Tuesday, June 30, 2009

IES magazine vs. Eureka from UK

In this writing, I would like to dissect engineering publication.

I got myself a copy of Eureka, an engineering publication from UK and IES magazine, publication of Institute of Engineer Singapore. My first and foremost assumption is that both publication attempts to interest people to the field engineering. My verdict: Eureka is a nice and cool publication that really triggers my thought and re-kindle my interest in engineering. On the opposite end, IES magazine is an old boring magazine that is full of advertisements.

Eureka contains articles of engineering advancement and extol the goodness and roles of engineering in life. The two magazines I have show solar powered car, new rapid prototyping method, bacterial cellulose from fruit waste, green power from compressed air, spin off examples from F1, plastic technology, etc. Those topics are the in-things. The articles and magazines are designed to look like a normal off-the-shelf magazine (not the gossip type). By showing reader that engineering is advancing and not long time dead and archeological finding, it tells them that engineers still takes part in the betterment of the world and the magazine proudly proclaim that engineers is to solve the problem of the world! That engineers have an important role to play and engineers deal with trendy stuff. That is exactly what students need to hear and to know that engineering is a field they can be proud of.

On the other hand, IES magazine is written like a journal! It has abstract, introduction, etc. etc. I am wondering why they don't call it IES journal instead. Then it has multiple times more advertisements (from NTU, from some course organizers, from some manufacturers, etc.). The articles talks about earthquake being from some other stuff, that risk management something and I can't even recall any title completely. I am wondering why Eureka can be designed more impressively without so many advertisements while IES magazine is full of advertisements.

One glance of Eureka and it gives me a good impression and I remember the title. One glance of IES magazine and I can't even remember anything but that it is terrible.

My point is that if the aim of the publications are to interest people to engineering, IES fails miserably. I feel that IES can do the following:
1. Take a look at other engineering magazine and use part of the advertisement money to pay someone to re-design the magazine.
2. Gather industrial people in engineering field and scour the engineering marvel that can be found in those organizations locally (not necessarily a local made technology, of course as Singapore gets more and more innovative, the local made stuff can take the prominence, until then anything will do).
3. Do number 2, but from the local universities.
4. Re-assess the role the magazine play, gather feedback!
5. If need more money, talk to the government of Singapore and plan a way to improve IES image and plays a part in government's attempt to make engineering cool.
6. Many more other things.

Of course ideally is for IES to bridge the engineering company and universities to once again produce engineers that are hands on and with critical thoughts and innovative!

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