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Join the Evolution! Exciting Changes Coming for the Goodguys Magazine

Over the past few issues I’ve alluded to some changes happening to the Goodguys magazine this year. Since this is the first Up Front editorial I’m writing in the new year, it seemed like a natural opportunity to offer a little more insight into what is coming down the road.

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Goodguys Magazine Editor Damon Lee

Let me start by saying the changes we have in the works are based on input from you, our members and readers. Last fall we sent out a survey to more than 10,000 current members to get a better sense of what you do and don’t like about the magazine. Your responses provided a foundation for many subsequent meetings among the Goodguys media team to determine how to best deliver the content you really want to see. Simply put, you spoke, and we listened.

Beyond your responses, we had some additional motivation for making a few updates. Key among those is how to spread the good news about Goodguys to even more people. While our members and participants are great advocates for Goodguys events and membership, we realize there are thousands of car enthusiasts out there who have never attended one of our events – and have possibly never even heard of them. We wanted to invite them along for the ride.

Thus, the first big news we’d like to share: starting with the May issue, the Goodguys magazine will be distributed on newsstands across the country for the first time ever! You can look for it on the periodical shelves at your nearest Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million, and soon after you’ll find it in Pilot and Flying-J Travel Centers, as well. Not only does this make it easy to pick up extra copies for your friends if your car makes it into print, it also broadens the potential audience for Goodguys events across the country.

This brings up another change you can watch for with the May issue: a new, modern format. That means the trim size of the magazine – its overall dimensions – are shrinking just a little. Our reader survey showed that readers were split on the magazine size – some of you liked the current oversize format, others thought a smaller size would be easier and more convenient to carry, others didn’t care one way or another. As it turns out, a slightly smaller size – approximately 1.5-inches shorter and narrower – makes for a better fit on the newsstand, while still being larger than most consumer magazines. If you’re familiar with The Rodder’s Journal or National Dragster, you’ll be familiar with the new size. You could say we’re getting chopped and channeled!

goodguys gazette, goodguys, goodguys magazine, damon lee, hot rod magazine, custom cars, classic trucks, street machine, pro touring, goodguys car showAnd since I know you’ll ask, let me assure you that Art Director Kevin Reynolds has found font styles and sizes to make sure the text remains easy to read. Those of us responsible for the words, meanwhile, are sharpening our pencils, so to speak, aiming to say more with less rambling.

In addition to being easier to handle, the new trim size will allow us to increase the average number of pages in the magazine. Like any publication, the overall page count in any given issue of the Goodguys magazine is a function of advertising. Maintaining a reasonable editorial-to-advertising ratio keeps the magazine financially feasible. The savings we realize from the smaller trim size will be reinvested in more pages, ensuring we have the space to showcase content you want to see.

And what is it you want to see? Well, more cars seems like an obvious answer. While we still have a relatively fixed amount of space for event coverage, we’re making tweaks and adjustments to make better use of that space and showcase as many cool rides as possible. We’ve already started reducing or eliminating some of the non-car photos from our event coverage, while still leaving enough lifestyle shots to give you some flavor from the show. More concise writing and a stronger emphasis on imagery will improve the magazine’s visual impact.

Beyond the event coverage, we’re working on some new columns and regular features to include in the mix. Many of you expressed an interest in technical information or how-to articles. We are exploring ways to bring you that sort of content, as well. Some of it may come through an increased emphasis on tips and technical info in our monthly tech and buyer’s guides, though we’re also looking at avenues for creating short how-to articles and presenting other hands-on information. You might have noticed that Paint Tips columnist Zane Cullen has already started incorporating a step-by-step photo-based approach to his column. We like that direction.

Through the decades, the Goodguys Gazette has evolved from a literal newspaper, to an oversized newsprint publication, to various incarnations of its current magazine format. These next steps coming with the May issue are just an ongoing part of that evolution. The bottom line, as I’ve said before, is that we’re actively investing time, resources, and energy into making the Goodguys magazine even better and more relevant for our members and readers. That’s a positive thing in today’s media environment. We’re looking forward to having you along for the ride as we evolve again and bring the Goodguys magazine into the future!

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.