If there's a single imperative for Design News, it's connecting with engineers. Once, our mission was just serving up great features, how-to's, useful information, design ideas and tons of insight. We still do that, of course, but that alone embodied the print publishing model where the gap between the reader and publication was wide. Spawning so-called citizen journalism, the Internet has enabled us to narrow that gap.
So are you ready for this: the engineer journalist.
The Internet has leveled the influence-peddling playing field. With just print, publishers and editors wielded all the clout, but now anyone who can create a website or spend 45 seconds creating a blog has a soapbox. Like it or not, that's the way it is. As a 30-year print and 12-year online journalist, I happen to like it.
For journalists and editors, the impact of the Internet has been profound if not seismic. And while you weren't looking, the impact has been profound for engineers, too. Two years ago, you couldn't find an engineering blog unless you were behind a corporate firewall and reading one on an engineering magazine website. Now, they are everywhere. Want proof? Google “motion control blogs” and take your pick. I like The Art of Motion Control and of course, our own Joe Ogando's Technologies in Motion.
So, if you have any notion of becoming an engineer journalist (engineers are citizens, too), Design News can help you take the first steps down that path. In the process, you can get recognition, have some fun and in the case of Design News' popular Gadget Freak, make some decent money.
Speaking of Gadget Freak, we want to expand them from 18 to 24 times a year. This enormously popular Design News feature is about backyard gadgets with some or all of the following: motion control, materials and electronics. If the story about your gadget is published, you get a tidy $500, fame, glory, admiration and non-stop calls from Hollywood agents.
So, I want to thank our last four Gadget Freaksters. Joe Peck's underwater rocket is no shot in the dark. Just check out the video. In fact, our users love video so much, we'll send a videographer to record your invention if you don't feel like camcording it yourself. Thanks to Nick Pagazani for sending his remote switch for his camera strobe. Bob Neidorff's automated woodworking vac really cleans up the sawdust. Check out our own Dick Neubert's Christmas lights flicker device. Dick is our hardworking Gadget Freak editor, EE and is often mistaken for Santa.
There's a couple of ways for you to comment on a Gadget Freak, including our new Gadget Freak blog moderated by our anonymous and slightly demented Gadgeteer. And the Talk Back feature on every article allows you to comment on the spot. Just consider all the comments Joe Peck got on his underwater rocket.
Other things coming up as 2007 speeds along are Design Engineer of the Year and the 2007 Golden Mousetrap Awards, which will be included in our September issue, online and celebrated at National Manufacturing Week in Chicago. We'll shortly work up a short list of Design Engineer of the Year nominees and allow you to vote on your choice. In 2006, we featured Tom Watson, the engineering genius behind the Ford Escape hybrid. Over the years, the Engineer of the Year has been the who's who of engineering.
If you know of anyone who's done insanely great engineering once or a thousand times, please forward their names and contact information to me.
Also, the May 15 deadline for submissions for the Golden Mousetrap Awards is fast approaching. Get your entry in pronto and we look forward to seeing you in late September at National Manufacturing Week. As always, you can reach me in my blog Design Engineering at Large; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. 781-734-8437 or in another innovative way that you, the engineer journalist, could write about in Gadget Freak.