Interesting article. Very surprised at the sales figures quoted!
I published a magazine called Thirteen in 2005, which lasted six months. I then joined LPL to edit RLW, which I did for three seasons (2007, 2008 & 2009). I worked on the League Express newsdesk as well, up to about 2011. Since then, I've not had a Super League press pass and have just done one or two articles a week from home, including On This Day and Rugby League Heroes, which is still running. Writing about something you love is an awesome thing to do and I'd recommend it to anyone.
One observation though. The one thing that was a constant when I was a full-time writer (2005-11) was that I always had such a bad relationship with the RFL. They certainly seemed to want my magazine to disappear in 2005. They couldn't have been any more hostile to me - and that certainly wasn't based on anything I wrote. They just treated me as an inconvenience and I suppose they knew it would ultimately fail. There was one incident that still makes me shake my head with disbelief.
When I joined LPL, I hoped or a better relationship with them. Fat chance! I just worked for the trade press. We were bottom of the food chain. They had just withdrawn advertising from both LE and RLW, deciding to give it all to League Weekly for several years. From what I could gather, they would seethe at articles written by Martyn or myself but would never get in touch to talk about them or never try to form a good relationship with us. I suppose that made it easier to criticise them, but I always tried to be fair and objective.
I don't think LPL are conservative. And we certainly weren't when I worked full time there. But it's still a difficult balance to strike. Most of the criticism that came my way from fans (and there was a lot!) centred around me being 'negative'. I didn't agree with that, but it came from me writing critical pieces - holding people to account you could say, which is then what the other 50% of fans criticise you for not doing just because you don't single-handedly uncover something akin to Watergate every week. I may be biased, but I think LPL gets the balance right and they have an outstanding track record of producing great publications which have always been market leaders in rugby league.