The New And Improved Baseball America In 2019
You’ve heard the story countless times. Media company fighting the headwinds in the industry decides to reduce the frequency of its magazine while claiming that the publication still holds the same value. The formula doesn’t compute: fewer pages and reduced frequency equals less value, not more.
Many in publishing are panicking. Late last year, “Seventeen” announced that it was no longer publishing a print magazine after 74 years. Several other renowned titles have either eliminated their magazines or significantly reduced the number of issues they produce.
At Baseball America, we are well aware of the challenges in print, but we also strongly believe in our product and loyal subscribers. Starting this month, we are going monthly and are very excited about it. I believe this will enable us to put out a better, more comprehensive and focused magazine and provide more value in the process. I know you’re skeptical—I would be too—but please allow me to explain.
We may be reducing the frequency, but not the number of pages or total content. Instead of putting out two 36-page magazines per month, we’ll produce one which will generally vary between 68-80 pages. By putting everything together in one issue we’ll be able to devote more pages to the most important subjects and issues of the moment. Take this issue, for example. Our College Preview is filled with more insightful content and expert analysis than ever before. We devoted 34 pages to college baseball compared with 19 pages last year.
What’s more, we will be doing more deeply reported enterprise stories and packages. Some of our staples will get stronger and more robust as well. When we redesigned the magazine in the summer of 2017, organization reports were reduced to one league per issue. I heard from many readers who were upset with the change and several pleaded with me to run American and National league org reports together. Now, readers will get their wish when both leagues will run in every issue—and we’re dedicating 10 pages to all 30 org reports.
Obituaries have long been popular. I know this all too well because I briefly took them out of the magazine and then brought them back after many passionately voiced their displeasure (see, I do listen to readers). We’ve now added an extra page of obituaries in each issue.
By taking a proactive approach, we’ve made the magazine stronger. We’ve improved the quality by upgrading the paper from newsprint to all-glossy inside to match our glossy covers. We’ve also made improvements on our staff. Our college team, led by do-everything national writer Teddy Cahill, has two very big additions: former Tennessee, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton coach Dave Serrano and Joe Healy, who ran his own website, Baseball Central. You can check out our college package—featuring a story on historic Florida State coach Mike Martin, who will be retiring after his 40th season, and our preseason Top 25—starting on page 14. You’ll also be able to find daily coverage, including podcasts and videos from Serrano, at BaseballAmerica.com.
We’re focused on growth and are expanding our digital portfolio with the launch of Softball America this month. The same staples that have made Baseball America a trusted resource—expert rankings, scouting and analysis—will be found in Softball America. The site will be led by former player Maren Angus and will cover the sport at every level. You can read more about what’s happening at Softball America on page 11.
These are exciting times at Baseball America. Yes, the publishing business does have its fair share of challenges, but by staying ahead of the curve and being true to ourselves we are committed to providing the best coverage on the future stars of the game. Thank you for your passion and belief as we evolve and strive every day to continue to live up to our reputation as the bible of baseball.