Lately I've grown more frustrated by one of my pet peeves -- when B2B journalists working on the Web fail to take advantage of the medium.
Today I posted something to the ABM blog, noting my disappointment with a recent article about how traditional publishers can take back the Web. The article, published in Folio, failed to use any Web-journalism techniques (linking, "bite-size" copy, feedback functions, etc.)
Yesterday I complained about a bunch of B2B publications that publish on the Web, but fail to use hyperlinks in their copy.
Now comes word that Reed Business is revamping EDN magazine and the EDN.com Website.
Reed has some good ideas, including providing "greater coverage of global trends" and adding a "Research Update' section to the magazine.
Reed also has a nice new tagline -- "Voice of the Engineer." And Reed promises "more quotations and perspectives directly from designers, as well as a greater platform for engineers to share ideas and opinions with peers."
That's fantastic. But a look at EDN.com shows that Reed has NOT added a feedback/comments section that would allow users to post comments directly on the site. (NOTE: EDN also publishes two blogs, which DO have comment functions.)
I know there is the potential for trouble in letting users post to a site. I've struggled with the issue myself. I've gone from allowing comments, to banning them, to allowing them again and removing the rare post that offends me.
Reed is one of my favorite B2B media companies. I'm often pleased and impressed by the work of Reed's journalists and publishers. So let me be frank with my friends there:
The days in which a B2B publisher can claim to be the voice of an industry are rapidly disappearing. The industries we cover have found their own voices. They no longer need a magazine in order to converse. That's what citizen journalism is all about -- journalism's consumers speaking to journalism's producers. The best that we can do now is to facilitate conversation.
For an interesting look at the power of feedback functions, read this.
CORRECTION: 6/8/05 This post contains incorrect information about EDN.com. Please read the full correction here.