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#1 vashlin

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 13:29

Moderator note: this thread was split from the 'Motor Sport' thread

:(

Nigel is leaving Autosport! I probably shouldn't, but I find this shocking. He was one of the main reasons
why we subscribed to Autosport (with overseas bank drafts and slow transatlantic mail and all) back
in the '70s.

This explains the subscribers survey Motorsport recently sent us to fill out. How many got these?

LinC

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#2 kayemod

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 13:54

Originally posted by vashlin
:(

Nigel is leaving Autosport! I probably shouldn't, but I find this shocking. He was one of the main reasons
why we subscribed to Autosport (with overseas bank drafts and slow transatlantic mail and all) back
in the '70s.

This explains the subscribers survey Motorsport recently sent us to fill out. How many got these?

LinC


The usual analogy with sinking ships springs to mind, though that's not to cast aspersions at Nigel. Autosport has really been going downhill over the last few years, in almost every respect. I didn't bother to renew my sub late last year, and much to my surprise after about 15 years, I haven't missed it one bit. Having been out of the Country for two weeks, and struggling to follow recent F1 events in foreign language TV newscasts (I'll never complain about UK F1 coverage again), I bought the last issue of Autosport to try to catch up, and of course it hasn't improved, the current editorial team are a complete disaster. On the bright side, it looks as if Motor Sport are starting to move in the right direction.




#3 Alan Lewis

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 18:16

That's a shame, he was always one of the best bits of Autosport, even the political twaddle. Rather like George MacDonald Fraser's autobiography Light's On At Signpost (motorsporting connection there, folks!), his off-topic opinions were mostly tosh, but it was thoroughly entertaining tosh. And his on-topic writing was usually more interested in the characters than the techy bits, which appeals.

Ah well, at least they've still got Mark Hughes, who is also superb.

APL

#4 kayemod

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 18:36

Originally posted by Alan Lewis

Ah well, at least they've still got Mark Hughes, who is also superb.

APL


As always a personal opinion, but Mark Hughes was one of the many reasons that I abandoned Autosport.

#5 sterling49

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 18:54

Originally posted by kayemod


As always a personal opinion, but Mark Hughes was one of the many reasons that I abandoned Autosport.


My sentiments entirely..... Autosport is a shadow of it's former self,it reminds me of some garish teen comic.....

#6 Andy Van De Burgt

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:15

Autosport

...editorial team a complete disaster...

...garish teen comic...

What?

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.

I'm naturally disappointed Nigel has decided to move on, but I understand his reasons why. Rats leaving a sinking ship it ain't.

Best

Andrew van de Burgt

Editor, Autosport

#7 Twin Window

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:45

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
Autosport

...editorial team a complete disaster...

...garish teen comic...

What?

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.

I'm naturally disappointed Nigel has decided to move on, but I understand his reasons why. Rats leaving a sinking ship it ain't.

Best

Andrew van de Burgt

Editor, Autosport

Welcome to TNF, Andy - it's great to see you here, and fighting for your corner.

I hope that you stick this out, because it may become a little ugly... I'm an ex-Autosport man myself, and - I'm genuinely sorry to have to say this - but it really is a shadow of its former-self these days.

Having said that, I doubt that there's a single member of this forum who wouldn't rejoice in seeing *the comic* re-established to its former glory.

Good luck to you, and to your staff.

#8 Andy Van De Burgt

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:52

That's all perception Twin.

Show me the evidence of that.

Ah... the tricky bit.

#9 Risil

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:52

Originally posted by Twin Window
Welcome to TNF, Andy - it's great to see you here, and fighting for your corner.

I hope that you stick this out, because it may become a little ugly... I'm an ex-Autosport man myself, and - I'm genuinely sorry to have to say this - but it really is a shadow of its former-self these days.

Having said that, I doubt that there's a single member of this forum who wouldn't rejoice in seeing *the comic* re-established to its former glory.

Good luck to you, and to your staff.


Replace 'Autosport' with 'Formula One', and you have an equally valid statement, somewhat revealingly.

#10 Bill Becketts

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:54

I subscribe to both Autosport and Motorsport and have done so on Autosport for over thirty years.

This makes me a rare individual, I know ;)

Motorsport is going into a real Purple patch at the moment and I have always looked forward to each issue of late.

Autosport, is another matter I believe........Hughes,Cooper,Pye and NSR aside(All top notch, in this readers eyes) I have long been underwhelmed by It's bite sized, useless statistic covered, goldfish attention spanning, sexist (I am not a female), repeated Photos in different sections of the same issue.......etc...etc

But it does give coverage to a wide spectrum of racing( Not just Formula One, sorry "F1") and last,but not least, it does afford me free subscription to HERE.. :up: :up: :up:

#11 Andy Van De Burgt

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:05

,Cooper,Pye and NSR aside(All top notch, in this readers eyes)



Is this just because they've been around for the longest? Do none of our new staff have anything to say? I can't believe that.

Ok, So Bradley, Briggs, Evans etc may not resonate in the same way, but they are better writers than some of the names you've mentioned.

It's bite sized, useless statistic covered, goldfish attention spanning, sexist (I am not a female), repeated Photos in different sections of the same issue



Don't understand the first part of this post.

We devoted 3000 words to wrapping up the spy scandal. Is that bite sized?

We covered the spy scandal from start to finish. We chartered the development of VW's F3 eninge (we broke the story etc etc) Goldfish attention? No way!

Sexist? We did a six-page feature on women in motorsport last month!!!! This is just rubbish.

Repeated Photos? Once in a blue moon, and then only by mistake.

#12 Twin Window

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:08

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt

Show me the evidence of that.

Ah... the tricky bit.

No, it's not at all; far from it, in fact.

May I suggest that you start reading the bound volumes - easily available to you - starting circa 1971.

And my original post was genuinely supportive of you and your colleagues, so I perhaps you could adopt a more relaxed attitude herewith?

#13 sterling49

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:10

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
Autosport

...editorial team a complete disaster...

...garish teen comic...

What?

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.

I'm naturally disappointed Nigel has decided to move on, but I understand his reasons why. Rats leaving a sinking ship it ain't.

Best

Andrew van de Burgt

Editor, Autosport


As your customer, I pay my money and take my choice, I paid today because of the Colin McRae tribute, which is very good,however, as the Editor, you have your opinion, as a paying customer, I am entitled to mine. GP reports are now a few short columns of text with the addition of large photos to fill pages, almost everything has a red header to it and genuine clubsport is not very well catered for (although it used to be). I would compare GP reports of the '50's '60's and '70's as being far more comprehensive, covering (in text) the entry, practice and the race. I subscribe to MotorSport (having read since the '60's) and they generally produce a good magazine, it is definitely better now than of a few years back. Autosport used to be my bible, it covered all international sport and club sport (Restricted Rallies, Closed Co etc) and you could read of any personal competition escapades.

I only purchase it (or newstand browse) when there is a specific article that I wish to read.......

#14 Bill Becketts

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:30

Hello Andy

That was a quick (and colourful) reply :kiss:

"Ok, So Bradley, Briggs, Evans etc may not resonate in the same way, but they are better writers than some of the names you've mentioned."

You say some of your new boys are better than some of your old stagers........I am surprised you say this openly if only because I am "An old stager" myself, and it does tickle me when someone is applauded onto the stage, only to trip and make the same mistakes I did years before :smoking:

As regards my "Sexist" comment, I mean all the pics of the grid gals and others of the same ilk, this is a trend that became popular in the 70's, dried up in the 80's and has come back in recent times. I don't object to the pictures themselves.....it does niggle me that "My" Autosport has a "Redtop" mentality.

I stand by my repeated photos comment :)

#15 macoran

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:50

Some support from Holland.

Autosport is still nr 1 on my list.
On my doorstep the next day !!!... Friday morning !

I agree coverage of races is less than what it was in the 70s and 80s (I could feel Andretti's breath in Hunt's
neck through the text and visualize Gilles drifting into Tarzan).

But still, compared to other magazines where 6 pages are wasted by photographs telling the reader what camera the chap used, make of film,film sensitivity,shutter speed and diaphragm......anybody heard of Photography International..? I'd take a subscription out on that if I wanted to know.

And then.....two pages of boobs and Pit Pussies !!! I don't subscribe to Playboy!

Just wish that 1 page (recto/verso) would be devoted to nostalgic cars. Photograph onthe the recto side,
and history and race stats on the verso.

Oh well, I suppose I am allowed to dream.

#16 FLB

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 23:10

Originally posted by Twin Window
No, it's not at all; far from it, in fact.

May I suggest that you start reading the bound volumes - easily available to you - starting circa 1971.

And my original post was genuinely supportive of you and your colleagues, so I perhaps you could adopt a more relaxed attitude herewith?

I've recently bought some old copies of Autosport, early-1980s. I'm blown away by them. There's no garishness, no attempt to overwhelm me with (too brightly) colourful graphics. However, they have loads and loads of information about the actual races, rather than the events. They also let the stories tell themselves, rather than try to find a hook or an angle. The glamour aspect is (almost) totally ignored, but there are in-depth interviews with the players (there's an Andretti interview by Roebuck that sticks in my mind). For want of a better word, nothing feels trivialised.

Maybe it's because there weren't many top-of-the-line British drivers at the time, but they also seem less 'tabloidy' than Autosport now feels. I understand Hamilton sells mags like Mansell did, but Autosport's readership isn't only from the UK. It used to be the best racing magazine internationally, period. Now, it feels overwhelmingly patriotic, first and an international racing magazine, second.

The national (and even the clubbie) stuff is expected and has a relevance internationally because so many drivers spend their junior years in the UK, but the relentless plugging of British F1 drivers these past few years has had my bullshit meeter pegged down flat.

#17 mfd

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 23:23

Originally posted by Twin Window
May I suggest that you start reading the bound volumes - easily available to you - starting circa 1971.

And my original post was genuinely supportive of you and your colleagues, so I perhaps you could adopt a more relaxed attitude herewith?


Indeed Stu, a very generous & benevolent attitude to adopt:up:

It may just be naive to think that in my formative years, all those hours poring over Motor Sport, Motoring News etc & drinking in every morsel didn't inform and awake a deep passion, that I somehow find wanting these days.

Of course today's editor will have opinions based on his particular vision of how Autosport should appear. We live in different times and the current style might not be pretty for us older readers, but then can we expect all those new writers to have been weaned on the likes of DSJ or Peter Egan?

Perhaps if the Autosport editor enlightened us with some of his influences, then perhaps we'd have a better understanding of why it is this way today?

#18 VWV

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 23:26

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.



My 2 cents, Andy's first paragragh sounds like a mission statement for Autosport, how close it comes to acheiving it is debatable but I stopped buying it on a regular basis around 1999-2000 as I found it no longer suited my needs content wise and the evolving style of the magazine did not suit my tastes. It was not worth the money to me.

Andy's second sentence tells me that he is the one with the rose coloured glasses if he thinks the current format of Autosport is acceptable to a racing fanatic who likes to read. The writing just plain sucks. To be fair I have issues with most current magazines in that they are designed for the short attention span of the young generation with sound bits and "flashy graphics". Graphics design is another area where I feel current magazines in general, F1 Racing specifically, fall short short, they are ill conceived, distracting mumble jumble.

I will not be missing Matt Bishop's writing stye in F1 Racing, I liked the info in his article's but not his "Mega this, mega that, oh look what i'm thinking .... style.

I started reading both Motor Sport & Autosport in Canada in the early 80's and it was a godsend to a young lad trying to learn all he can about his passion so Andy I know what I'm talking about and if you want to Autosport tp prosper and grow (and to be employed) you should take take off you rose coloured glasses and reflect and what your trying to acomplish and if your succeding.

#19 RA Historian

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 00:57

I subscribed to Autosport roughly from 1980 to 2003 or so. Quit for a number of reasons, one of which was that I felt I could spend $170US a little better elsewhere. But as a Yank, I wanted more info on US series. Didn't care at all to read about rallying, and British club racing, while of value to UK readers, just did not make me want to spend the time reading it. A time issue, if you will, what with getting 15 to 20 other mags per month, plus books. I simply did not have the time to read it anymore.

But a couple things did annoy me. One, at least to my perception, was the printing of every rumor that came along, many times as fact rather than rumor. That got old. The other was the graphics. The covers became so garish that they were an offense to the eye. Not to mention that it seems (and I surely am exaggerating here) that in the 80s to mid 90s three out of every four covers were of Mansell, then in the mid to late 90s of Damon Hill, and then into the new century, Button. I have not seen an issue in a few years, but I suspect that Hamilton finds his way onto the cover every now and then....

Not that I disliked the mag, mind you, just that I ran out of time to read it properly, the desire to pay for it, and got a bit tired of the graphics, the rumors, and the British chauvinism, although I can excuse that considering that it is, after all, a British mag.
Tom

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#20 Darren Galpin

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:27

I've only read Autosport since 1992, so I can't compare it to earlier editions. However, lately I think that it has got better for the following reasons:

1) They now have an errata box. Congratulations for admitting errors and then publishing corrections.

2) The whole results of the sportscar races are now published. It used to annoy me no-end when "unimportant" retirees were missed out to keep the results box within a certain size.


It is also the only magazine which covers such a wide range of motorsport. There are niggles of course - why are some races in a championship reported one week in the world of sport section with a top 6 list, and another week with only the winners? Some consistency would be nice. And sometimes it feels as if a small comment from someone in F1 is blown up into something far more important than it is. But that is only in the first couple of pages.

This may be heretical, but having gone through old Motor Sport's for example, I'm not sure that the magazines you remember are always the magazines that they were. At the time you compared them to what else was available, and they were obviously far better. But if you take one from today and one from the past, I wouldn't say that the old magazines were always better, and always contained what was relevant (were Bill Body's car tests of a Rover really relevant to Motor Sport?). The style of writing has changed of course (message to AVDB - Please Please PLEASE don't use "fever" in an article ever again unless you are (a) referring to a medical condition, or (b) using it within the word "fevered". It's an Autosport made up word which grates no end. It is not an adjective.), and sometimes is a little too sensationalist at times. But there is no other physical magazine which I could buy which covers the same thing, and you can't easily find everything within it on the net either. So I'll continue to purchase it. Of course there is always room for improvement, and when waxing lyrical about current achievements, a look back at history more often would be good. Who cares that Vettel was the youngest driver to ever score a championship point when he got the point for 8th place? I'm sure that if you looked back through the history books you could find someone younger who finished 8th before, it's just that they didn't award points for that then. Qualifying your statements to place them in a better context would make for a more rounded article.

#21 Andy Van De Burgt

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:53

From time to time, I have picked copies of the magazine and looked at them.



So you're not exactly familiar with the true diversity of our content are you?

Be dismissive or condesending with some of us all you want -- the "jaded" comment for instance, but as the editor you are scarcely an unbiased observer. When customers tell you that your product is a piece of shit -- which it currently is -- and try to tell you why they think that way, you might want to listen to them rather than write them off as a bunch of miserable old shits (especially when more than few here are not very old....).



Says the man who doesn't know what's in the mag.

#22 sterling49

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:09

I admire your fighting spirit Andy, I would expect nothing less from the Editor of a periodical, but as a senior sales guy, I have spent a career, customer focussing, ensuring wherever possible I serve and give my customer clients what they are paying for. I would have had a very short career if I chose to ignore these fundamental basics, I would say, that would convey a very real arrogance. I stand by my words and choice, if the mag regains its former glory, I will buy again, until then I will cherry pick.

Back when (as my kids would say) "the earth was still hot", I learned an important lesson as a tenderfoot, when you are supplying/sellling/marketing, call it what you will, the customer is king. I live by these words, I need them much more than they need me!!!! I try never to forget these words.

Sterling

#23 Allan Lupton

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:33

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
Autosport

...editorial team a complete disaster...

...garish teen comic...

What?

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.

I'm naturally disappointed Nigel has decided to move on, but I understand his reasons why. Rats leaving a sinking ship it ain't.

Best

Andrew van de Burgt

Editor, Autosport


As a bystander who gave up Autosport in the late '60s and Motorsport about ten years later, I find this quite interesting. I still look at various offerings at the newsagents in case anything appeals, but none does, so A/S may well be "the most informative .. .. anywhere in the world", but the standard doesn't seem high.
We older people like to be written to in English and to be assumed to be intelligent. I know that what's quoted above isn't from his magazine, but . . .
We used to like to read about the races and the cars at all levels of the sport. We liked to read technical descriptions written by people with the engineering education to write them.
We were not unhappy that these were British magazines, and A/S's habit of using a green cover after a significant British win (or blue for a Scottish win - a happy touch by Gregor Grant!) was a sufficient use of fancy colour we thought.
We kept those magazines as works of record - had them bound, even - and still go back to them as reference tools. Do people do that now?

#24 Catalina Park

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:21

I subscribed to Autosport from the early 80s to the late 90s. I flick through a copy in the newsagent about once a month to see what I am missing and I always come to the conclusion that I am not missing anything.
Now I see that I don't have to bother looking ever again. Thanks Andy for saving me the trouble. :rolleyes:

#25 RS2000

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:31

It isn't really possible to consider Autosport in isolation from Motorsports News these days. A number of fairly recent cases of shoddy, tabloid style journalism in the latter (together with the quite bizarre appearance of having becoming the mouth piece of probably the most - justifiably - generally reviled MSA employee in living memory) has been the reason for some cancelled subscriptions. These two weeklies have sought to specialise and not duplicate but probably cannot now survive separately in the longer term?
Why? Irreconcilable differences now between the genuine competitor/enthusiast and the limited attention span semi-chav market. Falling numbers of real grass roots competitors as the sport's overhead prices itself out of existence for most and potential venues are lost to "track days" for unsuitable owners of "homologation specials" that (rightly) cannot now get away with fast driving on the public roads. The days of MN's Verglas being the oracle when the opportunity existed for everyone to compete, via road rallying, are gone and cannot return.
It really is quite a bleak outlook.

#26 F1Fanatic.co.uk

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:44

I've got a stack of 20 year-old Autosports on my shelves and I think the current product is every bit as comprehensive and informative as the older one, even in the internet age. My only complaint is that my subscription copy occasionally appears a day late.

#27 ensign14

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:48

Well, I'm happy to defend Autosport. It's still the place to browse photos of touring car championships that are very foreign to Britain. Compare with those posts here about Argentinean F1 and the eastern European series - were these EVER covered in the past? And you have the 50s issues that have an odd sense of priority, giving more coverage to Austin 7s at Davidstow than to the entire AAA Champ Car series.

Plus Autosport has the difficulty in retaining writers, now that newspapers have discovered motor sport and can lure away the Maurice Hamiltons of this world, let alone the Matt Hugheses.

I would radically redesign it. The late 1980s white covers with photos were the best, models of elegant simplicity, but I don't know what sells these days. I am definitely not a fan of garish graphics and splash headlines. And I'd cut down the pages cos there's no real need for lots of big page-size colour shots of things like Red Bulls which are very easily available elsewhere. I'd rather see GP2 back-markers. But again I'm a fairly niche market...

Plus actual quality journalism IMO has always been a bit thin on the ground. Motor sport has never really had the literateurs like cricket has. William Court excepted.

#28 Allen Brown

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:54

Welcome Andy. You have bravely steped into the lions' den and I hope that the experience proves useful, once you have stripped the bile from the constructive criticism.

I have also stopped subscribing, having never missed an issue from 1976 to 2005. I cancelled after the 100 Greatest Crashes feature which told me that I wasn't the target audience any more.

You may be right that Autosport is the 'most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world' but that does not mean that it is as comprehensive or as informative as it used to be. Remember that you were once called The Economist of motor racing. Is that still true?

When I look at a 2007 Autosport, I have no doubt that the production standards have improved and I am even willing to believe that the younger writers (and Autosport has always employed young writers) are as good as the old stagers (and Autosport has always employed old stagers) but those old stagers bring the view of the past that brings the present into focus. That focus hasn't been quite as sharp recently.

The beef many people have is the use of what they see as 'tabloid techniques' to increase short-term readership while potentially alienating the 'core vote'. How many newsstand sales does it take to make up for one lost subscription?

I wish you the best of luck as editor, as I did your predecessor. Please do look at those old copies because you may find things there that can help you improve the current magazine. Take a look at Grand Prix International in the 1980s and Speed World International in the 1960s as well. They had their plus points too.

(Edit: typo)

#29 ensign14

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:56

Originally posted by Allen Brown
Take a look at Grand Prix International in the 1980s and Speed World International in the 1960s as well.

When GPI went fortnightly it was fantastic. Couldn't last, it must have cost a fiver per issue to produce and was selling for £2 or so, but full colour on sportscars, CART, NASCAR and so on.

But some of its headlines..."Prost Proselytes Through"? What the HELL does that mean?

#30 kayemod

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:07

Originally posted by Allen Brown


The beef many people have is the use of what they see as 'tabloid techniques' to increase short-term readership while potentially alienating the 'core vote'. How many newsstand sales does it take to make up for one lost subscription?


That's it exactly, that's a perfect summation of Autosport's current problems.



#31 Andrew Stevens

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:18

I've been buying Autosport for many years now and as someone from one of the 'far flung' corners of the Empire, it is still really the best way to get information on a range of motorsport events. OK, so perhaps F1 is a little dominating, but Autosport has to survive on a commercial basis and if that is what gets them sales, then so be it. On my recent trip to the UK, visiting the Oulton Park Gold Cup & Revival meeting, I found Marcus Pye's commentary excellent and the chance to see some of the names and cars that I'd been reading about for so long in the flesh to be interesting. It can't be all things to all people and it's remit is not to cover Historic motorsport in detail, but if we didn't have it a lot of the goings on in all areas of the sport would not be covered. I know that the English enjoy a good grumble now and then, but surely there are more important things to grumble about! How about starting on the way you run race meetings? Why do most competitors only have 1 race of 20-30 min per meeting? Why not give them 2-3 8-10 lap races over a day so that they - and the paying spectators, get some more on-circuit entertainment?
Oh - and I enjoy Giorgio Piola's drawings & Gary Anderson's technical insights a lot too!

#32 Catalina Park

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:20

How many ex-subscribers have posted in this thread? :

#33 D-Type

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:25

Andy,

Welcome. Congratulations on sticking your head above the parapet. When the shower of brickbats lessens, can I suggest that you remind yourself that the comments and criticisms are coming from people who have known and respected the magazine over many years, The comments are not really hostile, but should be viewed as those one would feel free to make to an old friend rather than those you would make to a stranger.

I am not a regular Autosport reader so cannot comment on the magazine.

It appears that older copies are considered the 'journal of record' by many in the same way as the Jenkinson reports in 'Motor Sport' are. In ten, twenty, - - - fifty years' time will researchers, both amateur and professional, and enthusiasts view the present incarnation in the same way? If not, where will they obtain their information?

#34 Hieronymus

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:28

I do not think you chaps in the UK must be too critical about AUTOSPORT. You are privileged to have a publication of this calibre…and on a weekly basis to top it all. I still feel it is probably the best contemporary race magazine in the world. If not, who else is better??

Sometimes I feel that being exposed to the crap that is being dished up as motor racing on the circuits of the world these days, and the frustration it brings to enthusiasts that long for the “real” racing of days gone by, is in a way projected to the people that try to run contemporary magazines. A journalist I believe is as good as the stuff he has to report on.

#35 Twin Window

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:43

Originally posted by ensign14

But some of its headlines...

Hahaha! Brings back some good memories, does that! It was all about ongoing internal wars; Dood versus the French mainly. Then it was Dood versus Botty versus the French...

Hahaha - great days!

#36 Barry Scott

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:03

At the end of the day, I don't think the comments of a few people in here probably sum up how autosport's readership is really feeling. If I could be bothered to count exactly how many people have had a moan in here, would be really be much of a percentage of the total readership?

Unless we can go and speak to almost every reader, past and present, we're never going to know what the real verdict is on Autosport in it's current state. Personally, I can't think of anywhere else that provides the amount of information it does.

I have a handful of older issues, and while the stories are perhaps in depth, surely it was easier to provide that depth then? But also, I've tried to sit down and read an old issue from time to time, and it's a challenge. When you flick through, you are faced with pages and pages full of text, but hardly any pictures.

But please don't write me off as some young reader who is only interested in 'da pwetty colours'. If there is something in depth on a particular subject of interest, I'm all up for reading it. I'm not, however, particularly interested in reading thousands of words on Friday practice from an event. Reflection, and reaction from those involved (aka quotes), is far more appealing to me.

To be honest, if all autosport did on a Thursday was tell me the stories from the weekend, I wouldn't buy it. By then, I would have read it all on the internet. I buy the magazine now if it tells me the stories that all the ropey websites don't know about.

Thanks to autosport, when i was growing up i transformed from being an F1 fan to an all-out motorsport fan. Now, long may it continue to feed my passion.

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:19

Originally posted by Barry Scott
At the end of the day, I don't think the comments of a few people in here probably sum up how autosport's readership is really feeling. If I could be bothered to count exactly how many people have had a moan in here, would be really be much of a percentage of the total readership?

Unless we can go and speak to almost every reader, past and present, we're never going to know what the real verdict is on Autosport in it's current state.....


Maybe not...

However, if we balance the umpteen negative votes against the 2.5 positive, then we possibly have an indication that there are parts of the motor racing world where many believe Autosport has lost the plot.

That the current editor should treat readers here in the manner that he's done shows that he's not likely to listen to readers or potential readers at all. 'Head over the parapet'? Well, perhaps, but I think it's bravado rather than bravery.

#38 subh

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:30

I don’t know whether I’m qualified to comment here. I have never subscribed to Autosport, although I have bought quite a number of issues over the last ten-plus years. The fact that it has been increasingly rare over the last five is surely a reflection of my waning interest in F1, which relates to the sport itself, modern television coverage, as well as some of the politics, I suppose.

But I have to admit that I don’t quite understand the editor’s somewhat confrontational approach here. My feeling is that if both editor and readers have the same aim - for the magazine to be the best it can be - then all concerned here should be trying to take onboard any and all constructive comments from all angles. Perhaps another point to mention is that Autosport these days has to compete against the Internet as much as it does against other publications, which must make for a more demanding task.

My final point would be that the magazine I have enjoyed most in recent years, on a related theme, was the MCN Sport quarterly/bi-monthly. It had a great mix of coverage on contemporary and historic motorcycle racing, but sadly the quality of this periodical, and a measure of popularity, was not enough to keep it going beyond two or three years.

#39 ensign14

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:34

Originally posted by D-Type
It appears that older copies are considered the 'journal of record' by many in the same way as the Jenkinson reports in 'Motor Sport' are. In ten, twenty, - - - fifty years' time will researchers, both amateur and professional, and enthusiasts view the present incarnation in the same way? If not, where will they obtain their information?

They will get their information from film. So much is covered nowadays. Print media need to do something a bit different. A blow-by-blow account of a race is otiose when everyone reading the mag will have seen footage, people will need the story behind the facts. Imagine how Germany '57 would be written about today had there been in-car footage. Would people go back to Jenks other than for the enjoyment of his writing or as a confirming source? DSJ would be a help, but not the wellspring.

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#40 Gav Astill

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:09

Originally posted by subh

My final point would be that the magazine I have enjoyed most in recent years, on a related theme, was the MCN Sport quarterly/bi-monthly. It had a great mix of coverage on contemporary and historic motorcycle racing, but sadly the quality of this periodical, and a measure of popularity, was not enough to keep it going beyond two or three years.


I couldn't agree more, subh. If AVDB, or any other current/aspiring motorsport magazine editor, wants to see what a really top quality publication looks like, look no further than the old MCN Sport. Every month it contained proper news (which is somewhat different from screaming 'tabloid' headlines), all the latest results and standings, intelligent interviews with they key people in the sport, fabulous photography, and some incredibly good in-depth technical articles that expanded your understanding.

I suspect that it's demise was as much to do with its quality being at such a total varience with its parent newspaper (which really is utter bilge), than the cost of producing it. Oh, and some promotion would have helped too!

#41 john aston

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:42

I might have bought most Autoports since 1971 but thank God I haven't quite turned into an embittered old doom-monger with a grudge that needs airing just yet.Look - Autosport is ok- I think it focussses too much on F1 at the expense of National racing which is what those of us who actually bother to watch motorsport actually attend.It spends a bit too much time reporting the Argentinian SuperStox semi final (or whatever ).I could do without the tits n bums pictures , as noted above but ...what's better? Some of it is extremely well written - Hughes,Roebuck- and none of it is appallingly written .It was ever thus.So carry on Mr VdB you're doing ok.But if you can , tempt those old stagers Pete Lyons and Joe Saward into doing the odd piece would you ?

#42 ensign14

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 13:12

Originally posted by john aston
I could do without the tits n bums pictures , as noted above ...

And the 1970s issues had a LOT more tit action. Albeit usually in adverts.

Booby Galore, we remember ye well...

#43 kayemod

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 13:22

Originally posted by ensign14

And the 1970s issues had a LOT more tit action. Albeit usually in adverts.

Booby Galore, we remember ye well...


And don't forget Alan Minshaw's Nomex knickers. For anyone whose memory of Demon Tweeks doesn't go back that far, AM used to advertise them, I don't think he actually wore them.

#44 Racer.Demon

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 13:32

Another ex-subscriber here - early 80s to 2005 - echoing most of the sentiments in this thread, and especially this one from Dan:

Originally posted by subh
Perhaps another point to mention is that Autosport these days has to compete against the Internet as much as it does against other publications, which must make for a more demanding task.


In the end, it was relatively easy to give up my subscription, as my autosport.com - née AtlasF1 - subscription does a better job on contemporary motorsports, for less money. The same amount and level of reporting, background and depth, the same width in coverage, but made without the newspaper stand audience in mind.

And hey, the website even has the important magazine articles online now! :lol:

From a foreign perspective the magazine was still miles above anything else produced on the continent but that wasn't reason enough to keep it on.

I do admit that I don't know what I have been missing since 2005 but I haven't particularly felt a hole in my life, so to speak...

#45 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 13:34

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
Autosport

...editorial team a complete disaster...

...garish teen comic...

What?

I think you've been reading the wrong magazine. Either that or you've become too jaded to see it for what it is, and that's the most comprehensive and informative magazine on contemporary motor racing available anywhere in the world.

If you disagree, I'd like to see some evidence. And don't just give me the 'it used to be better' line because if you look back at the actual issues without the rose-tinted specs, you'll see that just isn't the case.

I'm naturally disappointed Nigel has decided to move on, but I understand his reasons why. Rats leaving a sinking ship it ain't.

Best

Andrew van de Burgt

Editor, Autosport


You are no longer serving a non-biased report on worldwide autoracing.

Your race reports do not carry the enthusiasm which it once did, realize that this is sort of the 'explanation' that you do not like.

Nigel Roebuck have impeccable credentials as a motoring journalist, his writing though have deteriorated over the past 5 - 7 years, and not every single instance need to be measured against the greatness of Moss and the poor behavior of Michael Schumacher.

Matt Bishop writes horrid features and his hack job on Ralf Schumacher was gutter journalism at it's worst.

There is a lot less 'sparkle' to what Autosport once was, you as the editor seem not to see the forest for trees. A quality magazine need quality content, and your have been slipping.


:cool:

#46 FLB

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 15:34

Originally posted by Darren Galpin
2) The whole results of the sportscar races are now published. It used to annoy me no-end when "unimportant" retirees were missed out to keep the results box within a certain size.

The Bob Costanduros articles weren't like that in the mid-1970s, at least for Le Mans. If you read the article, you found the reasons for the retirements. You also had a full starting grid, with times, with no etc. Autosport was lightyears ahead of the rest of the English-written mags in that regard. As you are no doubt aware, don't go to old Motor or Motor Sport issues if you seek complete results, beyond what Jenks single-handedly did for Grand Prix racing in the latter case.

#47 Terry Walker

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 15:43

There's a shakeout taking place in the magazine business. Many of the things we once bought magazines for are now available through other media, not the least of which is the medium I'm using at this moment.

Anybody trying to produce a profitable magazine (which it must be to stay afloat) has a very tough row to hoe, and has my heartfelt sympathy. In order to stay in business you need a mass market, or prodigiously high cover prices, and aficionados are not a mass market. Trying to find the right balance is like walking blindfolded on a tightrope over Niagara falls in a hurricane, pursued by a swarm of angry bees.

My solution, years ago when I edited (and wrote, roneoed, stapled and mailed) a small Club magazine, was to please myself. It seemed to work. Nowadays when I run the modern digital equivalent, the R-R Owners Club of Western Australia website, I do the same, and it seems to work still.

As Ricky Nelson cogently observed, you can't please everyone, you gotta please yourself. The catch is you might finish up with only one subscriber.

#48 David McKinney

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 16:00

I think we’re getting around to the nub of all this
I find it difficult to believe I’m defending Autopsort, having bought about 3 copies in the last 10-15 years, but if I was Mr Haymarket I’d probably be publishing somehting very similar to what’s being produced now.
Thanks to televised races, there is a big market for an “F1 fan” weekly, and that’s largely what they’re providing. In this day and age the market for a weekly for motor-sport enthusiasts (as distinct from F1 fans) is much smaller - even if it does apparently include the majority of TNFers. And in post-Thatcher Britain if you have a choice of making a small profit (or perhaps a loss) and a big profit the decision is made for you.
None of which, IMHO, excuses the dismissive attitude of the present editor towards some of the people who want to support him

#49 Frank S

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 16:56

Seems to me the fascination with motor sports was—and still should be, at bottom—in the relationships among the men, the technology, and the enthusiasts. Media were merely present to facilitate those relationships, and we respected them for that sort of selfless role, and enjoyed their output.

Today, we-the-"fans" are pretty much locked out of the interplay: corporate interests shelter and make the personalities hyper-conscious of image, and inaccessible; secrecy envelops and mystery-fies the technology; the media have become tools of the promoters and advertisers but see themselves as "stars" of the show, when they should merely be the medium ( ! ) for enthusiasts' access.

I can't opine with regard to what type of reader AutoSport caters to, or believe they are catering to, but if the target is self-absorbed me-generation types who grew up nurtured by constant "Good job!", "You're the top!" self-esteem support, and who become enraged and eventually wither or melt down if not petted constantly, maybe they're right on. There certainly seems to be one of them at the helm, now.

Good luck, I say. Keeps at least a few of them out from underfoot, anyway.

"Cheers",

--
Frank S

#50 picblanc

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 17:14

I used to buy Autosport every week in the 70's and 80's, in the 90's only GP issues or big races i:e Le Mans Indy 500 etc, hardly at all now, (six-10 issues a year maybe?) though did get the Colin McRae issue. It took no more than 15mins to read through.
The quality of the writing in "ye olde days" on all subjects was better, better in depth reporting, and as most GP were not televised live in those days when you read about it on a thursday it was as if you were there!!
No in depth race reports now but is it needed? you can basically sum it up in these words..
"Race started, red and Silver cars at the front... they followed each other round, and all came in to pits to change tyres and put some petrol in, they followed each other round a bit more... they came in to pits put petrol in changed tyres... followed each other round a bit more and then a red car or a Silver car won!! Thrilling!!!
Its b@ll@cks!! IMHO
;) sorry you F1 fans
Mind you I thought my race report was quite in depth and accurate... can I have a job Andy!!