R.I.P. Trail Zone Magazine. Long Live trailzone.com.au

When I was just about to publish the new revamped offroadexplorer.com Enews about a month ago the phone rang and it was Trail Zone Magazine Editor Andrew Clubb ringing to tell me that TZ Issue 56, which he had just sent to press, was to be the last.

While it was devastating to say the least I've been in publishing as a designer, photographer and freelance writer for more than 30 years and I've seen many publications come and go. Having published my own magazine years ago, Australasian Jet Sports, I know firsthand how difficult it is to keep a magazine on the newsagent shelf.

So the first thought that entered my mind was not, 'Oh no! My life is over.' Instead I thought that I knew this day would come. After all, as a print and web designer, I could see the future of paper shrinking with the availability of information freely online. It came as no surprise.

However, there will be problems for humanity. Magazine racks have been a long standing feature within the household reading room and have been slowly disappearing. Therefore the incidents of iPads and iPhones being dropped into the toilet will be on the increase and replacement cost will have many of us wishing electronic goods were as cheap as magazines.

Believe it or not video production is also under threat. Content is so freely available and attention spans increasingly short. The amount of work it takes simply to edit 5 minutes of video is very cost prohibitive. I'm talking about professionally produced content with quality audio and seamless editing. Not the majority of crap that you have to wade through everyday. Back in the day before You Tube, Go Pros and consumer computer editing systems, the rule of thumb charge out rate for producing professional video was $1000 per minute. (Should have seen Clubby and Tania wetting their pants laughing when I told them that one when we did the first Trail Zone 'In The Zone' DVD.)

Needless to say, having worked in publishing for so many years in one form or another, Clubby and Tania have been wonderful to work with and I have never had so much fun, so many belly laughs, on so many great trips and had experiences I will never forget. They were also very supportive when I lost my beautiful wife Cindy to cancer, both as friends and as work associates allowing my editorial workload to slide as I managed a difficult time. They are like family to me and for that I am truly grateful.

But what does that mean for the future? Well, while many people say digital magazines are the future I tend to think they are what CD technology is to mp3 files. Not that the option is being totally discounted but one thing I know for sure is that Clubby will continue to spit of journalistic gems on a regular basis. I suspect you'll even see his name in other established publications all of which Clubby has been an important part of in previous years. Look forward to seeing a revamped trailzone.com.au in the future and the TZ Facebook page will be the page you can start each day with.

As for OffRoadExplorer.com it's here to stay. It's always been independent of Trail Zone and has never made any money so things can't get any worse financially. So on that note don't be surprised when ad banners start appearing. A man's still gotta eat and buy parts for his Ténérés you know.

So expect some honest commentary on ORE and since I no longer have Clubby and Tania to sub-edit my waffle I apologise in advance for anything offensive in the future.

Thanks for reading this far and keep roosting.

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