Computer Society To Start Magazine

A group of 12 Harvard students says it will produce a new color magazine on information technologies and distribute the publication nationwide.

"It's going to be somewhere in between a Newsweek and a PC Week," says Gregory F. Corbett '96, editor of the new Harvard Information and Technology Update.

The magazine is a publication of the Harvard Computer Society, the University's largest undergraduate computer organization. It will make its debut during Freshman Week in September.

"What we're trying to do is to reach out to the humanities students and everybody out there, people who aren't technology wizards," says computersociety president Eugene E. Kim '96, who adds thathe may occasionally write for the magazine.

"There is a technology void out there," Kimsays. "On one end, you have Time and Newsweek,which aim toward a general audience. thesemagazines often don't go into any depth. On theother end, you have computer-oriented magazinesthat take the opposite standpoint."

"What we're trying to do is be the middle-man,to talk about what's going on so that everybodycan understand it but without any loss of detail,"Kim says.

Production of the first glossy issue will costapproximately $2,000--money which the founders saywill be covered by advertising revenues. Thecomputer society will produce three issues a year,and initially the venture will be not-for-profit,according to Kim.

Corbett says the main purpose of the magazinewill be to "bring technology issues to theforefront of the Harvard community." magazinestaffers say they hope to take the 24-pagepublication national within one year.

The magazine's first cover-story is titled,"Information Highway: Myth or Reality." Corbettexplains that the first cover-piece is "not atechnical news article but an in-depth feature toinform the general public."

Corbett says the target audience for the newpublication is humanities, not computer science,concentrators.

"It's geared toward your average person who isnot necessarily knowledgeable in technical orcomputer fields but is interested in howtechnology is affecting society in everyday life,"Corbett says. "Not your [computer science] major,not your programmer but more along the lines ofthe average schmoe."

Magazine staffers say the first issue will goto press in August and should be ready fordistribution during Freshman Week.

The magazine is hoping to attract nationalfigures such as Vice President Al Gore '69, U.S.Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54-'56, and Bill Gates,the founder of Microsoft, as columnists.

Jeff C. Tarr '96, co-founder of the studenttechnology group Digitas, applauds the decision toproduce the magazine. Tarr says he does not see alarge overlap between the new publication andDigitas' on-line magazine.

"From their initial postings about [themagazine], it seems that their intention is tofocus on informational technologies andeducation," Tarr says. "That does overlap withDigitas, but it is a minimal overlap and I don'tforesee it as a big problem. The intended audienceis much different."

Kim says he does not foresee any conflictbetween the new magazine and Harvard ComputerReview, the computer society's current on-linepublicatioin.

Kim criticizes the computer review for havingbecome "bloated, with not a lot of focus."

He says the computer review differs because itis an exclusively online publication. The HarvardInformation and Technology Update will be releasedsolely in a print version