Alex Hern

The Guardian

Launched in July 2021, TechScape was the first newsletter launched under the Guardian’s new strategy for inbox-exclusive journalism, aiming to deliver incisive, distinctive content from our writers direct to readers. TechScape takes advantage of the expert skills of the Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern to talk about the biggest issues in tech with a more relaxed, personal tone than a traditional article, all while taking the temperature of conversations both on and about social media, and building engagement with subscribers.

In the past 12 months, TechScape has gone from strength to strength, with Alex covering a typically broad range of topics, from Ethereum turning off its mining rigs, to the bizarre world of AI-generated imagery, the truth about the Chinese government’s involvement (or lack thereof) in TikTok, and Elon Musk’s doomed bid to buy Twitter. Each week, Alex has guided readers through the minutiae of tech news, breaking down the biggest stories of the week, as well as providing a whistlestop roundup of the wider techscape, and interacting with subscribers directly (for readers wanting to get in touch, it’s as simple as hitting reply to the email). Subscriber numbers almost tripled from 17,598 to 49,825 between September 2021 and August 2022, testament to the high editorial standards which Techscape offers its readers each week. In addition it has had a total of 1.9m clicks on the Guardian website. TechScape is always a varied read, but no entry has pushed the boundaries of a technology newsletter more than that published on 1 June, when Alex told the story of how he had personally been targeted by crypto scammers, who had assumed his identity in order to sell a worthless currency. In the piece - headlined They used my identity to flog a doomed cryptocurrency – and then things got weird, and sent under the subject line “The hunt for my crypto doppelganger” - Alex explained the process of having his name and likeness stolen in thrilling yet shocking detail, as well as explaining the wider implications of the fraud. The piece was viewed close to 80,000 times, Techscape’s best-ever online performance. The article was also translated into Spanish and syndicated by our Mexican media partner La Lista. Elsewhere, the newsletter has also been cited by the world’s second most-read business newspaper, India’s Economic Times. While many tech stories of course have a global reach, Alex’s work on TechScape frequently focuses on the UK, be that cutting through inflated claims with consumer advice on WiFi speeds or looking at the fallout of the Guardian’s Uber files investigation. As the Guardian’s newsletter offer continues to grow, we foresee even more scope for TechScape, and for Alex’s journalism to continue to provide thorough, thoughtful tech journalism.