Thursday, July 29, 2010

Long Travel Magazine: The New Kid...

Still primarily a niche market, true off-road racing saw a new entry to the magazine arena this month.

Long Travel magazine has debuted and is likely only available to you if you are in the Western US as I could not find an issue at either Barnes & Noble or Wal Mart (the two outlets that I have been told will carry this title) and had to have mine mailed from AZ. Regardless, if it can reach a decent sized market and cause other outlets (online and otherwise) to step up their games then I am all for it.

The current 0ff-road market for magazines falls into either the slow (rock crawling, trail riding, "jeeping", etc.) or the fast (desert, rally, rock racing, etc.) and only one magazine, Dirt Sports, has been able to successfully cover both arenas though remains primarily a desert racing outlet.

All off-road oriented media outlets suffer from a lack of real news reporting, low budgets and a tendency to pander to their advertisers. While this isn't much different from mainstream auto outlets (Motortrends recent praising of the new V6 Mustang without ever having driven it comes to mind) it still isn't a good thing.

Long Travel magazine suffers from some of these same issues. Its faults include poor copy editing with a number of typographical (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.) errors. For a supposed professional publication it is really unacceptable to find these, yet month after month an otherwise excellent magazine like Dirt Sports has similar issues. I don't know if its that the publishers don't care or don't respect their readers but it's kind of sad and insulting.

An additional fault with Long Travel appears to be its lack of content. Clearly it could have used more and more varied material and likely intended to contain more but for one reason or another did not--for instance, they do a nice detailed job on the build of a Chevrolet Silverado covering everything from a suspension kit to a bed cage and they break the build down into four parts. In parts 2, 3 and 4 we are told "in last month's issue..." clearly indicating that the original intention was to spread the details out over a number of issues but instead put all four parts of the build into a single issue--either they were scrapping for content to fill out the magazine or again, the copy editor botched the job and didn't cut these references out.

So you probably think I hate the magazine. I don't. I actually read it cover to cover and found it had a lot to offer.

The magazine covered the grassroots MORR (MidWest Off Road Racing) organization which no one else has, had some solid info on how to set up a Lowrance GPS, had a couple of nice vehicle features, and a great interview with Pat Dailey (one of the founders of Fast-Aid, a group that benefits injured racers/support crew). There is truly some solid work contained in these pages.

If Long Travel can not overload their mag with the vehicle features (everyone has seen enough nice paint jobs and shiny lift kits by now, only show us something new or special) and focus on giving the reader something truly unique, it could become worth a subscription.

No comments: