Editorial: Job No. 1: Serving readers

1105 Media's purchase of PostNewsweek Tech Media will allow FCW and GCN to tell more of the IT community's untold stories

Big news spread through this community 10 days ago. 1105 Media, the parent company of Federal Computer Week, was buying PostNewsweek Tech Media, the parent company of Government Computer News, Washington Technology, the FOSE trade show and two startup publications, Defense Systems and Government Leader.

During the past week, people have exchanged many phone calls, e-mail messages, comments and questions about what this news means. Many questions circulated concerning whether 1105 planned to shut down GCN.
There are many questions and few answers right now. But one thing is certain: GCN is going to be around for a long time. From a business standpoint, it would not make financial sense to stop publishing GCN. After all, FCW’s advertising would not double if GCN went away.

But shutting down GCN also does not make sense from an editorial standpoint. Our job as an editorial team is to best serve our readers. The marriage of FCW and GCN is an opportunity to do that better. For nearly 20 years, FCW and GCN have competed. We have expended lots of time, energy and resources to be the first one to tell you about some new directive from the Office of Management and Budget. Sometimes FCW would tell you first. Sometimes GCN would. But the resources spent in that competition left an entire realm of stories largely untold.

We have an opportunity to look at government information technology in different ways. In the months ahead, you will undoubtedly notice some changes in FCW and GCN. We need to create publications that are clearly distinguished from each other, and we hope that 18 months from now, people will no longer refer to us as Government Computer Week or Federal Computer News.

Today’s media world does not have a competition shortage. If we don’t do our job right, scores of bloggers will pop up, or new Web sites will emerge, or another print publication will enter the market. Worse yet, you will simply stop reading our publications. We simply have to serve the reader well. But as always, our biggest competitor isn’t another publication. Our competition is time, or rather the lack of it. We have so much information coming at us every day that it can be overwhelming. Our job is — and will continue to be — to tell the stories that help you do your job better.

From an editor’s point of view, this move is an opportunity to serve our readers better. If we are not serving you well, you can — and will — let us know.

We face challenges ahead. But personally speaking, I am looking forward to the days, months and years ahead.

Stay tuned!


About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.

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