Letter from the Editor: Digital updates at Canoe & Kayak

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David Jackson and Dave Shively examine the GPS along the Bow River, Banff, Alberta.
The C&K crew, navigating in a digital world during a recent canoe journey through Banff National Park. Photo: Aaron Schmidt

What’s new at Canoe & Kayak?

The answer is a lot — and a lot of the same.

‘A lot of new’ means a shift in focus, and ‘a lot of the same’ means sticking to the C&K formula of being the big tent that delivers the best stories, information, and imagery from every impassioned corner of paddling. The news, photo, product, skills and travel coverage that we’re known for will only expand online, as will our video offerings.

Canoe & Kayak will keep adapting our award-winning storytelling from our print pages into a fuller spread of the best environmental and expedition news, paddling destination, skills and gear stories anchored by contributions from our stable of editor-at-large mainstays. Count on visual feasts and deep reads in innovative layouts, from mobile-scalable Photo Essays to scrolling multimedia Digital Features. We’ll also be rolling out more Field Tested gear reviews, plus the best in paddling videos each week. C&K Photo Editor Aaron Schmidt will continue providing a daily dose of paddling’s best imagery with the ‘Photo Of The Day’ on our site and @CanoeKayakMag Instagram handle. Plus we’ll keep turning the spotlight on our readers, highlighting the best ‘Rides’ and Dogs of everyday paddlers while continuing our cross-continent series on North America’s Best Paddling Towns.

The biggest change, however, is that we will no longer produce a quarterly print edition for home delivery. If you are a current subscriber, the balance of your mailed subscription will be fulfilled with issues of our sister paddling title, SUP.

There’s no easy way to break that news. Call it a pivot, turn, or double-down, but we’re making aggressive moves to become a more relevant digital-first title. Though it’s easy to throw around a term like ‘digital-first,’ ask yourself one important question: How are you reading this story right now?

If it’s on a phone, you are probably digesting content a lot like I do.

For better or worse, smartphones and social media have woven their time-, battery- and too often soul-sucking selves into the fabric of our daily inter- and over-connected lives. C&K’s audience has changed accordingly. Per month, for every eight viewers of C&K content across our channels, there is only a single print viewer.

This does not mean we are abandoning print. It means that because our audience now is so large and so vastly skewed toward digital, we are scaling print back accordingly. If there’s continued interest from our advertisers in print, we’ll produce a single journal-like annual that we hope will reside on your coffee table from May through the summer paddling season.

We are not shying away from the apparent shift in paddlers wanting better content and more resources on their desktops, tablets and phones now. It’s a shift in focus that allows us to be nimble and flexible, with regard to expansion into apps, customized site sections, story and film series, plus more event presence among the thriving communities of paddlers that drive our sport.

Media is changing fast, and we are charging hard, head-on into the changes just as we would into any rapid ahead.

We have a slate of incredible stories planned for the year ahead, and we are not planning to stop sharing paddling’s best tips, tales, reviews and adventure experiences any time soon. Help us improve these offerings by letting us know what you want more, or less of: Fill out our Reader Survey. We want to give you, the reader, a bigger voice and broader share in a brand built for and by every kind of paddler. Please don’t hesitate to reach out (message us on our Facebook page or email letters@canoekayak.com).

Like any campfire that ends a long day paddling, there’s always room in the circle. Contribute. Tell your story. Share your event. We want to hear from you more.

Thanks for reading,

Editor-in-Chief – Canoe & Kayak
Content Director TEN Paddlesports – C&K / Kayak Fish / SUP

The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

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