Discussion Topic for Week 7 (of 8)
What does it take for coverage of security or privacy to offer value to readers?

Claudiu's Observation: In my view, it takes 3 simple things...

  1. A story (everybody likes a good tale, but is it important enough to justify diverting the reader's attention from other distractions?)
  2. Smaller words (today's topic was actually "investigating dependencies and attribution", but you would have already stopped reading if I'd kept the original title)
  3. A good takeaway (something they can apply immediately, understand clearly and share easily)

Producing useful prose about cybersecurity requires substance, so don't hesitate to do a bit more digging, identify accountable parties, attribute blame and even uncover players whose roles might not be altogether evident. That will immediately differentiate your coverage from the less imaginative reporting that passes for news these days.


If that little voice at the back of your mind whispers "why bother", there's a good chance those of many others will be equally intolerant.

Always strive to produce a more compelling - and educational - piece that will give audiences something to think about... as opposed to publishing banalities that risk leaving the reader with an uneasy feeling.

The easiest way to understand something is to look at the converse and ask the right questions:

1. Is this article relying on platitudes? What's a clearer indicator of a boring article than a tedious title? Is it time to push your interview subject for more substance?
2. Does the piece have a general air of ineffectiveness? After all, why ask people to read something if they feel they can do nothing about it?
3. Are we crossing into FUD territory? See my previous exposition on this toxic trend for flags that hint at a reliance on fear, manufactured anxiety and emotional response.

For professional analysis and media soundbites by a certified security and privacy expert with 35 years of experience, click here to request an interview with Claudiu Popa, author of the Canadian Cyberfraud Handbook, CEO of Datarisk Canada, President of Managed Privacy Canada and co-founder of the KnowledgeFlow Cybersafety Foundation, Canada's only non-profit dedicated to bringing digital literacy to vulnerable sector audiences via accredited data protection professionals.

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