The death of a league magazine
There are few things I consider myself an expert on, but from the moment I picked up my first Dolly magazine when I was 12 years old, I earned a PhD in magazines.
Clearly, my interests deviated slightly – though I still do value advice on how to do the perfect smoky eye, thank you women's mags – and so sport magazines became an important part of my life as a teenager.
Big League, Rugby League Week, Inside Sport or Alpha – I'd buy whatever I could afford with what was left over from my part-time job at the fish shop and devour the words, preparing myself for the NRL weekend ahead. In case there was any lingering doubt, yes, I am a massive nerd.
When I got the opportunity to intern at Big League while at university in 2007, it was a dream come true. Ten years later there have definitely been some challenges as my role has gone from intern to journo to sub-editor to editor, but I get paid to watch and write and read about rugby league, so who can complain about that?
On the flip-side, I have spent the past decade trying to figure out how the print publishing industry can effectively adapt to the digital age.
Hearing the news Rugby League Week was being shut down was personally heartbreaking. Not only have I enjoyed their yarns for so much of my life, it's difficult to see people you consider colleagues and friends lose their jobs. And importantly, the fewer journos working, the less quality news is out there in any form.
The media landscape changes so drastically from year to year, even the most expert of experts can't predict what will happen. What I do know is the challenge for any sport magazine is holding enough worth for readers to hand over their hard-earned cash to their newsagent every week. It's a thought that rarely leaves my mind.
In the meantime though, there are still things about magazines I love and think they do better than anyone else, things I still like to read every week. They're pages and pages of interesting writing that doesn't hurt the eye. There's enough space to bring out character and personality. They're a collectible you can, and will, look back on, jam-packed with useful information. They're a place that fosters opinion and debate. Plus I can never go past a good poster.
No doubt there will be plenty more challenges to come. Thankfully rugby league is never short on stories to tell.
And another thing… I splashed the Broncos v Cowboys game on our cover last week and crossed my fingers they would produce another cracking game. Like I needed to worry, right? The best thing about it was watching Jason Taumalolo take two of what turned out to be the final hit-ups of the game in golden point even after running 231 metres in 78 minutes. He's going to have an even bigger job for the rest of the season without the influence of Matt Scott in the side. It will certainly be a massive job for the Cowboys but if I was a betting woman, I'd say they'll still go deep into the finals.
The Round 3 issue of Big League is on sale now at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through Apple iTunes, Google Play or www.zinio.com.