Times A-Changing

It’s a legitimate question—even as I hope, not only on my behalf, that many readers will immediately contend that they still prefer to pick up the real thing, magazine or book, that print belongs on a page, not a screen.  Trust me: I get it.  Yet the real question may be whether the next generation (or generations) of readers will hold the same affection for printed material as you and I do-and, just as important, will advertisers still see fit to spend the real dollars needed to support the printed page?

Do I worry too much?  History, I’d argue, is a fairly reliable teacher.  Concerned, as both a writer and reader, about the future of magazines, especially the one closest to home, I queried Gray’s own Editor and Associate Publisher, Mike Floyd, aka my boss.  

Here’s what he had to say.

“As for the health of Gray’s Sporting Journal, have no worries. We run a tight ship, as you know, with a skeleton crew and limited resources. But who doesn’t in this business? Ad numbers are good. Circulation is on the way back up after a dip during Covid, paired with the overall demise of newsstand sales across the industry, and remains in the 30K range where it belongs. And I’m receiving about 1,500 unsolicited submissions every year, which indicates that a lot of people are still deeply engaged with the magazine. All is well on the Gray’s front. We’re very, very fortunate. But a lot of that is because Ed Gray wrote a pretty nice recipe and we’ve managed not to change the ingredients too much along the way.” 

Given that endorsement, I think I’ll relax and go fishing.

After all, it’s part of the job.

Gray’s angling editor Scott Sadil is loath to confess that, as a third-grader, he used to steal the sports section of the LA Times out of a neighbor’s newspaper because he couldn’t wait to read the baseball box scores in the evening Herald Examiner, the paper his father subscribed to.