Steve Weitzner, editor-in-chief of EE Times from 1986-1992, offers his thoughts on the occasion of the brand's 40th anniversary.
As I write this—20 years after my intimate and everyday involvement with the greatest technology news publication of all time, I am thinking of hundreds of talented writers, artists, editors and kibbitzers who have graced the EE Times masthead over the past 40 years.
This whole group has shared the honor and moreover the pleasure of making a difference for the most under-celebrated, most overachieving and, yes, sometimes the most obstinate audience of professionals in the world—you, the double E.
Each of us who served as an editor or writer of EE Times shared a simple but elusive goal: to go beyond reporting to unpack stories, illuminate them, append thought to them--all so they would make sense to you--and sometimes maybe entertain you, our valued readers in the EE community.
As stewards of that goal, we stood on the shoulders of those who came before me--the late, great George Rostky, the brilliant Girish Mhatre--and tried to mark the trail for those behind us: hard-bitten newsman Richard Wallace, young Brian Fuller, right down to present-day world journalist Junko Yoshida.
So many great people have walked the halls of EET that any attempt to adequately honor them is doomed, but --what the hell--I’ll try. Those who I leave out will know I meant them too.
Among a herd of great reporters who not only wrote the stories but helped create the template for what EET became, were Stan Baker, Richard Doherty, Dave Lammers, Marty Gold, Colin Johnson, George Leopold, Alex Wolfe, Nic Mokhoff, Rick Merritt and the late Chappell Brown and Roger Woolnough. And I mustn’t forget the story editors who made these writers’ insightful but sometimes indecipherable words accessible to all of us, personified by Tim Moran.
But EE Times would not have become the newspaper for the engineering community without brilliant leadership on the business side too; from its very beginnings under founder Gerry Leeds through the cosmic leadership of the late Frank Burge and especially Girish Mhatre, the publishers of EE Times knew they were doing something special. We had leaders who understood and never compromised on the formula of quality editorial, integrity in reporting, and--and most important--making EE Times interesting to read.
Over my career at EET, the business driver for technology moved from military applications with demand for a few rad-hard missile control chips worth six or seven figures apiece (yet highly expendable) through the commercial computing era to the age of portable consumer electronics with highly complex circuits that must be produced for a few dollars each.
Oh the wonders you have wrought, EE Times readers. I am so proud of my association with you and miss the industry more than I can say. But your accomplishments are all around me every day.
As I write on my tablet while commuting on the train, I look around and more riders are holding an electronic portable than a piece of paper. They are reading, sharing with their friends near and far, “clipping” items of interest and “filing them away” in a way they never could before. And that’s all your work, EET reader. As are cars that go further on less fuel, countless devices and instruments that improve our health and well being, entertainment in myriad forms, and the whole, crazy, morphing world of social media.
Hey, while I have your attention do you think can you do something about the yutz ahead of me on the stairs at Penn Station reading his email and trying to climb at the same time? Maybe some combination of motion and position sensor would trigger a mild shock through the case of his smart phone? Come to think of it, a similar approach that shuts down vehicles when a driver texts while driving would be nice. The possibilities are endless...But You, of all people, know that already.
Happy Birthday EE Times. And my kudos and respect to all of its readers and its staff, then and now.--Steve Weitzner, chief executive of Summit Business Media and a director of CurtCo Media, was editor-in-chief of EE Times from 1986-1992. He was subsequently publisher, divisional president, COO, and CEO of EE Times' parent company.