A New Day Dawns for eWEEK

Opinion: A restructuring for eWEEK magazine; a reporter gets a lot out of Africa; the iPhone reaches the finish line; and Russia just says "nyet."

Each morning, I, along with several other million Web surfers, start the day by catching up with the news. At one point, I would have tuned into a morning television newscast or read the daily newspaper tossed in my driveway, but those outlets are now second or third in order of preference.

However, once a week, I do sit down with The New Yorker to read the commentary, analysis and interviews that cant be found anywhere else. (And, yes, I like the cartoons, too.) I cant imagine preferring to read a Seymour M. Hersh exposé online instead of in print. Then, if a print article or ad about, say, hybrid vehicles sparks my interest, Ill turn once again to the Web for the latest reviews, directories and pricing comparisons related to those vehicles.

That sweet spot between breaking news and online directories and buyers guides is where magazines belong. And its where we here at eWEEK—with our print focus on analysis, commentary and interviews—are addressing our business-to-business technology readers.

Unlike the Web, magazines retain the ability to provide a total (not to mention totally portable) package—one that can help readers better understand a topic through the use of graphics, sidebars, photos and text "clues."

Our journey to find the right mix of online and print editorial products reflects the rise in popularity of the Web and the ensuing turmoil in which the publishing industry now finds itself.

I like to argue that we have been ahead of the publishing curve due to technological expertise and economic Darwinism. Weve had many corporate parents through the years, and eWEEK, as part of the Ziff Davis Enterprise Group, was recently purchased by the Insight Venture Partners private equity and venture capital group. Based on my first meetings with the Insight principals, this seems like the best fit weve had in many years.

But back to our online and print publishing journey. Integrate the online and print staffs? Yes, we did that. Incorporate the news, features and Labs staffs to bring a wide range of expertise to the topics in our focus? Yup. Figure out a print frequency and focus based on what readers want to see in print versus online? We did that. Make sure we keep print fresh while we bring in all the new audio, video and social network Web capabilities? We did that and have the scars to prove it.

With the latest issue of eWEEK, you will see a publication that incorporates insight (yes, we named the section before we knew that a company named Insight would be our new corporate parent), analysis, commentary and interviews to provide you, our reader, with the business and technology information you need to do what is right for your company.

Between the immediacy of the Web at www.eweek.com and the database-driven buyers guides at www.webbuyersguide.com resides eWEEK print, a reader-focused sweet spot in the publishing spectrum. —Eric Lundquist

Out of Africa

A career in technology journalism is not generally considered dangerous. As a software reporter based in San Francisco, I tend to report from my office, meetings at the high-tech companies I cover, or conferences and other events across the country.

My laptop is small and light; wireless access is a given; and no less than 99.999 percent connectivity is acceptable. Thats just how I live and work.

But all that changed when I embarked on a recent trip to the impoverished West African country of Burkina Faso to see some of the challenges and opportunities Microsoft and its partners are facing to bring computer access to another billion people in developing countries by 2015.

I also experienced how eventful life on the road can be for an intrepid reporter in a developing land, and how useless technology is if the infrastructure and skills are not there to support it.

Take the Sofitel Ouaga 2000 hotels entire key-card system, which was inactive for nearly a week before being repaired. The fallback solution: flesh-and-blood humans. Security guards were positioned outside the elevators on each floor, 24 hours a day. You showed them your useless key card, and they used their master key card to let you into your room.

Next Page: The iPhone finish line.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...