Some time after getting my first job as qualified 'tech purchase authority' I started racking up mad subscriptions to IT periodicals. It wasn't long before the renewal notices came and the subscriptions started dropping off. Some took longer than others. The one I still get after three years is eWeek.

Apparently the reason I'm still getting it is because unlike the other publications, they really want to give it to me for free. Sure, they've tried to get me to fill out a survey every once in a while, but that doesn't imply they'd stop sending it.

Now first let me say that I hate IT periodicals in general. They represent all that is evil about marketing technology. To the layman, marketing buzzwords and technology terms sound much the same, in fact they often are literally the same, and in a lot of these magazines you get reviews and articles that sound like George Bush on the O'Reilly Factor. Some of that is inevitable given the incomprehensible spew eschewing constantly from tech CTOs and their media managers; if you want to cover that you're gonna get messy. It doesn't help that the audience is mostly a bunch of IT purchasers looking desperately for a clue, they lap up the hyperbole and baseless ROI statistics, rewarding the marketing and ignoring the technology.

eWeek is not fundamentally different, but they do manage to stay a cut above the fray. I find this amazing considering how beholden they are to advertisers. Maybe I'm naive and blind to the subtle machinations behind the scene influencing editorial policy, but I actually find eWeek reasonably interesting.

Perhaps it's the balance. The first half is the traditional IT news, but sprinkled with solid articles that address real issues and/or feature real reporting. Then you have an opinion section with 4 or 5 page-long editorials, some by regular contributors and at least one submitted by the general public. My favorite is Jim Rapoza, who comes with a lot of practical libertarian geek philosophy. Wait, how did that get in a magazine for managers? I'm not sure, but it's nice to see the issues we care about being brought to a wider audience. Then they have eWeek Labs where they review various software and hardware. It's hard not be skeptical of their impartiality, but it seems pretty informative from what I can tell. Finally they have a collection of rumours written in 3rd person narrative style from "Spence the Katt" coupled with a timely tech cartoon and a couple time-wasting URLs.

And since a week in IT is like a year anywhere else, they also maintain a steady stream of new articles and editorials on their website. Personally once a week is enough for me, or I'd never get any work done. Still it's nice to have an alternative to Slashdot with a little more journalistic integrity, not to mention better design.

eWeek Tidbits

Publisher: Ziff Davis Media
Format: 7.75" x 10.5" Glossy 4-color Magazine
Frequency: Weekly
Price: $6 cover price, Free Subscription (survey required)
Circulation*: 400,100 (86% management)
Full-page Ad Price*: $60,921 discounted up to 10% for more pages in one issue and up to 35% for recurring ads.

* Taken Sep 30, 2004 from, the advertisering info website.