Friday, October 24, 2014

Recalling the rise and fall of The Grid

When The Grid was shut down this past July by the Star Media Group after an exciting three years of publication and 162 issues, many, many of us lamented the loss of it. 

But often, when a publication closes down, explanations are few and some of the texture and background of its existence simply vanishes. Staff moves on, collective memory is lost, readers accommodate themselves to its disappearance.

That's why it is so good to see an interview by the Society for News Design with former creative director Vanessa Wyse. who is now associate art director at the Globe and Mail. Here are some of the things she said. about The Grid's vision, its storytelling sense and its evolution:
"We focused on “Street-level” as a starting point and branched out from there. Most of the staff came from magazine backgrounds so we basically used all of the magazine storytelling tools we knew and loved and applied it to a newspaper format. This strategy created a kind of hybrid publication with the best of both worlds. Utilizing relevant stories, large documentary photography, clean and contemporary design, loads of entry points and graphics, and a fun editorial tone throughout the magazine." 
*  *  * 
 "A few months before we closed the publication, The Grid scaled down its physical size making it even closer to an over-sized magazine. I could even bleed images, which was very exciting. 
"When we decided to make the change, it was very tempting to try and redesign the entire publication. My team and I played around with a few attempts, new fonts, grids etc. But the truth is that The Grid was never broken. The design decisions we had made originally still held up. We just had to rethink the editorial message slightly and change the size. Freshen it up a bit. So that is what we did."
Read more »

CSME mixer concentrates on being poised for job interview success

Acing your next job interview, next week or next year, is the topic when the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) is hold its next Toronto mixer Wednesday, Oct 29 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. 

A panel consisting of  Christine Felgueiras, associate director with the etiquette and leadership training firm Corporate Class; Sharon Alderson, global lead for media-focused recruiting agency Creative Niche; and Steve Maich, the head of Rogers Publishing will discuss how to take a career to the next level. 

The event is in the 2nd floor Stealth Lounge at The Pilot Tavern, 22 Cumberland Street (Bloor & Yonge). $15 for members, $20 for non-members in advance, $20 and $25 at the door.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Martha Stewart titles outsource sales, circ and production to Meredith Corporation

Beginning November 1, Meredith Corporation will be handling all the sales, marketing, circulation, production and other non-editorial functions of Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings (and associated web properties) in Canada  under a 10 year licensing agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Editorial for both books will continue to be done by the MSLO team.

Meredith chair and CEO Stephen M. Lacy described the deal, which applies to Canada and the U.S., as a "winning arrangement" that will be invisible to the consumer.

The deal packages the MSLO brands with Meredith's leading titles, including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Allrecipes and Traditional Home, giving a potential audience and advertising reach of more than 100 million unduplicated American women, and a digital reach of more than 65 million unduplicated monthly unique visitors. In a Meredith release, Meredith National Media Group president Tom Harty said
 "We believe it will be very appealing to clients and agencies alike, and expose Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings to a wider consumer audience."


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A grave offer: Taddle Creek gets with the Hallowe'en season

The Toronto literary journal Taddle Creek is making a Hallowe'en-themed subscription offer of $10 for two years of the twice-a-year publication, which works out to $2.50 an issue. In its usual wacky way, it explains the offer: 
"Subscribe to Taddle Creek (or renew your current subscription) by midnight on All Hallow’s Eve and pay the frighteningly affordable price of only $10—a sum lower than the bottom of a freshly dug grave!"
A two-year, four-issue sub normally costs $18 or $4.50 an issue. 

Labels: , ,

Mag world view: Engaged Time; Life after Times; Time to cooperate; The Onion's funny business; Non-elite journals

Quote, unquote: Becoming a critical part of readers' lives

"There are people, as much today as ever before, who will pay for valuable information that helps them make smarter and better decisions. I can’t speak for why other publishers don’t do it, but for us it’s always going to be a value proposition for the reader, which really goes back to why we did all of this. We have to remain invaluable to all of these readers because that is our business and our revenue model. So the deeper we’re engaged with them, the more meaningful discussions we have with them, the more we’ve become a critical part of their lives, to the point where they don’t make big decisions without working with us."
-- Consumer Reports vice-president and general manager Brent Diamond about the magazine's no-ad, hefty subscription model. He was responding in a Q & A with Mr. Magazine about the major redesign of the magazine, launched with the November 2014 issue. Among other things, the magazine is introducing feature articles in what had previously been heavy on data and reviews. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Cheers! Free wine is a subscription lure for magazine

The liquor laws are decidedly different, but here's a premium idea from Britain that's too good for Canadian publishers to pass up. Get on it, will you? 

£92 subscription to the New Statesman saves £113 over the newsstand price of the weekly, plus the subscriber gets 6 free bottles of wine worth £61.94 (in the United Kingdom, only).

Labels: , ,

Opportunity for paid internships at National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards are looking for a few good -- paid -- administrative interns to help it run the program and event. The contract is for an average of 15 hours a week at $11 an hour between November 3 and June 30 2015. Details and further information

Labels: ,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Quote, unquote: Apple Newsstand failing to alert readers to new digital issues

“The challenge is engagement. Readers are subscribing, but then they forget to come back.”
-- Vidia Gopel, National Geographic's director of digital marketing and membership, commenting in a Digiday article about how publishers feel the Apple Newsstand is failing them.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

TC Media publishes free article on how to live with anti-spam legislation

Some digital marketers experienced 40 to 70% churn in their databases when they sent reconfirmation messages trying to meet the requirements of Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), according to a paper being distributed free by TC Media. The paper, "Suffering from Post-CASL Database Withdrawal?" by Ryan Moss, director of 1:1 Messaging and ISP Relations at TC Media, is one of several items about CASL in its resource section.

Moss says that experience with some TC Media brands such as ELLE Canada had a happier outcome, with an attrition rate of 18%, but increased opening rates. The paper sets out three steps to remaining CASL compliant and yet increase the (for instance, subscriber) database. 

Labels: , ,

Joyce Byrne named president of National Magazine Awards Foundation

Joyce Byrne, the publisher of Avenue magazine in Calgary, has been elected as the new president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation for 2014-15. She has served on the board of directors since 2010 and as its vice-president from 2012-2014. She is also a silver medal NMA winner. 

Three new members announced and elected to the board were:
  • Christopher Frey is the editor-in-chief of Hazlitt and director of digital publishing at Random House Canada. As a journalist he has twice been a gold medal winner.
  • Terry Sellwood is the president of Cottage Life Media, a division of Blue Ant Media and publisher of Cottage Life, Canada’s magazine of the year. Previously he served on the board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation, including as president from 2001-2003.
  • Melony Ward is the Publisher of Canada’s History magazine and Kayak: Canada’s History for Kids. She serves on the magazine advisory committee for Ontario Media Development Corporation and previously served on the board of Magazines Canada. 
Byrne succeeds Douglas Thomson, the editor of ROM Magazine who has been president for the past two years and will serve as past president on the 2014-15 executive. Vice-president will be Terry Sellwood, secretary will be  Brian Morgan, the art director of The Walrus, treasurer will be Liana Bell, a partner in the Clark Henning Group. 

Other directors of the foundation:
  • Theresa Ebden, director, marketing & communications, Accenture
  • Curtis Gillespie, Editor, Eighteen Bridges
  • Graeme Harris, vice-president, CEO communications & media Relations, Manulife Financial
  • David Hayes, freelance journalist
  • Angela Jones, integrated advertising consultant 
  • Steve Maich,  senior vice president, general manager, Rogers Publishing
  • Dominique Ritter, managing editor, Reader's Digest
  • Lisa Whittington-Hill, publisher, This Magazine

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mag world: Meredith runs Martha; Bonnier buys production co.; 6x Time Out; Norway singles

Ryerson magazine ad sales courses deliver knowledge, skills and understanding

Funny thing. Though most magazines most of the time depend on advertising for their survival and prosperity, there is relatively little interest in developing or refining sales skills. We certainly find that with our two ad sales courses at Ryerson's Magazine and Web Publishing program. It can't be that everybody knows everything, can it?
There's nobody who can gun you up better than Gwen Dunant, one of the best consultants in the country about advertising sales. Her course Magazine Advertising Sales & Marketing (CDJN201) starts Monday October 27, so there's no time to lose; only a few days to enrol. It's a 7-week evening course and anyone who has taken it says it's worth every penny. But there's no time to waste. Sign up now. On average, Canadian magazine advertising sales representatives earn more than magazine editors and find it easier to step into the role of publisher. (All magazine publishers must have a thorough understanding of advertising sales.) This course provides students with the knowledge and skills required to sell magazine advertising in today's highly competitive marketplace. 
Starting in Thursday, 15 January there is Marty White's course called Ad Sales on the Web (CDJN208). Ad sales in the digital age requires traditional persuasive skills, but operating in a whole new world of design, accountability, and instant measurement. Digital delivery is a big part of the future of magazine publishing. Become familiar with the ways online advertising is priced, pitched, measured, designed, and packaged. Learn about rich text, standard ad formats and pricing, positioning your publication against such heavy-hitting competitors as Google, and exercising your creativity to meet online advertisers' needs. Understand the metrics that matter most to advertisers and agencies and how to package and deliver them. 


Success and Pitching, two new Magazine and Web publishing courses at Ryerson's Chang School

Two new evening courses are due to begin very soon at Ryerson University's Chang School. They are each 7-weeks, each very practical, each the result of listening to what people have been telling us they need and want. Each can be taken as a one-off and both can be applied to the Magazine and Web Publishing certificate program. Don't delay.
  • The Art of Pitching (CDJN124) a practical, step-by-step course on how to research, tailor and deliver a saleable magazine pitch to the right editor(s). Taught by prolific freelancer Rosemary Counter (Starts Wednesday Oct 29)
  • Success as a Freelancer (CDJN123) is a primer on how to run a freelance business as a writer or editor. It's taught by experience freelancer and instructor Diane Peters. (Starts Thursday Oct. 30)

Labels: , ,

This was where Naomi Klein got her start

Photo: Ed Kashi
Even the great and mighty oak was once a nut...The announcement that Naomi Klein had won the 2014 Hilary Weston Prize for Nonfiction  for her book This Changes Everything is big news and deserved praise. The Canadian social activist gets a lot of attention from many quarters. But, curiously, she seems to have disconnected from her journalistic roots. 

Her bio on her own website, justifiably trumpets her publishing successes ("No Logo", "The Shock Doctrine") and celebrity (a profile in Vogue) and being a contributing editor of Harper's, a reporter for Rolling Stone and a regular columnist for The Nation and The Guardian. But not where she got her start in spending a little more than a year as editor of This Magazine in Toronto. Like many famous writers and journalists, she built her career on a foundation laid at a little Canadian magazine, the kind that's often the seedbed for later success.

State of the Magazine Nation to highlight innovative ideas, November 6

Magazines Canada's annual event promoting innovations in magazine media is being held November 6 in Toronto at the Arcadian Court, Queen & Bay. 

Aimed unabashedly at advertising professionals as well as publishers and editors, State of the Magazine Nation will talk about mobile as the dominant platform, big data, video and native advertising. The centrepiece is a presentation by John Wilpers of Innovation International Media Consulting and Editor of FIPP’s 2014 World Report of a series of global case studies drawn from the report. Free admission, registration required

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blue Ant merges Outdoor Canada with Outdoor Group Media (Western Sportsman et al)

In a major consolidation of the outdoor publication sector, Outdoor Canada magazine is being merged with Western Sportsman, BC Outdoors and Outdoor Edge in Outdoor Group Media. The deal involves Blue Ant Media  becoming 50% owner of the existing Outdoor Group Media and makes it the largest publisher of outdoor publications in Canada.
As a result, Mark Yelic of Keywest will be the new publisher of Outdoor Canada, while the current editorial and art staff (editor-in-chief Patrick Walsh, managing editor Bob Sexton, associate editor Scott Gardner and art director Sandra Cheung) remain in place and in their offices at Cottage Life Media.
“Our talented and knowledgeable editorial teams look forward to continuing to serve Canada’s passionate outdoor enthusiasts in new and exciting ways,” said Terry Sellwood, president, Cottage Life Media, a division of Blue Ant Media [in a release]. “The merging of this expertise will further enhance the quality of the content for readers on a national level.”

“This exciting new partnership gives the brands, both print and digital, coast-to-coast reach in the hunting and fishing market and a consolidated sales team for turnkey advertising campaigns,” said Mark Yelic, President, Keywest Marketing.
Both ownership groups are privately held media companies. Blue Ant acquired Outdoor Canada in 2011 as part of its purchase of Quarto Communications (later, Cottage Life Media) and is widely invested in television, magazines, mobile and the web. Keywest Marketing has been producing hunting and fishing magazines in western Canada for more than 20 years and co-produces BC-based fishing TV shows. 

Labels: ,

Annual Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award presented to Stephanie Young

Mechtild Hoppenrath (L) and Stephanie Young
The third annual Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award for excellence in magazine and web publishing was presented Thursday night to Stephanie Young. The award is given each year to a student nearing completion of the magazine and web publishing certificate in the memory of the longtime academic coordinator of the Magazine and Web Publishing program at Ryerson University's Chang School. The award was presented by Oberdorf's wife, Mechtild Hoppenrath at the Leaders in Learning awards event.

Oberdorf was equally well-known as a writer, editor, teacher and passionate advocate for the magazine form. During his some 18 years teaching at Ryerson, he shared his professional skills with his students, and imbued them with his own love of story-telling and journalism.The annual $1,000 merit award was created following Oberdorf's death in September 2011. (see below for information on contributing to the fund.)

Nico Mara-McKay
*  *  *
Also presented was the Terri DeRose Memorial Award in Circulation Management to Nico Mara-McKay. The award recognizes an excellent student who has completed a course addressing the topic of magazine circulation management and was established by the Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) honouring Terri DeRose's significant contribution to the circulation management profession as vice-president of consumer marketing at Transcontinental Media. 

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Corporate Knights mag relaunches website to feature daily sustainability news

Corporate Knights magazine is plunging into daily coverage of sustainability with the relaunch of its website The revitalized site will carry a range of stories and viewpoints about clean technology, low-carbon transportation, smart cities, responsible mining, social enterprise and sustainability in the workplace. 
"When Corporate Knights magazine was launched 12 years ago there was limited awareness of the importance of sustainability and its relationship to business success and economic growth, so it made sense at the time to be a quarterly publication," said editor-in-chief Tyler Hamilton [in a release]. "Today, sustainability issues are increasingly top-of-mind for companies and governments, and the demand for daily coverage of these issues has never been higher." 
"The new was created to meet that demand. It complements our award-winning print magazine and further supports our collective mission: using information to empower markets that, in turn, can make the world a better place," Hamilton added.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

U.S. survey says city and regional publishers still rely heavily on print for revenue

The annual Folio: magazine survey of city and regional magazine publishers says that local titles rely on print for as much as 93% of their annual revenue. And more print products are scheduled to launch this year than at any time in the last 5 years. A report in MediaPost says
Along with the rest of the publishing industry, print peaked in the mid-2000s for city and regional magazines, notes the report. It accounted for up to 95.9% of overall revenue in 2005, but it hasn't dipped far from that point. While custom publishing contracts have taken the place of a few ad dollars, the print-to-non-print revenue ratio is just a few points off where it was 10 years ago. The numbers are almost exactly what they were in 2008. (about 94%)
The smaller the publisher, the tougher it is  to diversify, says the story, and such publishers still count on  print ad sales for 80% of their revenue, essentially unchanged over the last 4 years.

Labels: , ,

Online, paid, reader-funded The Magazine is ceasing publication

The Magazine, a wholly subscriber-supported, paid online magazine, is going to cease publication after its December 17 issue. 

It has been publishing every other Thursday (and usually contains four offbeat features; a true "general interest" publication.) 

Subscriptions, which have cost $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year, will be refunded on a pro-rata basis and  the company may produce some e-books or other special projects. Going out with a bang is the way it describes its planned Year Two anthology, a crowdfunded project containing 29 stories from the magazine, for which it plans to pay writers reprint fees. (A class act.) 

The magazine was founded in October 2012 by Marco Arment, the founder of Instapaper and the first employee of Tumblr. However it has been owned since May 2013 by publisher and editor Glenn Fleishman (who, among other distinctions, was a two-time Jeopardy champion.) In his blog, Fleishman says
"The sad truth has been that, while profitable from week one, the publication has had a declining subscription base since February 2013. It started at such a high level that we could handle a decline for a long time, but despite every effort — including our first-year anthology crowdfunded a bit under a year ago — we couldn't replace departing subscribers with new ones fast enough. We're a general-interest magazine that appeals to people who like technology, and that makes it very hard to market. "Pivoting" to a different editorial focus would have lost subscribers even faster."