Behind the Scenes: Our Game in 2013
by Ruth Moore
In January 2012, right around the NSCAA Convention in Kansas City, I was given the opportunity to take on the role of design editor for Our Game Magazine. Eight issues and a whole year later, I’m still here, elbow-deep in some pretty big changes for Our Game.
A week before the December 2012 issue came out, OGM launched its annual subscription package with a month-long sale. This was the first hint of change. To close out the calendar year and start fresh in 2013, we wanted to give you a taste of what’s to come:
- Subscriptions – for as long as I have been with Our Game, readers have been asking about subscription options for the magazine. We finally made this happen with an annual subscription package that includes four regular issues and our special College Preview issue. Any subscription purchase before January 1 included a free print copy of December 2012.
- Quarterly Issues – to adjust for how subscriptions would impact our printing and shipping schedule, we chose quality and consistency over frequency. The magazine itself isn’t put together overnight, and in order to make sure our subscribers get their money’s worth, we needed to give our writers, editors, and designers more time to craft the product. Four times a year, our subscribers are going to receive a 56-page, perfectly bound, 8.5 x 11, full-color women’s soccer magazine in the mail. In August, subscribers get a bonus of our College Preview, which I don’t mind telling you is my favorite part of our editorial schedule.
- New Website – if you’re reading this, most likely you are on Our Game’s new website, which rolled out on January 1. How does this impact the magazine? Well, we realized last year that we were trying to be something that we didn’t have the resources for, namely “your one-stop site for women’s soccer news.” We were pouring time and energy into trying to play every position on the field instead of honing our natural strengths. In dialing back our online content, we are better able to develop our magazine content. What we do offer onsite are columns that should give you a good idea of the credentials and expertise of the magazine’s staff – which is more useful for anyone thinking about buying a copy of or subscription to Our Game Magazine.
These changes bring about questions, of course. In three years, the magazine has gone from a free digital publication to a free digital publication that you could pay for a print version of, to a subscription-only (and for the moment, print-only) publication with a minimal free preview. What gives?
- Digital vs. Print – Our Game would not have started printing hard copies of the magazine if readers hadn’t asked for print copies. At a time when print is a dying medium and digital is surging, switching the focus from digital to print seems like a bad business move… except print is what subscribers initially wanted to pay Our Game for. Does this mean that OGM will stop being available digitally? The basic answer is no. As we adjust to the changes we rolled out for 2013, our digital archive is currently offline, but we have every intention of bringing it back, along with better mobile compatibility.
- Free vs. Paid – the deciding factor in no longer offering the bulk of Our Game content for free is the subscribers. OGM subscribers are paying for a product and access to content, and we are honoring that. None of the OGM staff gets paid for our work on the magazine. (Let that sink in.) No one pockets the money that has been given to OGM the past two and a half years. That money covers the costs of the magazine and helping it grow so it can better serve the community. In expanding our audience of readers to include the role of “customer,” we now have another need to meet, and we honor that by giving subscribers exclusive access. When the digital archive returns, that will be part of the subscription package, too.
Twelve years ago, I helped launch a magazine. I was a sophomore in high school and had never worked on any kind of publication before. The magazine’s faculty advisor was just as new to producing a magazine as the student staff members were. Volume 1 was a learning experience, and although none of the subsequent issues resembled it at all, that first issue laid the groundwork for an award-winning high school arts and literary magazine… and my own involvement in print design. For three years, that magazine was my life – and despite serious budget cuts, particularly in the arts, that magazine has grown and become as much of a fixture at the high school as the school newspaper or yearbook.
Our Game Magazine is turning three in June. It’s been a steep learning curve, but Our Game is always striving for better. Everything in the Letter from the Editor is true and genuine, agreed upon by Our Game’s resident dreamers and cynics alike. We take our mission statement very seriously. I don’t know how evident the evolution of Our Game is from an outside perspective, but come December, you’re going to have to join me in taking a look back and marveling (at least a little) at how much OGM has grown and stayed true to purpose.
Ruth Moore serves Our Game Magazine as a College Editor and the magazine’s Design Editor. She holds a degree in Professional Writing from Kutztown University and is a season ticket holder for the Washington Spirit in NWSL. Beyond OGM, Ruth is a member of the snarky Cross-Conference podcast and blog team, freelances in communication design and loves coffee.