I had an interesting experience with Shooting Sportsman recently. I wrote an article about pass shooting doves over my dogs. Unlike most, my dogs enthusiastically retrieve doves from land or water. I submitted the story to them and they actually liked it, and were very nice and offered advice on where to better market it, but weren't interested in buying it because it didn't sell or promote any products or services and therefore "didn't serve the needs of our readers." That came as quite a shock to me but it answered a question that has been bugging me for some time: why are so many of the articles I read in these journals so bland, and are at best OK journalism? Their response answered my question nicely. Good writing and captivating reading is not what these journals are about. Ever notice how the cost of magazine subscriptions is actually going down? That is because of a change that has taken place in the way they generate their revenues. The magazine articles themselves have, as best as I can see it, become vehicles through which promotion of products and services is performed. In order to get advertisers to pay for articles promoting their products or services the publishers need to be able to show them subscription numbers, so they sell the subscriptions at or below cost so that the people paying for promotion can see that the numbers justify what they are paying for that promotion. That's why so many of the articles are so similar in structure and so lacking in anything unique or captivating. The purpose of the articles is to promote or sell, not to offer captivating reading. Ever notice how many of the bird hunting articles are written around the hunter's experience with a lodge or guiding service or some new gun or other commercial interest? Now you know why.
Wireguy---You hit the nail on the head. This is why I subscribed to Gun Tests magazine. They don't take ad money. And since they present their findings the way they do, I think they give out fairly honest opinions. You will not find anything seriously wrong in any article of the "leading" gun or hunting/fishing mags. They don't want to jeopardize the free guns, trips hunting or fishing, etc.
Halfmile not all the writers keep the stuff they have tested, but I can tell you from personal experinece that most want to, unless you ask for it back. I had one guy call me one time and told me who he was and who he wrote for. "I need one of those stocks you make, and if you will send me one, I'll write up a real good article about it"! I said, isn't that called bribery? He hung up on me! lol