Letter from the Editor on 10th Anniversary and Re-design
(Source: defense-aerospace.com; issued Feb. 04, 2009)
PARIS --- Today we go live with a redesigned Home Page to mark our 10th anniversary. This is the fourth major overhaul of our website since its inception, and the first since 2006, when we introduced photographs and headline formats.

Most of the changes we have made over the past decade have enriched our content, enhanced the reader interface or improved the inner workings of our website. The latest such modification, introduced in mid-January, added a headline to each page’s URL, or web address.

This latest re-design adds RSS news feeds as well as an improved home page layout.

One aspect, however, has remained constant since our first beta version went online in late 1998: editorial content is clearly separated from advertising both by color coding (white background for editorial, blue for advertising) and by distinct home-page areas. We also separate news from commentary or analysis pieces.

This may seem a somewhat artificial distinction since a good part of our news content consists of material released by governments, industries, international agencies or independent bodies such as think tanks, NGOs and watchdog groups. It is not.

Our ambition, in 1998 as today, is to aggregate in a clear and user-friendly website all the news that is verified and significant to the defense and aerospace professional, while providing the source and issue date of every item we post. We provide news that readers can trust – not simply because we say so, but because readers can verify.

This, we believe, is crucial on the Internet, where myriad websites, blogs, forums, newsletters and networking sites propagate their version of “news:” that is, stories that are often unverifiable, that quote or cite unidentified sources, and that can range from pure speculation to outright disinformation.

With rare exceptions, we only report what has happened, rather than what may, might, or could happen. Again, this allows readers to make their own judgement as to the credibility or objectivity of any particular item, as the issuer is always identified. In many cases, we provide links to original documents, for ease of reading but also to allow verification, and where necessary an editor’s note provides context.

This transparency, coupled with the huge number of websites we check daily, is one reason why many other websites use defense-aerospace.com as an early warning service.

The obvious drawback to this approach is that we only carry information that is available on the Internet. However, given the amount of newsprint and online real estate that are wasted on speculation and so-called “scoops,” we believe this is a small price to pay.

A significant aspect of this latest upgrade is that it provides an improved platform and enlarged formats for our advertisers. This is vital as, unlike other websites covering the defense and aerospace sectors, we are not affiliated with, or bankrolled by, publishers of trade magazines.

Instead, we must generate our own revenues and, as these come predominantly from the sale of advertising space, we owe our advertisers cost-effective ad formats offering the best possible visibility.

Some readers may find these new advertising banners entirely too visible, but again that is the price to pay for independent websites to exist. Our priorities were to preserve the same space for editorial, and to keep it separate from advertising, and both were achieved.

A final word to our readers: although defense-aerospace.com largely pre-dates Web 2.0, we welcome and value your comments, criticism and feedback. Let us know, to start off, what you think of our new home page by e-mailing us at admin-at-defense-aerospace.com.

We look forward to your comments.


Giovanni de Briganti
Editor & Publisher,
defense-aerospace.com

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