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T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

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  • T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

    Not sure whether it's "kosher" to be "critical" of the magazine we so love and honor.
    Also not sure if "current events" is the proper forum. (Maybe "historical"??)
    That said, I want to offer my views on what I miss most from earlier years (decades!!!) of T&FN, and why.

    I've read 56 years of T&FN (1957-2012), plus the OG issue from 1956.
    I've either subscribed, bought them at newsstands/running stores, or read them after the fact with the Bound Volumes.
    I've read EVERY WORD (even a few ads!!) of EVERY issue!!
    I will continue buying/reading it until I breathe my last!!

    BUT....

    as Bob Dylan sang a few years ago, "Things Have Changed".

    Look at the issues from the 60's.
    Most were just 24 pages.
    Yet there was more (MUCH more!!!) "news", more meet results, more statistical info in those 24 pages than we currently get in 48 or 60 or more!!

    Lists (except for the Annual issue and the HS lists) have all but disappeared.
    We used to get monthly Top Ten's (or 15's) for the World, the USA, Collegiate, AND High School.
    Maybe not all of them in every issue, but they were a regular offering.

    Instead of a giant photo on the front page (cover!!), we had news headlines (and the beginnings of the stories) and a couple of smaller photos. It was sort of like the early USA Today!!
    But if there was a WR broken, or just some great early season marks (or late summer), we didn't have to flip through pages of features and interviews to get to the "meat".

    I know, I know!!
    Computers, the Net, going online....changed everything!!
    (I also miss the PRINT edition of Track Newsletter!!)
    And we'll never go back!!
    We should feel "lucky" the print edition of T&FN is still available!!

    Anyway, just wanted to say....

    I still love you very much, T&FN.....
    but I wish you'd go back to wearing the clothes you wore when we first met!!

  • #2
    Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

    Things are never as good as they were in the good old days. They are much, much (much!) better. T&FN is now only a 'historical hard-copy' of what were learn instantaneously on the internet, exactly as it should be.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

      i think of these things quite often , how much evrythings is changing , i'm sure we are all lucky tnf is still hanging in there i go back to the rome 60 edition and while i'd prefer the older editions , how long would it take in the 60's and 70's to get results from meets pre internet? if i hit the lottery before i croke i'll fork it over to tnf and we'd all be singing.long live our sport.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

        I'll see your Bob Dylan and raise you a Carly Simon: "These are the good old days."
        I appreciate what I consider the evolution of the magazine and sincerely hope it continues.
        I'm a current subscriber and have read T&FN on and off since the late '70s. I've long enjoyed repeatedly pouring over the lists and stats, and have always considered it a journal of record for the sport.
        Disclaimer: I have never been one to archive issues for reference years down the road like many on this forum do.
        The challenge of timliness for certain stats, results and lists, and the easy accessibility of that info online has been discussed here and in the magazine plenty (see last month's editorial, referencing the exact same topic years before).
        To meet that challenge and to replace some of what is bound to be out-of-date statistical content (which even still many old-school readers insist the magazine continue even to the point of threatening to cancel subscribtions), we've seen T&FN deliver more feature-driven material in addition to interviews -- which have always been a strong point for the mag.
        And I like it.
        It turns out these guys can really write.
        And after decades of working at it, they know what to write about.
        Give 'em enough column inches and they can really shine. What used to be small boxes or sidebars in the old days have matured into worthy journalism. Last month's pieces on Dan Pfaff, Salazar and Rupp and the NCAA track indexing were really good and informative reads.
        I sympathize with T&FN's struggle to be true to its long history, to maintain its current readership and hopefully attract new subscribers in the "digital age." Personally, I think it's headed in the right direction.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

          Great...and civil....replies....so far!!
          (I somehow thought I'd be sent to T&FN Message Board Purgatory!!)

          I've thought about the changes ever since they began....especially after the monthly lists were stopped (except for HS)....and after the print TN was stopped, about 10 years ago!!
          (I'd subscribed to TN for 12 years!)

          As I've noted before, I've compiled (and keep up-to-date) a 500+ page T&F Record Book, and have done so for decades!!
          Before T&FN changed, and before TN stopped their print edition, I relied heavily on T&FN (and TN) to supply me with the needed stats to revise my "book".

          Now, and for the past 10 years or more, I've had to rely instead (or mainly) on Peter Matthews Athletics Annual, the FAST Annual, Jack Shepard's HS Track, and yes, the internet, for these stats.

          I like the feature stuff and the interviews.
          I appreciate that such old standbys as On Your Marks, Last Lap, Status Quo, and Track Shorts (as well as Letters to the Editor!) have continued in the "new" T&FN.

          I'm just saying I miss....REALLY miss...the way it was in the 60's.
          (Even the MUSIC was better then!! )

          Anyway, thanks for your remarks, everyone!!
          Keep 'em coming!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

            We live in different times now and I still put everything else on hold when I get my T&FN.

            But my goodness! Read the reports from, say, the Olympic warm-up meets in California in 1956 (November issue). It blows you away.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

              Originally posted by Per Andersen
              But my goodness! Read the reports from, say, the Olympic warm-up meets in California in 1956 (November issue). It blows you away.
              Exactly. The depth of detail in those old reports is just wonderful. And there are endless juicy tidbits of data sprinkled in sometimes less than expected places. It was the sheer density of info that was so great.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                I have a general issue with the standard of journalism in our British mag. I don't read TFN hardcopy, but our British version is Athletics Weekly. 'Back in the day' we used to have that and 'Athletics Today', and I too couldn't wait to get them in the post. I used to wet myself when I got the end of year review and rankings analysis!

                Even though we have access to the net I would still buy a hardcopy mag if the journalism was spot on or if there were interesting articles. But the level of writing is terrible. Race analysis consists of every sporting cliche in the book. There is no proper analysis at all, no mention of technique or form; it just seems to be stuff like "X started off well but was caught by Y on the bend. But X then pulled away in the straight to finally got the gold they deserve" I mean, really, is this the best they can do? :shock: :roll:

                I want the writers to point out things we might have missed, I want to read an interesting slant on the race, I want to learn some interesting stat or fact. And if they can't offer that then I at least want to read an interesting writing style or something witty. I don't want school-boy level journalism.

                I remember an old article on the women's 400mh where Tatyana Ledovskaya was described as "always looking like she has just returned from an all-night party". The straps around her ankles and knees were mentioned and the article went on to say "it must have been some party". Now this is what I'm talking about . We like this: on Drechsler, "six foot tall and with a determined expression", but we don't like this: on Ennis "Britain's Golden Girl Jess'.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                  Originally posted by Gabriella
                  I used to wet myself when I got the end of year review and rankings analysis!
                  I've mentioned this before, but what T&FN does BEST and should (IMO) be their main focus (as a print entity, that we can use as hard-copy resource material) are the Annuals and the Preview issues (HS, NCAA, USATF, WC/OG). I'm one of those geeks who not only saves his issues, but I bind them and place them on my bookshelves within reach of my desk (I have a study with desk, rolling chair, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that extend 12 feet behind me on both sides. T&F occupies the most accessible parts of the room (i.e., my actual job is lower priority!!). These issues are referred back to, again and again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                    Originally posted by Marlow
                    I've mentioned this before, but what T&FN does BEST and should (IMO) be their main focus (as a print entity, that we can use as hard-copy resource material) are the Annuals and the Preview issues (HS, NCAA, USATF, WC/OG).

                    Those are great. And relevant. I like year-end lists too. And lists you never thought of, like the recent front-page link to KKN's marathon stats, which could certainly be a useful reference in hard copy. Having several stat-dense issues a year must continue to be a T&FN thing. Compiling those stats, plus the years of experience T&FN has to put them in context, also makes for some really great story ideas that should probably get more than one or even two pages for the rest of the year.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                      Originally posted by ExCoastRanger
                      Compiling those stats, plus the years of experience T&FN has to put them in context, also makes for some really great story ideas that should probably get more than one or even two pages for the rest of the year.
                      Speak it, brother. That's the other (necessary) side of the coin: in-depth profiles that give the stories behind the stats. Those are not hard news, so they don't need to be as timely as event reports, and are perfect for the print version. 75% of what I read in T&FN I already know from coming here, so what I really want is a statistical repository and some in-depth insights into WHY what's going on is going on. There are at least two stories that I have never read (and I guess I never will), what the iAAF's logic (sic) was in reinstating Semenya and why Logan REALLY got fired.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                        Originally posted by Per Andersen
                        We live in different times now and I still put everything else on hold when I get my T&FN.

                        But my goodness! Read the reports from, say, the Olympic warm-up meets in California in 1956 (November issue). It blows you away.
                        Of course, in 1956 T&FN didn't carry women's news or road racing. In the general context we didn't cover—because they weren't part of the NCAA—the steeplechase, 400H, triple jump or hammer. And there were almost no pictures (none in color). And the type was of a size endorsed by the national optometrist's association.

                        If you think you can sell such a product today, please do so!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                          Originally posted by gh
                          Originally posted by Per Andersen
                          We live in different times now and I still put everything else on hold when I get my T&FN.

                          But my goodness! Read the reports from, say, the Olympic warm-up meets in California in 1956 (November issue). It blows you away.
                          Of course, in 1956 T&FN didn't carry women's news or road racing. In the general context we didn't cover—because they weren't part of the NCAA—the steeplechase, 400H, triple jump or hammer. And there were almost no pictures (none in color). And the type was of a size endorsed by the national optometrist's association.

                          If you think you can sell such a product today, please do so!
                          All totally true. But the larger point is the sheer quantity of data. I don't want to put anyone on the task, but how many more words were there in a 1956 issue than a typical 2012 issue? I'm guessing it might be as high as 8 or 10 times as many.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                            Well yeah, but we have to cut the number of words down to make the type bigger so the old guys can still read it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: T&FN: Oh, for the good old days....

                              Originally posted by ExCoastRanger
                              Well yeah, but we have to cut the number of words down to make the type bigger so the old guys can still read it.
                              Or live with a microscope strapped around your neck. Works just fine for me.

                              Comment

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