Gloves Off At FCW

Earlier on FishbowlDC: “Dorobek’s Gone…Is Federal Computer Week Dying?”

Federal Computer Week blogger/columnist Steve Kelman has caused quite a stir. First, he posted this entry, wondering about the future of FCW in the wake of Chris Dorobek’s departure (we wondered about that, too…):

    Chris Dorobek’s departure as editor of Federal Computer Week leaves big shoes to fill. …

    The breaths of fresh air that have regularly emanated from FCW are all the more important as two of FCW’s main competitors in the federal marketplace — Government Executive and Federal Times, particularly the latter — have moved in the direction of a sort of Washington Post-light which ill-serves the federal community. Although they avoid the worst of the shrill tone and sometimes ignorant content of the Post’s articles on procurement and other aspects of government management, their news articles, especially in the past year or so, have more reflected the oversight/control/distrust themes of the general media and less the results/innovation/partnership themes more typical of FCW.

    This makes the decision about a new FCW editor very important. (John Stein Monroe, serving temporarily as editor, has long-standing plans to enter seminary in January.) I hope that Anne Armstrong, president of 1105 Government Information Group, will realize that FCW is now close to a unique voice in the government management world, a voice whose strong direction it is vital to maintain.

This sort of insurrection made Anne Armstrong, president of 1105 Government Information Group (FCW’s parent company) to write a response:

    If there is question in anyone’s mind whether blogs posted here are censored or edited, this should answer it. No, they are not. It’s not like Steve Kelman doesn’t have my phone number or email address. So, I have to assume the message is intended for a broader audience, but I’m not sure at whom it is directed.

    I posted an entry on FCW Insider last week bemoaning the campaign against federal workers arriving on schedule with the election. I’m already on record on this issue.

    FCW has a long history of providing accurate, responsible comment in our editorials. We believe Government Executive and Federal Times strive to do the same.

    The purpose of an editorial is to take sides and support a point of view or course of action. We are glad that Steve agrees, but we suspect many informed executives in the community occasionally disagree. It’s the nature of the debate.

    We acknowledge and value Chris’s contribution, but responsible comment preceded him and will continue after him. If you have a candidate for the job, by all means, send the resume over.

This prompted FCW’s John Monroe (who’s leaving in January) to write:

    Having an FCW blogger write about inside affairs at FCW is one thing. But Kelman took it one step further. He contrasted FCW’s coverage with that of its competitors — and proceeded to call out the competition by name.

    That makes us really uncomfortable.