Friday, May 04, 2007

Bikers Ride Roughshod Over Now Magazine

An article in last week's NOW Magazine by Kyla Dixon-Muir entitled "Riding roughshod: Chainsaw-toting trail bike high-flyers cutting valley into mucky ribbons" on mountain biking in the Crothers' Woods invoked quite a response from all affected.

When the article came out the mountain bikers (at least according to the chat forums) went ballistic. While they can be quite passionate about their sport, I think they crossed ethcial and moral lines when someone published a photograph of the writer as well as her home address and phone number. This is even more alarming considering the fact that the writer is female and the mountain biking community is overwhelmingly male. This opens the way to all sorts of unkind harassment. Now editor Enzo di Matteo said as much in an unusual online editorial. Understandably, Ms. Muir was upset about this and sent a letter demanding an apology or face litigation.

The discussion threads on and Drop Machine are for the most part juvenile tripe although a minority do appear to be leading an informed discussion.

Now magazine must accept some blame for all this. Apparently they editted Muir's submitted text to such a point that what was published reinforced their own stilted editorial stance. Instead of a well balanced article it came out as overly one-sided.

Fortunately, the rhetoric has been toned down quite a bit as can be seen from letters to the editor that were published this week.

There are at least two lessons to be learned from all this. First, Now Magazine has a history of sensationalist journalism so anything they publish should be viewed with a jaundiced eye. Second, the mountain bikers as a group need to learn how to respond to such attacks with a more reasoned approach. The current situation only reinforces peoples' opinions of them.

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