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Triathlon magazine Lava ends print, goes digital

Published March 29, 2017

ENCINITAS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Lava magazine's May 1 issue, now hitting newsstands, will be its last print edition. The magazine will continue to be available as a digital magazine, but will no longer be available as a large-format publication.

In an email to subscribers, editor TJ Murphy pointed to industry forces and a vanishing newsstand for the change.

"It appears that the world is going the way of the smart phone and tablet with or without us... We were kicking and screaming about this but now that we're more focused on the digital magazine I have to admit it's cool to see the possibilities involved," he wrote.

Murphy said that the digital edition will be more comprehensive with a heavier focus on training methods and technology, gear reviews, nutrition, and will incorporate video. Lava will also step up its Serious Triathlon podcast and it will emphasize coverage of age-groupers, pros, coaches as well as expanding the coverage of the culture of triathlon.

In an editorial in the May 1 issue explaining the move to digital, Murphy said, "The media world has been continuing to shift gears at a rapid pace, with one especially challenging consequence to the print magazine business: the vaporizing of newsstands and print advertising against the rise of the iPad and smartphone. A mistake we've made is being reluctant to leave print behind and adapt to the new (and always evolving) digital age."

One of the original hallmarks of Lava was its format, which included premium paper and quality photography. Murphy said Lava will keep its hands on print with one special print edition this year and depending on reception, may do two or three in 2018.

"iTunes and Spotify didn't kill the vinyl record, so we feel a special print edition or three per year might offer a welcome respite from being plugged in," Murphy wrote in his editorial.

Lava was launched in 2010 by the World Triathlon Corporation, owners of Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Iron Girl and IronKids, and John Duke, former publisher of Triathlete Magazine.

The magazine, published nine times per year, was sold to a group of investors that included Duke, and Active.com's Dave Alberga and Matt Landa, in 2012. Under its new ownership, the magazine became independent of World Triathlon Corp., which owns the Ironman events and their trademark, but remained the official magazine of Ironman.

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