DIGIT Diary: My Year With Scotland’s Technology News Site
Andrew Hamilton, DIGIT’s departing Staff Writer reflects on his rollercoaster year as part of the team…
I joined the DIGIT team in February 2017, just as the site was launched, and watched it grow from a small news channel into Scotland’s premier technology platform.
2018 will hold amazing things for DIGIT – there’s absolutely no question.
DIGIT is important to me because it will forever be my first post in journalism. You can forgive my initial naivety, thinking that the position would consist entirely of writing reviews on the latest gadgets. In fact, there’s so much more driving the technology industry, and writing for DIGIT afforded me the opportunity to get hands-on with the people on the front line.
My year at DIGIT taught me that Scotland’s digital technology industry is full of leaders, advisors, equality groups, innovators, hackers, goodies and baddies, start-ups, spin-outs, incumbents and challengers.
The people who I connected with while at DIGIT provided insights into technology that I’d never previously imagined. For example, one of my first articles saw me reach out to two Scottish firms who are creating health apps that could change the way patients with cognitive difficulties self-medicate.
One of my favourite interviews was conducted with Dr. Tine Munk, leader of the MSc in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation at Middlesex University. We discussed how terrorism, widely regarded as a backwards ideology, is looking to multimedia platforms to spread its messages. Apps such as Twitter, Whatsapp and Telegram, Munk warned, could be the new face of terrorist propaganda unless regulated correctly.
And with this emerging trend, DIGIT described how the UK Government had to play catch-up with the bad guys. MPs, with growing pronouncement as the year rolled on, began to challenge social media firms over their handling of offensive and manipulative content. Now, the Cabinet alongside the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is now considering limiting freedoms such as encrypted data – a scary thought.
The truth is that technology is inextricably bound to our daily lives. Even events which I wouldn’t have guessed had much to do with tech I found to be closely connected as I did my research. Take the Paradise Papers, one of the 2017’s largest political scandals. The investigation shone more light onto the grey areas of financial law which are readily used by leading figures and companies in our society, arguably for nefarious purposes. But reading into the Papers, it became clear that it is technology which had enabled their exposure, from the initial leak to anonymous tip-off to spreading the word through social media.
Now that it’s 2018, it’s time for me to move on from DIGIT. I couldn’t be more thankful to my bosses Ray Bugg and Pete Swift for their placing their trust in me. Thanks to them, I was given the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful individuals and subjects on a level I could only have dreamed of even a year ago.
I’d like to close by thanking my close co-writer and good friend Brian Baglow. Brian is already well-known to practically everyone who reads DIGIT, but to me Mr Baglow was a mentor who tutored me daily in research, interviewing and writing. These are core lessons in journalism, and I’ll take them with me for the rest of my life. For this, I’m extremely grateful to have written alongside him, and I sincerely hope it’s not the last time that we do.
Thank you team DIGIT, all the best for 2018.