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Jaime Owens Interview

About the end of Transworld magazine

Transworld started in 1983, as a more youth-friendly alternative to the "Skate & Destroy" cheering Thrasher Magazine. Just around 2000 the magazine had its heyday. The issues were as thick as encyclopedias and the best skaters and photographers delivered legendary interviews and extraordinary pictures. Not to forget the no less legendary Transworld videos: Modus Operandi, Sight Unseen, In Bloom... We're talking about milestones here. At the end of the noughties it slowly became calmer around the former print battleship. On the one hand the media landscape had changed and online offers demanded their tribute and on the other hand the competition from San Francisco had risen to the only true Bible and tolerated no gods beside itself. The last editorial team had tried to turn the tide again with a new layout and new concept, but it was already too late. In March it was announced that the print magazine would be discontinued and only the online offering would continue. We spoke to editor-in-chief Jaime Owens to find out exactly what the situation is.

Can you break down in a few sentences why and how Transworld was shut down?

Well, Transworld the brand is not shut down. The only thing that actually changed was A.M.I. (American Media, Inc.) cut our print property. But to the majority of hardcore skaters, Transworld not having a regular print issue does feel like it’s dead and I understand that feeling. I grew up on this magazine since the mid 80s when I got my first issue, so it definitely hurt.

What’s the thing with American media taking over Transworld? And what does David Pecker have to do with Donald Trump?

They bought our entire company which included Surfer, Snowboarder, Transworld Snowboarding, the whole kit and caboodle. And it’s widely known that those two dudes are besties. Yikes.

Website and Instagram are still running. So will it continue online?

Yes, that’s the idea for now. Continue to create good content in the video realm and promote that through our social channels. We still have a four million plus digital audience that we can reach monthly which is still a great avenue to promote skateboarding. And there’s still potential to do one-off special print issues if the right idea and brand are there to back it. So, we’re working on that.

What is the staff doing now?

Our staff was cut in half with the new purchase, so there’s only four of us left. Three editorial and one sales guy. We’re working on a big Daewon Song Documentary with adidas that comes out in May that we’re really stoked about. It’s being made by Joe Pease so you know it’s going to be epic! And we plan on doing other big project stuff like that too.

"There needs to be alternate voices and some good competition in the skate media world"

You tried to renew the mag with certain changes. Looking back now would you’ve done anything different or do you think there was nothing you could’ve done to prevent the end?

I’m definitely very proud of what we did as a crew with Transworld over the past few years and especially with the look and feel of the magazine. I felt like the magazine got off track some years ago and we worked really hard to set it straight which took some time. But the Thrasher monster was already in full swing by the time I got here and it was eating everything up in site, so it was definitely difficult to pull brand’s attention away from that. But even beyond that, the industry as a whole was hurting financially, so even when brands wanted to support us, they just couldn’t do it. We’re thankful for all the brands that did find a way to support us and continue to. I mean look at just a few years ago, the skate industry used to be doing so good that one brand had enough money to advertise in Skateboarder, The Skateboard Mag, Slap, Big Brother, and Transworld all at once! That’s crazy. There was so much money going around in the 2000s. It’s nuts to think that it just started drying up. It even happened to the Berrics too and that was kind of the future model of media, right? Dominant digital/video media platform, and it couldn’t last. (It’s still around obviously, but drastically different than what it was at its height.) Thrasher was definitely lucky to have their apparel line blow up into a multi-million-dollar enterprise to help them avoid what was happening to the rest of skate media.

How do you see skate media in 2019 and where do you think it goes?

It all goes on Thrasher, right? Haha. For real though, 2019 and beyond it will be just smaller outlets putting out rad skate content whether it’s just online, or making videos, or limited print runs when there’s opportunity. Like what you guys have over there, which is awesome. When things pick back up in the skate industry here in the States, because they always do, the brands will help build up those outlets because no one wants just one media outlet. There needs to be alternate voices and some good competition in the skate media world.

Do you think the Men’s Journal Magazine has some good skateshots?

Ha. They definitely have great shots of abs! Who doesn’t want to get a sweet six-pack going? But yeah, sorry about that one. Totally out of our hands. For those that don’t want a six pack, then here’s how to cancel that subscription: 1-800-677-6367 or MTScustserv@cdsfulfillment.com

Thank you guys.

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