Giving Up On FT

Comfortably Numb

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Is it possible that there is a young contingent within the readership, but they mostly do not frequent this board (or the official version it used to be)?

It is, after all, viewed as a rather old-fashioned medium in the world of social media.

Just pondering.

Do the FT have a demographic breakdown of the readership/subscriber base?
Perhaps not alone in contemplating all of the same... Are there published figures for circulation, say last 3 years?
 

oxo66

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Perhaps not alone in contemplating all of the same... Are there published figures for circulation, say last 3 years?
FT gives us figures for some years but not others. Perhaps Dennis only submit figures irregularly?
From small print of various page 2s:

2018 14,816
2016 13,904
2015 14,320 but before that
2011 17,025 quoted as late as end 2015.

These are averages over the thirteen issues each year.
Wikipedia includes figures for each issue of 2018. December ( FT373, which came out early November) was lowest @ 13,773.
 

Austin Popper

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They're out there, but ... Their reading habits are increasingly geared for smaller chunks in an electronic format. In effect, you're still trying to sell 'em big chunks in a hardcopy format. That's the key mismatch.

You seek to both (a) expand your paying audience and (b) market the magazine generally. Here's what I suspect to be a potentially effective strategy ...

FT has a large corpus of interesting and informative articles geared for the layperson. Your older material is currently dead weight, insofar as Dennis doesn't re-market it in any form. Leverage this resource toward accomplishing objectives (a) and (b) above.

Convert selected older articles into freestanding chunks suitable for mobile / Kindle (etc.) reading and make them available online for a modest purchase or subscription cost (e.g., $1.00 apiece for downloadable files; a cheap subscription to a growing library of old articles).

This is the sort of marketing motif most likely to attract and engage the younger crowd. If they like what they see, these recycled tidbits will serve as the bait to draw in new subscribers to the mag. In the meantime, the revenue will at least help offset the cost of trying this approach.
I am surprised this didn't get more attention. I just saw it in the last few days since I had pretty well given up on this thread. Looking in again, I see an interesting discussion, but I think EG has hit the nail on the head. The twenty-somethings I know are all about the phone, for worse or better, and they won't bother with things they can't access on the tiny screens. Are those archived articles currently accessible to the public in any way at all?

Such a scheme would be very appealing to me, and I'm an old fart. I would not bother with the phone and all its limitations, but pretty much anything available in that fragmented and haphazardly edited realm can be accessed on a real computer. The key is to position the links in places they will be seen, such as Google Play and iTunes or whatever the Apple addicts use. Well, that's assuming the articles are well chosen and presented appropriately. If you advertised some website where the articles could be found in the back pages of the magazine and neglected to hire someone who knows how to reach the intended audience, of course the results would be predictable. This means you need to hire a Young Person. There are many dazzlingly bright ones out there who could pull this off, but you need to hire the right one or you'll get something like that lame old "Who Forted?" blog. That's just business, of course. Hiring the right person is the key to success in so many situations.
 

MissViolet

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I've been reading for nearly thirty years, I think. And I enjoyed the last issue hugely.

As an aside, the modern world is full of horror and also the most wonderful things imaginable. Personally, doesn't grind me down at all!
 

Comfortably Numb

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I've been reading for nearly thirty years, I think. And I enjoyed the last issue hugely.

As an aside, the modern world is full of horror and also the most wonderful things imaginable. Personally, doesn't grind me down at all!
Wonderful sentiments... 30 yearish.... What issue(s) would you keep forever and why?
 

Comfortably Numb

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The key is to position the links in places they will be seen, such as Google Play and iTunes or whatever the Apple addicts use. Well, that's assuming the articles are well chosen and presented appropriately. If you advertised some website where the articles could be found in the back pages of the magazine and neglected to hire someone who knows how to reach the intended audience, of course the results would be predictable. This means you need to hire a Young Person. There are many dazzlingly bright ones out there who could pull this off, but you need to hire the right one or you'll get something like that lame old "Who Forted?" blog. That's just business, of course. Hiring the right person is the key to success in so many situations.
What say... that's spot on, however, is the dilemma cost of same? Ideally, if we were to contract a company with proven provinence and success in related media marketing, how much? Circa 100-150k... more? It's never cheap to rebrand!
 

lordmongrove

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I wrote a letter in to FT about how bad the 'How to Building a Fortean Library it never got published so i'll post it here...

The suggestion in issue 382's 'Building a Fortean Library' article that someone wishing to do just that should simply buy Darren Naish's book Hunting Monsters and ignore other titles is simply absurd. Sometimes I think this series should really be called ' How not to Build a Fortean Library'. When tackling the subject in a previous article the author focused only on one book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore. No serious cryptozoologist thinks that the goatman is a real flesh and blood creature. You may as well tell someone interested in big cats to watch a Snagglepuss cartoon.

There is much to like in Hunting Monsters and Darren is a friend of mine and a good egg. This is not an attack on his book rather on the author of the article who seems only to be interested in one side of the argument, a very un-fortean stance. Even the sub-heading 'There Ain't No Such Animal'seem to assume a-priori that cryptozoology is all nonsense. Again in the text we see this when the author claims that Bob Hieronymus's claim to have been in the sasquatch suit in the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage is pretty leaky but 'doesn't get us any closer to who was in the suit'. He is blithely assuming it was a man in a suit. As someone who has worked closely with all the known apes the figure in said footage does not look like a man in a monkey costume to me. The sloping forehead, arms, legs, muscle structure and movement all argue that it wasn't a human.

Many old chestnuts beloved of sceptics are rolled out here. Cryptozoologists are accused of cherry-picking but it seems the worst cherry pickers are the sceptics themselves. For example much is made of the unreliability of eye-witnesses. Yet these are generally under mundane circumstances. Eyewitnesses to unusual or scary situations have a much greater percentage of accuracy. For example a large study on the eyewitnesses to robberies in Sweden showed and 89 % accuracy (Chrisstianson & Hubinette, 1993).Another Canadian study found around 85% accuracy in witnesses to robberies (Yuille & Cutshall, 1986). If you were to see a relic hominin, a sea serpent or a Tasmanian wolf, it would be a shocking experience and you would be very likely to recall the details better than you would a line of people in a bus queue or a car registration number. A fine examination of eyewitness testimony and studies there on can be found in chapter three of T.A Wilson's excellent book Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective.

The psychosocial 'explanation' falls apart like a house of cards when you consider people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds see the same creatures and report them in the same ways.

There is a heavy implication that native people will lie to westerners to obtain money. I'm wiling to bet a wheelbarrow of money that the author has not travelled to remote areas or spoken to native people. I have and I have found them to be very honest. Whilst hunting the deathworm in Mongolia many nomads travelled miles across the Gobi to give us information on their sightings. They were not doing this for money. Likewise in western Sumatra, native people journeyed a long way to share information on their orang-pendek sightings for no reward. In the Caucasus Mountains we found that local people were baffled as to why we had come all the way from England to search for the almasty, a creature they considered no more fantastical than a bear or a wolf. The witnesses there just excepted the wildman as another part of the fauna. We saw the same with the yeti in the Garo Hills and the giant anaconda in Guyana. Native peoples were not making up stories to con westerners out of money even though many were desperately poor. The one and only exception was in The Gambia which is a tourist trap rather than a wilderness.

I've walked the walk so I can talk the talk. Not many sceptics can say that.

Sure there are mundane explanations for many things. Darren's identification of the Daedalus sea serpent as a skim feeding sei whale is bang on the money, a near perfect fit. Likewise DeLoy's ape is a dead spider monkey on a stick. But a wholesale dismissal of cryptozoology is simply foolish.

Scepticism is a useful tool for any fortean but the pendulum seems to have swung too far in one direction and scepticism seems now to have gained some sort of mystique. It's time to pull that pendulum back.
 

James_H

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Good letter but I've got to say

There is a heavy implication that native people will lie to westerners to obtain money. I'm wiling to bet a wheelbarrow of money that the author has not travelled to remote areas or spoken to native people.
I stayed at a homestay in rural North Vietnam run by a lady who told a story about seeing a tiger as a child (they're now extinct in the area). On getting a good reception, she told about six more such stories, increasingly improbable. In one the tiger came into her house and in another she was stranded up a tree all day while the tiger ran around it in a circle. She wasn't getting any money out of it directly but for sure she was making up stories for some reason.
 

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I wrote a letter in to FT about how bad the 'How to Building a Fortean Library it never got published so i'll post it here...

The suggestion in issue 382's 'Building a Fortean Library' article that someone wishing to do just that should simply buy Darren Naish's book Hunting Monsters and ignore other titles is simply absurd. Sometimes I think this series should really be called ' How not to Build a Fortean Library'. When tackling the subject in a previous article the author focused only on one book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore. No serious cryptozoologist thinks that the goatman is a real flesh and blood creature. You may as well tell someone interested in big cats to watch a Snagglepuss cartoon.

There is much to like in Hunting Monsters and Darren is a friend of mine and a good egg. This is not an attack on his book rather on the author of the article who seems only to be interested in one side of the argument, a very un-fortean stance. Even the sub-heading 'There Ain't No Such Animal'seem to assume a-priori that cryptozoology is all nonsense. Again in the text we see this when the author claims that Bob Hieronymus's claim to have been in the sasquatch suit in the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage is pretty leaky but 'doesn't get us any closer to who was in the suit'. He is blithely assuming it was a man in a suit. As someone who has worked closely with all the known apes the figure in said footage does not look like a man in a monkey costume to me. The sloping forehead, arms, legs, muscle structure and movement all argue that it wasn't a human.

Many old chestnuts beloved of sceptics are rolled out here. Cryptozoologists are accused of cherry-picking but it seems the worst cherry pickers are the sceptics themselves. For example much is made of the unreliability of eye-witnesses. Yet these are generally under mundane circumstances. Eyewitnesses to unusual or scary situations have a much greater percentage of accuracy. For example a large study on the eyewitnesses to robberies in Sweden showed and 89 % accuracy (Chrisstianson & Hubinette, 1993).Another Canadian study found around 85% accuracy in witnesses to robberies (Yuille & Cutshall, 1986). If you were to see a relic hominin, a sea serpent or a Tasmanian wolf, it would be a shocking experience and you would be very likely to recall the details better than you would a line of people in a bus queue or a car registration number. A fine examination of eyewitness testimony and studies there on can be found in chapter three of T.A Wilson's excellent book Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective.

The psychosocial 'explanation' falls apart like a house of cards when you consider people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds see the same creatures and report them in the same ways.

There is a heavy implication that native people will lie to westerners to obtain money. I'm wiling to bet a wheelbarrow of money that the author has not travelled to remote areas or spoken to native people. I have and I have found them to be very honest. Whilst hunting the deathworm in Mongolia many nomads travelled miles across the Gobi to give us information on their sightings. They were not doing this for money. Likewise in western Sumatra, native people journeyed a long way to share information on their orang-pendek sightings for no reward. In the Caucasus Mountains we found that local people were baffled as to why we had come all the way from England to search for the almasty, a creature they considered no more fantastical than a bear or a wolf. The witnesses there just excepted the wildman as another part of the fauna. We saw the same with the yeti in the Garo Hills and the giant anaconda in Guyana. Native peoples were not making up stories to con westerners out of money even though many were desperately poor. The one and only exception was in The Gambia which is a tourist trap rather than a wilderness.

I've walked the walk so I can talk the talk. Not many sceptics can say that.

Sure there are mundane explanations for many things. Darren's identification of the Daedalus sea serpent as a skim feeding sei whale is bang on the money, a near perfect fit. Likewise DeLoy's ape is a dead spider monkey on a stick. But a wholesale dismissal of cryptozoology is simply foolish.

Scepticism is a useful tool for any fortean but the pendulum seems to have swung too far in one direction and scepticism seems now to have gained some sort of mystique. It's time to pull that pendulum back.
Have you tried lobbying Paul Sieveking about publishing the letter? Sometimes (speaking from personal experience)you have to sell the merits of a "controversial" letter to FT. [email protected]

I have also just read The Nature Of The Beast by Bryan Sykes. Any comments on it?
 

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MissViolet

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Which ones would I keep, you ask? I think I have all of them, in the loft...
But I love the early 1990s ones, from when I was about 19. Things from that part of one's life are often sparkly! The Ghostwatch special, and an issue with an article on lost Arctic city myths. And any time that I've been published therein (about thrice, I think, nothing exciting, unless you count my Roswell film theory letter that I thought was terribly clever).

I liked the Beatles myths too.
 

Crankyoldgit62

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Miss Violet,what Roswell film theory? Is it in another thread? It sounds really interesting.
 

MissViolet

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It's not! It's in a letter I had published years and years ago. It's not a big deal. Off topic quick version: compare the Roswell autopsy footage with the alien autopsy in Quatermass and the Pit. They sort of match up, even down to the removal of the eye covering, suggesting that one inspired the other. This was at a time when the Roswell autopsy film had a lot more support!
 

DrPaulLee

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...and of course, Judith Kerr has a fortean-ish connection herself.
 

stu neville

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Judith Kerr is a brilliant author for young children.
Miss Yith and I started with that and have read through two-thirds of the Mog books.

An object lesson on how to convey mood and meaning with simple language.
Prepare yourself for "Goodbye Mog". It's the single saddest book I've ever read.

I had my own vaguely synchronous experience with The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which I relate on this thread. I must admit, though, I do like Mark Steel's reading of it (the mother is an alcoholic, got drunk on the beer, blacked out so didn't buy groceries, the water's been cut off because she's been hiding the bills, dad comes home and she says "...errrr, yeah, like... there was a tiger! yeah! and it... errr.."..)

Anyway, back on topic. It is hard to get younger people to read physical media. Also, as has been mentioned, the internet eats material - whereas in days of yore the FT was where you'd get to hear about weirdnesses, now you've probably heard half a dozen versions by the time Dr D even gets a draft from someone about it. As a result FT is, these days, more about review and analysis than about currency. It has maintained an admirably consistent line, and outlasted pretty much all of the competition. I don't think its immediate future is put in jeopardy by digital media any more than any other publication, but rather its destiny is rather at the whim of the publisher (look how fast they jettisoned us, but in fairness did give us time and quite a lot of assistance to organise a lifeboat - I'm actually writing the FTMB story, albeit a year late.. had a lot on...)

So, please don't forego the mag. It still does what it does extremely well, despite proprietorial indifference, economic pressures and contributors with an Adamsian view of deadlines (I am doing now, honest.)
 

gordonrutter

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Prepare yourself for "Goodbye Mog". It's the single saddest book I've ever read.

I had my own vaguely synchronous experience with The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which I relate on this thread. I must admit, though, I do like Mark Steel's reading of it (the mother is an alcoholic, got drunk on the beer, blacked out so didn't buy groceries, the water's been cut off because she's been hiding the bills, dad comes home and she says "...errrr, yeah, like... there was a tiger! yeah! and it... errr.."..)

Anyway, back on topic. It is hard to get younger people to read physical media. Also, as has been mentioned, the internet eats material - whereas in days of yore the FT was where you'd get to hear about weirdnesses, now you've probably heard half a dozen versions by the time Dr D even gets a draft from someone about it. As a result FT is, these days, more about review and analysis than about currency. It has maintained an admirably consistent line, and outlasted pretty much all of the competition. I don't think its immediate future is put in jeopardy by digital media any more than any other publication, but rather its destiny is rather at the whim of the publisher (look how fast they jettisoned us, but in fairness did give us time and quite a lot of assistance to organise a lifeboat - I'm actually writing the FTMB story, albeit a year late.. had a lot on...)

So, please don't forego the mag. It still does what it does extremely well, despite proprietorial indifference, economic pressures and contributors with an Adamsian view of deadlines (I am doing now, honest.)
Of course being here now is in no way an act of procrastination on your part is it? I have a finished article on my pc at the moment and just haven’t quite got round to a quick final read and hitting the send button...
 

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I am deeply delighted, both that you're working on a history, and also that I was there from the start of a Big Important Fortean Internet Thing. Whilst I've spent many interim years as a lurker only, this is the only community I've been since first getting online. And that's another reason I don't feel like giving up on FT. The two have been part of me for nearly thirty years collectively!


Ouch.
 

lordmongrove

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Good letter but I've got to say



I stayed at a homestay in rural North Vietnam run by a lady who told a story about seeing a tiger as a child (they're now extinct in the area). On getting a good reception, she told about six more such stories, increasingly improbable. In one the tiger came into her house and in another she was stranded up a tree all day while the tiger ran around it in a circle. She wasn't getting any money out of it directly but for sure she was making up stories for some reason.
Tigers have been known to enter human dwellings ,sometimes to take humans or domestic animals but also just to lounge about for a bit. Animals do odd things.
 
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