Changes In The Motorcyclist Magazine - Lean Angle

Lean Forward, Lean Back

Since it would strain believability and erode credibility to claim otherwise, I can be brutally honest about this: Since its inception a few years ago, our Web site-www.motorcyclistonline.com-has been, shall we say, less than optimum.

Yeah, we've posted hundreds of news bits, features, road tests and comparisons over the last couple of years, some recent, others classics from Motorcyclist's earlier days. But without key support from the Primedia Mothership-aka a full-time Webmaster (Webmistress?) to focus on making the site timely and engaging-we've lagged behind.

But that's all changing as of today.

Yep, we've hired a full-time staffer to manage our site: She's Angie Loy, a Web-savvy, motorcycle-crazed young lady who's done a fair bit of excellent work for us in the last few months. But more importantly, we've taken a fresh and modern look at how a Web site and a print magazine must interact and complement one another in a Web-savvy culture like ours.

A friend of mine has an interesting way of looking at the difference between the stories we read in magazines and on Web sites. He differentiates them as lean-forward and lean-back reading. Lean-forward reading is more timely, news-based stuff; in our world that would be items such as spy photos, just-released new-bike photos and information, first-ride stories, racing results and the like.

Lean-back reading would be more feature-oriented stuff, specific stories you wouldn't be likely to see in other magazines or on other Web sites, at least at the same time: destination-based road tests and multi-bike comparisons, deep-background development stories, project bike stories, features on old bikes, collectors, travel, racing, riding gear, etc., plus all the hands-on/how-to/used-bike/tech/riding-skills stuff we cram into our Motorcyclist Garage section each month.

And that's basically how we're going to divide the information from here on out. Newsy, timely, first-ride and late-breaking information will, for the most part, go to the Web site, and right away. And the more featurey/comparison/project-bike/Garage stuff-the in-depth, lean-back reading-will stay in the magazine.

We believe it'll be a powerful combination. And it'll mean you'll now need to think of Motorcyclist as having two parts: the print edition and the Web site. We'll not muddy the water here; the same information will not appear in both places.

Our goals are many. One is to have new information posted daily, with first-ride and more involved pieces appearing every few days. Another is to successfully translate the magazine's quality writing and personality to the Web site. Good thing, then, that Motorcyclist's entire crew will contribute-staffers as well as extended family members such as Alan Cathcart, Roland Brown, Dexter Ford and others.

A final goal is to make the site good enough that new and longtime readers will bookmark our URL and have a look at it at least once each day.

Let us know what you think at mcmail@primedia.com.

See ya out there.