TCS Daily


Welcome to TCSDaily.com!

By James K. Glassman - December 12, 2005 12:00 AM

In 1999, a weekly PBS television show that I had hosted for four years -- "TechnoPolitics" -- was cancelled. My longtime pal Charles Francis noticed my absence on the tube and called me. Why not adapt some of the subject matter of the show to the Internet and, for that matter, add more?

Charles is an inventive and persuasive guy, and I quickly said yes. We were soon joined by a bright and eager young man named Justin Peterson, who had just left Liddy Dole's presidential campaign. In February 2000, weeks from the peak of what came to be known as the "high-tech bubble," we launched TechCentralStation, appropriately, in Grand Central Station, New York. Keynoter to a small gathering in the Grand Center Oyster Bar Saloon was Gov. James Gilmore of Virginia, at the time the number-one techie among politicians.

The odd name? Well, to be frank about it, TechCentral was already taken. Better, Charles said that, like a train station, we would be a hub, a crossroads.

The idea behind TechCentral was fairly simple: Using the best writers we could round up, create content focused on the intersection between technology and public policy -- and throw in a healthy dose of politics and finance. Our business model was similar to that of a public television show or, for that matter, the sort of public-affairs magazines (New Republic, Atlantic Monthly) of which I used to be publisher: Find corporations and associations that like what you are doing and sign them on as sponsors and advertisers.

From the start, TechCentralStation has had a clear point of view: We believe in free-market (what used to be called "liberal," as in liberty) solutions to public-policy problems. We believe in trial and error, in spontaneous order, in sound science, in freedom.

For its first few years, TechCentral slowly made a name for itself as, pretty much, a weekly online publication -- not so different from a magazine, except that we engaged in a good deal of outreach -- speaking, appearing on TV and on the radio. We thought we had good ideas and wanted to promote them aggressively -- still do. We want to change the debate, have an impact on the world of ideas and policy. And I think we have.

Look at what has happened to Kyoto. When TechCentralStation emerged on the scene, the Kyoto-style approach to climate was the only one under serious discussion. Now, even the New York Times is admitting that Kyoto hasn't worked. Next stop: a climate-change policy that boosts the economies of developing nations, cuts real pollution (stuff in the air that makes you sick) and reduces carbon emissions as well -- but not through the mandates of global central planners.

The transformation of TechCentral has come under the leadership of Nick Schulz, who became our editor in late 2001, and changed the site utterly. He brought in dozens of new writers, many of them bloggers (a phenomenon that was just starting at the time). Instead of a weekly magazine, we became a daily online journal, with a half-dozen stories, or more, changing each day, often with pieces posted within minutes of important news events. Nick also broadened our coverage -- and vastly increased our audience. Many of TechCentralStation's biggest fans were attracted by the political, economic or straight-science pieces and then became fascinated by the tech policy stuff.

TechCentralStation has also gone international. We started our European site more than three years ago, Asia Pacific two years ago. Our writers are now global, and even we Americans travel the world for stories. (I am writing this piece in the Japan Air Lines lounge, waiting for a plane to Hong Kong to cover the World Trade Organization meeting. In the past, TechCentral has sent me to The Hague, Brussels, Bangkok, Nairobi, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Barcelona, even Cleveland.)

Like any institution that hopes to succeed these days, TechCentralStation has been in a state of nearly constant change -- which, after all, is the Francis credo, put into practice by Nick and our Publisher, Heather Lauer. The new change comes in our name. While our organization is still called TechCentralStation, our online presence, our journal, will henceforth be named TCS Daily (www.TCSDaily.com).

It tells the world what we really are -- and, as a URL, it's a lot easier to type in (though I expect you've already got us on your Favorites pull-down). And, fact is, people have been spontaneously calling us TCS anyway. It's like Coca-Cola admitting on the bottle that its real name is Coke.

So, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor from a venture that started in a hub for trains, we'll break the champagne bottle over the bow: TCSDaily is launched!

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