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FCW Insider: Changes at FCW.com

I should have mentioned this before, but... if you notice some changes on FCW.com, it is because we are migrating our Web site to a new home. Yes, you will still be able to find it at www.fcw.com. The site is being hosted by the same folks who have hosted GCN.com and WashingtonTechnology.com for several years.

Back in December when Federal Computer Week's parent company, 1105 Media, purchased the former PostNewsweek Tech Media properties, including GCN, WT, and FOSE, among other things, we said we were going to cover more of this market. To that end, over the past nine months, FCW has become more focused on policy and management issues; GCN is evolving into more of a technology focused publication; and WT is... well, doing what it has always done -- covering industry.

Somewhat surprisingly, the changes in print were relatively easy. Paradoxically, the evolution of our Web sites has been much more complex. That seems counter-intuitive to me. It seems that the Web is a more agile platform, but -- and it should be obvious once I thought about it -- there are technology issues that had to be resolved. Essentially, GCN and WT operated on a different platform from FCW. That meant it was difficult to share information and stories across the sites, other then tapping into RSS feeds or just providing links.

And then there were cultural issues. There were questions about whether the 1105 Government Information Group should use an 1105 Media shared service Web platform. Those conversations took some time.

And we are still working to resolve issues with e-mail newsletters. (GCN had some policy/management newsletters that are now in the FCW domain, for one example. Ah, nothing is easy.)

Anyway, last night, FCW moved over to iProductions, an outfit out of Minnesota, which is now hosting all of the 1105 Government Information Group Web sites. There may still be some issues. (One blog reader noted that his comments were pulled. Well, they weren't pulled. They just didn't get transferred. That should be fixed now.) There will be other issues -- broken links or something like that. If you see something, let us know at letters@fcw.com and we will get it fixed -- and get you the information you wanted.

All of that is the stuff that you shouldn't really see. What the shift to a single platform means is that we can now begin to tap into the wealth of information that the 1105 Government Information Group publications have -- and we can share information across our different publications in a more seamless way.

There has been something of a debate going on here -- to portal or not to portal. That debate has ranged from people who argue that we need to create a single portal and that all content would be presented on that site. (If you went to FCW.com, for example, you would be automatically taken to that portal site, which would then present you with information from across FCW, GCN, WT and our other publications, Government Health IT and Defense Systems.) I have argued that people feel comfortable with magazines -- and, by extension, Web sites. They get to know the tone, how things get covered, regular sections of a Web site and where they can find items. And, if we editors are doing our job right, we should be focusing on our unique readers needs -- and those are different. A FCW reader will be looking for different kinds of stories then a GCN or WT reader.

We're still figuring all of that out -- and there probably is no right or wrong answer. My guess it will be a hybrid approach.

But this back-end move will let us explore the possibilities of what we can do.

As they say, stay tuned.

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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