Technology Review

Infobox Magazine
title = Technology Review

image_size = 114px
image_caption = "Technology Review", cover dated January 2007
editor = Jason Pontin [ [ Technology Review: "Staff List"] ]
editor_title = Editor in Chief
frequency = Bimonthly magazine/daily web site
circulation =
category = Science magazine
company = Technology Review Inc. [ [ Technology Review: "About Us"] ]
(owned by MIT)
publisher = Jason Pontin
firstdate = 1899
country = flagcountry|United States of America
language = English
website = []
issn = 0040-1692

"Technology Review" is a magazine published by Technology Review, Inc, a media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was originally founded in 1899, and was re-launched on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey. In September 2005 it underwent another transition under the current editor in chief and publisher, Jason Pontin, to something again resembling the historical magazine.

Before the 1998 re-launch, the editor stated that "nothing will be left of the old magazine except the name." It is therefore necessary to distinguish between the modern and the historical "Technology Review". The historical magazine had been published by the MIT Alumni Association, was more closely aligned with the interests of MIT alumni, and had a more intellectual tone and much smaller public circulation.

Under R. Bruce Journey, the magazine, billed from 1998 to 2005 as "MIT's Magazine of Innovation," focused on new technology and how it gets commercialized; was mass-marketed to the public; and was targeted at senior executives, researchers, financiers, and policymakers, as well as for the MIT alumni."Technology Review" 108(9)6, September, 2005, "About Technology Review"]

On August 30, 2005, "Technology Review" announced that R. Bruce Journey, publisher from 1996 to 2005, would be replaced by the current Editor in Chief, Jason Pontin, and would reduce the print publication frequency from eleven to six issues per year while enhancing the publication's website.Boston "Globe," April 22 2005, p. C3 "More of Writer's Stories Faulted—MIT Says Just 3 of 10 were Accurate"] The Boston Globe characterized the change as a "strategic overhaul." Editor and publisher Jason Pontin stated that he would "focus the print magazine on what print does best: present [ing] longer-format, investigative stories and colorful imagery." Technology Review's Web site, Pontin said, would henceforth publish original, daily news and analysis (whereas before it had merely republished the print magazine's stories). Finally, Pontin said that Technology Review's stories in print and online would identify and analyze emerging technologies. [cite web|url=|title=A Letter to MIT Alumni|author=Jason Pontin|publisher=Technology Review|year=2005|accessdate=2006-06-26] This focus resembles that of the historical "Technology Review."

The historical "Technology Review" (1899-1998)

"Technology Review" was founded in 1899 and currently claims to be "the oldest technology magazine in the world."However, "Scientific American" has been published continuously since 1845, and "Popular Science" since 1872. In the personal communication cited above, Pontin says that the claim rests on the definition of a magazine as being perfect-bound, "Scientific American" being in newspaper tabloid format in 1899.]

In 1899 The "New York Times" commented:The New York "Times," January 21 1899, page BR33] :We give a cordial welcome to No. 1 of Vol. I of The Technology Review, a Quarterly Magazine Relating to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published in Boston, and under charge of the Association of Class Secretaries. As far as make-up goes, cover, paper, typography and illustrations are in keeping with the strong characteristics of the Institution it represents. This magazine, as its editors announce, is intended to be "a clearing house of information and thought," and, as far as the Institute of Technology is concerned, "to increase its power, to minimize its waste, to insure [sic] among its countless friends the most perfect co-operation."

The career path of James Rhyne Killian illustrates just how close were the ties between "Technology Review" and the Institute. In 1926, Killian graduated from college and got his first job as assistant managing editor of "Technology Review;" he rose to editor-in-chief; became executive assistant to then-president Karl Taylor Compton in 1939; vice-president of MIT in 1945; and succeeded Compton as president in 1949.

The May 4 1929 issue contained an article by Dr. Norbert Wiener, then Assistant Professor of Mathematics, describing some deficiencies in a paper Albert Einstein had published earlier that year. Wiener also commented on a cardinal's critique of the Einstein theory saying::The pretended incomprehensibility of the Einstein theory has been used as capital by professional anti-Einsteinians. Without prejudice to the cause of religion, I may remark that theological discussions have not at all times been distinguished by their character of lucidity.

The historical "Technology Review" often published articles that were controversial, or critical of certain technologies. A 1980 issue contained an article by Jerome Wiesner attacking the Reagan administration's nuclear defense strategy. The cover of a 1983 issue stated "Even if the fusion program produces a reactor, no one will want it," and contained an article by Lawrence M. Lidsky, associate director of MIT's Plasma Fusion Center, challenging the feasibility of fusion power (which at the time was often fancied to be just around the corner). The May 1984 issue contained an expose about microchip manufacturing hazards.

As late as 1967, the "New York Times" described "Technology Review" as a "scientific journal." Of its writing style, writer George V. Higgins complained:

:"Technology Review," according to [then-editor] Stephen ["sic"] Marcus... [subjects] its scientific contributors to rewrite rigors that would give fainting spells to the most obstreperous cub reporter. Marcus believes this produces readable prose on arcane subjects. I don't agree.Boston "Globe," July 17 1982. ]

In 1984, "Technology Review" printed an article about a Russian scientist using ova from frozen mammoths to create a mammoth-elephant hybrid called a "mammontelephas." [ Retrobreeding the Woolly Mammoth] , reproduction of text of 1984 April Fool's article] . Apart from being dated "April 1 1984," there were no obvious giveaways in the story. The Chicago "Tribune" News Service picked it up as a real news item, and it was printed as fact in hundreds of newspapers.

The prank was presumably forgotten by 1994, when a survey of "opinion leaders" ranked "Technology Review" No. 1 in the nation in the "most credible" category. [ Technology Review rated 'most credible'] . Survey was conducted by the opinion research firm Erdos & Morgan.]

Contributors to the magazine also included Thomas A. Edison, Winston Churchill, and Tim Berners-Lee. []

Transition to the modern magazine

A radical transition occurred in 1996. At that time, according to the "Boston Business Journal", [ MIT's 'TR' undergoes revamp] , "Boston Business Journal," April 10 1998] in 1996 "Technology Review" had lost $1.6 million over the previous seven years and was "facing the possibility of folding" due to "years of declining advertising revenue."

R. Bruce Journey was named publisher, the first full-time publisher the magazine had ever had. According to previous publisher William J. Hecht, although "Technology Review" had "long been highly regarded for its editorial excellence," the purpose of appointing Journey was to enhance its "commercial potential" and "secure a prominent place for Technology Review in the competitive world of commercial publishing."Boston "Globe", April 25 1999 p. G1] John Benditt replaced Steven J. Marcus as editor-in-chief, the entire editorial staff was fired, and the modern "Technology Review" was born.

Boston "Globe" columnist David WarshBoston "Globe," April 21 1998 p. C1 "Gloom, Doom and Boom at MIT." Warsh analogized the old TR with beloved departed Cambridge eateries like the F&T Deli.] described the transition by saying that the magazine had been serving up "old 1960s views of things: humanist, populist, ruminative, suspicious of the unseen dimensions of new technologies" and had now been replaced with one that "takes innovation seriously and enthusiastically." Former editor Marcus characterized the magazine's new stance as "cheerleading for innovation."

"Technology Review" under R. Bruce Journey (April 23, 1998-August 2005)

Under Bruce Journey, "Technology Review" billed itself as "MIT's Magazine of Innovation." Since 2001 it has been published by Technology Review Inc., a nonprofit independent media company owned by MIT. [ Mass. corporation #803209] ]

Intending to appeal to business leaders, editor John Benditt said in 1999, "We're really about new technologies and how they get commercialized." "Technology Review" covers breakthroughs and current issues on fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and computing. Articles are also devoted to more mature disciplines such as energy, telecommunications, transportation, and the military.

Since Journey, "Technology Review" is distributed as a regular mass-market magazine and appears on newstands. By 2003, circulation had more than tripled from 92,000 to 315,000 [ TR Enhanced] , by Robert Buderi] , about half that of "Scientific American," and included 220,000 paid subscribers and 95,000 sent free to MIT alumni. Additionally, in August 2003, a German edition of "Technology Review" was started in cooperation with the publishing house Heinz Heise (circulation of about 50,000 as of 2005). According to The "New York Times" The New York "Times," November 10 2004, p. 8, "Glossy Alumni Magazines Seek More Than Graduates"] , as of 2004 the magazine was still "partly financed by M.I.T. (though it is expected to turn a profit eventually)."

"Technology Review" also functions as the MIT alumni magazine; the edition sent to alumni contains a separate section, "MIT News," containing items such as alumni class notes. This section is not included in the edition distributed to the general public.

The magazine is published by Technology Review, Inc, an independent media company owned by MIT. MIT's website lists it as an [ MIT publication] , and the MIT News Office states that "the magazine often uses MIT expertise for some of its content." In 1999 the Boston "Globe" noted that (apart from the alumni section) "few "Technology Review" articles actually concern events or research at MIT."Boston "Globe," April 25 1999 p. G1 "MIT Tech Magazine, On Plateau, Finds Killer App: Commercialism"] However, in the words of editor Jason Pontin:

:Our job is not to promote MIT; but we analyse and explain emerging technologies, and because we believe that new technologies are, generally speaking, a good thing, we do indirectly promote MIT's core activity: that is, the development of innovative technology.Jason Pontin, personal email to Dpbsmith, August 27, 2005]

From 1997 to 2005, R. Bruce Journey held the title of "publisher"; Journey was also the president and CEO of Technology Review, Inc. Editors-in-chief have included John Benditt (1997), Robert Buderi (2002), and Jason Pontin (2004).

The magazine has won numerous Folio! awards, presented at the annual magazine publishing trade show conducted by "Folio!" magazine. In 2001, these included a "Silver Folio: Editorial Excellence Award" in the consumer science and technology magazine category and many awards for typography and design. [ Technology Review wins six awards] , MIT News office.] In 2006, "Technology Review" was named a finalist in the "general excellence" category of the annual National Magazine Awards, sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors. [ ASME Announces National Magazine Award Finalists] , March 15 2006]

On June 6 2001, "Fortune" and CNET Networks launched a publication entitled "FORTUNE/CNET Technology Review" [ FORTUNE and CNET Networks launch joint technology review] ] . MIT sued [ "MIT sues Time Inc. over magazine name"] , "Boston Business Journal," June 18 2001] FORTUNE's parent corporation, Time, Inc. for infringement of the "Technology Review" trademarkTrademark registration 0668713, registered October 21 1958 to "Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" and renewed in 1999.] . The case was quickly settled. In August the MIT student newspaper reported that lawyers for MIT and Time were reluctant to discuss the case, citing a confidentiality agreement that both sides described as very restrictive. Jason Kravitz, a Boston attorney who represented MIT in the case, suggested that the magazine’s change of name to "Fortune/CNET Tech Review," a change that occurred in the middle of the case, may have been part of the settlement. [ MIT Finishes Three Lawsuits] "The Tech", August 3 2002]

Many publications covering specific technologies have used "technology review" as part of their names, such as Lawrence Livermore Labs's " [ Energy & Technology Review] ," AACE's " [ Educational Technology Review] ," and the International Atomic Energy Agency's " [ Nuclear Technology Review] ."

In 2005, "Technology Review," along with "Wired News" and other technology publications, was embarrassed by the publication of a number of stories by freelancer Michelle Delio containing information which could not be corroborated. Editor-in-chief Pontin said, "Of the ten stories which were published, only three were entirely accurate. In two of the stories, I'm fairly confident that Michelle Delio either did not speak to the person she said she spoke to, or misrepresented her interview with him." The stories were retracted.

Top young innovators lists

In 1999, and then in 2002-2004, "Technology Review" produced the TR100, a list of "100 remarkable innovators under the age of 35." In 2005, this list was re-named the TR35 and shortened to 35 individuals under the age of 35. Notable recipients of TR100/35 award include Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Geekcorps creator Ethan Zuckerman, Linux developer Linus Torvalds, BitTorrent developer Bram Cohen, MacArthur "genius" bioengineer Jim Collins, and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. [,294,p1.html] []

The TR35 awards are presented to the finalists at the magazine's annual Emerging Technology Conference on the MIT campus. [] Each year, the editors pick one finalist from the group as the Technology Review Innovator of the Year and one as the Technology Humanitarian of the Year. In 2005 the Innovator of the Year was Kevin Eggan, an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University and a researcher at Harvard's Stem Cell Institute, and the Technology Humanitarian was entrepreneur and MIT Media Lab graduate Saul Griffith. []


:"External links in the following list were last verified 27 August 2005.

External links

* [ Technology Review homepage] (last verified 8 November 2006)

* [ "The Trouble with Fusion," by Lawrence M. Lidsky, MIT Technology Review, October 1983, pp 32-44]

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