Those are the kind of questions the BSA’s magazine team, led by Editorial Director Mike Goldman, is considering right now. And we need your input. After all, Scouting magazine wouldn’t exist without you.
Boys’ Life, the premier magazine for youth and Scouts, already has a working prototype of an iPad edition. At the BSA’s National Annual Meeting in May, I watched as volunteers and professionals got a fingers-on look at the prototype. Reviews were glowing.
BL came to life with embedded videos; immersive pages you could tap, swipe, and rotate for extra content; and gorgeous photos best viewed on the crisp displays of modern tablets. None of that’s possible in print.
A tablet edition of BL blurs the lines between print and digital in ways that will make the reading experience better. The same would be true of a digital Scouting magazine.
“Our three magazines — Scouting, Boys’ Life and Eagles’ Call — are more than ink on paper,” Goldman says. “They each represent an experience that is manufactured in our readers’ minds, not on a printing press. Though the delivery method might change, that experience will not.”
Notice he said might change. We won’t make any move without first getting feedback from readers like you.
“Our top priority is to help our volunteers deliver the life-changing experience that is Scouting to each of our youth,” Goldman says. “We need to make our tools, like Scouting magazine, readily available in whatever forms our customers prefer.”
No matter the outcome of the informal poll below or future surveys (with statistically representative sample sizes), Goldman says the magazines’ strategies will always reflect the audience’s wants and needs.
“It’s all about customer service,” he says. “How we as publishers can best serve our readers. We might find that our printed magazine is the preferred experience. We might find a tablet edition is the way to go. We will listen to our readers and act accordingly.”
One thing is clear: Right now’s an exciting time to be a reader (or editor) of any of the BSA’s award-winning magazines.
In the comments section, please share which specific device (e.g. iPad, Kindle Fire, Surface, Android phone) you’d use to read a digital version of Scouting magazine if one existed.
And of course, other comments are always welcome.