This morning Steve left a comment on the same post. To review: one commenter looked askance at the aspirational nature of Steve’s blog and his magazine (National Geographic Adventure), both of which focus on great big outdoor doings that average Joe and Jane Hiker will never experience. Excerpts from Steve’s response after the jump.
I … want to clarify my “blogs suck” comment. No, it wasn’t taken out of context–I meant what I said. But I would divide blogs into two categories–personal endeavors inspired by passion for the outdoors, such as yours, and semi-commercial attempts to get something, anything online in order to sell advertising and pull in affiliate dollars. I have nothing for respect for what you’re doing. (snip)
What has surprised me–and the reason I launched the Adventure Life–is that I see few independent outdoor websites that are entertaining, insightful, coherent, and fun. To say that existing sites “suck” is simplistic and reductionist, but also, to a great extent, true. But that’s coming from the perspective of someone who’s spent decades as a professional writer, photographer, and editor–my expectations of what constitutes a good site are clearly different from others’. In my opinion, it takes more than opinion to make a great website. A crazy thought, I know…
Also, I disagree–strongly–with the idea that magazines extol an artificial or unobtainable alternative universe. At their best, magazines show us what’s possible, they inspire, they teach, they open our eyes to the world. I’m probably never going to take psychedelics and have an exorcism in South America, as Kira Salak did, but I sure enjoyed reading about it in Nat Geo Adventure. (snip)
Nat Geo Adventure has always strived for accessibility and showing newcomers how to have their own adventures. Yes, we cover dream trips. But we also cover an equal number of close-to-home, affordable, and easily accessible spots. (snip)
Print magazines are bound by commercial constraints and sometimes by lack of imagination, which is where websites like the Adventure Life and blogs like Tom’s step in. There are a million great stories that connect somehow, some way, with the outdoors. Just look at Tom’s link list, for starters. I get up every single day inspired by how I see people finding themselves outside, and the Adventure Life is my attempt to share that with the world. It’s imperfect, incomplete, and woefully in need of updating, but it sure isn’t short of potential stories.
The blogosphere is certainly the great equalizer: guys like Steve with dream jobs at cool publications are a big red bullseye for bloggers. He has a built-in audience handed to him every month when his magazine arrives in people’s mailboxes every month, but in the online wilderness he has to scratch and claw for every click like the rest of us. It’s humbling.
I hope Steve’s site catches on because that’ll be good for all outdoor bloggers (in the same way that opening your upscale burger joint next to a Wendy’s can be good for both businesses).