Even Ed Blomfield, when he announced in the last issue of Whitelines that he was moving on from being Editor to concentrate on the growth of the website, didn’t realise that he was editing the last ever issue of the much loved Whitelines magazine.
Whitelines has been an institution on the UK snowboarding scene since the first ever issue back in 1995. With it’s edgy, opinionated and uncompromising style, it has always targeted and been popular with the snowboarding youth culture. Even the name ‘Whitelines’ is a playful play on words with snowboarding terminology and drug culture.
It has been well documented that the popularity of snowboarding since the dizzy heights of ten years ago has been in decline, with the UK snowboarding industry being hit especially hard. So, is the shock announcement from Factory Media that Whitelines has had it’s final print run and will no longer be published, the final nail in the coffin for the UK snowboarding scene?
In short, the answer is no. It is true that subscriptions and sales had dropped sufficiently over the years, but this is more to do with changing trends and the growth in popularity of digital media. Factory Media represents 32 brands and the decision to stop print publications had been put in place for all of it’s publications, not just Whitelines.
The Whitelines website has grown rapidly in popularity, especially with it’s Friday newsletter. The way people consume media content has also changed with video being the new king. These reasons, as well as the huge expense and operation involved with printed content, is the reason for such a radical move by Factory Media. In a short space of time, websites have become more than just a second-thought extension to the magazines they represent and have become the main media feed to the consumers in their own right.
Ed Blomfield had been the editor of Whitelines since 2005 and with the mix of in-depth industry knowledge, love for snowboarding and photography, vision and a knack of covering relevant trends, steered Whitelines into being the only UK snowboarding magazine on the newsstands and himself into the very fabric of the UK snowboarding scene. I am sure that Ed, with so much of his life dedicated to the magazine, is saddened with these sudden and drastic developments.
It seems that Whitelines has become the victim of a digital culture where art and media are consumed with the equivalence of fast food. Instead of quality content driven articles, we will be drip fed a quick fix of top 10 lists and 30 second video edits.
It is hard to believe that there is not a single UK based snowboarding magazine left on the news stands and I still believe that there is a market for one. Will another publication seize the opportunity? I hope so.
In the meantime, I bid farewell and raise my glass to Whitelines Magazine – you will be missed!