JOURNALIST Q&A: Jim Louderback

Thanks to the internet, news coverage is faster and deeper than ever before, and everyone's opinion - from seasoned reporters to blog-addicted early adopters - counts for something, sometimes more than it's probably worth.

Thanks to the internet, news coverage is faster and deeper than ever before, and everyone's opinion - from seasoned reporters to blog-addicted early adopters - counts for something, sometimes more than it's probably worth.

Jim Louderback, VP and editor-in-chief of Ziff Davis Media's internet properties, which include eWeek.com and PCMag.com, spoke to PRWeek about the role of internet media from just a few years ago to the present and into the future. PRWeek: What is the role of internet media today? Jim Louderback: We have to give people the news that is happening right now. Take, for example, the heart of Cisco's routers, and that that code was posted on the internet. We posted rumors and the news, and then the analysis within 24 hours. The internet has also become the biggest library in the world. As people start researching information to make buying decisions, we are giving them everything they need to make that decision. And on the business side, whether companies are looking to buy servers or a CRM system, we give them the ability to find information with white papers or research or e-seminars. PRWeek: So how have your websites changed? Louderback: With [PCMag.com], we've doubled the number of reviews we're doing, from notebooks to digital cameras. We've also set up an HDTV test lab to do real testing on HDTV, from LCD to plasma. On the [eWeek.com] side, we have new topic centers, such as voice-over IP. We have industry-oriented centers, such as retail, manufacturing, and government. We talk to our readers a lot because what's different from the print edition is that we know exactly what people are reading. If people like it, we do more of it. If they don't, we do less of it. PRWeek: How has the role of online media changed? Louderback: We still don't know what the internet is going to be when it grows up. When the internet first went up, they just slapped the magazine up on the web. What has happened is that the smart publishers realized they can provide different content. Just replicating the magazine content doesn't make sense. You can expand your audience, and they come online for different reasons. When you read a magazine and flip through it, you're not picking up other magazines. When you're online, you can go all over the place. It's akin to what the remote control did to TV. When you watched [before the remote] you were owned for that half hour. Now you surf all over the place. PRWeek: What has changed the most in the way the media covers technology? Louderback: A lot more people are covering it today, and it's easier to cover it. If you want to know about something, there are a zillion sites and blogs. They're not all the same quality. There's still only one or two or three who can give you unbiased information. But the barrier to entry is much lower. And we have to play both sides. We have to stay part of the old guard, but we want to play in the newer spaces, as well, and that's why we've launched blogs. Name: Jim Louderback Company: Ziff Davis Media Title: VP/editor-in-chief of internet properties Preferred contact method: jim_louderback@ziffdavis.com Website: www.ziffdavis.com

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