Waste of Time
About 30 years ago, I was Professional Activities chair for IEEE Region 5, when there was no time wasted in our publications on stories that were appropriate for People magazine. The Geek Chic cover and article [“Bringing Geek Chic Into Style,” December, p. 18] were disgusting and a total waste of time. How about encouraging young people into engineering with good salaries and real long-term benefits? Please forget the superficial baloney, especially on the front cover of The Institute.
Thomas R. Cuthbert
Why Students Drop Out
In regard to the rate at which graduating students do not renew membership [“Why You Should Stay With IEEE,” December, p. 19], I came up with a reason: IEEE Spectrum used to contain more articles and more in-depth technical content. Then this changed, and to get the same amount of content you have to subscribe to more society publications. And, of course, dues increased. Now if members want to read in-depth technical information, they are charged an excessive amount, so I am not surprised about the dropout rate.
It’s true that the print edition of IEEE Spectrum used to publish more features. In the 1980s and 1990s we had at least twice as much print advertising as we have now. We could afford to publish about seven features per issue instead of the four or five we print now. However, nowadays, IEEE Spectrum also maintains a Web site with a great deal of exclusive content. With a staff not significantly larger than what it was 20 years ago, we are publishing much more original material, including news items, podcasts, video, and blogs. In the print publication, the proportion of technical features hasn’t changed. If readers sense less technical content in our issues, it’s because the number of features has declined, due to advertising factors beyond our control.
—Glenn Zorpette, executive editor, IEEE Spectrum