[This post has been updated]
Random House of Canada has launched an online magazine called Hazlitt (named after the 19th century author and essyist William Hazlitt). It is said to be a daily examination of culture and current affairs and it will be hosted on the Random House website.
The new magazine's editor-in-chief is Chris Frey, who is director of digital publishing for RHC (and was the founder of Outpost and founding director of Toronto online newspaper Toronto Standard).
Alexandra Molotkow, formerly a Standard columnist and an associate editor at The Walrus is senior editor. The magazine's content will be provided by a stable of contributors (among them Lynn Crosbie, Kaitlin Fontana, Billie Livingston, Jason McBride, Drew Nelles, and Carl Wilson, as well as filmmaker Scott Cudmore) and freelancers.
"Our writers are smart, insightful, occasionally combative, funny, and well read – our cast is wildly diverse. We will feature best-selling, award-winning authors alongside young, emerging writers," says Frey.
Brad Martin, the president and CEO of Random House of Canada said in a release
"The internet offers unprecedented opportunities for everyone to engage with ideas and narratives beyond those in a physical book. While traditionally many book publishers have been primarily using their websites for sales and marketing purposes, we want to also use ours to publish original content. In this age of cultural and technological change, RHC's digital efforts will support the central role of writers in our collective conversations: informing, entertaining and inspiring readers."
In addition, there will be Hazlitt Originals, which will publish e-books and essays, the first of which is The Man Who Went to War: A Reporter's Memoir by Patrick Graham. Others in the pipeline included Ivor Tossell’s The Gift of Ford, about controversial Toronto mayor Rob Ford. (Tossell, who writes a regular Globe and Mail technology column was a regular columnist for The Standard.)
While Random House says Hazlitt is the "first-ever digital online magazine initiated and curated by a Canadian trade book publisher" there have been recent initiatives in e-book publishing by the Canadian Writers Group, an agency for authors and freelancers. And though it is not have the frequency promised by Hazlitt, there is an excellent literary online magazine called Five Dials published in Britain by the publishing house Hamish Hamilton, edited by a Canadian, Craig Taylor.
[Update: an item in the Winnipeg Free Press takes mild issue with Random House's claim that Hazlitt is the first of its kind in Canada:
"Anyone spending time with Random House Canada's new online magazine, Hazlitt, will be impressed by the content. RH, after all, has a stable of authors second to none in the country, and its international list ain't so bad, either. Their claim, however, to be the "first-ever original digital magazine initiated and curated by a Canadian trade book publisher," will raise eyebrows at The Winnipeg Review, started in January 2011 by this city's Great Plains Publications."]