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The Sporting News eliminates print, prompts sadness

December 31, 2012

When I was younger, I preferred The Sporting News to Sports Illustrated (except for a certain SI issue that used to come out in February). This was all pre-ESPN, when magazines were magazines rather than media platforms, and if you missed the sports at 6 or 11, you had to wait until morning when the paper came.

The Sporting News had more baseball news than I could get in the Schenectady Gazette (not difficult) or the Sunday Times Union (just a tiny bit harder). It had baseball news in that giant dead spot between the Super Bowl (usually around January 10 in those days) and that magical day when pitchers and catchers reported.

I haven’t read The Sporting News in decades. These days I find what I need instantly at any number of specialized websites. I don’t even watch ESPN any more. If I want baseball news, I go to the MLB Network. If I want football news, I got to the NFL Network. I’m easily three generations of sources away from The Sporting News now.

So while the news that TSN is stopping publication of its printed magazine–opting to go fully online–touches a place in my heart,  it’s not a surprise. It’s probably a smart business decision, and perhaps a futile one. Now part of AOL’s online presence, it’s been around in printed form for 126 years–since 1887, if you aren’t a math major. In other words, it predates most professional sports by decades. It’s the grand old man of sports news.

The changes in all facets of publication over the past fifteen years, both books and periodicals, are offering readers more choice than ever before. Writers have more opportunity, too. There’s a guy I mention periodically who makes a living writing about sports uniforms.

Still, progress comes at a price. When you put aside things of your youth, nostalgia tugs at your heartstrings. When that restaurant you went to as a kid is torn down for a new bank or yet another Walgreen’s, you can’t help but be sad for a moment, even if the restaurant stopped being relevant years ago.

It’s just the way of life. And in writing, anyone paying attention has felt it recently.

What extinctions have tugged at your heartstrings recently?

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