What Happen to BlackBelt Magazine ?

Burnerbob

Orange Belt
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
68
Reaction score
0
In the '60's this was a very important aspect with excellent reporting and articles.
I had not read it in a long while until given a copy the other day.
My God! There is more advertisement for teach yourself videos than you can shake a stick at. Is nothing sacred ?
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,322
Reaction score
280
Magazine and newspaper readership have been declining for years with the advent of the internet as a source of increasingly high quality, focused content. I'm sure Black Belt is no different. They have to pay the bills somehow.
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
430
Location
Cromwell,CT
In the '60's this was a very important aspect with excellent reporting and articles.
I had not read it in a long while until given a copy the other day.
My God! There is more advertisement for teach yourself videos than you can shake a stick at. Is nothing sacred ?

I subscribe to it. IMO, I'd rather see more articles on useful things, instead of whats currently there. Now, this isn't to say that there are not good articles, but some of the stuff, I end up skipping over. I think that they try to cater to many groups, vs. having a magazine dedicated to one specific group. As for the vids...yup, sadly that is something else that they need to cater to..the ones who'd rather try to learn in their living room instead of getting on the mat and putting in some blood, sweat and tears.
 

Stac3y

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
1,103
Reaction score
40
I agree there's a lot of chaff and only a little wheat, but my husband says I read it like porn. :rolleyes:
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
617
This has been going on for many years. It was decades ago when I actually read that magazine, and as the years went by, the magazine was less and less about the martial arts, and more about the ads.

However, what hastened the downfall, was the advent of today's technologies.

Technology changes things, especially with the proliferation of online sites, articles, blogs, forums, etc. I had guessed that Black Belt Magazine would eventually become its own online community in due time.

With the spread of such information everywhere, you can essentially get the same, and more likely, superior information, from free sites. Heck, with the sheer number of excellent martial artists we have on this site, I would have to say that there is nothing that the magazines can offer, that we can't, and that we have a better assortment and depth.

But... If someone does have money burning holes in their pockets, and they feel that they have to buy something, well, there's always the supporting membership option here... ;)

On another note...

For those of y'all who are computer techies, remember the Computer Shopper magazine from the 90's? Remember how they were essentially 800 pages of cut throat advertising? Now that we have price sites the likes of pricewatch, slickdeals, xpbargains, etc., nobody really has a need for Computer Shopper anymore, since it's much less costly to have a website these days.

Today's Computer Shopper still exists, but is now about 80 pages, at the most. It's all but dead, since component prices change wildly, and your paper advertisements are going to be grossly obselete by the time they hit the print, unless you guessed correctly.

With today's technologies, there's simply no need for any serious computer user to resort to paper catalogs anymore.
 

celtic_crippler

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
3,968
Reaction score
137
Location
Airstrip One
Got news for ya'll...

Print Media is...:flushed:

If I were a betting man I'd say it won't survive the end of this century.
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,322
Reaction score
280
Good post, Grenadier. As another example you only have to look at the free online Totally TKD magazine to see something that's far superior to the published Taekwondo Times magazine.

The internet has allowed people with PASSION to easily release content of superior quality. In the past, financial considerations would have prevented it being printed and then circulated, but those barriers are now gone.

Old establishment media like the NY Times are on the run - network television is losing watchers right and left. I have no idea how things will settle, but there's no question we're watching a media revolution unfold before our very eyes all thanks to the near ubiquity of broadband net access in the West as well as the Far East.
 

MBuzzy

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
107
Location
West Melbourne, FL
I think that we're what happened....

They obviously weren't making enough money and were forced to turn to lower level advertisers. It isn't greed at all. I am sure that they would prefer to put out a more quality product, but they have to pay the bills...If we aren't buying it, then teenagers that want to be ninjas are.
 

Omar B

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
3,687
Reaction score
87
Location
Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Let me tell you, as someone who works in publishing, the industry is in the toilet. I've written articles that had to sit on the shelf for months because they just don't have the space to make an issue feasible and would rather sell the page or two. Then when they finally use the article it's months out of date and they print it anyways or have you cobble together a new one from the skeleton of the one you already did.

Magazines also lack variety these days because (here is a little industry secret for you) they use journalists who actually know the subjects to write the articles. Saves on travel, phone time, etc for the magazine. When writing about your buds you don't even have to be there, you can do the whole thing yourself and hammer out a couple new items to put upfront in the article.

Go ahead and check out any genre specific magazine, you'll see if it's a music magazine and there are articles about metal it's usually the same 5 guys or blues, again the same couple guys. It applies to the whole industry. In the end you get a lack of objectivity and guys who try as they might can't write an article fromt he standpoint of a person not knowing anything about the topic and wanting to learn (read Popular Mechanics latley?).
 

Andrew Green

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Messages
8,627
Reaction score
452
Location
Winnipeg MB
Got news for ya'll...

Print Media is...:flushed:

If I were a betting man I'd say it won't survive the end of this century.


I think there is still a place for print magazines, but they need to increase their value to the customer, even if it means increasing the price. Most magazines have been making themselves more and more disposable, and if people don't want to keep them they aren't going to buy them.

Make it quarterly, get rid of the ads and charge $15-$20 / issue for a 100 page magazine with quality articles and a higher quality paper / cover and I think they'd do better.

I'm not sure if it still exists but when Journal of Asian Martial Arts surfaced it was on a different playing field in terms of quality. They charged more, but put a lot more value into it.
 

Brian R. VanCise

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
Messages
27,758
Reaction score
1,518
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada
Journal of Asian Martial Arts is an excellent magazine and yes it is on a whole different level. http://journalofasianmartialarts.com/cms2/

In regards to Black Belt magazine Arnisador pointed out above that the articles are really just extended ads. So when looking at the magazine and reading an article you will eventually come to the ad for that article. Black Belt simply has to pay the bills so it is ad heavy. Which in the end really means that their quality and objectivity has gone out the window. Ever notice now how the people in the Black Belt Hall Of Fame now a day's also have huge ads running through the magazine? Yes they have to pay the bills and make a buck. However, I stopped buying them about ten years ago and only take a glimpse every now and then when at a book store. I can spend my money better elsewhere!
 

TheArtofDave

Blue Belt
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
211
Reaction score
17
Location
Spring Hill, FL
I remember when I was a kid about 10, 11 years old Black Belt Magazine use to be a great magazine with lots of great articles. And it had a few ads. But nothing that would make you want to throw it in the garbage.

Sadly with the increase in technology it's probably better to look at the website. That is if it is not so ad heavy you're wasting your time by accessing it.
 

sgtmac_46

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
4,753
Reaction score
188
In the '60's this was a very important aspect with excellent reporting and articles.
I had not read it in a long while until given a copy the other day.
My God! There is more advertisement for teach yourself videos than you can shake a stick at. Is nothing sacred ?

Something wrong with instructional books and videos? I guess if someone has a small fiefdom they call a dojo, and doesn't want their students exposed to any outside influences maybe.......
 
Top