National Masters News fires editor, to become magazine

Carmel Papworth-Barnum, an accomplished W40 runner, was making strides as editor of National Masters News this spring. She was climbing a steep learning curve but making monthly improvements in the paper. No more. This month, she was fired as editor. Publisher Randy Sturgeon, for reasons still a little vague, decided to take over “editorial control,” Carmel wrote me earlier this week. I wrote to Randy, asking why this step was taken, and he responded with a note reprinted below.

Here’s the note Randy sent out this morning, addressed to 35 folks (including me):

Dear National Masters News contributers, supporters and interested parties,
I just wanted to take a moment to inform you of some changes for NMN. First off, I as of June 1st will no longer be contracting editorial management outside the NMN office. When I first took over NMN I had to contract a number of things, including the editors job, outside the office. Over time I have been able to move more and more things into the office as I have gotten a number of things in place, developed in office support and just got more acquainted with aspects of the business. I finally am in the place where I can bring editorial management inside the office and oversee this aspect of the business directly.
I want to thank Carmel Papworth-Barnum for all the fine work she has done. I was hoping that I could keep her in another capacity, but we were not able to work that out. I will miss working with her and will always be grateful for her help in getting us to the point we are at now.
Another change that is coming will hopefully begin with the July issue. We will be going to a stitched, magazine format. It will still be tabloid and just slighly smaller from the current size, but it will be in magazine, rather than newspaper format. We are currently starting to place magazines in stores around the country and plan on going to newsstand sales in 2009.
We continue to broaden the content and the outreach of the magazine. Subscriptions are up significantly from when we took over and we will continue to work to become the magazine for masters track and field athletes, distance runners, race walkers and ultra runners.
It has been a great ride and thanks for all your support to the publication,
Randy Sturgeon, Owner & Publisher
National Masters News

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May 22, 2008

3 Responses

  1. Mary Harada - May 22, 2008

    I had heard that Carmel was no longer the managing editor for reasons that were not clear. I thought she was doing a great job bringing new writers to the paper and turning it in a new direction.
    I know that some are not happy with the new format. I am not among those who found it wanting. But for those who did not like it in its current form, just wait for it to turn into a magazine – let the complaints roll in!
    As for selling it at the news stand – well- that should be interesting. Competing with The Economist and Newsweek no doubt.

  2. Ken Stone - May 22, 2008

    I just checked NMN’s Web site. They posted the cover of the June issue, but they haven’t updated the “About Us” page, which shows Carmel as editor and hubby Larry as associate editor:

  3. Ken Stone - May 23, 2008

    I chatted with Carmel on the phone Thursday night, and she was feeling OK about everything.
    The parting was amicable, she said, and Randy even promised a good reference for her when she seeks another job.
    “He hasn’t said that he was unhappy (with her performance as editor),” Carmel told me. “He wants to bring (the editor’s role) in-house. That’s his choice. Good luck to him.”
    Although Carmel would have preferred to stay on with the paying job, she understands the nature of the business — especially when she was telecommuting from Reno. (Randy is based near Sacramento.)
    The unanswered question at this point is whether Randy will hire an editor for his office in Orangevale, California, or just do all the editing and writing himself.
    Worries have been expressed that NMN might become even more focused on distance running — to the detriment of sprints, jumps and throws coverage.
    Time will tell.

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