by • April 6, 2014 • NewsComments (10)1153

Many of you have clocked what is going on with our good friends at The Mag who have just tf110_coverannounced their current issue will be the last one they publish in printed format.

There is no question this is a really sad time. I’ve been a reader of The Mag since the beginning. I even went to the first meeting at The Gloucester in Gateshead to talk about a new fanzine but Mark can’t remember me being there. That’s a bit of a blow to my delicate ego.

It also extends to true faith. Since the inception of true faith in 1999, The Mag and TF have collaborated closely. We’ve shared printers and we’ve shared distributors. I think we’ve shared readers but we’ve obviously been very different in style. Mark Jensen has been a sleeping partner in true faith and I’ve found him to be the perfect business partner in over fifteen years. He has never ever interfered in the editorial content of true faith. I wish him every success in his future.

You need several ingredients to run a successful magazine. You need ideas – lots of them, originality and you need determination. You need good writers and you need a great designer (Glenn Ashcroft has done the business and then some for us). You need to be organised and you need bit of a head for business. More practically, you need a reliable printer who will hit the deadlines and work with you. In our case working with Gavin Bolam, that’s never been a problem. What has consistently been a problem has been working with distributors.

We used to work with a great company in Gateshead (Gillespie’s) who were a family firm and even better was run by supporters. They were great. Unfortunately, they went bust a few years ago and ever since it’s been an uphill struggle despite working with The Chronicle for a bit. This season, with a new distributor, it’s been just too much.  What has kept us going is the knowledge we have a loyal readership. But Mark has had one headache after another with them and a lack of a local contact has been pivotal. By pivotal, I mean disastrous. They just don’t care in honesty.

So, the next issue of true faith (issue 111) will be the last one we put out in printed format.

I’ve initially been depressed about this news and dreaded telling those people close to the fanzine all week (great lads like Glenn, Gareth, Chris, Gav, Paully, Sean, Wallace, Ted and many more) but I’ve known this day has been coming for some time. It has been inevitable. The infrastructure around local print media is crumbling. The fact there is no alternative to the distributor we’ve been using says everything you need to know about the state of the local print media.

Subscribers to a fanzine are its lifeblood. We’ve always done well but the costs of postage have placed a glass ceiling on what we can do, particularly in respect of ex-pat supporters overseas. As an example, our Brazilian Blogger, John Milton lives in Rio. It cost John £70 a 10-issue subscription to true faith. £40 of that £70 is postage. Plus it took about four/five weeks for it to get there.

A couple of seasons ago, I took some sage advice from my daughter (she’s one smart cookie – mother’s side) and decided to bring out the fanzine in digital format after discovering Exact Editions, the market leaders in the field. I also got some great recommendations for them from other fanzines and everything I’ve been told about them has been spot on. They are total professionals. The digital format of true faith has proven to be  incredibly successful and the possibilities of what we can do in this format are very exciting. And we can do it much cheaper. Postage costs aren’t reducing any time soon and well, it just takes far too long to be posted all over the world.

Nowadays, John gets his issue of true faith probably before anyone gets hold of the paper copy back home. It costs him an annual charge of £17.99. So, cheaper and faster with the same content! It’s a no-brainer!

This is how we are going to keep the Newcastle United fanzine flame burning.

For my part, now I’ve got my head around it (it almost happened 12 months ago in honesty) I’m excited about it. We’ll be able to improve the design, increase the frequency and the quantity of the content and over time I’m absolutely confident we’ll be able to increase our readership. We’ll be able to host more writers and we’ll really be able to stretch this new format to its absolute limits as we get to know more about its potential.

We already know the Digital format looks fantastic on PCs, Lap-Tops but it is especially good on i-pads and Tablets. Oh Brave New World that hath such things in it …. 

For our current paper fanzine subscriptions we’ll have full details of refunds when we send the final paper issue to you as part of your subscription to true faith.

true faith – DIGITAL – Click here

Onwards and Upwards.

Keep On, Keepin’ On … 


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10 Responses to DIGITAL ONLY

  1. William McGahey says:

    A sad day indeed, and a great shame, however hopefully things will work out even better with a digital edition, even if the last printed issue will be a tad emotional…

  2. Vince says:

    A sad day definitely but I have to say I’ve been more engaged with TF in the digital format. It’s the way of the day and I think the progression is natural. In my mind its the right way. Good luck to all

  3. big coll says:

    A sad day indeed, some great covers down the years; who can forget the ‘love will tear us apart’ iconic issue with the club badge seemingly exploded into thirty pieces. Would love a mosaic of them all together. ..

  4. tony reilly says:

    A sad day indeed. I suppose time moves on but I’m an old fashioned bugga. That hour every 6 weeks I used to spend in the work shithouse with the latest TF was something I always looked forward to. No more pins and needles in me legs now haha. All the best lads. Keep up the great work on the website

  5. STEPHEN says:

    I remember you being there in The Gloucester for what it’s worth Michael.

    Sad weekend in more ways than one.

  6. Matt Flynn says:

    Without the advent of desktop publishing in the early 80s football fanzines probably wouldn’t have developed beyond photocopies of hand typed text. The technological shift from manual typesetting opened the door to DIY publishing and freed football supporters from the shackles of self interest inherent in the mainstream media. The words Pardew is full of shit will never be printed in the Chronicle or appear on the BBC website.

    As much as I lament the passing of the traditional paper fanzine the important thing is that supporters remain free from censorship and that means moving with the times – paper is on the way out. The move to digital also removes the conflict between simultaneously designing for two different media and offers greater scope for a better fanzine, even if you can’t read it on the bog.

    If Fanzines are to survive they have to embrace modern communication. Here’s to the future…. assuming MA sells up at some point and we have a future.

    • Hi Matt, hope all is well. The issue isn’t people buying the fanzine, that’s stronger than ever. The issue is distribution. There just isn’t anybody reliable and local who is doing this as a business any longer.

  7. Pedro1969 says:

    Am gutted….you can’t take your iPad in the bath or read it in the trent before the game!!!

    Saying that I’ve been a graphic designer for 25 years and the print industry has practically vanished in that time. I usually read the best of TF sitting on the bog at work anyway.

    All the best with new venture though TF is a brilliant magazine, great design, great articles and great writers. I would hate to think it ever vanished!


  8. Chris Baldwin says:

    Just got back from holiday to read this news on Sad news indeed for those of us who
    a. have read both The Mag and true Faith for many years and;
    b. don’t much like online/electronic reading.

    Best of luck.

  9. Obviously the irony of expressing that opinion via our website isn’t lost on you. Stick with us, its the beginning of something much bigger, much better, much faster and a lot cheaper.