News, news and some fun

Rob O'Neill returns to the scene of many crimes

Some of you may have realised when I walked into the Computerworld office two weeks ago that I was returning to the scene of many crimes.

Back in 1995, I took a sub-editing job here. It was virtually my first job in the media and I wasn’t 100% sure I could do it. First, there was Pagemaker to learn, as the subs looked after layout as well as text in those days.

With the help of then-editor Don Hill, his deputy Anthony Doesburg and chief sub Mark Broatch I quickly got up to speed and began to rather enjoy myself. Then, nearly a year later, one of the journalists left and I shifted a few metres across the office and started writing, all the time learning more and more about a truly vibrant industry.

After a decade away, five years of that out of the country, not a lot has changed. There are new faces, but some old faces as well (certainly older than I remember).

So, now I’m sitting here in the editor’s chair and thinking about the year ahead, and how we can best serve you, the readers. In a sense, nothing has changed here either. The way we can best do this is to bring you the news: local news; technology news; international news.

I know this because you told us so, in a survey we conducted late last year. As a journalist, I’d be dismayed if you wanted anything else. In fact, I’d probably have to consider a career change.

But the survey told us a lot more than the obvious. It highlighted the differences between Computerworld’s online and offline readers, and told me we need somewhat different editorial strategies if we are to serve both well.

Offline you are more senior, come from larger organisations and are more highly educated. You get paid more, but you are also knocking on a bit.

I’m also pleased to report that, unlike the daily papers, Computerworld is rarely used to wrap fish. Most of you share it with your team or keep it for future reference. A good number of you also cut particular articles out and keep them on file. Computerworld also finds its place in corporate libraries and knowledge-bases, too.

In short, Computerworld is useful.

It is interesting that, perhaps because it’s easier to pass around and file, you still prefer to receive our print edition. Also, despite the web being global, Computerworld’s online readers prefer to get their news from local websites.

Oh, and for the record, you are 88% male, tertiary-educated, well-paid, tending towards middle age and located all over the country. By a large majority, you are also involved in selecting and buying IT products and services at work, which might help to account for your interest in emerging technologies.

In short, you are exactly who we want you to be and that is a tribute to my predecessor, Paul Brislen. So, if I’m not misreading this, my task is pretty simple, in concept at least. It is to make sure we bring you the news, that we break stories no one else is breaking and to provide depth where no one else provides it.

With a bit of luck, we can crack the odd joke and write some striking sentences along the way, too. There’s no rule against having fun.

Okay, I’ll take the job. It’s good to be back.

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