In this month’s perspective, our publisher Victor Gao pays tribute to an American classic and delves into our proudly old-fashioned journalist values
Asia editor's note: what follows is an editorial originally published on the US version of EE Times.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – American readers of this column are prone to recognize the name E.B. White, a twentieth-century author best known for his children’s books such as Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. A resident of this great American city, White was also a prolific columnist for the classic humor, literature, and journalism magazine, The New Yorker. And in a prose entitled “Unwritten” in April 1930, White observed in his signature self-deprecating style that the work of a writer always represented a choice – the choice of what to write and what not to. Which brings me to the subject of our column this month: why does a journalist write at all?
At ASPENCORE our editorial mission is to bear witness and to celebrate human achievement as manifested through advancement in technology and engineering. While every one of our journalists makes their own personal choice as to why and what they write, as a publishing house we encourage an intention to affirm, or if the writing started out decrying an injury or injustice on behalf of our readers, that by the end it arrives at a constructive juncture. Sometimes that takes the form of questioning a dubious claim in a manufacturer’s new product introduction campaign. Other times it could be the critique of a business trend we believe is over-hyped, a technical achievement that is under-recognized, or an important workplace issue that would not have found its voice had it not been the help of these pages.
Of course, a great deal of how this mission is achieved is left intentionally undirected and uncoordinated between the house and our writers. As a gentle reader wrote in response to my column last month, today’s publishers face a pivotal task to transform the economics of publishing so the important reporting can be done without fear of loss of funding, which we have seen happen to some of our fellow publishing houses in the industry. And yet as much as ASPENCORE as a commercial concern must make money, we strive even harder to always make sense. To achieve this duo of aims, at ASPENCORE we rather like the good old system at The New Yorker, as described by White in another column: the writers write as they please, and the magazine publishes as it pleases. When the two pleasures coincide, something gets into print. When they don’t, the reader draws a blank. And you, the reader, are here to judge both the house and our writers on our respective merits. This is what editorial independence means to us.
While we are on the subject of editorial policy and strategy, we expect to share some exciting news soon about how we will extend our remit this year to introduce both more depth and more diversity to the topics covered in our titles. We will give you a snippet of our redesign efforts, with a greater focus on longer, less frequent, but more thought-provoking pieces that delve into an issue without the pressures of a daily publishing cadence. To find out more, please check back in this column next month.
By the time these words go to print many of our readers will be wheels-up to a productive conference in Munich, Las Vegas, or Shanghai or will have just returned. Here is to safe and pleasant journeys for all on the road. As ever, if you have a comment or want to whisper us a story tip, you can find me at [email protected], or contact your favorite ASPENCORE writer directly. From all of us at ASPENCORE, thank you for your support.
W. Victor Gao | Managing Director and Publisher, ASPENCORE Group