My history with SnowGoer magazine spans a decent chunk of my life: 12 years. A lot has changed in the snowmobile industry and in the magazine business since 1997.
Obviously, machines are different. Long travel suspensions were going strong when I started in this business, but subsequent evolution has been suspension coupling, rider-forward chassis configurations and viable, great-performing four stroke engines.
Behind the scenes, the magazine publishing business is vastly different due to new technology and innovation, too.
I remember, somewhat fondly, the days of coming back from a snowmobile race or event with a dozen rolls of spent film. We’d send them out for processing and a few days later we’d find a large envelope in the mail full of 35mm slides. Instead of spending hours magnifying them at a light table to check color and focus, I can do that at the racetrack using the camera. I can instantly delete the bad pictures.
In a way, photography is cheating now. I’m a little lazier now, knowing the camera and a good art director have my back. Having a 35mm slide of the correct exposure and in focus enough to turn it into a cover shot was a big deal. Now, a skilled Photoshop user can create something out of nothing or combine multiple images, change colors, highlight here, shadow there …
Production is different, too. We have the technology to keep the whole magazine digital, so there is not a single word of text put on paper until it prints. We have little excuse for spelling errors because of our vastly improved writing software. Advertisements used to come in the mail or by courier. Now they are downloaded. I’m still not sure what an ftp site is, exactly. Letters to the editor rarely come by mail. Email is the new medium.
Like sleds are better than they used to be, so is the magazine business. More color. Better pictures. Fewer errors. I know that because of technology, we’re creating a better magazine that we hope every one of our readers enjoys.