John Markoff

"John is switching from Business Day to Science." Congratulations John! This is great news. This is perfect. I think Markoff's ability to dig into the science and explain it to everyone is important and key right now and my bet is that he's going to enjoy this new beat much better too.

I've know Markoff for... a long time. I met him through John Perry Barlow at Marc Rotenberg's house in the early 90's. Markoff wrote the first article where I appeared in a US newspaper in 1994. I just reread this article and there are some pretty prescient quotes...

Here's the internal email about Markoff's position change at the New York Times. Hopefully he can help keep the franchise going.

New York Times internal announcement

JOHN MARKOFF TO JOIN SCIENCE

John Markoff, whose trailblazing work for The Times is a virtual history of the computer age, is taking an exciting new assignment. John is switching from Business Day to Science, where he will write widely and deeply about the impact of computer science in every modern endeavor.

One of the more alarming areas John will explore - you don't even want to know - is cyberwarfare and cybersecurity. He will cover, too, advances in computational science that are transforming the pursuit of other kinds of science. And he will peer into the future of computing to tell us how our everyday lives may change.

Another important part of his portfolio will be national science and technology policy, as the Obama administration gears up for a new era of government investment in research and development. To the extent that this push is tied to hopes for economic recovery and American competitiveness, John will often find himself in the thick of the news.

For more than three decades John has been the pre-eminent chronicler of Silicon Valley, having started as a defense and technology writer for Pacific News Service in 1977. He joined The Times in 1988, and has since been regaling and informing readers about this fascinating and increasingly important part of our world. He was the first to report about malicious software code, called a worm, that was devastating the then brand new Internet. (That was 20 years ago last month and he's still writing how we haven't been able to beat the bad guys.) He revealed how the Clinton Administration was trying to install something called the Clipper chip on computers and telephones, which would give the government a backdoor into our communications. He later wrote about another government attempt to watch us in  John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness program. And he was the first to write about the ever-evolving World Wide Web.

Among his most celebrated stories were on the hacker Kevin Mitnick. He turned the reporting into a very readable book, "Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw," co-authored with Tsutomu Shimomura, who helped track Mitnick down. He also wrote "What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry," and two other books about the technology world.

Science (and Times readers) are fortunate to have John writing about technology from a new perspective; indeed, one of the great things about John is that his passion for technology has never faded. But we confess it is hard to imagine Bizday without John, because he has contributed so much in making it a robust, must-read section, not only for people in the tech world but far beyond.

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1 Comment

This is great news. Look forward to his coverage of science & tech policy in particular.

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