The Lectern: Awaiting the new FCW editor
Chris Dorobek's departure as editor of Federal Computer Week leaves big shoes to fill. Chris' editorials in FCW, and the tone he promoted in the magazine, have been a rare breath of fresh air in an often-dysfunctional environment of thinking about government management issues these days in Washington.
In a procurement environment where politicians and the mainstream media (The Washington Post in the lead) are competing with one another to see who can sow more distrust and pile up more controls, the FCW editorial page has been a voice to remind us that the underlying purpose of the procurement system to create value for government agencies and their missions is often better served by government-industry cooperation and by encouraging government employees to seek ways to do business better. And in a world polarized between bureaucrat-bashers on one side and defenders of the governmental status quo on the other, the FCW editorial page has both supported the federal employee but also recognized the need to improve the performance-orientation of government organizations and their staff.
The breaths of fresh air that have regularly emanated from FCW are all the more important as two of FCW's main competitors in the federal marketplace -- Government Executive and Federal Times, particularly the latter -- have moved in the direction of a sort of Washington Post-light which ill-serves the federal community. Although they avoid the worst of the shrill tone and sometimes ignorant content of the Post's articles on procurement and other aspects of government management, their news articles, especially in the past year or so, have more reflected the oversight/control/distrust themes of the general media and less the results/innovation/partnership themes more typical of FCW.
This makes the decision about a new FCW editor very important. (John Stein Monroe, serving temporarily as editor, has long-standing plans to enter seminary in January.) I hope that Anne Armstrong, president of 1105 Government Information Group, will realize that FCW is now close to a unique voice in the government management world, a voice whose strong direction it is vital to maintain.
Posted by Steve Kelman on Sep 16, 2008 at 12:10 PM