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June 2009 cover featuring Nick Dompierre
|Frequency||12 monthly issues and 1 special issue|
Transworld SKATEboarding (also known as TWS) is an international magazine on skateboarding that is based in Carlsbad, California, United States (US). The publication also runs an accompanying Internet platform and video production company. In the magazine's 2013 media kit, the publication presents "We are the authority. We are artistic. We have legacy." as the reason for why the magazine stands out.
A satellite edition, Transworld SKATEboarding Japan is published in Japan.
Founded in 1983, TWS was intended as an alternative to Thrasher Magazine, as the founders sought to create an alternative to the latter that was more accessible; for example, a December 1982 article, "Skate and Destroy", written by C.R. Stecyk III (Stecyk collaborated with Stacy Peralta during the first Powell-Peralta era), under the pen name "Lowboy", was criticized, in addition to the February 1983 advertisement for Independent Trucks, in which a topless female model was depicted with the brand's decals (a plastic, cloth, paper or ceramic substrate that has printed on it a pattern or image that can be moved to another surface upon contact) featured on her breasts.
The public release of the TransWorld SKATEboarding publication occurred under the ownership of Larry Balma, owner of the Tracker Trucks brand, and Peggy Cozens. Initially, the magazine's publishing and editorial teams were known collectively as the "United Skate Front" and Balma later spoke of the magazine’s beginnings as a reaction to Thrasher, explaining in a 2003 Union-Tribune interview: "They were pretty harsh, sex and drugs and using four-letter words and all that and in the early '80s, the sport started growing and [Thrasher] wasn't the best magazine for young kids".
The first issue of TWS contained the article "Skate and Create" and its author Peggy Cozens noted, "I have become increasingly concerned about a new skate attitude being pushed on skaters: Skate and Destroy" (Cozens, 1983, p. 13) and proceeded to highlight the positive and creative side of skating according to her perspective. The stance of the magazine remained positive (Weyland, 2002), to the extent that Thrasher owner, Fausto Vitello, wrote, "They were about Skate and Create; we were about Skate and Destroy."(NHS, 2004, p. 17).
The magazine recruited David Carson into the position of art director in 1984 and he remained with TWS until 1988; Carson imbued the magazine with a distinctive look. During the period between 1984 and 1988, the magazine featured the photographic work of J. Grant Brittain and Spike Jonze, and editorial contributions from professional skateboarders, such as Lance Mountain, Tony Hawk, Neil Blender, Steve Berra, Marty 'Jinx' Jimenez, Garry Scott Davis, and Mark Gonzales.
Internal tensions between magazine staff members and AOL Time Warner prompted the resignation of several key editorial members, such as J. Grant Britain, Dave Swift, and Atiba Jefferson—three journalists who later launched The Skateboard Mag publication that was first published in April 2006). Jefferson, whose seminal mentor was Brittain, revealed in May 2012:
So, in 2006, we were all working at Transworld with Dave Swift, Grant ... Brittain. I think I'd gotten to the point—you've done everything you kinda could. And, with that magazine being bought and sold that many times, and being corporate-owned, a lot of things had changed. Even when I started working at Transworld, it was just owned by the bombers; it was independently owned. It was just different, it wasn't the same. There was a lot of things that became very corporate about it. And that was just-it is so hard to do with skating. There were so many things we couldn't justify. So we decided to break off and start out own magazine, The Skateboard Mag, in 2006.
Jefferson's view was reinforced seven years earlier in an interview that Brittain participated in with the Union-Tribune, whereby Jefferson's mentor stated, "We did not like the whole corporate deal, not knowing what was in every issue ad-wise. It wasn't about skateboarding anymore."
On September 12, 2006, Time Warner announced the sale of Time4 Media, a company that was consisted of a portfolio of eighteen print magazines that included the Transworld group of titles. The rationale for the sale was that Time Warner sought "to focus our energy, resources and investment on our biggest and most profitable brands". The eighteen Time4 Media properties were eventually sold for over US$200 million on January 25, 2007 to the Bonnier Group—a 200-year-old Swedish media and entertainment company with a net income of approximately US$20 million, an annual revenue of US$350 million, and businesses in twenty countries. The deal was finalized by March 1, 2007 and an internal memo from Time4 Media president Tom Beusse was published on the Internet, in which he stated:
Bonnier has adopted a decentralized approach in managing their 150 businesses because they believe in the potential and ability of individuals, and they are notorious for being very good to employees. They also understand vertical media brands and the value of their connection with passionate enthusiast audiences. Bonnier's acquisition of our businesses is excellent recognition of that value, as well as the quality of our brands and talent of our staff. Together we have the unique opportunity to build a new multi-platform media company on an incredible foundation.
As of March 2013, the magazine and website is overseen by Skin Phillips (Editor-in-Chief) and is the largest skateboarding magazine in the world. As of March 2013, the magazine's editors are listed as Oliver Barton (Bartok), Blair Alley, Ben Kelly, Kevin Duffel, Joey Muellner (Shigeo), Chris Thiesson, and Dave Chami. The magazine's headquarters in Carlsbad also houses an indoor skate park that is a "5,000-square-foot “plaza” complete with simulated brick banks and real concrete ledges", and it is estimated that over 2,500 people attend the facility every year. In early 2013, the Bonnier International Magazines website revealed that a full page, four-color advertisement in the magazine can be purchased for US$22,271.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the magazine launched TransWorld.tv, an online video platform that is described by the publication as a service that "offers compelling and relevant selections of action sports clips, trailers, webisodes, and live webcasts through a single website viewable across multiple screens including mobile devices, personal computers, e-readers, and traditional television screens".
The publication's 2013 media kit cites a readership total of 619,886, a monthly print circulation of 87,308, and a total annual brand audience total of 13,092,000. As of March 2, 2013, the magazine's Facebook fan page had received 448,102 "Likes" and the 2013 media kit lays claim to 298,000 monthly website visitors, 58,000 Twitter followers, 82,000 Instagram followers, 75,000 viewers of its "online on-demand video platform" TransWorld.tv, and 20,394 subscribers to its YouTube channel.
The Bonnier Corporation has associated the magazine with charities such as the Tony Hawk Foundation, Texas Skate Jam, Make-A-Wish, and Elemental Awareness, identifying the publication as a regular contributor to such programs.
In October 2012, the magazine featured and promoted the "Free Fabes" campaign, organized by the DGK skateboard company, on its website. The campaign sought to raise legal funds for former professional skateboarder, Fabian Alomar, who was arrested and detained earlier in the year for a non-violent drug possession charge.
The magazine has released a series of skateboarding videos (in chronological order):
Transworld SKATEboarding has also released a number of additional video projects:
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