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Stilgherrian launches Corrupted Nerds podcast

By Elly Glendenning in Media News on

Freelance journalist Stilgherrian has launched a new website and podcast, Corrupted Nerds, to cover “information, power, security and all the cybers in a global internet revolution that’s changing… everything”.


Stilgherrian registered the domain late last year after hearing Senator Brett Mason use the term in a speech and thinking it was a “great title for something’.


“I knew I wanted to do more podcasts, because I enjoy working in audio — that's the radio background — and as I say you can convey different things. When we decided to kill the Patch Monday podcast I was doing for ZDNet — a decision I support, by the way, because for both CBS Interactive and myself it made commercial sense — I put the two together,” he told ITJourno.


The site is starting off with a main podcast called ‘Corrupted Nerds: Conversations’ which will feature one-on-one interviews and occasional panel discussions. The first two podcasts feature interviews with Sean Richmond, senior technology consultant with Sophos Australia and New Zealand, and Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab.


“I also want to look at everything from the relationships between governments and their citizens, to businesses and their customers, to parents and their children, everything, really as the mood takes me,” he added.


With so many changes happening in the industry, Stilgherrian believes that technology journalism needs to adapt and consider the long-term implications.


“What is actually happening over these few decades is that we're completely rewiring the way the human species handles information and knowledge for everyone on the planet,” he remarked. “Since knowledge is power, really we’re changing the power relationships at every level of society.”


Stilgherrian believes that “podcasts are likely to work better as their own mastheads”, such as Patrick Gray’s Risky Business, rather than as an add-on to a larger entity.


“It makes much more sense to do it as a stand-alone project, and for someone like an infosec vendor, sponsorship at the level of a few hundred or a couple of thousand dollars is behind-the-sofa money,” he hints.


Breaking free


Stilgherrian views Corrupted Nerds as a way to break free from the daily news cycle and use all the information gained in a 40-minute interview rather than use just a few sentences for an article.


“No-one seems to be interested in long-form journalism, and I think that's sad, but what can you do when mastheads focus on unique browsers and page impressions as their only metrics of success?” he remarked.


“A half-hour conversation in a podcast is around 4,000 words, and just hearing someone can convey all sorts of subtle nuances about what they think and believe.”


Still freelancing, Stilgherrian admits that Corrupted Nerds will have to ‘earn its keep’.


“The number of paid things I've been doing has actually declined over the last year or so, as budgets were cut, and while I'll be pitching new ideas to editors I haven't worked with before, I'm also going to explore some ideas I've had on the back burner for ages. Corrupted Nerds is one of them.” he added.


He considers Corrupted Nerds a type of "journopreneurialism", a word he first heard on the Media Report about people who have launched their own unique idea.


“All of them seemed to just start something they were enthusiastic about and just let it evolve organically from there. So that's really what I'm doing,” he said.


As the project is fairly new, Stilgherrian hasn’t finalised advertising and sponsorship details and admits he is considering crowdfunding. As it’s not the first time he has launched a media operation, he’s aware that getting the site up and running to show prospective sponsors is a priority.


Hoping for a large international audience, Stilgherrian is trying not to pre-define the podcast but admits Corrupted Nerds is aimed at “people who are smart and interested in what's happening with the world, not afraid of technology but not necessarily geeks”.


“I'm basically going on a journey of discovery, and I think there'll be plenty of people who'll tag along.”


PR advice


The key thing that Stilgherrian wants from PRs is interesting people who he can have a great hour-long conversation with and not have to worry about editing out overt product pitches afterwards.


“In the context of Corrupted Nerds, that's got to be someone with real insights into what's happening, and who's a good explainer,” he explained. “Someone who's able to talk about more than just their own company's products.”


Stilherrians encourages PRs to visit the site before they get in touch as it will give them a clear idea of the content he covers.


“If they've trained their executives to stick to the talking points and nothing else, well sorry, you've broken them now,” he remarked. “They're like an knackered race horse as far as I'm concerned, you might as well just take them out the back now and put a bullet through their head.”


Stilgherrian requests that email be the first point of call, but admits “it may take a day or two to respond, so don't panic”.


“I'm getting out of this stupid daily news cycle anyway and am interested in a more considered approach to the media.”


All press releases, event invites and enquiries can be directed to Stilgherrian by email (



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