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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Truth, the Internet and Constant Improvement...and Other Worthy Goals

Publisher's View: September 2014

Randy Jones 

While truth is no doubt the first casualty of war, I am relatively sure that the Internet is the number one killer. OK – That is not an entirely fair statement, because truth on the Internet is not entirely dead, but there are times that it seems to have gone into deep hiding. How is it that something that holds such promise as the great equalizer of knowledge, has instead become the greatest source of disinformation ever known to mankind?

This topic kept popping up on my personal radar screen in a number of ways in recent weeks, not the least of which being the whole Ferguson, Missouri debacle. All of the incomplete, uninformed and predictably biased opinions being espoused not only online, but on the mainstream “news” channels left me longing for the days when media at least attempted to appear to present unbiased information.

I have also confronted this topic in a much less blatant form while considering the question of where business professionals in the rotorcraft market can find the business information that you know you can trust. It really is not as easy as it might seem it should be. As the publisher of a magazine, with a consistently loyal following of long-time readers and subscribers like you, I suppose I can take some comfort in the malaise of truth on the Web, as job security. Most of us have learned by now to “consider the source” whenever we read something online – and our long-time relationship with you often places us in the position as a “trusted source” of rotorcraft business information. That is a role that we take very seriously.

But it is not usually blatant disinformation that we have to deal with in our market – though some of that is most certainly out there – so much as it is strategically presented information. And it is not always so much in what is said, as much as in what has been left out.

The Essential Equipment series we began running this year illustrates this point well. This series is a straightforward concept for the most part. Every month, we choose one or two categories of equipment or service that a rotorcraft operator might need, and we provide a roundup of all the key vendors in those categories, and (and herein is the key) we attempt to present all the vendors on a mostly level, apples-to-apples basis for comparison based on the data they provide. I’m not going to lie … I don’t know how you people do it. It is a chore to find comparable data for a head-to-head comparison in most every case. I don’t know why it should surprise me however, that vendors prefer to talk to us about their strengths, while totally avoiding any discussion of their relative weaknesses.

You may have also noticed that we have been running a couple of different Technical Information series this year, as well – one on the topic of Night Vision Systems/Operations, and the other on HUMS and HFDM systems. We chose to approach these topics over the course of multiple issues simply because there is so much information to cover, and so much confusion surrounding both topics – in the terms used by different vendors, in the interpretation of the existing regulations, and in the wide range and varying levels of performance available to the end user based on the choices you make. Again, I don’t know how you do it, but we are doing what we can to give you the most comprehensive and unbiased information possible.

But I suppose I have been paying more attention than usual to these matters, having temporarily taken on more of a role in the editorial side of our business this month. Andrew Parker – who some of you may have noticed, I am not (though these words are in the space normally reserved for him) – has moved on and we wish him all the best. In the meantime, Ernie Stephens has stepped back in to his former role as Editor-in-Chief on a temporary basis and the rest of our core team remains intact so the magazine is in very capable hands as we chart a new course toward constant improvement.

And, in all fairness to the Internet, I should also point out that we dedicate space in this issue to an area where the Internet is delivering a great deal of value to our industry. Take a look at Doug Nelms’ feature on page 36 focusing on how the web is reducing AOG time and providing lower cost options for replacement parts.


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