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Discussion: The Last O/NA

in: Orienteering; News

Dec 11, 2019 2:01 PM # 
According to Clare Durand's President's Column in the Fall 2019 Orienteering North America, this will be the last printed edition of the magazine.

I'll be very sorry to see it go. But having published our own CAOC club newsletter for many years, I understand the difficulties. Small-circulation publications are truly a labor of love. And I'd like to thank Donna and Steve Fluegel, and before them, SaraMae and Larry Berman for delivering my favorite publication to this distant outpost for so many years.

When I first showed up for a local meet in 1992 at a Chicago forest preserve, I was a bit skeptical of the rag-tag bunch that handed me a map and pushed me out into the woods. O/NA soon arrived in my mailbox tho, and I was reassured that this was indeed a legitimate sport. As with everything else in O, thanks to all the contributors and volunteers who made this publication such an interesting read for these past 27 years!
Dec 11, 2019 8:32 PM # 
I certainly was expecting that by now we would see a RFP soliciting a new editor / publisher, assuming that nothing had been worked out privately to pass the torch.
Dec 11, 2019 8:50 PM # 
Well, OUSA has been pretty much the only customer of O/NA (I imagine there have been a very few direct subscriptions, and no newsstand sales). So if the one customer decides that they don't want a product (presumably anticipating that any other publisher would need to charge a lot more than what the previous publishers have, which is essentially nothing), then there's no market. Donna had reasons for doing this as what amounts to a volunteer up until now, but those reasons went away recently. Doesn't make a lot of sense to send out an RFP for something where you're hoping that the winning bid will be, "I'll do it if you cover the printing and mailing costs". If somebody is interested in that (or thinks there's a business model here that would work), there's certainly a void that they could step into. Might be they could even arrange to take over the title if they think there's brand value there.

Print publications are mostly a tough business these days, especially when there aren't many advertisers interested in your target market. (How much does the average subscriber spend on compasses annually?)
Dec 13, 2019 3:52 PM # 
I am sad to see ONA go. I looked forward to each issue. I tried to contribute an article at least once a year.

I really thought they would move to an online version which would except longer more involved articles.
Dec 13, 2019 4:34 PM # 
Although I understand the necessities of making this decision, I will really miss ONA. And my spouse, who has orienteered in the past but isn't heavily involved any longer, also enjoys reading through each ONA, and makes positive comments on a number of the articles.
Dec 14, 2019 1:38 AM # 
Huge thanks to Donna and Steve for their labor of love in maintaining ONA, and to the Bermans for starting it. ONA has been a valuable asset to our membership and the community.

There is a proposal in the works by the OUSA Board to use the budget vacated by ONA to pay someone to run our communications - including the newsletter, social media, and about two print and electronic magazines per year. This is not yet finalized, but we are anticipating that for the 2020 budget.
Dec 14, 2019 1:51 AM # 
That communication better include updating the O-USA website because a prominent reason listed there for joining O-USA is the subscription to Orienteering North America.
Dec 14, 2019 2:54 AM # 
We were waiting for the last issue to go out (and guidance from the board...Ian?) before updating the member page.
Dec 14, 2019 4:08 AM # 
I'm actually sad to hear about this as I was subscribed also and looked forward to each new edition.

This brings me to a point that seems to sort of be a valid root to this problem. Do enough people want to hear about this kind of stuff?

I made a fairly nice looking blog about a year ago and was updating it consistently but eventually became a little burnt out as no one seemed to care enough about it to even read it. (Seems to be the same issue with ONA)


If people would actually be interested in hearing a descriptive account of my trainings and following along, then I could continue writing new posts on it yearly.
The main reason I stopped is that no one was subscribed / reading it other than the people who watch my attackpoint daily.

Here is a link to it, and one issue might have been that I did not advertise it well (probably should have started a new discussion to say it exists) and thus I think many people have never seen it.

I'd be interested to know the community's thoughts as to if they would like to read something like this with monthly or bi-monthly posts for free?
Dec 16, 2019 1:14 PM # 
I certainly like reading your regular attackpoint log. But I generally don't subscribe / follow other blogs - if something particularly interesting is specifically mentioned on attackpoint, I'll check it out. (and I know I've looked at your blog once or twice before - very nicely organized, lots of cool info). But I already spend way too much time looking at computer screens to want to subscribe to extra blogs, etc (although I'm sure that yours would be incredibly interesting). I suspect that's an issue with lots of other orienteers - we are busy people, I like the "one stop shopping" of attackpoint, but don't have the time to do a lot of "surfing".
Dec 16, 2019 2:03 PM # 
I'm not sure what the reason is or even if it is true but I once was told by a writer that people will be interested and read an article written about someone in the third person over one written in the first.
What does that mean?
Let's say someone named Jeremy writes, "I ran up the reentrant with my heart rate accelerating until I saw the large boulder on the right where I turned west and headed to the small knoll." and that goes on for 500 or so words. Who would want ot read that? Not me.
But lets say someone else writes, "Jeremy ran up the re-entrant. He could feel his heart pounding. Seeing the large boulder to his right he turned west and soon spiked the control on top of the small knoll." I don't know why but that latter version just seems more appealing.
What is the message? Want to spike up your blogs: try pretending someone else is writing about you.
Dec 16, 2019 3:40 PM # 
All this reminds me of how, with the elimination of traditional print newspapers, a small group of writers and publishers came into existence and created a small printed newspaper.
Dec 16, 2019 3:49 PM # 
@gordhun: good points on how some narrative sells and other doesn't. Case in point, Bill Bryson was not a professional hiker or adventurer, and yet, his narrative style caught attention, as his book about hiking outdoors became a best seller.
Dec 16, 2019 5:59 PM # 
Putting my earlier comment another way - if you were to do monthly or bi-monthly updates, I think a lot of people would enjoy them - but post a link in your AP log when new things are added to let people know its time to check in.
Dec 16, 2019 8:10 PM # 
re 3rd person vs 1st person-
I have long wished more than a few singer-songwriters would figure this out, or when using first person, at least let it be a different character or story, not just their own navel gazing.
Dec 16, 2019 9:26 PM # 
Like....Taylor Swift?
Dec 16, 2019 10:46 PM # 
Probably, especially after listening to the link, although I can't claim to know much about her work, and I'd just as soon cut some slack for my hometown girl. (Reading, PA)
Dec 17, 2019 7:06 AM # 
Welcome to New York.

On a related note, The Australian Orienteer magazine is facing a similar dilemma. It's distributed to its entire membership base (those who request the printed version) on a quarterly basis but I can't imagine there are many sales outside of this market. There has been debate recently of moving to purely online but the content would still need to be provided, it'd just be in a non-printed format.

This discussion thread is closed.