October 8, 2014

Back To Dansworld


We started a new endeavor, the Skateboard Mag is under The Berrics skateboarding umbrella. @berrics #theberrics #theskateboardmag #grantbrittain

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The Berrics bought The Skateboard Mag, a surprising and totally predictable turn of events, given the state, or more specifically, recent size of the magazine. Full disclosure: I'm still tenuously listed on the masthead of the mag as a staff writer in each issue, though I haven't been assigned anything in more than a year. Thrasher has figured out the perfectly integrated web and print entity model, so I'm quite interested in seeing what becomes of this. Is The Skateboard Mag's website now redundant, to a certain extent? Some sort of merger of sites would seem to solve that web and print combo problem, though the company still lacks the direct connection to manufacturers that makes Thrasher such a deadly product. This 20-year-old Guardian article from Dansworld is always a good industry refresher, for times like these. Always the same vertical integration, bundled ads and so on. Hopefully a supposed infusion of cash can bring back some of the inventiveness that used to separate the Mag from everyone else leaning so hard on the am interview/roadtrip/pro interview formula.

To wit: In 2007, for TSM #45, I wrote a 3,200 word Milestone about a pre-pro shoe Stefan Janoski. That is lots of text for 12 pages in a skateboarding magazine*, an awesome opportunity that holds up to hindsight, and one of those pre-Great Recession things that was so easily taken for granted. Even if a story of that length seems like a luxury, that's the type of work that capital "m" Magazines should set out to deliver, a piece of writing that you need to choose the right couch on which to take it in, something you're going to chew over, something that takes time. Without rereading my piece, I'm sure it has plenty of now-embarrassing moments within, but that's beside the point; you've got to try to do good things for there to be good things. If a Berrics owned Mag can bring back Milestones and other pieces that once again set it apart, without killing an issue's budget, which will likely come after it is snapped out of survival mode, I'm all for it. Diversify the voices in the thing (not necessarily a pitch for work, I'm pretty alright), work to many of its strengths that never entirely diminished and work to recreate some of the hype surrounding the project that lead up to that first issue. That was something.

*Thrasher will do big deal 20 pager (10 spreads) Q and A interviews, that are great though not quite the same.


Wylie Tueting said...

Oh man, I just don't know about this acquisition! I mean if we let this happen, the next thing you know there might just be interracial marriage.
Just kidding, especially the part about interracial marriage, which is a quote from the Great Gatsby.
In all seriousness, though, I think this Berrics acquisition may yield some productive things -- just so long as Mike remains one of the writers, and just so long as Koston doesn't make me watch one more of his judo-indy-stalefish edits, which I hate.

Jonathan Richman said...

I am for it. They need, no offense dude, some serious life support. Even the website has felt sub par. Who knows what will end up happening, but a change was needed, hopefully this is it.