Cycle News Magazine closed its doors yesterday Tuesday evening after a run of almost 50 years. The weekly magazine specialized in information related to motorcycle championships, industry and riders. The news was confirmed by employees already looking for a new job.
The end of the printed magazines (like the death of the printed book) has been prophesied for many years. Whatever you may think, it’s merely an ongoing process and what is in the air is the timing. Written language doesn’t disappear, it’s just the way of displaying it.
The medium to deliver information has changed because digital is cheaper (not free), faster and because of possible interaction with the readers. The digital platform fits very well in the realm of freedom of information and expression. Dead-tree publishers can’t deny that they can’t compete in terms of economy with the web world. Add to this portability of the information and the fact that not only generations are raised on computers, tablets and smart phones, but also that older people have mastered the art of surfing the web, e-reading and smart phoning.
Recently, at the airport on my way to Sturgis, and inside the different planes I had to take, I was amazed by the number of people and bikers in possession of all the new digital tools. I love some magazines (very few), but the reality is that they are going to become collector items. Many of these magazines are jumping online thinking it’s the solution. Maybe for some, but certainly not for those trying to reproduce in a digital format the same layout and way to read and turn pages (sound of paper included!) The same information is not read and navigated the same way on paper and in pixels. Already some digital failures, although more discreet, are happening. But it’s another story… Cycle News has already an online presence, and if they continue on the web I wish them much success on their new medium..