TAKING ON CHAOS
Meeting the Demand for Synthesis, Analysis and Point of View
c. 1994 Technology & Media [Vol.1, No.1, May 16, 1994, page 1]
by Denise Caruso
This premiere issue of Technology & Media arrives on your desk at an auspicious moment. Digital technology now pervades virtually every industry. From prosaic word processors to sophisticated medical imaging equipment and the ubiquitous video game, the computer and its prodigious capabilities have changed forever the way people work, play and create. It has long since transcended its back-shop origins in banks and engineering firms and rocketed into the mass markets of communication, information and entertainment.
The changes wrought on those markets are coming faster than anyone ever expected, and they’re often contradictory. Just when you think you’ve got a bead on where things are going, the TCI/Bell Atlantic deal falls apart. Or Time Warner delays yet again its high-profile interactive TV project in Orlando. Rupert Murdoch buys an online service. A much anticipated interactive media startup spins out of, or back into, its parent. Every third staid executive sitting around a boardroom table is debating whether to split the corporate culture and launch a CD-ROM publishing business. The only thing that’s inevitable at this point is that the Internet will get bigger every day, and plenty of people still can’t figure out whether that’s good news or bad.
Despite the extraordinary hype of the last couple of years, interactive everything and information nirvana are clearly not just around the corner. But this coalescence of products, ideas and energy that we call digital technology will continue to dig deeper into every industry it touches, propagating change and chaos at every step.
The team that will bring you this newsletter each month has taken on the job of tracking and understanding that chaos as a personal challenge. That’s why we created the Technology & Media Group and its first product, Technology & Media: The Report on Communication, Information and Entertainment.
We believe that much of today’s confusion is caused by the reams of information crossing our desks every day, information that doesn’t answer — or even ask — the larger questions. Overloaded with facts, we can’t be sure we understand more than we did the day before, but we know we aren’t getting what we really need: synthesis, analysis and a distinctive point of view.
The Technology & Media team was hand-picked to move you beyond information overload. We’ll provide you with new ways to think about today’s events and the unprecedented situations you face as a result of the transition to digital.
We’ve designed the newsletter to serve those goals. Stories in the “Up Front” section will address big-picture trends; “Open Channel” is a forum for our readers; “Technofile” will serve as a primer for technologies and business models; “On Screen” is our contribution to new media criticism and review; “Cash Flow” covers the investment community; “Global Positioning” tracks trends and events in Europe and Asia; and finally, “Source Code” is your information resource for contacting the many companies we’ll discuss in the pages of Technology & Media.
Senior editors John Eckhouse and Mary Fallon, as well as managing editor Lisa Raleigh and contributing editors Lawrence Fisher and Jonathan Levine, are all seasoned technology reporters and editors, hailing from publications that include The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News and Business Week. Senior editor Janice Maloney and associate editor Amy Johns bring their skills in technology analysis from Digital Media.
Our president, Norman Pearlstine, was most recently executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. He left the Journal just over a year ago to form Friday Holdings, L.P.; its charter is to create, invest in and launch media properties. Technology & Media Group is the first of the company’s startup ventures.
As for me, some of you may know that I was founding editor of the Digital Media newsletter, as well as long-time technology columnist for The San Francisco Examiner. I’ve been writing for both the trade and general press, chronicling the trends and events of digital technology, for more than a decade.
Our charter is to offer you a high level of expertise and quality information that you can use — delivered with wisdom, humor and perspective — to keep one step ahead of the chaos that’s certain to continue unabated. It’s a big challenge, but it’s one we welcome. We invite your responses, contributions and suggestions.
Denise Caruso, Editorial Director & Publisher