Community Approach: Editor’s Notebook

By By Andrew Parker, Senior Editor | March 1, 2011

While this is the first time you’re seeing my face in the Editor’s Notebook section, I’m not new to the magazine or the aviation industry. Former Editor Joy Finnegan has moved to Florida with her family, so now you’ll be seeing a great deal more of me in the coming months as I pick up where Joy left off. I’ve been the managing editor of this publication since July 2009, and have spent the past six years in the aviation industry with a variety of publications, including sister publication Avionics Magazine, and Aviation Maintenance.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity as Senior Editor of Rotor & Wing to begin spending more of my time on the front-side of the magazine, so to speak—visiting our readers’ operations and generally getting to better know the personalities and people who make the rotorcraft market such a dynamic industry.

Of course I’m also looking forward to working with the excellent Rotor & Wing staff and the core team of regular contributors to continue providing the same news, features and insider commentary that you’ve come to expect from the pages of Rotor & Wing since its beginnings in the 1960s. In fact, you may even begin to notice a few of these core contributors even more, as we increase the frequency and number of regular columns in the magazine each month.  


Starting in April, the magazine will feature six or seven columns in each issue—a doubling of the three or four that have run in recent years. This will open up the door for readers to hear more from our trusted group of contributors—not only people like Editor-at-Large Ernie Stephens and Military Editor Andrew Drwiega, but regular columnists like Lee Benson, Keith Cianfrani, Steve Colby, Pat Gray, Frank Lombardi, Terry Terrell and many others. You’ll see their faces and read their thoughts more often in print, in order to help raise the level of discourse generated from the magazine.

But the media landscape has evolved in the past half-decade, and in addition to an increased focus on web-based news sources, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have helped connect people on a much more instant basis. And we are constantly monitoring these new communication tools in order to determine when and how to use them in order to provide even more value to the helicopter community.

According to a March 2010 Pew Internet study of more than 2,250 adults in the U.S., 75 percent of people who look for news online get it via e-mail or through social media sites, and 52 percent send/forward it using those two methods. The study also notes that 92 percent use multiple platforms to get daily news, with 46 percent visiting four to six platforms each day, and only seven percent going to just one media platform for news.

Ours is a very diverse industry—far more diverse than most, in fact. With that ever-present in our minds, and with the goal of giving our readers as many opportunities as possible to connect within the helicopter community, there are Rotor & Wing pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

But what do you get by going to these social media sites? The chance to be a part of the wider discussion that shapes the thoughts of industry and government leaders worldwide and in turn, the very future of the helicopter industry. Needless to say, you also get the opportunity to influence topics we’ll address in print each month, as well as on the website and other platforms.

The sideline benefit of all this is that the helicopter industry becomes just a little more cohesive. These new media tools allow us all to be more directly involved in the important discussions and decisions that impact our future, regardless of job title or position.

We can all post important pictures or videos on Facebook. No longer do editors completely control what content is seen or not seen. If you choose to connect with us or follow us on Twitter, you will immediately receive the latest breaking industry news—sometimes even as it is happening. You never know—an idea that you post could turn into an in-depth, full-length feature in Rotor & Wing. We’re constantly looking at ways to improve the quality of our news and feature coverage, and this “community approach” seeks to engage you—our readers—to help shape content year-round so that we always address the most important issues.

Another outlet for helicopter news is the Rotor & Wing Collective—a new weekly e-letter that features an in-depth Story of the Week, Top News Picks and jobs. We also offer a monthly military-focused e-letter, Military Insider with Andrew Drwiega.

All of this brings me back full circle to my predecessor. I’d like to acknowledge Joy’s extensive work in helping implement this community approach, which has long been in the works and traces back to before we joined Rotor & Wing in July 2009. We’ll miss working with you Joy. A heartfelt thanks from all of us for your extensive contributions to the magazine!

Stop by the Rotor & Wing booth at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Booth 614. I hope to see you there!

Andrew Parker

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