R&R – From Print to Digital

Photo: Ingrid Buckhorn

28 April 2020

By Göran R Buckhorn

British Rowing’s magazine Rowing & Regatta goes to a new digital platform.

Yesterday, Kenny Baillie, director of Partnership & Communication for British Rowing, the governing body for rowing in England and, as is stated on the organisation’s website, ‘responsible […] for the training and selection of individual rowers and crews representing Great Britain’, announced that the organisation’s magazine Rowing & Regatta will go digital.

‘To enable us to deliver content to you in a more accessible, interactive and environmentally-friendly way, we will be moving from a printed magazine to an enhanced digital offering including premium content exclusively available to British Rowing members,’ Baillie wrote in a letter. He continued to write ‘Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are no longer able to produce a magazine whilst we finalise the new digital offering. This will mean that no further issues of Rowing & Regatta will now be printed and there will be a slight gap before the new platform is available.’

It’s understandable in these economic strapped times, due to the Coronavirus, that companies and organisations must tighten the outflow of money. In the case of British Rowing not having to print Rowing & Regatta and pay for postal fees, and maybe even spending less funds on designing the magazine, the organisation will save a chunk of cash. One problem can also be that printers can be under lockdown and would have a problem actually printing the publication. If this is the case for Rowing & Regatta, I don’t know.

I was an editor of a printed magazine at a large museum for nine years. Six weeks ago, a decision from the museum’s top that the publication was going from print to digital didn’t come as a surprise to me due to these surreal times that saw the museum temporarily close. Two weeks later, I was laid off (we were close to 200 of the museum staff who got our marching orders). Many of the members/friends of the museum are older and prefer to get a printed magazine in the mail. I, myself, rather read newspapers and magazine in their printed form, not on a computer screen, or worse, on my mobile phone. And I prefer to see and read my own articles in print. But if it’s a question about getting news or no news at all, I’ll take the screen version.

Of course, the death of printed publications started several years ago – including some fine rowing magazines – when advertising in printed media went into a decline due to advertisers preferring to put their ads on Google or websites. It now seems the blasted COVID-19 will speed up the process of printed media’s demise.

Let’s hope that Wendy Kewley, who has been the editor of the brilliant Rowing & Regatta since 2008, will continue to be at the helm of the new digital platform, whatever form it will take in the future.

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