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Weighing In On The Death of PC Magazine

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I wasn't going to say anything. As a tech journalist, it's a little too close to the bone speaking of the deceased. But, I have to throw in my two cents worth after reading Alice Hill's (of RealTechNews) column within a column about the death of computer magazines. Most recently, I'm referring to the announcement that the long venerated PC Magazine has announced that January will be it's last hard copy issue (it will continue online).

It took ten years, but Alice can now say it; I told you so!

And so she has.

Alice saw trouble a decade ago with computer magazines noting how thin and increasingly irrelevant they were quickly becoming despite the exploding interest and advances in technology.

Is there a market for technology journalism? You betcha (to borrow from Sarah Palin). Just look at how much of your capitol budget is dedicated to IT. Have you ever felt overwhelmed keeping track with all the latest updates, patches, price drops, flash in the pan gizmos versus new must-have technologies?

Truth be told, tech journalism has a long history of being way too cozy with the companies they cover often resembling cheerleaders rather than sober, impartial reviewers.

Other inherent problems:

- It's not just for hobbyists. Computer magazines started out as fun reading for geeks! Early adopters! Hobbyists! When computers and the Internet went mainstream, that paradigm in tech reporting didn't shift along with it.

- Too inside baseball! Real people who don't work in IT or live in their parent's basement want to know about technology. English, please. Hold the acronyms.

- Magazines are planned three months out in advance. In high tech, that's an epoch ago. It doesn't surprise me that PC Mag is staying alive - online.

Business people want to read about technology in terms of what is meaningful to business.

Parents want to read about technology in terms of what's safe for their kids.

Educators want to read about technology in terms of how it can be used to impact learning.

Consumers want to read about technology in terms of the most features for the most bang for the buck.

In other words, technology needs to be covered in the context of how it is used.

If I'm not doing that for you, let me know.


Last updated: Nov 25, 2008




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