Farewell, SURFING Magazine: A Questionable Future for Print

After more than 50 years of publication, SURFING magazine has been put to rest.

According to the Ocean County Business Journal, on January 23rd of this year, The Enthusiast Network (TEN) announced it would be disbanding SURFING Magazine. TEN plans to reallocate the deceased magazine’s resources into the network’s sole surf publication, SURFER magazine.

“I was actually pretty bummed when SURFING mag shut down. I’ve been getting that magazine in the mail every month for ten years so it’s a little surreal,” said junior Monmouth University student John Waldron.

In an article on Surfline.com, the author underscores SURFING’S importance for surf culture. “They [SURFING] were a voice for the youth, the punks, the innovators. The place to go for a fix of no-bullshit surf clips, an outlet for the ‘core’ surfer.”

SURFING was an integral aspect in surf history, so you may ask why have they been exterminated?

In this case, maybe it is better to counter with another question. Did you hold a subscription to SURFING? How many people still subscribe to any magazine or newspaper publication for that matter?

The answer for college students worldwide is usually a reverberating, “no.”

In essence, there has been a collective affinity towards quick, online news. Almost every publication, small or large has been forced to have some sort of online component.

In addition, younger generations gravitate toward a variety of Internet forums for news, and it does not necessarily mean they are refreshing FOX or CNN all day long. Twitter, Facebook and other similar apps and websites are beginning to function as news, entertainment and almost everything else in between.

“I used to be subscribed to SURFING but now I get my surf updates and news mostly off Facebook. But I know it is not a proper news medium, it just gives you what you want to see,” said junior student John Johnson. “I love seeing John John [Florence surfing] clips and so they are always popping up on my Facebook feed. It’s different than credible newspapers or magazines where the writers decide what you’ll be reading,” finished Johnson.

Social media’s easy accessibility and versatility of information sharing are two of its biggest benefits. Yet, the benefits that consumers enjoy on Facebook are the same factors that have buried publications like SURFING.

As a society, we have decided to swipe rather than turn a page. Our hunger for fast information is insatiable and is constantly changing our avenues of communication.

It is easy to say that all print publications will suffer the same cruel death that SURFING has endured. However, print is not dead (yet).

“I think it is too soon to say if print will disappear entirely. Certainly paper publications offer something digital reads do not – no need to charge a battery or get cell service to read them,” says Monmouth University Journalism Professor, Eleanor Novek.

Novek continued to say that, “There are populations who can’t afford data plans (poor people, incarcerated people) or who want to get off the grid. There are also people to whom technology is a puzzle (some elderly folks).”

Young people today cannot imagine a world where information is not readily available. In the past, folks had to wait for physical books, newspapers and magazines to circulate in order to attain information.

Professor Novek states that, “The problem for all of these industries has been and continues to be finding a way to get paid for content in a world where consumers want to get content for free.”

For some consumers it is often a novelty to hold a physical magazine. Thankfully, these people do not mind paying a little out of pocket in order to get away from the touch screen and kick back with the real thing.

“Personally, I read some publications online and some in paper. But long reads are best in paper, in my opinion,” says Professor Novek.

There is definitely something to be said for owning a physical copy of media content. This idea is resurfacing in multiple media-driven areas. For example, a parallel can be drawn between the music and journalism industries.

“I think there will always be those who believe in physical publications. Records came back into style so why can’t physical books and magazines?” reflected Waldron.

Hope for print media has not entered the same grave that SURFING has been dropped into. It is up to the consumer to recognize the need for both print and digital content.

The timesaving nature of digital media has offered extremely efficient ways to gain knowledge for the consumers of our nation. At a moment’s notice we are able to queue up our favorite surf movies or fact-check a know-it-all roommate. That is truly awesome and is a testament to hard work and technological information.

However, some things just should not be so easy. Anticipation is becoming a lost emotion for young people worldwide… It’s waiting all day for your favorite magazine to get dropped off in the mail or the drive home with a fresh record in your backseat. Anticipation feels good and eventually comes full circle when you can sit back and block out everything else around you.

RIP SURFING (1964-2017).

Tagged , , , , ,

Leave a Reply