Serious Journalism Has Never Been About Profit

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 1. IN A Voice for the Sport in the April issue of Swimming World Magazine, publisher Brent Rutemiller applies lessons learned from the history of journalism to the sport of swimming.

It seems as though every month we read about another newspaper going out of business as a new digital company comes online.

As the publisher of Swimming World Magazine, it is with great anxiety that I study these trends to formulate business strategies that will allow us to navigate our print magazine successfully through digital waters.

Most print companies dissolve because traditional advertising and circulation dollars can no longer support their operations. With each epitaph written, so dies a vehicle for free speech and another means for independent, investigative journalism.

A recent Newsweek article by Jacob Weisberg reports that early business models for the great newspapers were never about profit.

The best newspapers existed as a form of public trust. They were there to investigate the truth without being bound to any advertiser or single entity. They all promoted a strong separation between advertising and editorial. Advertising dollars supported editorial. The better editorial became, the more circulation grew. The more circulation grew, the more advertising dollars came in for improving editorial.

The best print media outlets defended First Amendment principles. Profits were often plowed back into the operations to support more robust journalism instead of padding the owner's pocket. The need to be independent is the foundation for all credibility.

The article went on to give example after example of the philanthropic people and families behind the media giants. Without their money subsidizing the operations, a truthful history of our times may never have been written.

All of this led me to reflect on Swimming World's business model and, more importantly, its responsibility to the world of aquatics. Is Swimming World a part of the public trust?

Swimming World has been privately owned for more than 50 years. The Deal family purchased it from Al Schoenfield in the late 1970s. Profit has almost always been plowed back into its operations.

As governing bodies such as USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming launched their own publications, competition for circulation and advertising dollars splintered the market and threatened the very existence of Swimming World Magazine. At the time, most people never knew that thousands of dollars had to be infused into the company just to keep it from closing its doors. Swimming Technique and SWIM Magazine were not so lucky.

I remember thinking how ironic it was that two non-profit organizations that govern the sport of swimming in the United States were trying to profit from starting their own publications, while Swimming World Magazine, a for-profit entity on paper, was being run like a non-profit organization, providing an independent public service.

Everyone at Swimming World Magazine remains loyal to our past and the importance of remaining "The Record for the Sport" through our monthly print publication that continues to be our core responsibility.

Rest assured that during these difficult economic times, Swimming World Magazine and its owners will do everything possible to continue being an independent voice for the sport and will continue to support the entire swimming community—from athletes to coaches, and to volunteers, governing bodies and product manufacturers from all around the world.

More importantly, we are confident that our print and digital endeavors will flow together and allow us to remain the independent news leader in aquatic sports.

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April 2009 Issue
Contents of The April issue:

7 THE NEXT WAVE by Jason Marsteller
At the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Guam, the USA's Dagny Knutson led an impressive showing of junior-level swimmers who represent the next wave of world-class swimming.
10 CELEBRATING 50+ YEARS IN AQUATICS: 1969-72 by John Lohn
As we celebrate 50+ years in aquatics, Swimming World Magazine will be taking a trip through history, highlighting some of the top moments of the magazine's existence.
12 THEN AND NOW by John Lohn
Although they competed some 30 years apart, Americans John Naber and Aaron Peirsol are both considered two of history's best backstrokers.
14 RUSH TO ROME by Eric Velazquez
The U.S. diving squad is assembled and ready for this year's World Championships to be held this summer in Rome.
6 A VOICE for the SPORT

In the Swimming Technique portion of the magazine you will find the following:

29 Q&A WITH COACH KATHY ASPAAS by Michael J. Stott
31 HOW THEY TRAIN: Dagny Knutson by Michael J. Stott
The common denominators for swimming fast in the morning are setting expectations as well as modeling consistency in practice and meet management behavior.

In the SWIM portion of the magazine you will find the following:

19 THE WORLD'S BEST MASTERS by Emily Sampl and Jason Marsteller
Swimming World Magazine's Top 12 World Masters Swimmers of 2008 hail from four countries and range in age from 31 to 95.
25 THE POOL'S EDGE: Life Skills Learned at the Pool
by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen
26 THE WORKOUT CARD: My Favorite Workouts by Carolyn Boak
28 LANE LEADERS: Dave Sims by Emily Sampl

In the Junior Swimmer portion of the magazine you will find the following:

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