Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Two Years on the Web, by John December

Recognizing the Rewards

The biggest challenge I see this magazine facing is its sustainability. Passing the two-year mark makes this one of the oldest publications on the Web--I believe it to be the oldest, continuously published monthly Web magazine--we've proven we have the legs to go the distance--twenty four issues. But, where are we going? What are we gaining?

On the Web, the competition for readers is far more complex than two years ago. Now, hundreds of newspapers and magazines are on the Web. Many are offshoots of paper publications--everything from HotWired to the New York Times. The owners of these sites have revenue from their paper sales to generate income.

We'll need to continue to attract excellent writers, editors, and staff. Chris Lapham points out that our past ability to do this speaks well about the reputation of our magazine and "the cooperative spirit of users of the Web and especially our loyal readers."

We'll need to continue to recognize the rewards we have earned. All of us working on the magazine have been rewarded well in non-monetary terms. We've been privileged to get to know more than a hundred contributors to this magazine who are studing, creating, and participating in computer-mediated communication. We've been able to work with talented writers and editors and gain a worldwide audience for our work. We've stretched our own patience and skills sometimes, but we've learned from it. We've brought new voices and perspectives to the Web that otherwise might not have been heard, and that is gratifying in itself.

We'll need to continue to shape our identity. Chris Lapham points out that the why of computer-mediated communication is more important than ever. She says that we should "focus on analysis and trends that have significance, and connect the theory and research behind CMC to what is happening on the Web now so that new media professionals can make good decisions about their online communication." I hope that we can move toward this role of providing perspective, interpretation, and analysis about CMC.

We'll continue to have challenges--building a revenue model, retaining our consistency, developing our community, and continuing to increase the quality of CMC Magazine in terms of content and how that content is presented to readers. We don't have all the answers about how to do this--but we've learned a lot, and we look forward to learning more. -

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