I was saddened by the news this morning that Sporting News magazine is ceasing print publication with this next, final edition. (The brand will continue digitally, on iPads, online, so on, you know: Internetty places.) Like many people, I read TSN regularly as a kid and have been a subscriber my entire adult life. I also worked for TSN Online as my first real job, from June 1998-December 1999.
But want a good sign why the print publication is ceasing? How about this: I’ve been the front-of-the-book columnist for Sporting News for more than four years now — I started a couple of weeks after I left Deadspin — and I don’t personally know a single person who knows that fact, outside my family and my editors there. I mean, no one has ever mentioned it to me, ever. The only people I’ve ever met who knew I was the columnist were people who personally emailed the address next to the column itself. Many of them people were in prison or currently, that second, in the dentist office.
I enjoyed writing the column and loved working with some of my old TSN colleagues from the St. Louis days. Those guys have worked their asses off for years. And it’s certainly possible that the column itself was so bad that it just never garnered a reaction, that every other writer was getting constant feedback, that it was just me. (Oh man: I hope I didn’t kill the magazine.) But the saddest part isn’t that TSN is ceasing print publication this month; the saddest part is almost everyone thought it already had.
I do not know if I’ll be continuing to write for TSN in its bi-monthly yearbook editions. I’m interested, as long as I don’t have to write next to this moron. But even though it’s just an “evolution of the brand,” as they always say, let’s not kid ourselves. The Sporting News has been printed for 126 years. Now it won’t be. We’re losing something real here.