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  • From the Editor

    Why is this a sporadic feature in TFN? I would have thought the editor would have a lot to say.

  • #2
    I am personally trying to remember the last time he had anything to say about the PED issue in his column. I am thinking it is measured in decades but I am not sure. It's an important issue and the editor does not seem to want to address it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: From the Editor

      Originally posted by Daisy
      Why is this a sporadic feature in TFN? I would have thought the editor would have a lot to say.
      Four reasons. In no particular order:

      1. time--many issues barely get out the door to the printer in time without my trying to find more minutes to craft something suitable. I've always got something to say, as evidenced by my babblings here, but that's generally extemporaneous thinking that's not of sufficient quality to displace other copy in the magazine. If I don't have the time to write well, I don't write at all.

      2. space--we're never in a position where we're desparately looking for material to put in the magazine. The reverse is always true: how do you fit an infinite amount of material into a finite space? So harking back to 1, unless I'm waxing particularly eloquent (insert smiley here), it doesn't get in.

      3. suitable material--writing to just be filling space leads to poor writing. Or boring writing. When I choose a column subject I want to bring to the readers an angle they haven't thought of, or give insight into a side of the sport from an "insider" point of view not normally found.

      4. keeping the thing fresh for the readers--I don't want to come across as a common scold and inundate the readers with my kvetching month after month after month. I'm concerned after awhile it sounds just like playing the same old record. So taking time off here and there allows everyone a chance to reset.

      So, throw all those factors together and no, you're not likely to see columns every month. I'm touched that anybody might actually miss them!

      Comment


      • #4
        I think a small measure of insight/opinion can go along to making your magazine better.

        Especially in light of the fact that I (we) no longer rely on your magazine for results the way I did 15-20 years ago.

        I don't know how to find more hours in the day, so I understand you being unable to always get to it. But amidst the interviews and results, it's nice to see your opinion (positive when possible)...

        Just my 2 cents.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by donley2
          I am personally trying to remember the last time he had anything to say about the PED issue in his column. I am thinking it is measured in decades but I am not sure. It's an important issue and the editor does not seem to want to address it.
          I may well never have said anything. It wouldn't surprise me if I have not. See particularly No. 3 above, where I explain that my motivation is to try to bring "new" material/angles to the readership.

          I've never felt I had anything particularly original to say about the drug mess. I'm not sure what I might say that wouldn't be restating the painfully obvious. I certainly don't want to come across as Mr. Mackey ("drugs are bad, m-kay?") on the subject.

          Based on live conversations/communiques I've had on the subject through the years, what people seem to want is a column that you'll never see in T&FN (by me, or anyone), and that's one that points fingers at all those rotten Commies, or other favored targets of the "I just know X was dirty" brigade. In this area, more than any other, we hew to the credo of "facts not fiction."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by gh
            I've never felt I had anything particularly original to say about the drug mess. I'm not sure what I might say that wouldn't be restating the painfully obvious. I certainly don't want to come across as Mr. Mackey ("drugs are bad, m-kay?") on the subject.
            Perhaps you have nothing ORIGINAL to say, but as you mentioned above, you are the ulimate insider, because I think you must hear so much more 'chatter' from varied sources than virtually ANYONE else! I realize you can't name names you hear in confidence, but you must hear a great deal that would allow you to 'take the pulse' of the sport accurately. The PED problem has been the 800 lb gorilla in the room for 40+ years and yet the foremost magazine in the country (that remains on the forefront of abuse) has liitle to offer except 'reporting' the news that's already out there. If there were ever a need for investigative reporting, this would have been the Cause Celebre! I further understand that given your tenous financial position in the market-place, you can't afford to bite the hand that feeds you, and your success as a magazine depends in large part on the cultivation of close relationships with the elite athletes, coaches and administrators, so 'endangering' them by outing PED users might alienate ALL of them.

            It's frustrating for us 'outsiders' to see so much lip-service given by USATF on the subject, so we are even more dependent on media like T&FN to shed some light on the subject. Sports Illustrated has done good work in this regard; is T&FN's position so fragile that it can't stand in the vanguard of the battle?

            I am NOT trying to be snide here - I honestly don't know WHAT is going on . . . but I'd like to.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: From the Editor

              Originally posted by gh
              Originally posted by Daisy
              Why is this a sporadic feature in TFN? I would have thought the editor would have a lot to say.
              Four reasons. In no particular order:

              1. time--many issues barely get out the door to the printer in time without my trying to find more minutes to craft something suitable. I've always got something to say, as evidenced by my babblings here, but that's generally extemporaneous thinking that's not of sufficient quality to displace other copy in the magazine. If I don't have the time to write well, I don't write at all.

              2. space--we're never in a position where we're desparately looking for material to put in the magazine. The reverse is always true: how do you fit an infinite amount of material into a finite space? So harking back to 1, unless I'm waxing particularly eloquent (insert smiley here), it doesn't get in.

              3. suitable material--writing to just be filling space leads to poor writing. Or boring writing. When I choose a column subject I want to bring to the readers an angle they haven't thought of, or give insight into a side of the sport from an "insider" point of view not normally found.

              4. keeping the thing fresh for the readers--I don't want to come across as a common scold and inundate the readers with my kvetching month after month after month. I'm concerned after awhile it sounds just like playing the same old record. So taking time off here and there allows everyone a chance to reset.

              So, throw all those factors together and no, you're not likely to see columns every month. I'm touched that anybody might actually miss them!

              I'm sorry Garry but I don't buy that. When T&FN arrives the first thing I do flick to is your column, which is often missing:

              1) You publish a monthly magazine. I don't believe you can't find one or two hours a month to consider and write a column. Your readers want to know what you have to say.

              2) You are in a comfort zone. You run a bunch of house ads (some of which I realise are critical to your fiscal viability) and results that are are completely redundant . Even an editorial column, which is easily do-able with your current lay-out, would be valued by your readers.

              3) Suitable material? It's your responsibility to give T&F fans suitable material as defined by the guy who has for many decades been one of the most experienced and connected people in global T&F.

              4) Bollocks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: From the Editor

                Originally posted by marknhj
                Originally posted by gh
                Originally posted by Daisy
                Why is this a sporadic feature in TFN? I would have thought the editor would have a lot to say.
                Four reasons. In no particular order:

                1. time--many issues barely get out the door to the printer in time without my trying to find more minutes to craft something suitable. I've always got something to say, as evidenced by my babblings here, but that's generally extemporaneous thinking that's not of sufficient quality to displace other copy in the magazine. If I don't have the time to write well, I don't write at all.

                2. space--we're never in a position where we're desparately looking for material to put in the magazine. The reverse is always true: how do you fit an infinite amount of material into a finite space? So harking back to 1, unless I'm waxing particularly eloquent (insert smiley here), it doesn't get in.

                3. suitable material--writing to just be filling space leads to poor writing. Or boring writing. When I choose a column subject I want to bring to the readers an angle they haven't thought of, or give insight into a side of the sport from an "insider" point of view not normally found.

                4. keeping the thing fresh for the readers--I don't want to come across as a common scold and inundate the readers with my kvetching month after month after month. I'm concerned after awhile it sounds just like playing the same old record. So taking time off here and there allows everyone a chance to reset.

                So, throw all those factors together and no, you're not likely to see columns every month. I'm touched that anybody might actually miss them!

                I'm sorry Garry but I don't buy that. When T&FN arrives the first thing I do flick to is your column, which is often missing:

                1) You publish a monthly magazine. I don't believe you can't find one or two hours a month to consider and write a column. Your readers want to know what you have to say.

                2) You are in a comfort zone. You run a bunch of house ads (some of which I realise are critical to your fiscal viability) and results that are are completely redundant . Even an editorial column, which is easily do-able with your current lay-out, would be valued by your readers.

                3) Suitable material? It's your responsibility to give T&F fans suitable material as defined by the guy who has for many decades been one of the most experienced and connected people in global T&F.

                4) Bollocks.
                Its ok to just state your not inspired or just dont want to write anything but these reasons sound like excuses my teenage son would use to explain why he didnt do his homework.

                Your a good writer- write!
                phsstt!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: From the Editor

                  Originally posted by gh
                  I'm touched that anybody might actually miss them!
                  Opinion and perspective make life and TFN more interesting. As Mark said, it's normally the first thing I read in TFN or any newspaper for that matter. Maybe that is why I notice its absense?

                  Personally, i think its presence is cruicial to distinguish the magazine from the massive amount of online material.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not having seen a hardcopy of TFN in over 12 months, I am working of my dodgy memory, but as I recall, there is almost zero use of columnists in the mag. This is disappointing given the considerable scope to debate and illuminate issues in the sport (as we very occassionally see here). Potential topics of interest:
                    - ongoing inability to generate exciting compeition format at GP meets in Europe
                    - the legality and ethics of country transfers
                    - the state of the sport in country x
                    - rule modifications that hurt athletes/spectators (e.g. 4 jump/throw format)
                    - the state of event y
                    - PEDS

                    I'm sure others could add many more to this list (including the inevitable US/College-centric issues).

                    UK weekly Athletics Today used to do a good mix of such columns back in the late 80s, early 90s...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a much milder form of marknhj's post. Specifically, over the last year or two I find that I have read/looked for the editorials first thing (or occasionally second thing like after UW won the NCAA XC, have to keep priorities straight). They usually tell me something that I do not already know, including some things that I thought I knew but found that I was mistaken.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tafnut
                        The PED problem has been the 800 lb gorilla in the room for 40+ years and yet the foremost magazine in the country (that remains on the forefront of abuse) has liitle to offer except 'reporting' the news that's already out there. If there were ever a need for investigative reporting, this would have been the Cause Celebre! I further understand that given your tenous financial position in the market-place, you can't afford to bite the hand that feeds you, and your success as a magazine depends in large part on the cultivation of close relationships with the elite athletes, coaches and administrators, so 'endangering' them by outing PED users might alienate ALL of them.

                        It's frustrating for us 'outsiders' to see so much lip-service given by USATF on the subject, so we are even more dependent on media like T&FN to shed some light on the subject. Sports Illustrated has done good work in this regard; is T&FN's position so fragile that it can't stand in the vanguard of the battle?
                        OK, I’m going to bat for gh here with some numbers I made up one day and say ‘Yes, the T&FN position is too fragile.’ T&FN has about 15,000 paid subscribers, which generates around $600,000 is subscription fees per year. Don’t know where you are from, but $600,000 ain’t that much when you figure in staff and production costs. With generally around one tour per year, maybe they pick up another $500,000 in revenue (this I am making up from thin air) but they also have heavy expenses here (although I am sure that they know how to make a profit from the tours). Plus their store. All in all, this is not a huge money making venture.

                        Oh, I forgot advertisers. Those guys who sell shoes (Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc.) Companies that also pay a fair amount of money to the athletes we watch. Those advertising dollars could shrink quite a bit if T&FN starts playing PED hard ball investigative reporter (or worse, just printing rumors 'cause "everyone knows so and so is juicing"). Not too many athletic shoe ads in the SF Chronicle for those guys to worry about. And SI-Time-Warner has considerably deeper pockets to work with than the guys down at the T&FN shack in Mountain View.

                        And along with the employees to feed, there are the owners (about ten if I recall correctly) who would like to see a little ROI. This is not a big league outfit, befitting a sport which is similarly not big league. They cannot afford to piss off the advertisers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bad hammy
                          They cannot afford to piss off the advertisers.
                          It's possible that some have read too much into my first post. I'd just like to see an editorial. I'm not particularly wishing for a drug related theme.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Daisy
                            Originally posted by bad hammy
                            They cannot afford to piss off the advertisers.
                            It's possible that some have read too much into my first post. I'd just like to see an editorial. I'm not particularly wishing for a drug related theme.
                            I was just going with the flow and responding to tafnut's post. As we know, he is prone to hijacking threads and taking them into unintended territories . . .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with hammy. I read T&FN for my enjoyment. Drug scene offers no enjoyment, only heartbreaks.
                              And yes, I enjoy GH's rants when they are there. When they aren't, oh well....
                              "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                              by Thomas Henry Huxley

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