If you hadn’t said goodbye to the old Thunder Press, the old-school/tabloid/newspaper-constitutioned version that’s been around since the early 1990s, it’s now officially too late. Because as of this issue, our January 2020 edition, we’ve finally joined the ranks of standard magazine sizing (read: physically smaller) in what’s become, sadly, a much more magazine-less society.
That last bit is frustrating for many, as is the mostly barren state of motorcycle ‘journalism’ and moto-media offerings these days. I mean, do scrollable websites really offer better story presentation and reading satisfaction than horizontally scaled and professionally art-directed pages? They do not. Sadly, we’ve allowed our desire for instant on-screen gratification kill off what was, for millions, a thoroughly entertaining part of our wonderful sport. Late-breaking news and race reporting and other timely items? Sure thing. But features and storytelling in the grand tradition of Gordon Jennings, Cook Neilson and Peter Egan? Not a flippin’ chance. It’s sad.
Anyway, all you really need to know about the new Thunder Press is its new, smaller size and higher-quality paper – and the fact that the magazine will be exactly the same as before in terms of words, photos, staff, energy and editorial focus. Our new package is a bit more economical to print and mail (simple economics, basically), but more importantly it offers both readers and advertisers a higher-quality presentation, with better photo reproduction and more visual impact. That’s a good thing.
From the outset when we redesigned Thunder Press back in June of 2019, our focus was on stories about motorcycle people, their bikes and the things they did with them, be it event participation, customization, travel, racing or whatever. It’s been a hell of an eight-month run, and that unwavering focus on the fabric and storytelling element of the sport we love will remain.
Fortunately, a lot of you have noticed and appreciate the changes, and this letter, which arrived two days before we sent this issue to the printer, pretty much nails it:
Mitch: I’m sure you’re getting tired of letters about the changes at Thunder Press, but please bear with me. Like many, I was skeptical about what first appeared to be a house-cleaning of sorts, as many of the magazine’s familiar names were suddenly gone. However, I didn’t want to have a knee jerk reaction, as I am a firm believer that, in general, people dislike change until they realize the changes being made are for the better. I was glad to see you printed opinions both positive and negative in the letters section, although I thought your remark about “all those columns” in the October issue was a bit snarky. But the more I thought about that comment, the more I realized that I usually felt like someone on the outside looking in on a club I wasn’t invited to join when I read a lot of those pieces, which seemed directed at a small contingent of readers. But what really sold me on what you folks are doing was the article about Earl Carolus in that same issue. It was one of the first times I felt like Thunder Press had presented a piece of journalism, and not just articles about rallies, new models and gear. And as I thumbed through the last few issues, stories about people like Earl, Michelle Disalvo, Chris McGregor and Mickey Rupp have made your publication something I look forward to even more every month. So thanks for listening, but more importantly, thanks for taking the magazine to a new level of quality. – John Parker
Thanks to you, John, and thanks to everyone out there who’s supporting Thunder Press – whether in print, online (yes, we have a website, recently redesigned, too!) or our digital editions, which re-create the turn-the-page magazine experience on your computer or tablet/mobile screen.
Come to think of it, digital editions are a modern, internet-based platform I can get fully behind. All of which means there’s hope for the storytelling segment of our sport. 5
If you dare to go toe-to-toe with Boehm find him at email@example.com. May your wounds quickly heal