A Well-Known Tech Watchdog Dishes on the Writing Beat

Rob Pegoraro started his career in the mailroom without training in tech, writing or sorting mail.
A Well-Known Tech Watchdog Dishes on the Writing Beat
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Whenever a major phone carrier comes out with a new unlimited data plan you want to know more about, what’s the first thing you do?

Look it up online to see if it’s legit.

Thanks to the rise of the internet, we’re able to look for this information. While we can always read the print, it’s much easier to have someone interpret it for us. But what about the information that doesn’t appear in the fine print?

All those articles you see online -- on the Washington Post, USA Today, New York Times and more -- seem to have more information than the phone carrier offers on the data plan. That’s because, thanks to the rise of online use, there’s a plethora of information, written and curated by writers of the highest caliber.

This is where you’ll find pieces written by Rob Pegoraro, prolific freelance tech journalist whose name is synonymous with USA Today’s technology section. He writes plenty of articles that investigate the information asymmetry that companies try to take advantage of. Basically, he finds everything that you might not see in the fine print.

Pegoraro explains that one example is of the calendar app on iOS. There was an issue with looking up past events on the calendar -- typing in a subject would only yield results from the past two years -- that hadn’t been noted in any of the reports by Apple.

A “one-man Consumer Reports,” Pegoraro says his cohort of investigative tech journalists fills a need. The vagaries of Apple’s calendar app affect many but very few have the time to investigate the how and why. That’s precisely where Pegoraro’s cohort of tech writers enter.

Related: The 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs

Becoming a tech writer.

Rob Pegoraro is a self-made writer who covers just about anything that you’d find at a tech conference. Pegoraro spends his time covering the internet, computers, various electronics, software and “other things that beep or blink.”

He never studied any of the subjects he now covers -- including writing -- while he was attending Georgetown University. In 1995, after gaining valuable experience while writing copy for a Georgetown newspaper, Pegoraro landed a position as a copy boy in the newsroom of the Washington Post. While this was largely sorting mail, it gave him the chance to submit stories to editors.

In what was largely a right place, right time event, Pegoraro was told to sell stories to the editors regarding the online world. From here, he carved out his niche of all things tech related and began to earn attention for his meticulous style.

Pegoraro was named a columnist at the Washington Post, a position he held until 2011 when he left the Post to became a freelance journalist and writer. He wanted the flexibility to cover more of the pieces he wanted to for a variety of news sources, both published and online.

After years of building up his expertise as a tech writer, Pegoraro has found himself in a pretty comfortable position. He travels to various trade shows and expos to cover cool new gadgets that are coming out.

Related: 4 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Writer for Your Blog

The life of a freelance journalist.

You can always find Pegoraro at the “Mardi Gras meets CES” that is SXSWi in Austin, Texas. In 2017 he’ll be attending for his sixth year in a row, making him somewhat of a veteran to the entire event.

Some of his advice for SXSW? Accept that you won’t make it to everything you want to. The entire event is so chaotic in nature that it just won’t work. Also, be sure to bring portable charging devices for mobile – and be prepared to stand.

Not only does SXSW serve as a destination for him to cover his subject, but Pegoraro has also found that the event is excellent for networking – something many entrepreneurs understand the importance of.

Pegoraro has achieved something that many people strive for: he is following his passion on his own terms. While he never received the traditional education required for his role, he persisted and has become a recognized name in tech.

During his time as a freelance journalist, Pegoraro has also learned a number of valuable lessons, particularly concerning marketing and promotion. He’ll be sharing his personal insights at PR Summit 2017 where he will be a featured speaker.

Related: The 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Content Writer

For Pegoraro, the most important thing to plan for in the writing process is the research. While he has years of experience writing about tech, he recognizes that he doesn’t know everything off the top of his head. Before agreeing to any terms with clients, Pegoraro makes sure that he’s budgeting himself ample time for research.

By spending enough time gathering the information and facts, Pegoraro crafts articles unlike others that can be found – all without the classic instruction to be able to do so.

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