Fish & Game magazine crashed
Comments from a Hawkes Bay reader (repeated below from TRM Daily Report last Friday) complimenting Fishing & Outdoors Newspaper for their gutsy investigative journalism is a reminder of the inevitability of the Fish & Game magazine crash after 25 years. That loss makes it even more important as anglers desperately need a strong political voice to question environmental issues in a monthly newspaper… Fortunately “Fishing & Outdoors” is dedicated to protecting what we have left.
The last Fish & Game magazine “End of an era” (?) editorial claims their coverage of “environmental woes associated with water quality decline” and “increasing public awareness of these pressing problems when other fishing and hunting magazines won’t go near the topic” (?). Perhaps they never read Fishing & Outdoors newspaper leading the charge.
The Fishing & Outdoors headlines on right indicate how controversial they are. That is good. All anglers need a newspaper which is not afraid to be controversial. As their motto suggests: “Fish today for tomorrow”.
They – Fish & Game – are not alone and follow the demise of Target Taupo a few years ago – the quarterly magazine published by DOC for the Taupo Fishery – which perhaps suffered from having to be very PC but was still a far better publication with more comprehensive well researched articles of more interest to Taupo trout anglers; sadly missed but yet still failed.
In the last Fish & Game issue 101 in Letters to the Editor a “contributor”, (? – being the previous editor Bob South) raves about “such a prestigious publication” waffling on about such a great work and quality product now in its 25th year? Surely, if the quality of the publication was anything like he claimed, it should have survived.
TRM had an amusing “run in” with him years ago which may illustrate their commercial arrogance and why they deserved to fail.
At a time when the local Taupo region trout fishing was struggling, DOC provided them with a well researched article on reasons why the Taupo fishery was not firing. Good stuff of interest to TRM inmates so I contacted the writer (Glenn MacLean) at DOC who confirmed he was keen to see his report more widely distributed as the info was very topical. He readily gave his permission, adding that we might check with Fish & Game’s editor, in case there were any issues. So TRM emailed Bob South requesting permission. We received back an emailed threat that if we ever reprinted one word from Fish & Game magazine then we would have to account to their Fairfax (Sydney) solicitors. So for the Daily Report we posted TRM’s request and their reply instead… TRM inmates always enjoy the more contentious stuff…
So how did Fish & Game magazine fail??? As the Hawkes Bay correspondent suggested, perhaps it failed to address the issues that anglers wanted to read!
In this enlightened new age of electronic communication it is arguably inevitable for most traditional magazines like Fish & Game publication to fail? This was not completely unexpected in this modern age of internet communication keeping anglers instantly informed and up to date. We know. TRM fishos can never get enough info…
The Fish & Game magazine probably lasted longer than they deserved. At TRM we held our own informal survey over the years by watching all the Fishing & Outdoors newspapers taken out of reception while Fish & Game magazines were ignored.
Anglers have expressed to TRM that the failure of Fish & Game magazine was further proof they were living in the past and failed to adjust to the 21st century – i.e. the dreaded internet. Hopefully for anglers, Fish & Game organisation will now rely more on the internet for future communication direct to hand held devices for their membership. Their Reel Life provides much more relevant fishy info. so we hope that may be used more often now to replace the Fish & Game magazine.
Fresh water anglers in particular are always thirsting for more info so tomorrow TRM Daily Report will cover all the other sources of fishy news to assist trout anglers. There is so much information available if you know where to look. So much that perhaps it was the competition that forced the Fish & Game magazine out of the market. More on that competition in TRM Report tomorrow…
To reflect on their history – we admire their commercial optimism – from their Fish & Game webpage:
Fish & Game – In the beginning…
Fish & Game NZ Magazine was born out of the features section of NZ Fishing News in 1993. Bob South was the features editor at that time and teamed up with ad man Peter ‘Fox” McIntosh and designer Stan Tucker, of Hot House Design Group, under the then contract, to the publishers. The first years issues of Fish and Game NZ magazine were all commercially driven to the incumbent freshwater audience without much Fish and Game New Zealand involvement.
The eventual marriage of the magazine and the NZ Fish & Game organisation came after a direct approach from then national Fish & Game councillor Tom O’Connor to Bob South in 1994, with O’Connor long holding a desire to have his organisation involved in a world class national publication.
The first F&G ‘Special Issue’ was a collaboration between the Fish and Game Council and the incumbent publishers to add regional content and mail out to the licence holders/purchasers to better communicate F&Gs field work and objectives. This is now an over 21-year relationship that commenced with the first Special Issue in 1995 and is now into its 43rd Special Issue edition in 2017.
Some publishing history.
The original publishers sold the magazine to Independent News Limited, then later INL sold it to Fairfax Media, but throughout these transitions, the relationship and publication continued to flourish attaining at its peak a circulation of 309,000.
That the magazine has proved a success is reflected in the seven national media awards it has received in its life, including News-Stand Magazine Of The Year at the prestigious Qantas Awards in 1996, as well as runnerup in that category in 2001, and later MPA Special Interest Magazine Of The Year in 2002 after being runnerup in those same awards in 1996.
The here and now.
Today, Fish & Game NZ magazine & online, is (was!) designed, produced and published by BDMA Revolution Ltd in collaboration with The New Zealand Fish & Game Council, who bought back the rights to the title in 2016. Editor Hamish Carnachan had this to say; “Quite simply, the new ownership arrangement will significantly extend the outreach of Fish & Game NZ magazine’s content and messaging to an unrivalled level, even television, within the country’s fishing and hunting community.”
Over the years, the quality of the photography and the thought-provoking articles have continued to provide insights for all those into fly fishing, game bird hunting. Hamish reiterates “With the best outdoor writers and photographers in the business, and award-winning columnists, we’ve got the action and key issues that matter to anglers covered. We’re NZ-owned, NZ-operated, and the NZ authority on trout and fly angling in New Zealand and abroad. Fish & Game NZ magazine. Simply the best”.
(Yeah right! They were so confident in their ability they could not possibly fail)
Letter to TRM re Fishing & Outdoors Newspaper:
A trio of words in your last issue caught my eye. You, Mr Editor, said “Remember we are not a warm fuzzy fishing and hunting magazine.”
Thank goodness for that. Who wants to see rows of photos and stories of various bods with their big fish or big stag while “hard news” is missing?
These other publications rarely pick up on issues threatening the public’s sport. Yet if DOC and mad scientists get the last deer by either chemical or crazy science, there will be no need for a hunting magazine. Similarly if rivers run dry or are polluted and sea fish stocks plundered by company fishers, then trout fishing and saltwater fishing as we know it will be gone. Fishers will all be gone.
So these other magazines who do not care an iota about these hard issues will have dwindling numbers of readers.
This is something so basic, they don’t understand.
The other magazines do not even have letters to the editor. Free speech is dead.
Instead we have photos of “grin and grip” style.
But your paper, Mr Editor, stands like a beacon taking up the “hard issues”.