Did you feel that? I think the earth just moved. Not in the hippy-dippy, “we’re all on this big blue marble taking a cosmic ride on the great space coaster” sense -- I mean in the crappy and forgettable John Cusack disaster movie, 2012, sense. Yep, I’m pretty sure the ground just opened up and swallowed the print media business as we all know it. What the hell is Hazel trying to say this month? In a nutshell, I’m saying goodbye.
We’ve had a seismic corporate reshuffle here at Source Interlink Media, and this is my last issue of Jp. The gears are still spinning and all the tumblers have yet to click into place, but the message from the top is that we’re changing the way we do what we do so that your experience as a consumer of the content we create will be enhanced and improved. I’ll be heading over to run our big sister publication Four Wheeler, and (former) Associate Editor Pete Trasborg will be taking the reins of Jp.
My tenure of nearly 12 years makes me the longest-running Jp staffer ever. I came on board back in the early 2000s, when we were still using 35mm film cameras, running black-and-white photos in print, and only publishing six issues a year. Hell, we didn’t even have a website. Jp is now the third-largest off-road publication in total circulation and routinely outsells its larger siblings Four Wheeler and 4-Wheel & Off-Road on the newsstand. It’s one of our company’s stronger performing titles in terms of digital subscriptions, and given its audience size, its web traffic is crazy. For “that little Jeep magazine,” it’s a real powerhouse. Must be a Jeep thing.
When I came aboard Jp, I really wasn’t a Jeep guy at heart. I couldn’t spot the difference between a VEC CJ-2A and late CJ-2A at 1,000 paces. I couldn’t tell the difference between post-war Willys steel and AMC-era steel by the smell given off when you weld on them. I couldn’t rattle off myriad Spicer 18 models and intermediate shaft sizes in my sleep or double-clutch bang-shift a worn T-90 by muscle memory. That’s all truly programmed into my data banks now, as is a genuine love and appreciation of all Jeep models.
But more than the opportunity to share Jeep trip adventures, go wheeling, and buy, save, and rejuvenate more than a dozen abandoned and dilapidated Jeeps with you through the pages of Jp (my DJ-3A, Project Hatari! CJ-6, The Evil Truck M-715, Comman D’oh ’73 C-104 Jeepster, Steal-J ’97 TJ, The Monkey Bus ’78 Cherokee, and about a dozen others), I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of engaging with Jp readers online, via email, and in person. You folks are special. Sounds schmaltzy, but it’s true. The biggest part of what makes Jp unique is the audience that patronizes it. Brand-loyal bickering, juvenile name calling, and intolerance for others are almost non-existent in the Jp realm. Along with the Jeeps, that’s what I’ve appreciated most about my time here, and what I’ll miss most.
So, with that I’ll say a heartfelt thank you for putting up with my harebrained story ideas, sometimes nonsensical analogies, and often weird buildups -- and officially hand ’er over to Trasborg. See ya on the trail.