A career of 24 years in tech journalism, Mızrak never regreted to choose journalism
For Ahmet Mızrak, journalism is love. “I chose journalism with the predominance of my love at the stage of whether it is a profession where I will earn a lot of money or to be able to achieve something in my favorite job,” he explained. As a tech journalist for 24 years, Mızrak is in charge of IT Network Magazine for 11 years. Mızrak is a huge believer of research in journalism to make a difference. Here is what he told me.
What were the main reasons for you to choose journalism? How did you decide to become journalist?
For me, it was the necessity of loving the journalism profession rather than choosing it. I was reading and editing the magazines and newspapers as a teenager, and I would try to understand what a news story told and how. In my opinion journalism is love. Except for some special cases, the journalist has enough income to survive. Sometimes, there have been problems at this point. It is your biggest gain to be liked and to be read of the stories, content and materials you present for the sake of this love. I chose journalism with the predominance of my love at the stage of whether it is a profession where I will earn a lot of money or to be able to achieve something in my favorite job. I did not regret this, even in the hardest days. Knowing that there are many people doing this job fondly in the industry gives me happiness and peace. It makes me feel the correctness of my work and the decision I made on my behalf.
As a veteran tech journalist, what was your first contact with technology?
My first contact with technology was when I closely examined the product, which was both a phone and a voice recorder, that my father had brought from abroad, and when I disassembled it and put it back in, it worked. Afterwards, I was examining every electronic device I came across and trying to learn its technology. Later, when we came to Istanbul, my tendency to technology increased with the opportunity to play with legendary devices such as Amiga Commodore 64, Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000, which my friends owned. I had close contact with PC 386 DX in my father’s office in the summer of 1989. My first personal computer was the Acer Aspire Computer at that time, which İhlas.net (an ISP) as offered as a 3-year unlimited Internet promotion called “Free Click”. I remember very well, the capacity of my first computer was 4 GB. Now, if we consider the capacity of USBs in our pocket, I think this is a small example of where technology has come from. Afterwards, I started working at İhlas Magazine Group after high school without any interruption. I started my adventure as an officeboy in various publications and continued my education and gained experience in business as a reporter, editor, news manager and editor-in-chief. As of today, I have been trying to shed light on the world of technology and bring technological developments to our readers with the news we write, as the Editor-in-Chief of the IT Network Magazine for almost 11 years.
As you know most journalists have a role model. Who was your role model?
In fact, when you evaluate the sector from the past to the present, it is possible to add many people who are well-versed in this category. Not only in the field of technology, but also in every field of journalism, there have been different people from time to time that you have taken your example for yourself. However, I will not say that I chose someone to guide myself. I can say that I take the news understanding of the some, the editorial view of the some, the research of the some, the source follow-up of the some, the interpretation of the news and the aspects of reflecting the news.
How was tech journalism in the first days of your career? Can you compare it with today?
I guess it would not be wrong to say that journalism was actually more difficult and troublesome at that time. When there is news, you leave your office excitedly. The distance you travel is far and your conditions to get there are not so simple. At the news point you go under difficult conditions, you follow the whole event fully and keep notes, evaluate the photos you have taken with the notes you have taken, and try to write the news in the heat of the return journey. When you reach the office, you prepare a news according to the rules of the work you have done, and you will prepare it to enter your magazine together with the pictures. So while you used to take a day for a story; Today, it is possible to say that we have reached more accessible journalism as of the era of technology. You can handle your work that used to take a day, now maybe within half an hour, and make it available in your publication. While you were waiting for a month to read the article you wrote yesterday, if you were on the monthly publication, you ensure that the stories you wrote today is instantly available on your Internet portal. With the support of technology, you have the opportunity to prepare quickly without getting too tired for an article.
What do you think about the current Turkish tech media scene?
When we evaluate the industry, I can say that there are publications and publishers that have carried out important works in their field and continue to do so. Generally, if you are doing business in the same industry, you should have different points. The biggest supporter of this is your researcher nature. In other words, if you are writing an article that everyone writes, you cannot make a differance. Either you should know how to handle the news with a different perspective, or you should reach your readers with the approach we call ‘investigative journalism.’ At this point, we should know that publication technology channels can be separated. When we compare it with a global view, I can say that there are a wide variety of technology editors in the Turkish media in terms of absorbing technology, feeling close and making people feel. An elder person I admire in the industry has a saying that I will never forget. “A bee cannot make honey unless it leaves its hive”. This statement has always impressed me in everything I have done so far. We must achieve this by getting out of our hive by searching.
Would you like to support TR Technews?
I’m running Turkishtechnews.com, a website on tech developments from Turkey. I will be covering subjects ranging from startups to gadgets, digital economy to social media. I’m keen on new technologies as well. On top of those, I’m interested in drama and cinema, with one short and one long film script and three plays. Holding a B.A degree in English Language and Literature, I’m a tech journalist with 15 years of experience.
The reason why I’m here is to produce good quality journalism and try to remain independent as much as possible. Currently, journalism is torn between vague relationships between brands and journalists, not only in Turkey but also globally. Under such circumstances to remain independent is crucial and I need your support to do so.