ASK THE MXPERTS: WHY DOESN’T MXA HAVE MORE BYLINES ON ITS STORIES?

June 21, 2011
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Dear MXA,
    I noticed, and have heard other people comment, that there are no bylines on the stories in MXA. Why is this? Are you afraid?


That crafty John Minert pulled a fast one and put a byline on this travel story about riding the 2011 Husqvarna’s in Italy.

First of all, there are bylines on all “first person” stories (race coverage, travel stories or historical tales). Take the last few issues of MXA for examples: We put bylines on Dennis Stapelton’s “MXA Goes GNCC Racing” story In the June  2011 issue, Jody Weisel’s “My Favorite Year” story in the May 2011 issue and Jody’s “Things That Aren’t Here Anymore” in the April issue.

We do not put bylines on bike tests or products tests, because they are not the product of any single person. Take the “We Ride Andrew Short’s KTM 350SXF” test that was on the cover of the June 2011 issue?four different MXA test riders rode Andrew’s bike and each collaborated on the info. While it is true that someone collected the information that each test rider contributed, that person is not expressing his personal opinion of Short’s bike, but the combined opinion of everyone who tested or raced the bike (or contributed technical input).

The same is true with MXA product tests. The opinions are the collective opinion, not that of any single test rider.

There is no byline on “Ask The MXperts” because the information is sourced from the mechanic, technician, company or person who can best answer the question. The person who collated all the information did not necessarily provide the answer to every question, thus no byline. There are lots of regular features that do not have bylines because we consider them part of our job?not an ego boost to claim that we wrote something.

We don’t byline most interviews because many MXA interviews do not have questions. We simply let the subject talk and print what they say. The byline belongs to the interviewee, not the interviewer. When we have a question and answer interview it is up to the editor to decide if he wants to run his name?but we don’t really see how it matters because the answers are important, not the questions (which are often a list compiled by everyone involved). If you really care?Jody did the Roger DeCoster interview in the February 2011 issue, John Basher did the Jeremy McGrath interview in the March 2011 issue and the Jimmy Button interview in the May 2011 issue. Basher also did the Christophe Pourcel interview in the June 2011 issue.

And as for think pieces, like those that make the AMA, MX Sports, Youthstream and the FIM so angry, they aren’t the opinion of a single person, but represent the institutional opinion of the magazine. Stories like ‘The Story That Giuseppe Luongo Doesn’t Want You To Read’ aren’t just the opinion of one person at the magazine, but the opinion of the magazine as a whole and the people who contributed to the story. This it is the honored opinion of the magazine as a whole?and doesn’t differ from Time, Newsweek or any other national publication. However, pieces like “Jody’s Two-Stroke Manifesto” and Willy Musgrave’s “Start The Four-Stroke Revolution Without Me” are considered their opinion?and thus are bylined.

As for the stupid idea that we don’t sign our work because we are trying to hide something?that’s ludicrous. Our names are in the masthead of every issue. No one else writes stories in MXA except MXA editors (or people they chose), so where are we hiding? We find it amusing that people on the internet, who use pseudonyms and don’t fill out their profiles, could ever accuse anyone else of trying to hide the author of a piece. If everyone on the internet had to sign their names to a masthead or their work, we think that the internet would be a boring place.

As for Jody Weisel, John Basher, John Minert and Dennis Stapleton, every issue of MXA is a product of their collaboration, effort and work. We hang out together, we race together and we are proud of our work. But we aren’t so puffed-up proud that we have to stick our names on everything we write.

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