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| Home | Interview With CNETnews.com's Sydnie Kohara -- Jan. 2000
April 24, 2014

Sydnie Kohara is co-host of CNETnews.com, an hour-long technology and finance show that airs weekends on CNBC. She joined San Francisco-based CNET last June, after working as a correspondent at CNBC's London bureau. Previously, she anchored a show on CNBC Asia. She has also anchored the morning news at KGO-TV in San Francisco. In addition to hosting duties, Kohara conducts interviews for CNET.com broadband.

JournalismJobs.com: You've worked in local news and you've covered international business news. Now you're working for a dot-com. What are the pluses and minuses of the different jobs that you've had?

Sydnie Kohara: I've sort of moved into the next level of where I see everything going for my business. And that is to the Internet, to personal computers. What's so exciting is that the audience I can reach now is getting bigger and bigger. It's a global audience, not a local audience. There's so much room for growth.

JournalismJobs.com: Do you think that your leaving CNBC for CNET might be seen as a step backward?

Sydnie Kohara: For some people in this business, their idea of climbing the ladder in broadcast journalism is to get onto a network show or international show. I was there. I left that to work at a dot-com. But if you really look closely at it - and I did my homework -- the show I do at CNET is a national show. In February, it will be a global show. It's going to CNBC Asia, back to my old audience. With the audience via the Internet, it's larger than anything I ever had at the local station in San Francisco and probably at CNBC. We air on CNBC, so technically I'm still there. It's just that we air on the weekends. It's not a prime-time weekday show. I'm perfectly happy with it.

JournalismJobs.com: How does a show like CNETnews.com stand apart from other technology and finance shows?

Sydnie Kohara: I don't know that we're so much different from other shows. But I think that being located right here in Silicon Valley, we have first dibs on a lot that goes on here. Sure, there are shows about finance and shows about technology. But I think we do a good job of combining the two, covering the technology trends that affect the financial markets. We have a good focus on the stories behind the technology. We're in touch with the gadgets, the software, the trends and the people behind it. I think it's a very entertaining show.

JournalismJobs.com: What are CNET's plans for expansion? Is CNET trying to become a network?

Sydnie Kohara: CNET is already a network. We are a global media company. People think of us as just a place to go look for the latest gadgets and get the editor's choice. That's only a small part. In fact, CNET is one of the top ten Internet companies. We have operations in 23 countries, in 16 languages. We just bought our main competitor, ZDnet, which really expanded our reach. That was a $1.6 billion deal. We're already well-positioned as a leading player in the global IT marketplace. CNET has positioned itself very quietly. Now we have a real chance to educate and empower. People in the technology world know about CNET. But I have to tell you the truth, a lot of journalists don't know that CNET has a huge media presence on the Internet. A lot of journalists think we're a dot-com about to go under. But we're one of the very few profitable ones. We're here and we have a lot to offer. We just have our fingers in a lot of different areas. What we need to do now is partly education. People know us as helping them to make smarter buying decisions. Technology professionals know about us, but I think that's just the start.

JournalismJobs.com: Are you concerned about the very crowded market for financial and technology news, not just on TV, but also online and in magazines. Are you worried about the competition for viewers and readers, as well as advertisers?

Sydnie Kohara: That is a concern for anyone who works for a 'new economy' company. The online ad worries, the effect of a down market on tech stocks, that certainly is hurting CNET. There are a lot of things people can chose from. CNET stock certainly has been hurt by it. But when I look at the company I work for…I work on the TV end and it's really a small though integral part of what CNET is. They have so many other companies within the company. We have ZDnet, My Simon, Computer Shopper, CNET.com, CNET radio. We're a very solid company.

JournalismJobs.com: Is CNET trying to become too big, trying to do too much?

Sydnie Kohara: Every company is going through some soul-searching, asking 'Where do we go from here?' Like the Industrial Revolution, no one knew what was coming next. CNET, like any other company, is going through growing pains. While we have our fingers in a lot of different pies, I think when everything finally settles down, we're going to have a great brand name. I think the company is making sure it doesn't have its support base all in one particular area. It has a broad-based site so it can weather any kind of market conditions or economic instability. We're not going to be one of these dot-coms that come and go, that spend several million -- half of our seed money -- on a Super Bowl ad and then we're gone in three months. This company is going to stay and I'm excited to be a part of it.

JournalismJobs.com: Did coming back to the San Francisco Bay Area factor into your decision to take the job at CNET?

Sydnie Kohara: Absolutely. I was coming back whether or not I was going to work in television. I had considered going to business school. This opportunity came up at CNET and I jumped at it. I thought, 'What a great way to use my skills and to grow in my career.' It was a great chance to become part of the movement of this industry.

JournalismJobs.com: Do you still classify yourself as a journalist? Do you find yourself explaining what you are doing at a dot-com?

Sydnie Kohara: A lot of people in this business would get upset if you tried to portray them as anything but a journalist. They are journalists. They just happen to be working for a very, very young medium. CNET has a very large online area, where basically they are all journalists from where I come from. They have an entrepreneurial spirit. Yeah, I would get upset if someone said I'm not a journalist anymore. I'm still making the phone calls. I'm still doing the research. I just think where I'm seen is different from what people are used to. We still tell good stories.

Copyright © 2001 JournalismJobs.com, LLC. All rights reserved.

Other JournalismJobs.com interviews:

  • Investigative Journalist Lowell Bergman -- January 2001
  • Joie Chen, anchor, CNN -- December 2000
  • David Plotz, Washington Bureau Chief, Slate.com -- November 2000
  • Christopher John Farley, senior writer and pop music critic, Time Magazine -- October 2000
  • Bob Edwards, news anchor, National Public Radio -- October 2000
  • Sharon Epperson, CNBC correspondent -- September 2000
  • David Maraniss, reporter and author, The Washington Post -- April 2000
  • Wolf Blitzer, anchor, CNN -- March 2000

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