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Disk Magazines In The Scene Of Today
by Taper/Triad

During the years there have been numerous different disk magazines for the Commodore 64 audience. Not only scene based magazines, but also commercial publications like "Loadstar", "Magic Disk" and "Golden Disk". Naturally, more or less all commercial disk zines are now gone since long, with the exception of "Loadstar". Generating profit from such a small community as ours must be more or less impossible, and thus the commercial companies no longer show any interest. However, the scene magazines have a total different aim than to simply bring in cash, and so our scene is still blessed with a bunch of them, in different quality and style. During the years we have seen many mags with different approaches, appealing to different types of sceners. The board sceners had their favourites, the mailtraders theirs, and so on.

Lately, I've heard some voices talking about how the disk magazines no longer have their role to play in the modern Internet based scene. Some stress that especially the news chapters are obsolete, because the news appear much faster on the Internet anyway. Others claim that disk mags in general is a thing of the past and that webpages will take their place.

To me, this sounds like giving up. Hopefully most C64 sceners still agree with me when I say there is no better media reading scene articles than in a proper disk magazine. Graphics, tunes and the general feel of a production running on your C64 is of course impossible to beat for us that still struggle along in the remains of the scene. For me, disk magazines is not just an important part of scene history, but also highly important to trigger activity and tie together the various parts of the scene of today.

So, are the critics right when it comes to the news reporting then? Nobody could deny the fact that hot news are instantly being published every day on excellent websites like c64.sk and others. Who wants to read the same news over and over again, but a month later, in the disk magazines? Certainly not me. Public announcements and news posted by the responsible parties can indeed be read on the net. Nothing wrong with that.

But what happened to investigating journalism, the very core and essence of news reporting? Digging up facts, rumours and news that never was intended for the public eye, or never reach the websites, must be the main objective for any journalist involved in a magazine staff. When did the disk magazines loose their talanted reporters who used their brains, skills and witts instead of just copying public news? Let's be fair. There are still a handfull of those reporters left and we also have a few good magazines still published. But in some way I feel the general trend is to take the easy way out and either just copy news from the net (which indeed is totally pointless and uninteresting for the readers), or to scrap the news chapters totally and tell people to visit the web to obtain news instead. The latter is more or less a suicidal behaviour.

The best disk magazines in the past were those who dug up the juicy news and rumours that the affected parties wanted to keep for themselves. Naturally the scene was larger back then, but there still are skeletons in the closet and scandals to report if some effort is put into it.

Can you imagine the staff of "Propaganda", "The Pulse" or any other major publication back then loading up the news chapter of a competing magazine and then just copy the news from there? Of course not. Investigating journalism and not being afraid of revealing compromising news was the strength of the best magazines in the past.

A news reporter with pride can't just scan the websites for already available news, served to him on a silverplate from individuals who choose to go public with a well selected newsflash. Rather he must collect the news himself, piece together information found from different sources and put people against the wall.

Excellent places to pick up unpublished rumours and news are parties and meetings, the resurrected boards now online via telnet aswell as IRC and personal contacts with key sceners. Just as an example, the only journalists who seem to understand the potential of the resurrected C64 boards are Jazzcat and Vengeance, involved with both "Vandalism News" and "Domination" magazines. There is no excuse for a reporter not seeking information where C64 sceners hang out, especially today when more or less everyone have access to the Internet and easily can connect to IRC and use telnet.

It's indeed a more time consuming work than to just cut and paste news from a website, but it's also much more rewarding and vitalizing for the scene. If it could be done successfully in the past, with far less resources when it comes to communication, it can indeed be done today aswell. My hope is that I've managed to plant a seed in certain editors and reporters heads. Only dead fishes follow the stream!

TAPER/TRIAD

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