Re: It's in print, so it must be true...


kwe@bu-it.bu.edu (kwe@bu-cs.bu.edu)
6 Sep 88 17:04:01 GMT


In article <8809021858.AA14697@bu-cs.bu.edu>
 bzs@BU-CS.BU.EDU (Barry Shein) writes:
>
>Does anyone know who edits/funds/controls Network World? They've been
>shoving anti-TCP articles on their front pages since their first
>issue. These are definitely folks with a (blind) mission. Murdoch?
>Jim and Tammy?
>
> -Barry Shein, ||Encore||

        Hmm, I hadn't really noticed any trends. Seems to me I've
read about as many "TCP/IP taking networking world by storm!" articles
as I have "SNA taking networking world by storm!" and "OSI predicted
to take networking world by storm very soon!" articles. I have
noticed a lot of NSFnet bashing this summer, but also elsewhere, so it
isn't limited to NW.

        I think CW Communications started Network World as a spinoff
from ComputerWorld, although I find no trace today of CW in the NW
copyright box on page 2.

        I wouldn't expect to find a conspiracy within NW, just a lot
of harried, overworked, underpaid, and inexperienced editors and
reporters and contributors, all trying to fill up a lot of pages with
text and advertising. And that's the crux of the whole problem. Not
enough time and money to do a really top-notch job. Of course, by way
of disclaimer, this problem is by no means limited to NW, it affects
all the publications that work the same way- free distribution paid
for by advertising. (ConneXions is an example of a counter-trend and
you can see the difference in number of pages, subscription cost per
page, quality, and accuracy. But no one is getting rich either in NW
or ACE.)

        An awful lot of the stuff you read is just regurgitated press
releases dressed up with a few quick phone calls and enough editing to
fit the article in the space available. As long as you use the
information therein according to the source, NW can be a useful tool
for getting the word on new product introductions, upcoming
conferences, results of standards committee meetings, and of course
the advertising pages which announce new products and offerings in a
slightly more transparent way.

        I sympathize with the staff at NW, but I don't excuse the
sloppiness. My feelings are that if we could address the issue of
copyright and compensation for electronically distributed
information and electronic distribution of formatted graphics and
text, ala Postscript (tm), we could solve the problems of narrow-cast
publishing by moving to electronic publishing. Until that day, I am
thankful to be a part of the Internet newsreading public.

        Those that I do feel are culpable abusers of the public trust
are those columnists that write about issues that affect sales of
their books and software. The issue of computer viruses is a case in
point. I feel that publications should screen their columnists, no
matter how well known and popular, and avoid publishing authors in the
context of regular columns who have products to sell, with sales that
can be affected by what they say in their columns.

        If you disagree, I think it would be interesting to track some
of these anti-TCP articles in NW and elsewhere and see if we can spot
a trend. By way of example, a while back a series of little
news-spots and pie charts started appearing in Data Communications, NW
and probably elsewhere, all attributed to one source about how
token-ring networks were surpassing Ethernet networks in various
measures. All calculated to give the impression that a) either
Ethernet was dead and you better install TR or b) TR was socially
acceptable :-) Anyone remember seeing these? This is a PR campaign
originating from one single source with a particular agenda in mind.
Is this insidious? No more than what the White House does to the
White House press corps. I don't blame the media for parroting, I
just try to figure out who is behind some of what I read and then
apply the appropriate derating factors.

        If anyone has any similar stories they recall seeing, post
something. Maybe we can figure out if anyone in particular has a
hidden agenda going. Perhaps there is a contributor or editor at NW
that has a parrot on his shoulder. Once you know the name and
affiliation of the parrot, the game's up.

        Kent England, BU



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