In the March 4 issue of Network World Canada, we ran an article looking at the potential benefits and pitfalls of municipal Wi-Fi networks. One of the voices calling municipal Wi-Fi an inefficient waste of public money was the New Millenium Research Council, a private sector think-tank. Citing a study from a think-tank, or research firm, is pretty standard stuff.. These sources typically help provide an unbiased opinion, free from vendor hyperbole.
In the case of the NMRC though, it turned out the organization is a subsidiary of a U.S. firm, which specializes in producing public relations campaigns for corporate clients. Luckily we discovered this fact before the story went to press and included it in the article.
The NMRC study though does raise the question of what constitutes a trusted source.
Software, hardware and services vendors are some of the main sources in Network World Canada. After all, no one knows the ins and outs of their products more than the people who made them (hopefully at least). But the main goal of any vendor is to talk up their product in order to get people to buy it. The vendor isn’t going to tell you about gaping security holes in their product, or that it crashes once every 24 hours.
That’s why we use at least one neutral third-party source in all of our stories.
Industry analysts offer reliable input, either because they test vendor gear themselves, or they’re in touch with people who know the pros and cons of particular products. They also know the market well and can discuss who’s selling well and who’s not.
But by far our most valuable source is you, our readers. You’re the ones who daily put the products and services we write about to the test. If there’s something wrong, you’ll know it. And unlike the product vendors, you won’t be afraid to talk about it.
The last party involved in the publication trust cycle is us, Network World Canada. Why should readers trust us to be objective when the companies we write about advertise in the publication?
The answer is objectivity is our major value proposition. It’s the only thing that differentiates us from vendor sales material.
As the new editor of Network World Canada, I look forward to continuing to provide you with objective, in-depth analysis of the networking market, insightful commentary from industry experts and hard-hitting project reviews.
And I hope you, in turn, continue to trust us. If you have an issue with a product or service, or have an implementation success you’re proud of, let us know. Sharing tips on what works and what doesn’t with your colleagues through the publication makes everyone’s job easier.