Are Internet articles stuck in the past? Is video the way forward?

Mark Wintle

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As someone who contributed 200 articles to Fishing Magic in the distant past, and has a vast collection of fishing books, magazines and newspapers, I have great regard for the written word. Encouragement from FM's Graham Marsden and others set me on the path to writing several books and contributing to others, plus getting a few articles published in the angling press.

Yet that same angling press is diminishing year on year, especially for the general coarse angler. Coarse Fisherman, Coarse Angling Today, Total Coarse Fishing and Anglers Mail have all bit the dust. Angling Times changed its article format a couple of years ago so that there's very little meat on the articles - typically just 200 to 250 words now, and I finally admitted defeat last year and stopped buying it.

About five years ago I finally stopped wondering what it would be like to video myself fishing and set up a camera (DSLR) to record a short session fishing for dace. A couple of years later I discovered some simple editing software (Movie Maker) and took my first step at editing it and put it on YouTube. I then decided there was a lot more scope in making video and have since made over 100 videos, moved on to much better gear including camcorders, microphones and a sophisticated editing package, and found some sort of following on Youtube.

Which brings me to my point: Grayson (better known as John) made the valid point that lots of YT coarse fishing videos are dull, have poor sound and horrendous music (why does just about every documentary and drama on TV have so much music?) yet there is no doubt that video content is winning over the written word for reasonably short pieces. The filters on quality that exist for publishers of the written word are absent on YouTube so it's a case of finding what you want to watch. In my case as a creator I strive to improve the visual and audio side of things, not always cheap, my part-time cameraman helps, as does my wife who reviews my final cut, and it's a long apprenticeship, occasionally boosted tips from by neighbour Hugh Miles. But it's clear that making a video can be much more time-consuming than writing a short article, accepting that articles generally need some decent photos.

So the question is whether the FM articles actually reach more than a minimal audience compared to popular YouTubers? And is the way forward vlogging?
 

steve2

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I rarely watch angling you tube videos, I find most are boring and self-promoting along the lines of look at me or just plain adverts. I will watch a few minutes if I think they may be of interest then fast forward or shut down.
 

wetthrough

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I read the FM news and features articles and watch your and others videos so I wouldn't say articles are dead. Although If I want to know something specific I do a search and would likely pick video over articles but might checkout both.
 

nottskev

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There is no straightforward relation between the size of an audience for something, be it in print or video, and its quality. Just check early evening tv, if you doubt that. Neither does the availability of a technology guarantee good results - if we all swap pens for video cameras, we will not automatically have more to say or be better at saying it. Affordable technology and social media democratise publishing, but is television better now that so much of it features ordinary people doing mundane stuff? It may well be that video is now the norm, but there's no reason to think its potential will be exploited any more than that of tv, which frequently combines expensive technology and high production values with content which is worthless dross. A creator with something to say and a gift for saying it is likely to remain scarce and valuable irrespective of the technology they work with. So many makers of youtube videos seem so pleased with themselves that they can do it at all that the issue of quality never seems to arise for them. Meanwhile, I'd say articles like Dave Coster's on here hold their own against videos of the quality of, say, James Robbins. Their excellence is down to them, not the medium they work in.
 

grayson

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The TLDR phenomenon is the enemy of anybody who writes. The long form article was once the staple of the angling monthlies ,and I've written a few myself , the first appearing 40 years ago In Angling . My stuff was typically 2500-3000 words . but these days I'd doubt a whole edition of Angling Times contained much more. How the mighty have fallen - what was once the definitive newspaper for folk like us is now a pale shadow of its former self . Advertorial , Q &A dross, ' 10 best F1 venues' , some amateur hour copy from the usual suspects and that's about your lot .

The Mail hung on ,and deserved credit for including some grown up opinion pieces and longer articles, but the market decided its ant like attention span couldn't cope with anything harder to digest than bite size factoids and cliched pictures . So the Mail was no more ,leaving the still half decent Trout and Salmon , lots of '50ways to bag up at commercials ' and 'fat blokes catching fat carp' mags.

It's a shame , but it's not just us . I now write primarily about car and motorsport stuff and I had to edit a recent club magazine article down to 1000 words , as the editor told me her readership couldn't cope with any more, the poor lambs . At least some titles still indulge me in carrying longer pieces of up to 4-5000 words , and the feedback I get is very positive . I assume it is from people who don't move their lips to read .

The quality of writing in much of the angling press has been deteriorating for years . I wonder what Walker , Venables , Darling and Rickards would make of today's terrible grammar and cliche drenched prose ?

I enjoy some Youtube stuff - I even have something of own on there, about my first fishing book .

The one area where fishing really lags behind is podcasts . I listen to a lot on motorsport and music and enjoy them hugely - at its best it can feel like chatting to your mates. But I have found very little on angling and the best (again! ) comes from the USA. Are UK anglers shy and bashful or just plain inarticulate ?
 

mikench

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We have too much Tv particularly repeats of repeats of rubbish. We may have 500 channels to choose from but 95% are rubbish. YouTube and tick tock ( and I watch neither avidly) have the odd vid which is interesting provided it isn’t longer than 15 minutes, full of adverts and product placement. I prefer to read articles whether blogs or features and enjoy Dave Costers efforts. He also responds to comments. Most YT vids try to reinvent the wheel. Fishing is intrinsically simple and involves a rod, a line with a hook on the end and something edible for the fish on the hook. Yes there are variations on a theme but they all feature those simple ingredients no matter how you dress them up.

I inadvertently created a YT channel which I swiftly took down despite having over 7000 subscribers. If creating them floats your boat carry on but I am unlikely to watch them unless they are posted on here.
 

GrahamP

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If I am looking to relax I enjoy a book, the tactile experience enhances the read. It becomes an enjoyable activity. Great on a cold winters day in front of the log burner.

If I need information then I will go for video.
 

fishcatcher60

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I sometimes think the magazines do not help themselves either.

Take the Match fishing magazine for example.

I have noticed in the last few months that some of the articles in the magazine are available to watch on you tube either as the magazine comes out or just after.

Why buy the magazine when you can get to see the article "live"

I am a subscriber to match fishing and i do like a read as well as watching you tube.

I don't know what the currant editor is playing at but i can't see it lasting much longer if the currant format is not available on you tube etc until the next months issue is available.
 

nottskev

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I used to buy Match Fishing magazine regularly, but I'm down to maybe one edition per year these days. It's not because video makes the hard copy redundant. Or even because I generally avoid commercials. It's because the mag is a visual dog's dinner apparently made by a child playing with publishing software. The text is: black on white; white on black; yellow on black; blue on yellow; black on yellow; white on orange; white on khaki ............ and we're only on p 40 of 114. Text frequently appears over a photo background, mimicking the difficulty of seeing your float against tree reflections. Unreadable, as well as boring, imo. The only contributor with a bit of insight and a spark of wit has been the veteran Billy Makin.
 

steve2

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I stopped buying mags because I have no interest in how to catch carp and more carp. I also won’t read any articles on line or watch any videos that are about how to catch carp and more carp. Everything now appears to me to be just a rehash of what as been written or videoed before.
There little or anything new in fishing despite what is said and written.
Read old angling books and the only thing changed is what modern tackle is made from not the methods.
 

mikench

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I am concerned by the internet age and in particular the following dangerous trends:

1. Nobody wants to speak to anybody or see anybody face to face. I’m thinking of banks, pension providers, insurers, retailers on line and even GP’s.
2. Books on line , emails, cloud storage of data, magazines on line, tuition on line and so on.
3. Driverless cars, cars with no keys,
4. Internet banking.
5. Companies delivering pizzas and providing taxis are worth more than pharmaceutical and engineering concerns.

All of the above share a common problem - they are all utterly reliant on the internet. If that goes and we cannot access data, our money, our records( musical and medical) our gas and electricity supplies we are up the creek without a paddle virtual or otherwise. I used to send millions of £’ by chaps payments. This was achieved by manually completing forms, personally taking them to the bank and seeing a bank official I knew and who knew me. It might seem archaic but money was never lost, fraudulently obtained nor laundered. That is not the position now. Bank robbers no longer exist as we have few banks open, they don’t carry much cash and it’s so much easier to hack emails and accounts and steal your money without been seen, heard or leaving fingerprints and other forensic evidence. You can even do it from thousands of miles away.

Tesla cars are operated by an app. When the app reliant on the internet or 5g fails you cannot even get in the car let alone drive it. How is that clever or useful? It’s change for the sake of stupid change. If factual videos, electronic articles, encyclopaedias, are consigned to the likes of Google we are in their hands utterly. If they fail we are scuppered.

If I was Chinese or Russian and sought world dominance, I wouldn’t send an army of tanks, planes , soldiers and missiles, I would use hackers to interrupt or cut all internet access. I would destroy subterranean pipelines, satellites and thus cause utter chaos. We would have no power, no phones , no access to our data and so on. I now buy books and magazines preferring the tactile feel of both to a Kindle. When all our high streets are devoid of shop where do we go, Amazon, Alibaba- a frightening prospect. I have told Amazon I will no longer buy anything from them after 19/01/22 as I won’t be dictated to by them as to my choice of credit card.
is the world a better place post the Luddites? Are people happier? Is our planet a more hospitable and safer place? Are the fish and animals we share it with healthier and more abundant.

It will go wrong. It will fail and those totally and utterly reliant on the internet and the perceived bright new world it appears to offer will suffer. I will be dead by then but I fear for my kids and grandkids.

So keep your articles neatly hand written or typed on A4 sheets so if they disappear electronically you will still have them to share and pass on. Keep your old video camera just in case.
 
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steve2

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It did make me smile the other day when people could not get into cars because the app was down. If a car is so reliant on apps how long before someone can take remote control of it.
I use amazon but I will not change my credit card for their benefit. I never shop debit card online.
 
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mikench

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If there was a criminal organisation called Spectre then the so called internet advances could have been invented by them. They all aid and assist criminals. We are a foolish race and in a race to the bottom. James Bond won't be able to help us.
 

peterjg

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There are shops now that no longer accept cash, even in my local Homebase today to pay with cash I had to go to a different till
 

peterjg

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So getting back on track: internet articles/videos are generally at best poor. One can't help but get the feeling that some video makers are on some sort of ego trip especially with the 'odd' subjects being used.
 

keora

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Anglers Mail used to be good before it closed in late 2020. There was a range of articles with a variety of authors, occasionally including Neville Fickling and Dave Tipping. I then switched to Angling Times but quickly realised that it wasn't worth buying it each week - there's not much variety in the contents and it doesn't take long to read.

I rarely watch angling videos on the net. Youtube is irritating with its adverts and background noise. I find that angling film clips don't have much content. You can waste lots of time running through videos trying to judge if it worth watching. Written articles on the net are easier to skim through.

What will it be like in the future? More fishing magazines will disappear, replaced by an increase in video content on the net. I also wonder if forums will be less popular. There's not as many people using this forum for coarse fishing, yet the separate specialist fly fishing has lots of daily postings.
 

flightliner

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I've long been of the opinion that the owners of this site would do well by compiling a book from the HDYGO thread.
There's more info there on how, when, where to fish in its many myriad forms than many u tube vids, internet sites,angling press and mags, FB (for sure) etx etx.
No big name well known authors but its all there waiting to be picked over.
 
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whitty

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Mark,no disrespect to you,or your articles,or videos but you fish with what now constitutes for antique reels,rods etc,you fish in a way that you like and think works best(as do I and most others),but that isnt necessarily how anglers want it to be,to be fair,I think you learn more from the written word than video,then you have to go out and make it work,ive said it before on FM,but I would love to pass on some of my methods to others with less experience,but to be fair,they dont want learn from someone they have not heard of,they want to learn from Dave Harrell,Alan Scotthorne,Des Shipp etc,who funnily enough muck it up just like anyone else,most everyday float anglers have no reasons as to why they need to put say a certain float,shotting pattern,length of distance from dropper shot to hook,or size of dropper shot,or even depths you require to fish,which as you know more often than not change through a session,let alone day to day,many anglers have totally preconceived ideas of shotting before they even go out,then argue the toss when someone does something different yet is catching,you would need a 5 hour video to explain a smidgeon of this in an understandable way,which would bore the majority to tears...
 
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