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The untimely death of drag racing journalist Steve Collison has caused a lot of people both inside and outside of this business to lament the death and dearth of real drag racing magazines and reporters.
In fact, Cole Coonce the editor/publisher of the very popular Nitronic Research e-zine (www.nitronic.com) wrote in his piece about Steve Collison, drag racing, and drag racing magazines in general that there weren't any good drag mags left or serious drag racing journalists working in the business full time. He actually wrote that drag racing magazines as an art form had disappeared from the scene and that Steve Collison was the last true drag racing enthusiast left in the drag racing publishing world.
In the same letter he subtly put down electronic publishing efforts and said at one point said that Dave Densmore was doing "penance" work for web sites. (Just for the record, Dave Densmore is a paid columnist for this online magazine and at least one other.)
Since Coonce was probably the first to publish an e-zine online wholly dedicated to drag racing and he is obviously very passionate about drag racing, his words carry weight. In this case, though, I think he is dead wrong.
There are plenty of good drag racing print publications available and some very dedicated enthusiasts working on them. Some people and publications that come to mind immediately include Dale Wilson (Steve Collison's co-editor at Drag Racing USA and editor of Bracket Racing USA before that), who is not only an accomplished editor but a serious bad-ass on the drag strip; Scott Cochran, editor of Drag Racer magazine, lives and breathes drag racing; and Scott Sparrow, the publisher/editor of Inside MotorSports a tabloid that regularly prints stories and scoops on drag racing that are the equal of any drag racing tabloid in history. And let's not forget Becky White's Quick Times Racing News tabloid or Todd Silvey's Drag News magazine. Their contents and editorials are a must read each month and the editors are serious drag racing enthusiasts.
Then there are the web magazines and e-zines, including Bobby Bennett's Competition Plus, which can be found at www.competitionplus.com, Cole Coonce's Nitronic Research and others. For my money, while the words printed in these Internet publications may not be on paper, they still qualify as print media.
The point I'm trying to make here is that there are plenty of quality drag racing publications, reporters, and editors working full time in both the print and electronic media, but you're going to have to look for them and then support them.
On the subject of electronic media, I'm kind off ticked at the fact that some people in this industry don't seem to want to take the electronic print magazines as seriously as the ones printed on processed bark. Cole's crack about Densmore doing penance work for a web site got me kind of hot (by the way, when talking about one of your peers in print it's a matter of professional courtesy to identify the publication he or she works for) because I felt like he was denigrating the quality of online publications and journalism. Which seemed especially strange since much of his work appears online.
When television first came on the scene, all the prophets foresaw the end of radio; well, it didn't happen. There is a place for both and each medium has its own strengths. Paper and electronic magazines are like that, too. We're not going to see the end of all paper books, magazines, and newspapers, but certainly electronic publishing will grow because it has greater potential audience reach, it can react quicker to events, and because the amount of information that is presented is not dependent upon advertising dollars to pay the printing bill and distribution costs.
The number of people worldwide getting online is growing each year and for kids growing up now, getting their information online will be the norm. It's kind of like us old fogeys still wanting vinyl records while the next generation has moved on to CD's, DVD's and Rick Dees.
Let me share a couple of numbers with the readers. For the past three months Drag Racing Online has averaged over 94,000 readers per month. In December of last year we had our best month with 98,000+ page requests and 1,119,000 hits. Our total number of readers (page requests) since we started the magazine went over one million and the hit count exceeded 9,000,000. I'm sharing the figures at the end of this column.
I've seen the Audit Bureau of Circulation figures on all the drag racing magazines and DRO's figures match any numbers I have ever seen on any paper magazine. I'm gratified by our numbers and convinced that the reason we have the readership we do is that we give them a quality magazine each month to read, professionally and responsibly produced. In fact, I can say that the group of writers, photographers, columnists, and production people that deliver the goods each and every month are as good as any I've ever worked with in my 25 years in drag racing journalism and I've worked with the best.
The main points I'm trying to make is that drag racing is getting quality coverage in both print and electronic media and that you don't have to kill a bunch of trees to produce a true magazine.
See you at the races.
(Figures in parentheses refer to the 7 days to 10-Jan-2001 09:00).
Each unit () represents 3,000 requests for pages, or part thereof.
month: #reqs: pages:
photo by Kay Burk
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