Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Periodical Aesthetics

I've subscribed to many magazines off-and-on over the years, but only three long-term; Car and Driver and Road and Track since 1979, and The Sporting News since the late 1980s. Recently something has happened with The Sporting News, though; since a recent redesign I can't stand to look at it. I don't mean in a content-related, they-don't-know-what-they're-talking-about-anymore sense; I truly can't bear the look of the magazine.

When they first made this most recent change I didn't think anything of it. They didn't do anything particularly radical; they've made much bigger changes in the past, notably the switch from a newspaper-like paper to a glossier look. I can't even really describe what they changed. But since then whenever I've sat down to read it I struggle to get through the whole thing. I haven't even opened the last two issues.

I think this may be a last-straw development. The magazine isn't what it used to be, at least for me. They seem to be trying to go in a Sports Illustrated direction, which isn't what I want; I stopped getting that magazine a long time ago. I liked The Sporting News because they were more like a newspaper; less fluff and more news. I suppose like many newspapers they're struggling to survive, and are trying whatever they think will keep them in business. But I'm afraid in the process they've lost me.