Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Talking to my replacement — FCW editor Rapp on Federal News Radio 1500 AM Tuesday

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David Rapp

David Rapp

Editor’s note: Find a link to our conversation with Rapp on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris.

I told you last year that the 1105 Government Information Group hired a new editor for Federal Computer Week — the person who effectively replaces me. David Rapp officially joined the organization last week, and… he’s diving in this week.

Before the holidays, I had the chance to sit down with Rapp over tea (I’m not a coffee guy)… and there is no doubt he is a bright guy. And he is probably very well suited for this post — probably better than I was, truth be told. (I don’t do false modesty — really!) Having left Congressional Quarterly in 2007 to a dot-com, he understands the challenges that all print organizations face as they struggle to deal with the new media world.

So on Tuesday, you’ll get to meet him for yourself — at least on the radio. I have asked him to be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris… and we’ll talk to him Tuesday afternoon.

We’re not going to ask him all sorts of very specific questions — he has only been with the organization for several days, after all. This will be something of an introduction. That being said, I have asked him to talk about why he decided to take this post… what are some of the challenges thatFCW and its sister publications face — and what are some of the advantages that it has… and we’ll talk a bit about the challenges of the print world as it seems to get buffeted by the online world. And what the role of publications is these days.

In the end, I’m particularly pleased that 1105 gave made him editorial director, overseeing all of 1105 GovInfo’s editorial products — FCW, GCN, Washington Technology, Government Health IT, and Defense Systems. When the merger happened some two years ago, I wrote that I thought there was a real opportunity to tell more stories, not fewer. When I sat down with him, I told him I thought that most people — most readers — don’t believe that statement to be true. In fact, since leaving 1105GovInfo , the question I’ve been asked most often is, ‘When are they going to close one (or more) of the publications?’ The question still makes me sad because, in the end, I think the government community is better served with multiple outlets — all kinds of media — yes, including radio — featuring all kinds of voices and covering stories for many different angles. I hope they are able to make the justifications — the editorial justifications for multiple publications… and the economic justification for multiple publications. The more voices makes for a better community — and a more vibrant community.

Back in August, FCW made my departure the Buzz of the Week. (Yes, I’m always thrilled to see Dorobek and Doan in the same headline.)… After the break, you can read FCW’s “Buzz of the Week” from its most recent issue about Rapp written by 1105 GovInfo’s President Anne Armstrong.

As promised… In the Dec. 15 issue of Federal Computer Week, the “Buzz of the Week” specifically focused on Rapp… and, unusually, it was written by Armstrong:

It might be presumptuous to assume anything that happens internally at a business-to-business publication rises to the level of Buzz of the Week. However, a number of news organizations and blogs have reported on the chain of events that began in August when Federal Computer Week’s editor-in-chief left, so it seems appropriate to note that we have hired a new editor ofFCW, who will also serve as our editorial director, the person responsible for all our content in print and online.

David Rapp joins us after a short career as an Internet entrepreneur and a long career at Congressional Quarterly. We think both experiences are valuable to the job he is about to begin.

A Washington journalist since 1985, Rapp came up through the ranks of Congressional Quarterly Inc., starting as a reporter covering agriculture, eventually rising to editor of new media, and ultimately serving as the company’s top editorial executive from 1997 through 2006. During that period, he oversaw the creation and development of the, the legislative tracking service. He also led the redesign and repositioning of CQ’s flagship print products — CQ Today and CQ Weekly — and the development and launch of several e-newsletters.

He left CQ in January 2007 to start his own publishing company and in October of that year launched, a network of special- interest travel blogs.

Steve Kelman, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and currently a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and anFCW columnist and blogger, said in a blog post in September that he hoped that as I considered candidates that I would keep in mind that FCW was “a unique voice in the government management world, a voice whose strong direction it is vital to maintain.” I took that charge very seriously, and I believe we have found the voice to continue the direction.

Rapp understands government, technology and publishing.

We both believe that the new administration is going to transform government through the use of technology — moving from an internal focus on systems to an external focus on delivery of services. That is a story that all the publications in the 1105 Government Information Group have been following for a good while. But a sea change is about to occur. We welcomeRapp to lead the coverage of that change.

And another staff note: Several news reports have indicated that Editor John Monroe was leaving to attend seminary.

We’d like to clarify that while he will be attending seminary, he will do so part time. Monroe, who has been with FCW for more than 15 years, will continue to work on the publication at a slightly reduced schedule.

— Anne Armstong, Publisher and President of 1105 Government Information Group

Written by cdorobek

January 6, 2009 at 7:41 AM

Posted in community, press

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