It’s hard to believe we’ve been publishing for almost 14 years at The Mac Observer. A lot of things have changed during that time. Apple went from beleaguered to bully*, the Mac has grown greatly in prominence, even while it is dwarfed by its smartphone little brother, and the company is worth more money than you can shake a stick at.
The Internet itself has changed even more, and the same is even more true for the community of sites I still affectionately think of as “The Mac Web.” Most of the sites that were around when we started off are gone, but for every one that disappeared, four more sprang up to take its place.
Heck, even mainstream news outlets feature regular coverage of Apple these days, and a lot, maybe most, of it is even accurate. Now, if you’re an old-school Apple observer, that may be the strangest change of all.
When we launched in December of 1998, one of the things we did that set us apart was the TMO Spin (see an example from 2001). While many sites have copied the idea in the years since, I came up with the idea because there were articles where I wanted to add an opinion or some context in situations that didn’t warrant a full editorial. It proved popular, and before long most of our articles had a Spin.
That changed in 2005 when we decided to go to a more traditional journalistic format. In traditional journalism, expressing an opinion is verboten lest the reporter reveal a bias that would cause readers to question the fairness of the reporting.
It was a hard decision back then, but I don’t regret it. We made the decision for the right reasons, and it dramatically improved the quality of our news. Indeed, you wouldn’t be reading the kind of coverage we publish today had we not made that change.
I think our content is the most professional, most in-depth coverage in the Mac Web, and it’s augmented by what is hands-down the most talented editorial staff in technology. Lately you may have also noticed a sharp increase in the number of technical articles and tips we’ve also added to the mix.
Cut to today. When we started working on the site redesign you see in front of you, we also talked a lot about our coverage. We are very proud of the work we do, but we’ve long known that we’re generally not the first to post coverage of any given story. Speed just isn’t our focus, nor should it be.
The things we’re best at are context, analysis, insight, and the ability to put the pieces together—that’s not something that can be done right when it’s rushed. No one does this better than we do, and now is a good time to refocus on that by bringing back the TMO Spin.
We’re going to keep the professional news coverage, adherence to our style guide, and the adult presentation of our news coverage, but when a story warrants it, we’re going to once again be including a Spin that adds value to our coverage. It might be an opinion, context, related things to think about, or maybe just some insight on why we covered a particular topic, and it will be set off from the news article in a way that makes it crystal clear what is opinion and what is news.
We sincerely hope you enjoy reading it as much as we do writing it.
Cofounder & Co-Publisher
The Mac Observer
*I personally don’t think of Apple as a bully, but some do (note that they are wrong). As an added bonus, it made for some dandy alliteration.