Trust-busting the SN (II of II)

It’s no secret that SN is part of a loosely (that is, unofficially) connected network of powerful individuals and business interests that draws a hard line in southern gospel music, as was noted over at the sogospelnews forums a few months back. My question: why is there no better alternative? Can a southern gospel magazine only be profitable if reporters spend their days sexing up press releases and raving uncritically about everything that comes across their desk? Will performers not risk granting access to an upstart rival for fear of being banished by the SN (a real fear I don’t mean to diminish; after all, the SN strictly enforces some pretty frivolous and silly standards for publication: among them, only certain kinds of facial hair in cover photos and only “full time” groups will be listed in the index of concerts). Or have websites like sogospelnews (and, more important, its message boards and forums) made dead-tree publications like the SN obsolete (certainly the SN comes in for regular criticism and review on the boards)? Though the advent of internet sites devoted to southern gospel is hugely important, it seems unlikely that longstanding publications like SN are in any danger of being squeezed out – I assume the SN continues to thrive at least in part due to a loyal subscriber base that likes its photos glossy, its news soft, and its reviews unfailingly positive. But still, surely there is a segment of southern gospel fans eager for more enlightened coverage and willing to support a publication (on- or off-line) that would provide it reliably. So let’s take a little poll: who reads the SN because they really WANT to (you really like it), and who reads because you feel like you’re a bad southern gospel fan if you don’t? Email me your answers and I’ll post the results.

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