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Earlier I blogged about the oh so nice things that the folks over at the Project for Government Oversight's blog were saying about me. One person had commented – incorrectly – that we provided people with our content before we publish them. (We don't. Read the full post here.)

Anyway, somebody named "tradepressmomma" – can you believe I'm responding to somebody named Trade Press Momma – but she asked some questions about how FCW works:

OK, Chris D, thanks for your input.

Would you answer these questions, as well? (1) What happened to your Top 150 list? Methinks it appeared just once, no? (2) How often are your stories based entirely, or nearly so, on company press releases? (3) Why do they call FCW part of the trade press? (4) Will the new owners of 101 make changes that make the publication more independent rather than tethered to interests in advertising and conferences, and such? (5) Why do your "white papers" sound like so much advertising?

Posted by: tradepressmomma | Jul 8, 2006 8:56:33 PM

I promised that I would respond, so... better late than never.

1. The top 150… I'll have to do some research, but as far as I know, we haven't done a 150 list. FCW annually does the Fed 100, the awards program which recognizes 100 people in the past year who have made a difference. We have published the annual Federal List, which often includes the top companies in the federal market.

So… I don't know if these are what you are talking about. If not, let me know.

2. Press releases… Do we get news from press releases? Absolutely. It is often how one hears about things. Do we do stories based on those press releases? Sure. But we do not just regurgitate those press releases nor do we take the statements as the truth. In a typical story that runs in the magazine, there needs to be at least three sources. And, as always, we try to present all sides of a story. Do we present the whole story? Well, probably not. In many cases, that is probably difficult. Our goal is to always be fair. And, over time, we try to present the multiple sides of a story. We may not be able to get everything in a single story, but in most cases, it probably isn't the first time we have written on that subject... and it won't be the last time.

3. Trade press… The trade press is part of a fairly large group of publications that focus on trades. I often tell new reporters that we are a community publication, but our community is defined by people's jobs rather than where they live.

Some trade publications are more famous than others. For example, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter are Hollywood trade publications. They focus on Hollywood. A former FCW editor now works for Big Builder, which focuses on the building industry. Editor & Publisher is a trade publication for editors and publishers.

4. FCW's new owners… Yes, we were recently purchased by a new organization, called 1105 Media. (Here is the story from BtoB, a trade publication that covers the business-to-business trade press. Yes, there is a trade press for anybody.) Will they make it more independent from advertisers? Well, in my tenure, we have never been asked to write something – or change something – because of an advertiser. To be honest, we have lost advertisers because of stories we have written.

I cannot talk about conferences because I am not responsible for conferences.

5. White papers… Many white papers are written by vendors and, therefore, they can sometimes sound like advertising. They are often marked as such.

White papers on FCW's site can be found here in the FCW Resource Center, which serves as an online conference hall. On that site, however, it specifically says:
"We encourage you to visit the solutions and product exhibits from many of the solution providers within the government IT community. While visiting these information centers you can watch product demos, obtain literature, view available contracts and chat with company representatives in the many exciting booths."

We do have editorial white papers and we try to keep those separate from the vendor sponsored and written content.

I hope that answers your questions. If not, always feel free to e-mail me… or post a comment here on the blog.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jul 21, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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