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Tampa Turtle

Scouter Magazine

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(I started this in Issues in case it goes down hill)

I was wondering what the others on here have noticed the editorial changes in Scouter Magazine. Just got the latest issue Saturday and I was startled by the difference in it and Boys Life (my sons read both and we usually comment on them). All non-snark aside. Is it just me?

What I noticed was:

(1) Scouter's cover article was on the benefits of a man who took his son and daughter camping. Other than mentioning he was a Scouter it was mostly just talking about solo camping trips. Did not seem that related to scouting at all. Was not even that good a camping article...could have been in Good Hosuekeeping or something. This is the second time I have seen these kind of vague 'non-scout camping is fun' articles. Nice but is this aimed for the new leader who never does it? Is this just a new editor? The issues seem unfocused.

(2) Several articles about the Jamboree which is fair enough. Seems like the the band that some folks had an issue with got a picture but the President's speech did not. I here he is isn't much of a reader so maybe BSA is safe from a Twitter feed on that one.

(3) A health(?) article on keeping one's mind sharp which could have been in any free drug store adver-zine. 

(4) A long article about a (I am sure very nice and generous) LDS donor who seemed to have a very, very tenuous relationship to scouting (he heard it was really great, and had a nephew who had, I think, with two eagle scouts). 

(5) An article on ideas for gifts to give Scouters for under $40 (maybe that should be in Boys Life, hint hint)

'

(On the contrary my Son noticed Boy Life doubled down on Guns, ropes, and jerky in the latest issue. He wondered if the NRA bought out the issue.)

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I read BL and thought it similar to recent issues. I read Scouting while at home in break. Wasn’t like past issues I had read. Really dry and boring. I figured that’s just what old scouters like. That’s a joke. I do wonder what the future of BL is. Will they rename it or simply start a girls version. 

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Last two Scouter issues have been very...blah. They used to have the occasional 'easy exercises for the fat middle aged scouter', rule explanations, tips on recruiting, starting some event. Not much info. The issue begged for a 'Girls in Scouting' FAQ.

I agree Boys Life was pretty much the same. 

I suppose I should be reading the masthead a little more closely. 

I suppose the future will not be a paper product anyway. I suspect Scouter will get the e-magazine treatment before Boys Life. Maybe it will be a section in Boys Life first. (Maybe we can opt for different versions: Boy Only vs Co-ed, Boy led vs Adult led, etc LOL) To be fair some things online like 'Bryan on Scouting' is much better than it was 5 years ago.

Boys Life still has some value as a paper based recruiting tool so I see that sticking around longer.

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Regarding Boys' Life, the new fee increases have hurt. I use to have 3 subscriptions, one for each son.  When the registration price went up, I dropped it to two: one Boy Scout version and one Cub Scout version. Now that the fee increased again, I cannot afford a single copy, let alone 3. And my kids are 100% ok with that because they did not even read it because it is boring. They all it appeared to be is a giant advertisement for gear and patches with a few Scouting related articles and jokes thrown in. I remember when BL was a great magazine. Artwork was good, they had serials ( White Mountains Trilogy anyone?) and of course Green Bar Bill. Looking at the current magazine, artwork is childish, the ads are overwhelming, and several articles have really been advertisements and not articles.

 

Regarding Scouting Magazine, it has gotten to the point that it is really useless to me. little to no information I need is offered, and I can pick up stuff faster and easier via Bryan's Blog.

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Oh, I have to agree on all the above.  BL used to have Build it yourself, do it yourself, how to camp articles for every Scout from the Tenderest foot to the survivalist  AT thru hiker.   How to plan your own Troop's week long trek?   How to make a tarp tent?   Sharpen an axe? 

I do like Dr. Hawk's articles.  Sometimes the super gear reviews, but it has become a millenial's  read about rather than a go out and do type mag.

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Thanks, I thought it was just me. I get that they have to aim at a span of audiences and skill levels. I appreciate that they now include some cheaper gear...for a while BL only had $$$ in their reviews. I don't think any of this is part of some grand BSA National conspiracy but just some questionable editorial direction.

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38 minutes ago, SSScout said:

Oh, I have to agree on all the above.  BL used to have Build it yourself, do it yourself, how to camp articles for every Scout from the Tenderest foot to the survivalist  AT thru hiker.   How to plan your own Troop's week long trek?   How to make a tarp tent?   Sharpen an axe? 

I do like Dr. Hawk's articles.  Sometimes the super gear reviews, but it has become a millenial's  read about rather than a go out and do type mag.

 

19 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Thanks, I thought it was just me. I get that they have to aim at a span of audiences and skill levels. I appreciate that they now include some cheaper gear...for a while BL only had $$$ in their reviews. I don't think any of this is part of some grand BSA National conspiracy but just some questionable editorial direction.

I agree as well. Years ago I used to find Scouting articles helpful. I still have several hard copies I kept. Great "how to" articles, ideas for units, trek planning ideas, etc. As I have pointed out earlier, the last 12 months or so have been drivel about "family camping" or something of that ilk. I've cancelled my subscription for 2018 as they have all gone straight to the recycling bin in 2017.

Boys' Life I think is hit or miss. I've met several of their staff and they truly believe in the program and the outdoors. I wonder how much editorial control they really get but I didn't want to bring it up in conversation. None of my business really even if they know the answer. I hope they stay around as a publication AND find their historic value to boys, rather than re-tool it in to some coed mag that tries to be overly hip and "with it"...or is that "down with it"? I'll have to ask my son.

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I have to agree with Flagg. A couple years ago I found more useful articles that I might hang on to for later reference. The last two years I quickly scan it for official pronouncements and trash it. I probably look at the ads more than the articles. I really do read the magazines in that I have plenty of waiting around time as the family chauffeur and prefer the printed page to smart phone.

It is a shame as campouts are a good time for an ASM to catch up on some reading...

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Lately Scouting Magazine feels like Pravda. It is a political rag for promoting the agenda of BSA National.

I don't read Boys Life, but I'll ask my son if he has noticed any recent changes.

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36 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Lately Scouting Magazine feels like Pravda

Wow, Scouting Magazine compared to the newspaper of the Communist party of Russia? Tell us how you really feel about BSA National. :dry:

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5 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Wow, Scouting Magazine compared to the newspaper of the Communist party of Russia? Tell us how you really feel about BSA National. :dry:

Would CNN or MSNBC have been a better choice? ;)

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3 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

Wow, Scouting Magazine compared to the newspaper of the Communist party of Russia? Tell us how you really feel about BSA National. :dry:

You are correct - my comment was too harsh. Scouting Magazine continues to offer quite a number of valuable articles. My Pravda comment was a reaction to the happy-face presented in the magazine about the decision to admit girls. (i.e. "we don't know what it will look like, but rest assured it will be awesome".) It all seemed part of the coordinated manipulations from BSA National to ram through this change via a disingenuous process that I found disrespectful and even insulting to seasoned Scouters. My perspective has obviously soured and I now view BSA National leadership as untrustworthy stewards of something I have held dear.

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8 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

 

I agree as well. Years ago I used to find Scouting articles helpful. I still have several hard copies I kept. Great "how to" articles, ideas for units, trek planning ideas, etc. As I have pointed out earlier, the last 12 months or so have been drivel about "family camping" or something of that ilk. I've cancelled my subscription for 2018 as they have all gone straight to the recycling bin in 2017.

Boys' Life I think is hit or miss. I've met several of their staff and they truly believe in the program and the outdoors. I wonder how much editorial control they really get but I didn't want to bring it up in conversation. None of my business really even if they know the answer. I hope they stay around as a publication AND find their historic value to boys, rather than re-tool it in to some coed mag that tries to be overly hip and "with it"...or is that "down with it"? I'll have to ask my son.

How do I cancel the subscription? I don't read them and it's wasting paper. 

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7 hours ago, gblotter said:

...for promoting the agenda of BSA National.

Scouting magazine's purpose - its reason for being - has always been to promote the agenda of the BSA.

I remember getting Boys Life when I was a Scout - as a Cub Scout, I was excited to have my own magazine subscription with a magazine coming to my home addressed to me.  I couldn't tell you about any of the articles in it.  As a Boy Scout, it was just something that came in the mail - we dropped my subscription when I was 12 - my two younger brothers were getting it - I could read theirs.  I will tell you flat out that the only things that I can remember reading (other than a few ads) were Pedro, Peewee Harris, Green Bar Bill and the Scouts in Action thing - thinking back, all of these were illustrated like comic books.  It's not that I wasn't a reader - I read book after book after book when I was a kid - and I'm still a voracious reader (I'm 6 away from having read 300 books this year - and I will hit that mark easily).

Maybe its the way my mind works - maybe its because I was (and still am) a huge fan of James Burke's BBC mini-series Connections - but I can't help but try to connect past discussions in this forum over the past few years about how these new parents/volunteers joining up have no experience with camping or the outdoors which is having a negative effect on "outing in Scouting" (yikes - just realized, with a certain new policy, that takes on a whole new meaning - happy Tampa?) and a lot of wondering how this can be fixed and here is Scouter Magazine, seeming to answer our wishes (quite accidentally I'm sure) by starting to promote camping outside of Scouting and here we are complaining about that!  

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