Tech reporterAnick Jesdanun

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Born in Pittsburgh, Jesdanun grew up in New Jersey. After finishing school at Swarthmore College in 1991, he got a job with the Associated Press, a cooperative news organization that supplies news outlets with stories. He was the first at AP — in the year 2000 — to get the title “Internet Writer”: he covered technology and the online world in particular. He emphasized making sure he got the details correct, and providing context. “Before people knew the Internet was full of falsehoods,” says Michael Liedtke, another AP technology writer, “he was the guy who said, ‘We’d better check that.’”

A 2007 example of Jesdanun’s unique (for a time!) byline. Screencap by the author.

As the first such writer at AP, Jesdanun taught new reporters in his specialty how to cover technology stories. “Nick was the steady bulwark of AP’s tech team for two decades,” says AP’s first technology editor, Frank Bajak. “He had the deepest institutional memory of AP’s tech coverage and patiently educated dozens of novice colleagues in all things digital.” For fun, Jesdanun ran marathons — completing at least one on every continent (yep: including Antarctica) — and watching films, usually in theaters since “There’s still no substitute for a movie theater.” In 2019, he watched 365 movies. “I feel fairly confident that there was nothing on his bucket list,” said Risa Harms, Jesdanun’s cousin. “There was nothing he wanted to do that he didn’t have a chance to do.” Jesdanun never left the Associated Press: it was his only employer. Anick “Nick” Jesdanun, who had risen to deputy technology editor for AP, died in New York on April 2 from Covid-19. He was 51.

From This is True for 5 April 2020