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LinuxMedNews.com--Just What the Doctor Ordered - page 2

The (Un)Likely Marriage of Linux and Medical News

  • May 5, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

Valdes said that when he started the LinuxMedNews site it was a tight knit community with a crystal clear idea that FOSS (free and open source software) was the way to go in medicine.

"The idea has become more accepted and may not be revolutionary anymore but it still has skeptics," he said. "Like everything, having the idea takes 10 minutes and implementing that idea takes years. The major changes are that there is gathering scientific evidence for what the FOSS community is doing and the number of and quality of real-world implementations has grown tremendously," he remarked.

His system for digging up Linux and Medical news is pretty straightforward.

"I'm plugged into practically every e-mail list on related subjects there is and monitor news sites for related trends. I have a very public e-mail address as well. This means I receive an enormous number of e-mails a day, like 300. I separate the high-quality information out," he said.

"Making friends in the community and earning their trust puts me in a position of receiving good information. My Psychiatry training helps in this regard because I frequently know a lot about big happenings that are going on, but I privately and publicly maintain appropriate walls of separation. I'm not perfect, but I consciously try to do this. Secrets are sacred and I never publish them unless they become publicly known or I have permission," he added.

While Valdes currently doesn't employ any staff, he has had numerous deputies and contributors, over the years. He said that the best reporters frequently turned out to be people in the community, including project leaders, board members and committee members of professional organizations.

And, it's a good deal for the contributors too. "They get good editing, presentation of their postings and attention for their activities in return for sending me information so it is a two-way street," Valdes said.

Readers have probably noticed the similarity between LinuxMedNews.com and Slashdot. That's because Valdes is using Zope with Squishdot as a content management system. He said that he may be changing the look, sometime this year.

Valdes had a few more pieces of advice for longevity in the specialty news site business:

  • Identify a small but promising industry that you are interested in and passionate about.
  • Begin reporting on it.
  • Serve as many people as you can by giving them what they want and you may get what you want.

Valdes said that the industry seems to be growing and LinuxMedNews is committed to serving as many members of the community as possible.

Serving the community also means anticipating trends and helping to "connect the dots" for readers. Valdes had some interesting observations from his editorial perch.

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