New mag aimed at newbie and pro usersPublished: 1st Aug 2006, 00:43:49 | Permalink | Printable
In other news, RiscWorld slams Drobe [Updated]Media watch | When we first penned this article, the tone was somewhat cynical, to say the least. It all began on Friday morning when an announcement for a new RISC OS magazine dropped into our laps, shortly before the Drobe HQ cleared out early for a weekend of partying. We held off publishing our coverage because the press release left us with more questions than answers. However tonight, we've finally been able to get in touch with the brave new editor and publisher of RISC OS Now.
With Qercus now thoroughly absent-without-leave, and Archive sadly having to close its sister publication Living with technology, the launch of a new magazine dedicated to RISC OS users could be just what's needed to introduce some feeling of uplift this summer. But it's believed another publishing flop could be disastrous for the platform. So many start out with such high aspirations, but ultimately fail by refusing stick to the old adage of 'keep it simple, stupid'. They miss deadlines, are unable to make a mark in the RISC OS news agenda, get eaten alive by rival online news and comment outlets, and gradually fall by the way side.
Louie Smith has braved this trial by fire, and stepped up to present her plans for a new bi-monthly magazine, aimed ambitiously at existing users and RISC OS newbies.
She announced: "I'm looking for anyone able to write articles and reviews aimed at experts and beginners alike. I am interested in articles about existing software and new releases. Also, if anyone is interested in writing a regular column please contact me.
"There will also be advertising space for companies associated with the RISC OS world. I'm also going to include a classified section for people who are wanting to sell second hand computer RISC OS equipment or make general announcements."
The A4-sized magazine will include news and reviews, and competitions - particularly for the best front cover designs. Below is our questions-and-answers session with Louie.
|Drobe: What are you going to do to make sure your magazine doesn't go the way of so many other RISC OS media ventures, which collapse or go very quiet?
Louie: "Have 'so many' gone quiet? I don't think so. I think that this is an illusion, there is always hype around new publications when they first appear but this is generally orchestrated to help with the launch. But to answer your question, my magazine will be different because so many of the products available at the moment are aimed at the existing, and older, user group. My magazine will be aimed also at this group, but also at potential new users and those who used RISC OS in the past when Acorns were in schools rather than Microsoft. Therefore, the aim for this magazine is to have a 'younger' feel and appearance without drenching it 'plastic' so as to deter the older users."
Drobe: Why not contribute to an existing outlet, rather than try to start up a completely new one?
Louie: "The answer to this is that it is a personal venture. I want to begin my own magazine. It's harder to walk away from your own ambitions."
Drobe: What's going to be in your first issue, and when is it coming out?
Louie: "You tell me; what do 'you' want to see in the first issue? I'm in the process of receiving the first emails from interested people. From the responses I get I will be able to decide the definitive list.
"However as a general rule I'm aiming to have a series of tutorials based on different existing programs. These will run over several issues. These will be aimed at the end users. There will also be more technical sections, generally in the form of discussions and interviews. There will be a programming article, generally in the form of a 'mission' where by people have to write a one-line program to achieve a given task. There will also be a news section where people will be able to make announcements, and, provided that the legal side of this checks out, I will have a classified section. There will also be advertising space.
"As for the date of release, I won't be able to give any indication until I receive some more material and advert space. The sooner people send me this, the quicker the release will be."
Drobe: How much is it going to cost, what sort of subscription scheme are you going to use?"
Louie: "At the moment, I am aiming the price to be £4.20 per issue or £29.95 for an annual - six issues - subscription for the UK. Europe and world-wide may vary depending on postage."
Drobe: Will you pay contributors?
Louie: "At this stage, the aim is to pay contributors, however details are to be confirmed."
Drobe: Is any of your content going on the web?
Louie: "The intention is to have a website and this is currently under construction. The full contents is yet to be confirmed."
We shall watch this space.
Editorial independence under fire
Meanwhile, Drobe is described as being "short-sighted" by RiscWorld editor Aaron Timbrell in his latest editorial. It appears he is still upset that we moved some of his comments out of the way of a discussion to the off-topic forum. We did this because the comments were, in our opinion, spam for a commercial product, and he's also sore that we weren't interested in writing about his company's latest special offer. It's very true that drobe.co.uk doesn't do special offers, certainly not since 2004 and 2005. People can pay for adverts on our site. We don't consider special offers to be news because, unless there's some kind of entertaining twist to them, it's dull. Only the truly memorable stunts are worth a write-up.
Nonetheless, Aaron's editorial reopened the debate as to whether or not privately run, independent media outlets like Drobe should bend to the will of RISC OS companies, and do whatever they can to promote the remaining RISC OS firms. Acorn User in its final years was infamous for doing whatever its advertisers wanted, and we know of past editors who received the full hair-dryer treatment from furious companies who they dared to criticise. Therefore, we'd rather terminate this website than lose our editorial independence for the sake of republishing a boring special offer announcement.
Aaron's take, however, is this: "Drobe should be doing its best to promote RISC OS. The RISC OS world could do with a frequently updated news site that promotes the platform as a whole and has all the news, not just a carefully selected sample. I'm sorry that currently this simply isn't Drobe."
Oh no. Have a refund.
Update at 08:19 6/8/2006
The magazine's website is now online.
To contact Louie, drop her an email to louie (at) orpheusmail (dot) co (dot) uk
Louie on Paul Vigay's ISP stand at the South East 2005 show
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