Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ELLE Canada September issue has largest-ever fashion shoot

ELLE  Canada is publishing its largest-ever fashion shoot in the September issue -- on newsstands August 10 --  a 20-page spread of photos that involved more than 350 looks and accessories.
"It was definitely the most complex editorial I've done so far," said Juliana Schiavinatto, the executive fashion editor-at-large. "I wanted to ensure it looked current, yet still whimsical and timeless. My goal was to create something magical, cool and relevant. We embraced the Alice in Wonderland mantra: "We're all mad here!" and went for it." 
The issue features a virtual reality cover shoot, done 3D in collaboration with Canadian tech startup PCP VR of Toronto. Jacqueline Loch, VP & group publisher, TVA Group said “We know our readers are early tech adopters, and we are giving them more of what they want: from live cover shoots driven by social media to shoppable videos on mobile and, now, a virtual-reality September cover.”

Laas Turnbull named first audience officer of Zoomer Media & co-publisher of Zoomer

Laas Turnbull, the former publisher of The Grid, has been appointed to a newly created
position as first audience officer at ZoomerMedia and co-publisher of Zoomer magazine. 
"In the role of first audience officer, Laas will lead the IT and digital content team to aggregate audiences across all media properties to leverage their combined impact and engagement." [the announcement said]
As co-publisher, Zoomer Magazine, Laas will support Gord Poland, executive vice-president and chief operating officer and Zoomer’s veteran publisher, to grow the commercial success of the groundbreaking and award-winning lifestyle publication, which is published nine times a year and ranks as Canada’s largest paid circulation magazine for mature men and women.

Quebecor Media's TVA magazines show continuing newsstand and ad sales weakness

Quebecor Media's TVA Group reports that it lost $2.6 million or 6 cents a share in Q2 of 2015. That's an $11.8 million swing from last year's net income. Most of the losses are attributed to the broadcasting and production segments difficulties with sports specialty services. TVA's adjusted operating income declined 18% compared with the same quarter in 2014, and most of this was largely blamed on a weak advertising environment.
Contributing to that decline was the TVA Group’s magazines segment which, though it reported a $1.2 million adjusted operating income in the second quarter, represents a 58.6% decrease in income compared to the same quarter in 2014. TVA Group attributes the decline in its Magazines segment primarily to a 20.2% decrease in newsstand revenues and a 10.3% decline in advertising revenues, partially offset by the adjusted operating income generated by the magazines acquired from Transcontinental Inc. on April 12, 2015.
The company said it expected to see better contributions from the new titles in the 3rd and 4th quarter. 

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Magazine EIC news: Legaré takes over enRoute; Andrusiecsko takes over at Briarpatch

Two very different EIC appointments in Canadian magazines: 
  • Jean-François Legaré is now the editor-in-chief of enRoute magazine, Air Canada's inflight. He will oversee the monthly Air Canada enRoute magazine (including sister publications, the Air Canada enRoute edition and the Air Canada enRoute Inflight Entertainment Guide), alongside the brand’s expansive digital platforms, events, and award programs. He replaces Ilana Weitzman, who was EIC for seven years and has now been promoted to become content director, Air Canada Media, and editorial director, enRoute. Legaré was for a time the editor-in-chief of fashion and beauty brand Clin d’œil, where he managed the print magazine, iPad application, website overhaul, events and commercial ventures for the magazine before returning to enRoute in 2014. 
  • Tanya Andrusiecsko has been named as editor of Briarpatch magazine starting in September. She comes to Briarpatch with a background in feminist political sociology and Indigenous studies and a fire in her belly for fostering radical political discussions and independent journalism. Tanya moved to Saskatoon from Toronto in 2010 and settled into the warm and welcoming community she met through the leadership program Next Up and the feminist summer camp that she founded in 2014. Tanya is currently wrapping up a Master’s dissertation on the Swedish feminist party at the London School of Economics (LSE), but outside of the 9-5, she can be found scouting pizza, listening to podcasts, sitting in gardens, and catching up on Twitter.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Mag world: Digital mags not a break-out; FoI review; story of O; relaunch in the garden; "stores" story; 3 entrepreneurs


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Broken Pencil celebrates two decades of 'zining

Congratulations to Broken Pencil (or is it broken pencil?) as it celebrates 20 years of publication. Shown is the first issue cover. Grate stuff (geddit?)

Wrongful dismissal suit by
The Tyee EIC has been settled

A settlement has been reached in a wrongful dismissal suit launched last month by the former editor-in-chief of the online magazine The Tyee, Jane Armstrong. against Countercurrent Media Ltd., its owner. She was in the post a mere nine months and was fired May 28. She has been replaced by managing editor Robyn Smith. 

Armstrong's statement of claim described the company's actions in firing her after she moved across the country to take over the top editorial job as “high-handed, malicious, arbitrary, or highly reprehensible”, but the matter was settled quite quickly. 

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. 


G20 confrontations recalled 5 years later
in NOW magazine

NOW magazine in Toronto has published a cover story in this week's issue to mark (can you believe it?) 5 years since the G20 protests. 

The story is by Jonathan Goldsbie.

Rogers reports improved first half 2015
financial results

Rogers Communications reports overall 2nd quarter financial results with revenue up 6%. The company's media division -- which includes magazine publishing -- saw operating results increased 24% to $1.05 million, but attributed mostly to the company's National Hockey League (NHL) licensing agreement together with growth at Sportsnet, the Toronto Blue Jays, and Next Issue Canada. Adjusted operating profit was up 5.5%, up 1.9% from the same six months last year. The company reported continued softness in print advertising and conventional broadcast TV, but also lower operating costs and improved efficiency across various media divisions.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bay Street law firms' hireback data is good news and not so good: Precedent

A good example of how a small, specialty magazine can have significant impact in the industry it covers is the Precedent report on the the number of articling students big Toronto law firms have hired back as first-year associates.

For the 7th year the magazine for Ontario lawyers has compiled data that is probably unavailable anywhere else and then ranked the firms by their hireback rates. You can imagine that this is of great interest to law students and law firms alike.

This year, they found that the hireback rates on Bay Street held steady at 77%. In other words, almost 8 out of 10 students who articled got associate jobs. But Precedent also found that the number of articling positions has fallen over six years by about 14%.
"Indeed, this confirms what most students probably feel intuitively: the recruitment battleground on Bay Street is more competitive than ever." 
[Disclosure: I am on the advisory board of Precedent, but have nothing to do with the editorial.]

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Toronto Life feature published simultaneously online in two languages

It's not unusual for Toronto Life to publish hard-hitting investigative feature stories, such as the one in its July issue about Jennifer Pan, the young Toronto woman who hired three men to kill her parents. The story, Jennifer Pan’s Revenge: the inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted deadby Karen K. Ho, reveals many new details about the case.

What is unusual is for Toronto Life to publish the story online in two languages: English and simplified Chinese. In fact, this is the first time the magazine has done so. 
Jennifer Pan曾是个好孩子,她聪明、刻苦、听话。可后来,她却雇了三个人去杀害自己的父母。谋杀行动一切按计划进行,唯一意外的是她的父亲没有死。Karen K. Ho讲述……

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Canadian Geographic in thrall to its sponsors, says Canadaland site

[This post has been updated] Canadian Geographic magazine and its publisher the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS) are in the crosshairs of the muckraking website Canadaland. Headed The Sad Story of Canadian Geographic, the first post in projected series says that, essentially, the magazine has sold out to corporate interests.

Like many such stories (not just on Canadaland), principals named in the story refuse to comment. But a good deal of the post rests on quotes from former employees who say the magazine -- keen on developing sponsorship revenue -- has strayed considerably from its mission. Some of the harshest criticism is for André Préfontaine formerly the publisher, now Canadian Geographic's chief development officer*.

One of the quoted passages was from the former acting editor Dan Rubinstein, who left the job at the end of 2012, after four years as the managing editor. In an excerpt taken from his book Born to Walk he explains why:

"...(I spent) a decade as a magazine editor, cresting at the top post at a respected publication. Financial turmoil threatened to swamp the magazine industry. The non-profit where I worked responded by creating 'independent and objective' content in partnership with corporate and government backers...Our sponsors were determined to ramp up either public support or profits, and I was aiding and abetting their newspeak. 
My dream job, which I had moved across the country to take, became a nightmare... A watchdog was opening the gate for the wolves."

Read more »

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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Syrup Trap satirical site puts out print edition, goes national

The Syrup Trap, a satirical fake news site that started online among some students at UBC has graduated to produce its very own print edition, included inside the summer 2015 edition of Geist magazine. According to a post on
"We follow the same model that The Onion does which is throughout the week we write down headline ideas and then we bring all of them together to a pitch meeting and then we read out the headline ideas, and  whichever idea gets the most laughs we develop into an article," [said Nick Zarzycki, founder and editor.]
The magazine is now pursuing a national audience, but trying to do it in its own particular way. 
"We're very wary of the fact that we're basically just copying the Onion model in Canada," Zarzycki said. "We're all beginners at this so I think it's a good place to start to imitate what you like. 
"One way we've tried to develop our own style is to do what we like, which is silly jokes ... jokes that are little bit more absurd, a little bit sillier than you would find made on The Onion and on The Daily Show for example.
Our favourite fake headline so far is "Vancouver ranked the most city in the world."

Audio of CBC story


Removal of controversial post leads exec editor and editor-in-chief of Gawker to resign

Top editors at Gawker Media have resigned from the company, not because of shame over a recent posting, but because the management of the company removed the posting, presumably to defend Gawker's advertising base. 

Tommy Craggs, the executive edtior and Max Read, the editor-in-chief, said the removal was an indefensible breach of the firewall between editorial and business interests. Craggs memo to staff noted that major advertisers such as Discover and BFGoodrich were either putting their advertising campaigns on hold or pulling out entirely. He said that the management decision showed that "the true power over editorial resides in the whims of four cringing members of the managing partnership's Fear and Money Caucus." 

Read said the decision to remove the post was an "absolute surrender of Gawker's claim to 'radical transparency'". 
"I am able to do this job to the extent that I can believe that the people in charge are able, when faced with difficult decisions, to back up their stated commitments to transparency, fearlessness, and editorial independence. In the wake of Friday’s decision and Tommy’s resignation I can no longer sustain that belief. I find myself forced to resign, effective immediately."


Canadian Society of Magazine Editors planning launch of a mentorship program

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) is planning to launch a mentorship program sometime this fall. It's intended to link editors in the industry to promote professional support and development. 

Right now, CSME is trolling for collaborators and people who want to take part -- the expectation is that selected mentors and mentees (likely a more senior and more junior editor) would meet every two months. If you're interested, write to

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Shades of Iran

Here's a smashing cover from The Economist (which sets a high standard) that speaks for itself. This week's cover story looks at the Iran nuclear non-proliferation deal with the U.S.-led coalition from  the perspectives of those who hate the deal (Israel, Republicans) and those who like it, or at least accept that it's the best that could be achieved under the circumstances. 

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Manitoba magazines offer 3 for $33 subscription bundle to mark 30th anniversary

To suitably mark its 30 years of supplying Manitoba magazines to readers, the Manitoba Magazine Publishers' Association has packaged a special 3 for $33 offer, with a value of up to $150. Fourteen publishers have signed on to be are part of the offer, including  AyokoGeezHorse CountrySports LifeCanadian Dog FancierRhubarbSAYCanada’s HistoryKayakCovetCV2The CottagerPrairie Fire and Border Crossings.
"Many of these magazines you will not see on the newsstand racks because they are focused on local people and their activities (Horse Country, the Cottager for instance), or they focus on a niche readership: Geez, Rhubarb, Border Crossings are examples," says MMPA executive director Linda Hazelwood.
There's a direct Facebook link to the offer (which is for new subscribers only) and a Twitter link

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Mag world view: Diversifying enthusiasm; Making free pay; Oprah is 15; More news from Facebook & Twitter

Quote, unquote: Print's luxurious future

"Looking ahead, print publications will become something that a core of people (not just a tiny majority) continues to desire. Readers will continue to value the experience of holding a print magazine in their hands; these publications will become increasingly identified as a luxury rather than an everyday item. In the next few years, I predict that print publications will be categorized as affordable luxury items, which puts them in a whole different group—and it’s a good group to be in, as luxury consumption has not seen the dire drops that other sectors have seen, even throughout the Great Recession."
-- Michael Brunt, CMO of The Economist, talks about unpacking print's luxurious future.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Snowboard Canada publisher SBC Media files for bankruptcy

SBC Media, which published a number of action sports media properties for snow, skating, surf and sand and prided itself on being rider-owned, driven, managed and staffed by passionate, dedicated board sports lifers, filed for bankruptcy Monday after more than 20 years. The company published titles such as Snowboard Canada, SBC Skier, SBC Surf, SBC Skateboard, SBC Wakeboard and Windsport. 
The privately held, Toronto-based company, with a staff of fewer than 50 producing seven periodicals and annuals had received some additional funding from investors last year, but the tap was apparently turned off quite suddenly. 
“We were surprised,” says Scott Birke, group editorial director for SBC Media. “We underwent a refocusing last year to offer more options to our partners and advertisers.” The initial realignment involved a heavier digital content approach. Under the reinvestment, SBC’s publications went through a restructuring and had one year to grow the business. “We were moving in a positive trajectory. So it came as a surprise when they withdrew their support earlier than we thought,” admits Birke. He told Transworld Business that though there has been some interest in buying individual publications, he didn't see SBC continuing as a company. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Newsweek Europe closing

The European edition of Newsweek magazine, launched with fanfare less than a year and a half ago, is being closed. It has been announced that Richard Addis, the editor-in-chief , has resigned (Addis was editor of the Globe and Mail 1999 - 2002.) There will still be a print edition of the title on European newsstands, but most of it will be repurposed American content rather than original content produced by an editorial staff of eight.

IBT Media, which bought Newsweek in 2013 with plans to revive it from a web-only operation, apparently concluded Newsweek Europe was never going to sell  enough advertising to cover the costs of its claimed 70,000 copies circulated in 40 countries.                            


Terry Sellwood retiring from Cottage Life Media; Penny Caldwell named publisher, Michelle Kelly, editor

[This post has been updated] Terry Sellwood, who has been for many years a lynchpin in many of the most important magazine organizations in Canada, including being president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation and chair of Magazines Canada, is retiring. 

He is currently president and chief operating officer of Cottage Life Media, one of the country's most important and innovative independent publishers.

[Update: Penny Caldwell, the editor of Cottage Life magazine has been appointed publisher and Michelle Kelly, current executive editor, assumes the role of editor.] 

His career started in circulation (about which he became expert) and now he is concluding a run of 15 years working in increasingly important roles at Cottage Life (now a division of Blue Ant Media). Come the end of August, he will be making his 10th trip to the Nevada desert and the Burning Man festival  (which he adores, not just as a guitar player). Only this time he won't be coming back to work. 

[Press release.] 


Quote, unquote: Better, cheaper, changed

"Without wishing to denigrate the complex and fabulous analysis undertaken by the market research experts in our industry, in my short time as a market research manager when working on new projects I discovered that whatever the question, the consumer’s answer was consistently the same: 'We’d like more of what we have already please, only can it be a bit better and a bit cheaper.'"
-- Chris Llewellyn, president and CEO of FIPP, the international magazine media organization, writing about why publishers are changing everything.