FCW-GCN merger in the buzz on the holiday party circuit

It has been a busy week, as one might imagine, with the pending FCW-GCN marriage. So I haven't been at the office or even been able to blog. I did finally get out last night to go to the Acquisition Solutions holiday party at the City Club in downtown Washington. A great venue for a great event. Many good people to see.

One of the big buzz items: the FCW-GCN marriage, or, to be more precise, 1105 Media's buy of Post Newsweek Tech Media. 1105 Media CEO Neil Vitale made an appearance at the event.

Regarding FCW-GCN, there is clearly much concern about losing a voice in the community. More than one person has said, 'So, when are you shutting down GCN.' Even some bloggers have asked that and lamented the loss of a voice in our community.

There are still many questions yet to be answered. This deal is only been out there for six days. God created everything in six days, so I think we'll have a longer timetable. I also have newfound respect for the folks at the Homeland Security Department. This merger and acquisition stuff takes a lot of time and energy.

I can tell you that we are not closing any of the publications down. To be honest, from a business side, it just wouldn't make sense. An advertiser buys in FCW and GCN. If we close GCN, does it mean they are going to say to themselves, 'Well, I'll just buy two pages in FCW.'

But from an editorial perspective, I'm not sure it makes sense either. For 20 years now, FCW and GCN have been going after one another -- sometimes viciously. There was a lot of competition out there -- and regular readers of this blog know that I am a fan of competition. But we were essentially fighting for the same stories -- working hard to get the latest Doan news up four minutes before they do. All that time, energy and effort meant that readers had different versions of that story, but it also means that all sorts of stories went untold and unreported because we just didn't have the time, energy or resources.

So there will be changes. Vitale put it well tonight. "Watch this space," referring to both FCW and GCN. We will need to create publications that are clearly distinguished from one another. Our hope is that, 18 months from now, people no longer refer to us as Government Computer Week of Federal Computer News.

Regarding competition, if we don't meet the needs of our readers and this community, I have faith that in this media market, there will be 15 blogs focusing on government IT, several Web sites. There is plenty of competition -- and the outstanding reporting teams at both FCW and GCN are going to ensure that we cover what people need to know to do their jobs.

So, give us a little bit of time to work this all out, but I think there is amazing potential.

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