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  1. #1
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    Default Magazines - a considered view

    Following on from the Angling Times thread...

    I have been a lifelong hobbyist. I know it is not 'cool' to admit that these days, but it is true. I have dabbled in lots of things over my lifetime but have embraced few. The hobbies I have embraced have grown with me and some have become a living. Most of this expansion of an idea has been due to Magazines.

    I have been a fan of magazines from an early age. I have written hundreds, if not thousands, of articles over the years and ended up as Editor of a few publications. It saddens me greatly to see the demise of the paper magazine, but I fear the end is not that far off. I am trying to think of a way that magazines could move to make themselves more appealing to a mass readership but I am lost for ideas.

    Before the internet, it was the easiest way to gain knowledge, find suppliers and, clubs and societies through which we would be able to network (although we did not call it that, in those days) with like minded people.

    The magazine editors of today have a very different job to do, one that I really believe is destined for the scrap heap. I say this with a very heavy heart but it is true. Paper magazines are stuck in a place that would not exist if the internet had been around when they were conceived. They were the quickest and most up-to-date way of finding out what was happening within any specialist interest. Today, thanks to the internet, information is available almost instantly and can be archived and retrieved easier and quicker than ever before.

    As Editor of the Woodworker, I would have to decide how often we would cover, for example, sharpening chisels. We would have new readers replacing old readers on what at the time was deemed to be a 2-3 year cycle. We also had a hard-core of regulars readers (buyers!) that were the mainstay of the circulation. Although sharpening information could be found in book form (I wrote a book about it myself!) it needed to appear in the magazine from time to time just to enlighten the new readership and update the old hands on new techniques and product. Although the internet was around at that time, it was nowhere near as readily available or accepted as it is now. If it was, then that sort of repetitive information would be listed there for subscriber access and save repeating it in the magazine.

    The trouble is, all this has made the magazine all but redundant. The current pages seem to be full of lightweight articles with no real substance, advertorials and misleading 'facts'.

    I spent Sunday afternoon in the back garden, enjoying a pleasant afternoon reading the AT, almost from cover to cover. Bearing in mind I have only been fishing bearly three years, I found very little of interest. The 'look what I caught' articles may have been interesting once but anything interesting is all over the internet before it hits the paper pages. Pages of cute kids holding fish, that were obviously caught by dad, get very wearing after a while.

    I will not be buying the AT anymore, at least not religiously every week as I have been doing. I gave up buying the monthlies, for much the same reasons, over a year ago. In three years I now have a basic knowledge (very basic!) but I cannot find much to interest even a relatively newbie, like me in the paper publications.

    I get far more out of internet forums and social media such as Facebook and YouTube than I have been getting from the paper publications. It has just taken me a while to figure that out. Shame, but I can't see anywhere for the magazine to go other than down.

    Ralph.
    Hmmm... Where did that one go?

    My fishing blog

  2. #2
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    There is a recently (in the last few months) launched new angling magazine called Catch Cult that from all reports is doing very well, whether that's because it and its content are fresh I don't know as I haven't read one but to launch a new magazine in these days of everything on line is very brave and I wish them well.
    •The crow may be caged, but its thoughts are in the cornfield

  3. #3
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    Quote Originally Posted by fishplate42 View Post

    I get far more out of internet forums and social media such as Facebook and YouTube than I have been getting from the paper publications. It has just taken me a while to figure that out. Shame, but I can't see anywhere for the magazine to go other than down.

    Ralph.
    But what happens when those media become repetitive or less inspiring the further up the learning curve you get? Playing devils advocate here but I reckon they may.

  4. #4
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    Best angling magazine I've read was Fallons Angler, more of a small book. Well written stories about angling.
    The monthly and weekly ones are full of adverts, anglers plugging brands and there's only so much content before it gets repetitive.
    I've an app called "readly" £7.99 a month so many magazines on so many subjects makes it well worth it.
    Sadly I think the days of hobby magazines maybe numbered it's as you have said Ralph so easy to access the internet and information.

  5. #5
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    Quote Originally Posted by theartist View Post
    But what happens when those media become repetitive or less inspiring the further up the learning curve you get? Playing devils advocate here but I reckon they may.
    I think the point is that a magazine is a compilation of lots of articles and advertising put out at regular intervals with X-number of pages that have to be filled. The internet is there and can be dipped in and out of at will. It is a different world now and the rigidity and timescale 'problems' that exist for magazines today were not an issue in the past.

    I think the only thing that keeps paper magazines going is that physicality of having pages to turn and being all in one package - not needing a 'reader' to access them. I know a lot of people will say the magazines are all available online but old duffers like me still enjoy reading a paper magazine from time to time. It is just the content that seems to be lacking (for the reasons I have outlined above), at least to be tempted to buy the same magazine week in - week out, month in - month-out anymore.

    Ralph.
    Hmmm... Where did that one go?

    My fishing blog

  6. #6
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    I enjoyed your post Ralph and it's content and sentiment resonated deeply with me! I too am a hobbyist and have always loved magazines. I started with Look and Learn moving on to Animal Life and National Geographic . The latter were copies from the 1920s found in the attic of my home along with a white hunter hat! I wish I still had them!

    I bought AT and AM when I was 11 or so and enjoyed them. They were replaced by Radio Control Models and Electronics along with the odd Parade and Penthouse: I then bought Autocar, Motor and Car magazine. I fell out of love with the latter because the road tests were becoming more Updyke than a motoring analysis. I progressed to Cheshire Life and Ideal Home magazine but never remained faithful to any for long. I even bought Our Dogs when I decided I needed a dog!

    I can still enjoy the AT but the biased and uncontroversial views grate. In last week's edition Mark Sawyer reviewed a new Browning rod and he concluded it was a sassy snake! How can you call a rod that, at the end of what was supposed to be a critical and technical analysis of a new piece of kit costing£240? I could have done better! A certain amount of critique is essential and generally warranted!

    It must be difficult in the modern age to produce a periodical that appeals to diehards and new readers in equal measure. Even newspapers struggle . I read books avidly and have now come full circle from hardbacks to paperbacks to a kindle and now back to the former. A book is tactile and one can easily reread the synopsis, the last few pages or the first page if one has forgotten the plot; easily done at my age!

    I regret that smug sponsored anglers with their own axe to grind( gear to sell)leave me cold when it comes to their assessment of anything piscatorial. Keep up the thought provoking articles Ralph.
    Last edited by mikench; 29-08-2017 at 11:16.

  7. #7
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    I used to be a fairly avid magazine buyer. Hi-Fi, music, fishing and shooting magazines were all regulars, though I've rarely had subscriptions for them. I've not bought any of them for over a decade , unless I've been travelling or away working and unable to access the internet.

    I'll be quite surprised if the days of the printed periodical aren't seriously limited. In some respects, it surprises me that so many have lasted as long as they have.

  8. #8

    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    I remember Ralph's "Sweetcorn Comparison Test". I suspected there was some professional expertise behind those excellent articles!

    I wonder if, as print formats lose ground to electronic ones, and more and more anglers put their own content directly onto the internet, there might be, alongside the gains, some losses? There are lots of great blogs etc out there and abundant How to...'s. But to put them on you need to be literate in electronic media. One aspect of trad publishing that might be lost could be the role of journalists in midwifing, quality controlling and editing material. Thinking back, some of the articles and even books I've found most insightful and useful have come about when journalists have mediated the ideas of anglers who were brilliant and innovative in their fishing, but not the type of guys interested or inclined to articulate it in print themselves. That said, the current professional/semi-professional anglers are probably more likely to cultivate their media skills as an aspect of their fishing for a living.

    Just a preference, but I prefer mags to screen-reading, and books to Kindle.
    Backing the wrong horse, as usual

  9. #9
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    As mentioned in the other post about cf reels, opening and reading a magazine can be one of life's pleasures and to be savoured and enjoyed occasionally but regularly! Sadly my predilections will do little for increases in circulation

    We only appreciate what we had when it's gone!

  10. #10
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    Default re: Magazines - a considered view

    The drop in magazines sales must be down due to internet use. All the info we need now at the touch of a button. People now want instant access and are not prepared to wait for next months articles to be published.

    The drop in fishing magazine sales could also be due to the fact that angling as put most of it's eggs in one basket, Carp. There are only so many articles you read about carp and how to catch them before it become repetitive.
    Last edited by steve2; 29-08-2017 at 16:54.

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