Jonathan Katz (born 1947) is a U.S. journalist and author. He is known for his contributions to the online magazine HotWired, the technology website Slashdot, the online news magazine Slate.com, and his series of crime novels, books on the geek subculture, and his books on dogs.
Katz initially worked as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, and later as of the CBS Morning News.His media criticism, columns and book reviews appeared in such periodicals as Rolling Stone and New York (he was a contributing editor to both magazines), Wired, GQ, and The New York Times.
Expressing disenchantment with "traditional media", he joined the now defunct HotWired, the online version of Wired magazine, to which he contributed articles on technology, culture and the media.
In 1999, Katz left HotWired to join Slashdot.org. Many of his contributions to Slashdot were focused on the youth subculture of geeks and social misfits. In the article Voices from the Hellmouth, written shortly after the Columbine school shootings in Littleton, Colorado (near Denver), he commented on the relationship of the shootings with the angst and social isolation of teenage geeks within high school subcultures.
Katz's first article on Slate.com appeared in December 2005 and he has since become a regular contributor to the online magazine. The majority of his writings at Slate revolve around animals and his rural life.
Katz has written several novels as well as non-fiction works which cover topics ranging from geek culture to his relationship with dogs. He wrote a successful series of mystery novels centered around the character Kit DeLeeuw, a former Wall Street financier turned private investigator, based in the fictional Rochambeau, New Jersey.
Katz' most recent books have described his relationships with dogs. He began writing about them after taking in a difficult border collie, whom Katz credited with changing his life by causing him to take up sheepherding and move to a farm. He has written extensively on the way we train dogs, arguing that most approaches fail because they are too inflexible, and because--as dog owners--we over-anthropomorphize our companion animals: "we give them too much credit, make them too complex, muddying our communications" by treating them as "soul mates" rather than understanding and respecting their animal nature. "I can't imagine life without a dog," Katz said in a 2002 interview. "I don't think dogs are substitutes for people, but I must confess I often find them more reliable."
Katz's writing was often criticized by Slashdot readers. Some criticism was leveled at Katz when he posted an article about an e-mail message he purportedly received from a teenager named "Junis" in Afghanistan who had just rejoined the Internet in late 2001. Some Slashdot readers believed the e-mail message to be a hoax or parody designed to fool Katz. According to Katz, Junis wrote his e-mail from "his ancient Commodore computer", which he had 'dug up' and was now using to download movies, pornography, and MP3s thanks to the recent liberation of Afghanistan. Because of the unlikelihood of performing these activities on the Commodore 64, some Slashdot readers felt this demonstrated Katz's lack of technical knowledge about computers. Katz responded to some of the criticisms and maintained that the message was real. An article in the Technology section of the New York Times discussed the Slashdot piece and its criticisms.
In 2002 Katz wrote his last article on Slashdot, about promoting his dog books using the internet. A number of those commenting criticized it as self-promotion.
In the Border Collie Community
Katz's books about dogs have received favorable reviews in the literary press, but havebeen met with a hostile reaction in segments of the border colliecommunity. Notable examples of this criticism have included Donald McCaig's review of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm in The Bark magazine and Penny Tose's review of Katz on Dogs in The American Border Collie magazine, as well as comments on various Internet forums such as the BC Boards and the Working Stockdog Forum. Critics havefaulted Katz for a fundamental lack of understanding of the dogs and their work and for offering misguided training advice while professing an expertise that he in fact lacks. Katz has claimed to enjoy "riling the border collie snobs," but criticism of the author intensified after he gave away his second border collie and had the first put down for behavioral problems.