Reader Brett Newman writes:
Even though this diatribe opinion has missed all the FNS-40 entry deadline, I still think there is a story to be told and congratulations in order for TTAG. I will start with the precursor that this evolving mindset has nothing to do with Dick Metcalf or any of the other happy-go-lucky writers standing in front of exotic animals in even more exotic locations. Instead, it is a product of my need for honest and sincere product reviews and editorials, and my increasing disdain for puff pieces and “always positive” reviews that have inundated the few publications that I used to read . . .
I liken this transition in my own life to the current phenomenon taking place within the media industry. Normal television programming consists of a collection of shows arranged in such a way that each target audience gets the most from their television experience. In less succinct terms…someone is controlling what we are watching, and more importantly, someone is “placing” items for us to watch. A more current trend however has been to “cut the cord” and subscribe to instant streaming services where a subscriber can receive what they want, when they want, and for commensurate price.
So which would you rather have? Printed material (translation… news that’s already one month old) with nice photographs and a glossy review, or, up-to-date information of current events, nice photographs, honest and brutal evaluations, and personal insights from the writers.
For me the realization has been a slow process covering approximately three to four years which has coincided with my emerging professional career. For the ten years I spent as a “professional student” I have earned an associate’s, bachelor’s and a master’s degree, all the while incurring enough student loan debt to surpass most people’s mortgage. With an increasing financial burden and decreasing amount of leisure time, TTAG’s forthright and honest reviews and editorials have given me the information that I desire, in a platform that I desire, with a candor that I believe is unmatched by the print industry.
For years I have read reviews and articles in various publications and have often thought to myself, “When are they going to get to the heart of the matter?” or “When are they going to tell me if this thing actually works like it’s supposed to?” Instead, I receive the same monotonous drone of writers lauding and marveling at products for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or losing sponsorship and advertising dollars. To me this is a detriment to our capitalist society and to the end user who has spent their hard earned money to buy that product.
Every purchaser of a product deserves to know that they are getting what they paid for…good or bad. And there’s a place for both. In addition, the various industry insights (Firearm Concierge I’m talking to you) are a priceless look into both the political and economic forces that drive this subculture.
For these reasons, I have let all of my print subscriptions lapse and I don’t foresee renewing them until a time when I get my money’s worth. Many thanks to TTAG for pulling out the stops when it comes to delivering the news that people actually want to hear (or in some cases, don’t want to hear).