Magazine of the Year

I want to take a moment out from the usual business aired here to blow our own horn a bit. As our illustration on the cover of this month's issue points out, is the recipient of this year's "Magazine of the Year" award from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

ASBPE's 20th annual awards program, which this year drew more than 1,350 entries, honors excellence in writing, reporting, layout and design among the nation's trade and professional publications. was the best overall entry among magazines with fewer than 80,000 readers, as judged by a panel that included journalism professors, consultants, designers and editors. Pretty good for being almost 2 years old, no?

We consider it a high honor to be so recognized by a peer organization. Only those with similar experiences in the trenches-whether they be journalists, information technology professionals or fighter crews-truly know what it takes to produce and then maintain excellence in any field. It's usually the highest sustainable combination of group talent, mental concentration and tolerance of caffeine.

Actually, I think the innovative nature of the business we cover helped improve our chances. That's because we and our competitors are not reporting on a simple economy of widget buyers and sellers. Instead, this is a kind of hypermarket, where the buying influences change radically from one community to the next, even though the technology solutions might be similar.

It makes for a fascinating market in which to participate. Ask any local government district IT manager or education-sector sales rep about how to win approval to install a network in a school district. Virtually everybody-from the mayor of the town to the school administrators and from the parents to the students-appears to have a voice in the buying decision. It's truly a community-based market, a civic economy. From the public-sector side, the inside, it seems to be an invigorating professional arena. From the commercial side it's an intricate puzzle, and not for the faint of heart.

Of course, state and local governments face one of their toughest tests in preparing for the Year 2000. As our cover story this month reports, communities throughout the country are taking steps to immunize themselves from lawsuits that might result from damages related to the Year 2000.

It is a fascinating story, another instance of the community economy at work. In this case, state and local governments must weigh putting resources toward fixing the Year 2000 problem or defending themselves from the consequences of failing to fix the problem.

Paul McCloskey



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