Most of the 20 years I've spent in outdoors communications has involved writing for Louisiana Sportsman. A quick search of the archives reveals that I've written at least 125 stories for the magazine. So the publication is my home, and holds a special place in my life.

After Hurricane Katrina, I wandered like the prodigal son of the Bible. For four years, I enjoyed the high life of freelance writing. Sure, I still wrote a bit for Louisiana Sportsman, but most of my work went into BASS Times and Bassmaster magazines. During that time, I rubbed elbows with the likes of Kevin two-time Bassmaster Classic winner, Louisiana pro angler Greg Hackney and scores of other national outdoorsmen, and I traveled the country.

 

But just as the prodigal son finally realized it was time to head for the safety and comforts of home, I'm back. My role has changed, but I'm finally where I belong again.

 

I'll still be writing for the magazine a bit, but the core of my new job is giving LouisianaSportsman.com some much-needed attention. The plan is to take an already-successful Web site and move it to the next level.

 

So changes are on the way. We're working on new looks, new forums, new functionality and new content that I believe will make this site the best place for information and discussion about the pastimes we all love.

 

While some changes will take weeks or months to implement, an immediate change I hope everyone notices and appreciates is a set of rules for use of the forums. Those rules are being worked up right now, and will be posted on the site in the coming days. But gone are the Wild West days of arguing, bickering and otherwise slamming each other. We are going to be working hard to maintain a respectful, enjoyable tone in all discussions. Disagreements are fine, and we certainly don't discourage debates. In fact, we believe there is real value in bringing opposing differences to the same table. But the expectation is that opinions are expressed with respect.

 

To bring about this positive change, however, I need your help. When someone just drives you nuts, take a breath before commenting. If you still feel the need to scream, use the private e-mail function. In the same vein, if you see someone getting out of hand on the public forum, take the opportunity to let them know (nicely, of course) that there's no room for offensive or disrespectful language here. Together we can create vibrant forums in which everyone is comfortable, even when discussing differences of opinions.

 

As we institute other changes, such as adding features, tweaking the look and providing new content, let me know what you like and dislike. We want this to be your home away from home, so the goal is to make it as comfortable as possible. So don't be shy. E-mail me suggestions, and let me know what does and doesn't fit.

 

It's an exciting time here at LouisianaSportsman.com. I look forward to working with each of you to build an online family of which we can all be proud, one that we're excited about sharing.

 

It's good to be home.

 

Andy Crawford

Associate Internet Publisher

andyc@lasmag.com