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The Role of a Magazine Today: InformationWeek Magazine as the Field Guide for Tomorrow’s CIO

So why do we still have print magazines today? Think about it—with a generation of new workers that have not known anything but being online, why the hell do we still need print? Well, as a publisher of a network of sites, an analyst business, bloggers and, oh yeah, a magazine, it is something that I think about every day. In fact, it is something that we have used to very literally create the strategy that runs every aspect of our business.

Think about a magazine you read. Got it? Ok, now think about why you read it. What does it do for you? When do you read it? Is it for work or for pleasure?

Well for me, of course I read InformationWeek (cuz’ I publish it and it is awesome!), but I also read Discover Magazine. Why? Well it is because I like to read this magazine when I am not in front of my computer or my mobile so I can actually concentrate on it, without disruption. It is my thinking time—when I really want to dive into something that helps me consider what the future may hold for science and technology. I use that information to help me ponder what the next strategic steps can be for my business—not what I will do within the next day or month, but what I may consider doing to change my business models in the future.

We are seeing the same trend with the readers of InformationWeek Magazine—they want to use it to help them, as a CIO recently told me, see what the next 5-10 miles may hold for their business, not what is just up ahead. Contextually, they are not looking for a magazine to help them with something they need the answer to “immediately”—they are using the web for that. Further, they are not awaiting their issue of InformationWeek Magazine to tell them “what happened” from a ‘news’ perspective—they are getting those updates on their mobile/news sites. Instead, they want to get an understanding of how what happened has the potential to impact their business, so they can set a plan to address it.

Here is another thing to stew on—think about how often you may read something in a magazine that pushes you to go look something up online. We have seen InformationWeek Magazine play an interesting role here, in fact, at the InformationWeek500 Conference the magazine was referred to as a “Field Guide” for a CIO. Something our audience uses to help them set their direction, and then drives them online to research something further/get more information/comment based on a feature they read.

Based on all of this, we are making some very cool investments into the magazine for 2009—including a redesign that plays into this “field guide” concept, which will include new info-graphics and charts that help the reader decide what they should spend more time on. With this redesign, we are also adding longer features to the magazine that are organized and built to help the reader define that 5-10 mile view. All of these features, that will reside in our “in-depth” section, will encourage the reader to go online to our network to download deeper content, comment on the feature, or register for further information.

We are also increasing the paper stock of InformationWeek Magazine to a heavier/glossier paper—a literal expense that we are choosing to take on, so that the reader’s experience with the magazine is a pleasing one, and so that graphical enhancements in our redesign really stand out for the reader.

So, yeah, even though the web continues to give us a wealth of information at our finger tips, we are all still looking for a field guide to help us prioritize for the future—which is the role of InformationWeek Magazine for your customers and our readers. Next time I will dive into how our network is creating a killer pay off to the time spent with our magazine, with new user interfaces that dive right in the middle of your customers workflow…it’ll be good.

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