Listen up

Here's our list of reasons for doing our annual Federal List issue

The most direct, most efficient form of communication is a list. Whether it’s a shopping list, a to-do list, a comma-separated values list, David Letterman’s Top 10 list or Craigslist, the act of compiling names, things or ideas one after the other has a magical effect on us all.

A list grabs our attention quickly and serves almost as a call to action. (Ask any magazine editor mocking up a cover for the newsstand. Heck, ask Craig Newmark!) Here at Federal Computer Week, we have long harbored the concept of a Federal List, which, even if you don’t get the pun, captures the many threads that run through our coverage of government technology.

This year’s special issue is designed to move the conversation beyond our current fixations. You might well ask why. And I might just as well give you our list of reasons.

1. Expand the horizons. We offer pointers to the wealth of resources that are reshaping the technology landscape. It’s not just about hardware and software anymore. It’s about information and the new ways we go about collecting and sharing it.

2. Keep looking ahead. Our writers and editors have focused a lot of attention this year on the ins and outs of such issues as the yet-to-be-named federal cybersecurity coordinator, government procurement and acquisition reform, electronic health records, and the government’s use of social media. Here’s our chance to gaze into the future and see what’s coming next.

3. Showcase our wide-ranging expertise. The editors of Government Computer News and Washington Technology don’t just share office space with us. We meet every day to discuss news developments and what they mean for our readers. See what our colleagues have to say about pace-setting dot-gov Web features and the trend-setting companies that serve the government technology market.

4. Take stock of your interests. We now have many more ways to identify — and respond to — the topics that matter most to our readers. We get daily statistics on users of FCW.com, and visitors can chime in on any story we post online. Here are lists of the top stories this past spring and summer, and the ones you commented on most.

5. Have fun. We asked our readers to send us their job descriptions in the form of tweets. You’ll see their 140-character responses sprinkled throughout the issue. And cartoonist John Klossner fills the back page with his own list: “5 clues that your IT project isn't going to get the green light.”

Next step: Send us your counter-lists. We’ll post them on FCW.com and print the best ones in future issues of the magazine.

About the Author

David Rapp is editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week and VP of content for 1105 Government Information Group.

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