From The Editor — March 2011: A T&FN Without Ink & Paper?

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS ISSUE, you may well have already read this issue. No, I’m not channeling Marty McFly here in some kind of Back To The Future time warp; I’m referencing what many of you—indeed, I would hope most of you—have already discovered by the time this in-your-mailbox version of Track & Field News has reached you.

That discovery would be that modern technology has allowed you to read T&FN in a more timely fashion.

Specifically, you’ve already been able to access the beta-test version of the online version of this issue of the magazine from our home page, good old (In a perfect world, it would be track& but the geeks who invented the internet never thought about the possibility of anything but letters and numbers in addresses.)

I hasten to stress to you the words TEST VERSION, because the details remain to be graved in stone, but we’ll certainly be exploring options whereby one can have print-only, e-only or a combination of the two. Whatever best fits your budget and desires.

What is certain for now is that at some point relatively soon in the coming months, all subscribers will be able to access the complete T&FN, in living color, weeks earlier than normal on a regular basis. First-class service without having to pay the premium in postage

This will just be the next logical step in tailoring your favorite track magazine for more efficient use. As those thousands of people who have already availed themselves of our eTN results service can tell you, not having to wait makes for a far more appealing product, even if you’re not of the instant-gratification persuasion.

Before the electronic concept has you scribbling off nasty letters to the editor, no, there are no plans to get rid of the beloved ink & paper product that has served the t&f community for more than 60 years. So long as print production remains an economically viable option—and an option that enough people want—we’ll continue to show up in your mailbox every month.

As noted in the advertisement on p. 27 of this issue, this test issue will be free to everyone, within a limited time frame. So if you have a non-subscribing friend who you think might be interested in T&FN, be sure to clue them in as to this opportunity. The more subscribers we have, the better we can serve you all.

We recently got a letter (in the mail) from a longtime subscriber who said, “I hope, on behalf of us dinosaurs, the results in T&FN will never get so skimpy it can’t be used as a reference source for meets from the past. This is just one aspect of my crusade to get the world to give up on these newfangled computer things and return to the days of the past when the LA Times would have a page and a half of track results on a Sunday in track season. So far I’m not sure my campaign is working.”

So long as the current staff is around, I can promise you that T&FN will indeed remain the “magazine of record.” There are certain things, no matter how much they’re regarded as breaking news, that need to be recorded for posterity. We’ll continue to do that, and our fervent goal is that it will be by paper as well as by electrons.