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  • #31
    Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

    I was a guest lecturer at a class at Stanford a month or two back. It was a sociology class relating to the place of Olympic sports like track in a modern pro-ball-dominated society. Several members of the Stanford track team were in the class (Lauren Fleshman--yikes! Scarily brilliant) and we got into the matter of content, both of newspapers (there were other ink-stained wretches on the panel) in general and of T&FN in particular.

    I had two things to tell them which I would like to think are relevant to this thread.

    Point one is boring technical stuff, but note: magazines aren't like paperback books, where you can just slip in another piece of paper. The way presses work, you generally have to add pages a minimum of 8 at a time. So to make the average magazine any bigger instantly costs at least 12.5% more. You've got to have very good justification for doing that.

    Point two is that recognizing the finite nature of availabe space, as dictated by point one, every time you add something, something else has to be taken away. So if we had indeed put a poster in the July issue, two pages of other material would have to go. No matter what you pick to go, my analysis is that there would be more people who wanted it to stay. They'd all have things you love that they'd rather swap out. Same with the Regionals, same with the foreign news.

    We have no delusions that each (hell, ANY) issue of T&FN has perfect content. There's too much subjectivity involved. When we break down each issue after the fact, every member of the editorial board will be sure to have at least one comment about moreofthislessofthat that nobody else in the room agrees with.

    The best we can hope for is a product that satisfies most of the people most of the time. And for 50-plus years, we like to think we've done a pretty good job of that.

    We continue to probe and inquire, and tweak. Have we been slow to react to the threat of the Internet? Absolutely. Are we now creating a product that can exist side-by-side with the e-world? We're trying.

    Those who have bought into the eTN (electronic results) concept I think will tell you that T&FN has never given you more bang for your buck. The big question is, are there enough people left willing to pay (at just about any price, no matter how small) for track stuff when they can indeed get so much of it free?

    Comment


    • #32
      q for blacklily

      My question for blacklily- have you tried Ben's suggestion and signed up for eTN?

      If not, why?

      If not, you're missing out! I love it. I print it out and read it while I ride my stationary bike and see all the stats I missed browsing the net over the last week.

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

        which is where your 'live' commentary comes in. We can get the results (not that I want you to stop putting out TN, I've got them all back to 1970), but it's T&FN's expert commentary that we want. What really happened in the event? That and the splits (e.g. the unusual Rome 5K splits) are what we are interested in (now that I'm speaking for EVERYbody).

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

          As a follow-up...

          I was a bit crude in my rebuttal to others concerning their un-solicited comments on my supposed "cheapness". To this end, I apologize.

          However, regarding my supposed cheapness, I merely meant to convey that I no longer find TFN necessary in my life at it's current subscriber price. I am an engineer by trade and can well afford far more expensive trade publications than TFN; however, I can't justify the added expense even with all the do-dads and color photos and what not. I'm SOOOOOOOO SORRRRRRYYYYY if some of you "people" out there have some reason for decrying my supposed "cheapness", "lack of support for TFN", or whatever psychological reasons you "people" may be devising for my behavior. THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT MINE

          I do not have to respond to all the "comments" here; however, for those ACTUALLY concerned about my "crudity", I offer my apologies. Actually, given the level (or lack thereof) of comments I've already read on the boards here, I actually thought my rebuttal was short and to-the-point and appropriate.

          So, for now, I say adieu to all of you "fans".

          Kurt

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

            >As a follow-up...

            I was a bit crude in my
            >rebuttal to others concerning their un-solicited
            >comments on my supposed "cheapness". To this
            >end, I apologize.

            However, regarding my
            >supposed cheapness, I merely meant to convey that
            >I no longer find TFN necessary in my life at it's
            >current subscriber price. I am an engineer by
            >trade and can well afford far more expensive
            >trade publications than TFN; however, I can't
            >justify the added expense even with all the
            >do-dads and color photos and what not. I'm
            >SOOOOOOOO SORRRRRRYYYYY if some of you "people"
            >out there have some reason for decrying my
            >supposed "cheapness", "lack of support for
            >TFN", or whatever psychological reasons you
            >"people" may be devising for my behavior.
            >THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT MINE

            I do not
            >have to respond to all the "comments" here;
            >however, for those ACTUALLY concerned about my
            >"crudity", I offer my apologies. Actually,
            >given the level (or lack thereof) of comments
            >I've already read on the boards here, I actually
            >thought my rebuttal was short and to-the-point
            >and appropriate.

            So, for now, I say adieu to
            >all of you "fans".

            Kurt

            You're entitled to your opinions. People shouldn't get so upset. If they don't like what you write, let them fire back. Inhibiting ideas, or promoting censorship to avoid hurting feelings - or anything else - is silly.

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

              >>African stars just get better? Then why do
              >we
              >have to learn a whole new set of names every
              >two
              >years? The kips, koechs, ronos, gats,
              >etc.
              >confuse me mightily. They have a
              >seemingly
              >inexhaustable supply of talent, but
              >it is most
              >certainly NOT the same every year.
              >Their
              >monstrous mileages do take their toll and
              >people
              >disappear very often. Even the mighty
              >Geb is
              >human and has problems. What does that
              >tell you?
              >Everybody has ups and downs. AW had
              >up, then a
              >down, I see an up in his
              >future.

              T&F Nut-

              The is off the topic
              >thread but you make a great point. Many say the
              >Kenyan training programs are so remarkable -
              >that's not as much the case as 1.) so many are
              >built to run 2.) so many are running. They are
              >all like shooting stars - a few seasons and done
              >replaced by another with fresh legs who will be
              >good for another couple seasons. Its all about
              >numbers. They have thousands with potential all
              >trying to make it to the top.

              We don't have
              >as many "naturals" here in the states (small
              >light frame built to run), and we don't have as
              >many trying to run (many other sports to compete
              >with). When we do get talent we should nurture
              >the talent rather than trying to be like the
              >Kenyan's and exploit the talent until the next
              >one comes along (we don't always have a "next
              >one".

              The Kenyans (and many of the Ethiopians) are also older than they admit. They have hit their peak, and slow down due to age. Even Geb is supposedly a few years older than admitted.

              That said, the E. Africans do have a larger number of individuals with the "make-up" to be distance stars. Couple that with small participation in distance running in the US and Europe, and you have domination. The North Africans do well, but maybe the US and many European countries would do as well (think of the Brits in the late 70's/early 80's) if the interest were there. But it isn't. Too many sports/activities competing for attention. And running is tough, especially from the 800 on up. Of course, things are cyclical, and things will probably turn again. It's very possible that India and China have scores of guys with the ability, but there's little interest, and other sports are in the forefront for the men in those hugely populated countries.

              What would I like to see in T&FN? That is the topic of this thread ... Maybe more opinion pieces, or in depth articles on "hot" stories to get the juices flowing. No, this doesn't mean derogatory, but it can mean getting into controversial areas that the mag typically ignores. Who knows, it could have a ripple effect and help straighten many things out, maybe?

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                oh, Kurt, you're not such a bad guy after all.

                There is a very human tendency for ALL of us to get into Rants with flying fingers on E Mail keyboards. I do it in my business E mails sometime, where I would have been much more diplomatic in a traditional letter or in a telephone call. So don't go away mad. After all, we are all just good 'ole track fans, aren't we ?!

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                  >Those who have bought
                  >into the eTN (electronic results) concept I think
                  >will tell you that T&FN has never given you more
                  >bang for your buck. The big question is, are
                  >there enough people left willing to pay (at just
                  >about any price, no matter how small) for track
                  >stuff when they can indeed get so much of it
                  >free?

                  Here are a few questions that I truly do not know the answers to, although I'm sure others here do.

                  1) Do other niche sports magazines go into as much detail about past results as T&FN does? Broad-interest sports magazines (like SI, ESPN, and The Sporting News) simply do not. In other words, is it the norm do devote so much space to things your readers already know fairly well (and to hype things that have already happened as "coming in our next issue")?

                  2) I sense that while T&FN actually publishes the magazine, the readership expresses a great deal of "ownership" -- that is, we think it's just as much "our" magazine as "yours". Does the staff see themselves as providing a public service as advocates of the sport, or capitalists trying to keep a business afloat, or both?

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                    Well this conversation has certainly evolved considerably

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                      1) Do other niche sports
                      >magazines go into as much detail about past
                      >results as T&FN does? Broad-interest sports
                      >magazines (like SI, ESPN, and The Sporting News)
                      >simply do not. In other words, is it the norm do
                      >devote so much space to things your readers
                      >already know fairly well (and to hype things that
                      >have already happened as "coming in our next
                      >issue")?

                      I have subscribed to International Gymnast for the past several years. They seem to spend about the same amount of time focusing on the past as T&F News, and they have the same problem of hyping meets that have already happened. I don't see the first part of that as a problem, and there is not much you can do about the latter (except get eT&FN or whatever it is called).

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                        1) Do other niche sports
                        >magazines go into as much detail about past
                        >results as T&FN does? Broad-interest sports
                        >magazines (like SI, ESPN, and The Sporting News)
                        >simply do not. In other words, is it the norm do
                        >devote so much space to things your readers
                        >already know fairly well (and to hype things that
                        >have already happened as "coming in our next
                        >issue")?>>

                        The "broad-interest" magazines you cite have a huge difference over T&FN: frequency. SI comes out weekly, the other two every two weeks. So in doing the same kind of comprehensive coverage that a monthly does their stuff is never more than a quarter or half as old.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                          T&FN is at a crossroads. When it started, it really was about news, because there were very few other places you could get the in-depth results coverage or commentary that it provided. As recently as 1995 it was still primarily in that business, but the direction had to move more towards commentary. Now that we're fully on-line with results, T&FN only serves a 'results' purpose as an archive of what we've already read on-line. T&FN may see eTN as a marketing tool, but in actuality that's where they are going to have to go to remain viable in the E-news Age. The paper version will exist for 20 more years, but move much more towards the 'upcoming attractions' reports, together with the in-depth athlete profiles. RW on-line is ahead of the curve with their daily news. I hope gh and co. see the writing on the wall and invest some time and energy (probably won't take a lot of $$$) to seek how to become a subscribable web source of info as well. If they can do what RW does for distance runners (some say joggers), their numbers will start going up again. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. What do we want and what will we pay for it? Is there a survey of 'readership' forthcoming? I'm for whatever helps them survive and thrive.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                            Got my July issue when I arrived home tonight and thought I'd do an unrequested reader survey. I traditionally read it the day I receive it and used to spend between 60-90 minutes doing so. Tonight took 27 minutes and I have really developed an attitude of "lets get through it as fast as possible" attitude. Why would I read every word about the NCAA's when I knew what happened weeks ago? Ditto to "Track Shorts" (which I normally enjoy) because it was also old news. I only fully read the athlete bio's in the first 38 pages, just scanned the rest. Only other interest was the ads (use me as a testimonial if you like!). I've been thinking about not renewing my subscription for a few years now but I do simply to support T&F in general, despite other posts, $40 is nothing these days.

                            I liked the pictures of Jaworski, Wilson et al, but I'm not 8 years old, I'd like to be able to read articles on analysis, bio's, history etc. Right now T&FN is an obsolete resource for me and I'm a 30 year hard-core fan.

                            Here's a quiz...there's a typo in there. Who else spotted it?

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: I would haved liked to see (in T&FN)...

                              Nice post--good analysis...didn't notice a typo but you used attitude twice in that one sentence when once would do.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: q for blacklily

                                >My question for blacklily- have you tried Ben's
                                >suggestion and signed up for eTN?

                                If not,
                                >why?

                                If not, you're missing out! I love it.
                                >I print it out and read it while I ride my
                                >stationary bike and see all the stats I missed
                                >browsing the net over the last week.

                                I haven't signed up for eTN, because I figured that it would be results that I already know. However, I'll sign up & give it a try.

                                Comment

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