Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blogs v. Magazines

I recently recieved the newest issue of Kayak magazine in the mail. After flipping through the first couple pages (and actually reading it), I was shocked to see how little substance was present. In lieu of substance (articles and reports) were several cites to websites and blogs, including the magazine's own BLOG. This got me thinking....Are blogs replacing magazines? Should they? Are they taking away from magazines? Are they more economically feasible in our little money starved industry? Do people like blogs more because they are more on point? or less? plus many others. These are in part rhetorical questions, but I will encourage any of readers to start a little dialogue on the subject.



slickhorn said...

Blogs/websites are way better! More boating content, less advertising, more local goods, more varied runs and TRs, more people you actually know or might actually boat with.

The magazines have to present content to the "paddlesports community" whereas a blog can be much more narrowly focused and much more frequently updated. Plus web posts seem to have more detail, pics, video capabilities ...

I can have TRL's Ashlu pics on my screensaver with just a couple clicks; can't do that with a Paddler article!

I love the indepedent sites be they blogs like TRL or sites like Rackley's superb site -- just more open and community based than print pieces ...

just my $0.02. Can't wait for the Commitment Canyon footy ... I hope we're not waiting for LVM 21!!!


Anonymous said...

SCR - you call this a blog entry? ;-)
I'm always looking forward to the next entry!! Keeps my days moving!

What the Chuck said...

Hi Guys,

Your blog rocks because a.) it's well-written, and informative, and b.) you have movies.

So old geezers like me can sit back and relive their own glory days!



Hartje said...

It would seem so...

but kayak magazine still has a price tag I assume

and TRL does not...

Maybe that's part of why when renewal time comes around more boaters are ditching their mag subscriptions...

The best blogs are somewhat objective in the sense that they try to have consistent photos and videos of the biggest drops, strictly business, but after that realm most paddling blogs are overtly subjective ( 'we all needed shades that morning before putting on the creek because we were so hung...') Imo, these are trite and don't have much to offer--especially in the way of writing, yet they all contribute in their own little ways. I think writing was, and still is, the reason people buy mags. It's also what brings them to the TRL--here they find a good blend of hucking and some OK commentary ;-)

Haven't we seen it all before anyways?

Anonymous said...

Hey TRL biatches,

My .02. I feel that blogs offer an excellent way to share information about the core of our support. It's kind of a for the people by the people communication, and it offers an excellent format to get recent and sick content out, and a lot of it, since there is basically no size limit. I love it for the quick update, and the ideally daily 15 minute read.

As advertising platforms (since I am in marketing, and I'm sure TG has a thought on this) I think they are easily as valuable to businesses. It's less of a controlled environment, but it is more of a credible source on the flip side. It has that personal endoresement type of appeal, not whitewashed.

I don't feel that magazines will ever die. I do think that they may become more of a blend of catalogs to magazines (think Abercrombie years ago (which is metro), and more modern examples today like Kaiser Permanente, etc). Basically the line of advertising vs editorial will become more blurred , as 'magazines' become more driven by a sinlge advertiser. Remember the Faces book by Outside? Tainted by Red Bull, although it was still pretty sweet.

The number one advantage of the printed version? It's a package deal. The layout can be very refreshing, and actually convey a feeling that goes along with an article or photo. Secondly, I only look to blogs to short and brief haps articles. When I open a magazine, I want a story. I go straight to the longest feature, which should be well written and badass. I guess its for the same reason that I'll check email in a second, but if I'm going to read a book, I'll check it out from the library and read it for hours, something I can't stand to do on a computer.

How to survive if you are a blog? Keep it brief and sick, with a handful good pics that tell the story only after an introduction in the opening paragraph, and nothing else. How to survive as a magazine? Scrap the first 16 pages, and only feature sick and longer articles with good accompaning (too early to spell) photos. It's a book, not an update. Timeliness is not the goal, and therefore updates on every event around is worthless. Give me an indepth first hand account of running the Stikine in a day, and I'll read about a rodeo event and everything else online.

My morning rant. Better than coffee.


Anonymous said...

yeah i like blogs, they are way more personal and often give you some more fun details. the only thing i wish there was is a site like playak to list the main ones and feature some each week or something.

Anonymous said...

Personaly I like the blogs because the people who put them up live those experiences and its' reasuring that you know the info is correct. I'm sure some editors get out and paddle, but overall when you read an artical on rivers or see photos of kayakers you've never heard of, I question (based on personal experience) how acurate the news is. Paddler credit, river flows, access, ect....

I'm all for the blogs and acurate info.
The Range life blog kicks ass! Thanks for all the posts and being accurate on all your info!


Bryan Owen said...

One advantage to a blog over the magazine is the immidiate feedback (like this) that any reader can post. It isn't edited and is straight from the reader. You rarely (but sometimes) see this in magazines like "letters to the editor."

In our little microcosm of kayaking blogs are great ways to share your adventures and stay in touck with the paddling community (and your friends/family). There is more of a personal elemnt here than an edited magazine article.

Magazines (like cutch says) are great for sitting down to read a story: while waiting on shuttle, at home, or riding in the passenger seast on the way to the river. I hope the paddling magazine is here to stay, and blogs (like TRL and Shaneslogic) offer easily acessible content that reaches the audience way faster than a magazine.

Have a great time in Peru fellas,

Bryan Owen

Anonymous said...

Hatjie.....get a job!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

blogs are way better, straight to the point and no editor saying how much space you are allowed, so blogs tend to have more photos ect... which reminds me... how is the VTH training going? we need an update!

Darin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darin said...

I don't think blogs will ever replace magazines simply because (to me at least) it's much more enjoyable to sit down and read an article in a magazine or book rather than on a computer screen. The bonus is you can do it anywhere too.
Even so I feel long articles have their places in blogs, Oregon Kayaking's style highly influenced my own. It's nice to have a mix depending on what you want to read, be it a brief TR or a story about the whole adventure involved.
I was reading playboating the other day and wandered on an article that was very blog style, lots of pictures and a "we ran this, so and so got stuck in a hole"...a style that I feel should stay on blogs, Magazines do need well written articles to stay in business.
For whitewater magazine subscriptions I think focused magazines like Kayak Session, Rapid Magazine ect will do well, while the less defined magazines such as Paddler will suffer due to trying to reach a market that is finding it's needs met in blogs and other magazines. Really talking about the class IV-V+ crowd, Paddler ect will still do well with the rec crowd. Blogs don't seem to the appeal to this demographic.

No matter how good a photograph is online, it will allways look better in a magazine like Kayak Session. This is a obvious and huge advantage.
I think magazines will stick around, but have to keep the quality high to stay in business, which is a good thing.

Jefferson State Creeking

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out a couple inconsistencies that made me chuckle here. First, Shane, that link in your opening comment isn't to Paddler's blog. That's to Kayak magazine's website, which is really for past content only. The actual blog is So there's one error (Didn't somebody say that blogs have less errors?). I struggle to see how Kayak magazine has a lack of substance. The first article that appears is a photo essay on expeditions including one by Kyle M and Evan S, both range life contributors, and an Oregon posse led by Jason Rackley on the first D of Kenobi gorge, and Todd Gillman's exploration of Vancouver Island. Not to mention an essay on Daniel DeLaVergne. If that's not substance I'm wondering what is? And don't most of you know the people I just mentioned?
Personally, I think there's room for both mags and blogs. If you can't cough up 10 measly bucks for a subscription than that's your problem. I'm all for reading comprehension and magazines---most anyways--seem to favor that as well......On the other hand, blogs are fantastic for grass roots reading and trip reports. Some reports are to long but they make for great picture albums and it's easier to make a marginal photo look good on a computer screen where magazines need to have high quality pictures in order for them to reproduce well.........As part of the whitewater community however, I'm proud to say that while kayakers are probably the smallest part of the overall paddling market, they're definitely the loudest and proudest....keep keepin' it real. Good discussion.....SC

Anonymous said...

And it's kind of funny that a blog author would be dissing a magazine that promoted his blog? Isn't a magazine just another way to create exposure?

Todd Gillman said...

In a new media landscape that encourages any shmoe with an opinion & access to the interwebs to assume the role of self-appointed "expert", I'd argue that traditional print media are as relevant/important now as they have ever been .. while blogs & the like are just components in the overall communications pkg. It also implies that bloggers bear some of the more traditional responsibilities of journalism (such as fact checking) if they want to remain a credible source of info.

Smart pubs are developing new creative ways to engage/retain their audiences, in ways that citizen bloggers cannot, & are embracing the blogosphere for what it is -- a rich resource of potentially publishable material. We're seeing this cross-pollination in whitewater. It's the pubs that dont subscribe to this theory that are the ones that are in danger of extinction.

I, for one, have generally been impressed with the content in the whitewater pubs lately. & am grateful that TRL has had the ongoing opportunity to contribute story ideas & photos to several of these pubs ..

Shane Robinson said...

Wow, thanks for all the comments and especially the compliments. I really enjoyed reading through all these as I faded off in class this morning. So please feel free to keep the comments coming in regards to future posts, even if we don't solicit them. This will help keep the community aspect and accurateness going that we all seem to enjoy so much about the blog-o-sphere.

On that note, I have clarified the hyper-links. I did have the paddler blog link on the title of the post (btw, I almost always hyper-link the title if you didn't know, which doesn't change color). But like SC pointed out it wasn't clear as mud. So I guess there is another advantage to blogs -- you can't correct published magazines so easily. Also, SC (and others), no dissing was meant toward Kayak Mag. or other pubs, just making an observation that led to questions as noted in my salutation. Maybe it was the adversarial title that my law schooling prompted that sounded like a diss???

But if I were to comment, I mostly agree with Cutch in that I find the more journal styled magazines most appealing which seems to be disappearing from our world of publications in lieu of a more photo essay style. This might be one (personal) reason I have been letting my subscriptions lapse. Also this may have prompted these observations as I read the magazine and kept having to refer to my computer to get the full story, which I guess is what Todd is refering to in our new world of media. I suppose this new landscape will also make blogs available at take-outs and shuttles sooner than later.

Until then, stay tuned for future posts as we are sitting on some good material and just need to find some
T-I-M-E. Then you will get a more proper post, TS (or EasternMD or WesternMD or CP or whatever alias you choose today ;-)

Anonymous said...

Actually the part that sounded like a diss was the part where you said you were shocked at how little substance was present in Kayak magazine.

Anonymous said...

Just kidding around, Shaner. Your intilectual topics of discussioon are always, always (and always have been) appreciated!

Shane Robinson said...

Thanks, Mr. Smith.