Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Publishers of iconic U.S. black magazines Ebony and Jet file for bankruptcy

The publishers of two of the best-known magazines aimed at a black audience -- Ebony and Jet -- have filed for bankruptcy. Johnson Publishing Co. said the company was “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.”

Ebony was founded in 1945, patterned after LIFE magazine and it reached an average monthly circulation of around 2 million in the 1990s, according to an AP story.

Jet had ceased print publication in 2014 and became a digital-only publication. 
“Johnson Publishing Company is an iconic part of American and African American history since our founding in 1942, and the company’s impact on society cannot be overstated,” the company said in Tuesday’s statement.
After reporting revenues in the hundreds of millions in the 1990s, the company’s fortunes began to decline after Johnson died in 2005 and magazines in general began to struggle as advertisers moved to alternative media. 
In 2014, Jet ceased print editions and became a digital-only publication. In 2016, both publications were sold to Clear View Group, an equity firm in Texas.Despite being under new ownership, the company struggled financially, with freelance writers suing to be paid. The lawsuit was settled last year.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Scott Jamieson named COO of
Annex Business Media

Scott Jamieson has been promoted to chief operating officer (COO) of Annex Business Media, effective immediately, Jamieson is currently the chair of Magazines Canada.

He has been with Annex since 2004 and since then has helped built out the event business and consolidate the audience department. 

“Growing our own talent is a key part of the Annex culture,” says CEO Mike Fredericks  (to whom Jamieson reports), “so it’s exciting to have someone with Scott’s breadth of hands-on experience and media knowledge to lead the company. Scott has played an important role in recent innovation at Annex. I look forward to seeing where he takes us next.” 

Annex Business Media is Canada’s largest business media company, with 66 media brands and a sector-leading technology suite. It is a values-driven outfit with offices and printing facilities in Simcoe and Toronto, ON.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Magazines Canada will not lobby about foreign investment or supports for journalism

Magazines Canada does not intend to lobby the federal government about either support for the journalism sector in advance of budget 2019 or about foreign investment in the magazine sector. 

Jacqueline LaRocque of public affairs firm Compass Rose said she intends to lobbying about a number of  budget matters such as antispam legislation and the review of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts as well as  increased funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Canada Periodical Fund.

But Magazines Canada would not lobby as it relates to government support for journalism or foreign investment restrictions in the Canadian magazine sector under the Investment Canada Act (ICA). 
“Magazines Canada will not be lobbying the federal government on this issue [foreign investment],” Melanie Rutledge, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. While the group is “interested in” the ICA, it will not be “engaging with parliamentarians or political offices on this issue at this time,” she added.
Magazines Canada also confirmed that it would not be lobbying political offices on supports for the journalism sector.
The Liberal government announced last fall that it would provide almost $600 million over five years in incentives to Canada’s ailing news media. The measures would allow some qualified outlets to receive a 25 per cent refundable tax credit on newsroom salaries and issue a 15 per cent tax credit to digital subscribers. They would also create access to charitable tax incentives for not-for-profit journalism.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Thomson Reuters divests its law titles and sites to Australian b2b publisher Key Media

Thomson Reuters Media Solutions has sold the titles Canadian Lawyer, InHouse, Law Times and other leading media brands, including digital, print, event and directory assets to HAB Press, part of an international b2b media company Key Media.
Key Media has been in the legal market dating back to 2002 as the founding publishers of Australasian Legal Business/Asian Legal Business and associated events. Currently the company publishes Australasian Lawyer and NZ Lawyer - leading online resources for partners and in-house counsel in Australia and New Zealand.


Magazine-related finalists for the Atlantic Journalism Awards

Finalists for the Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) have been announced. The gold and silver awards will be presented Saturday, May 11 at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel. Here are the magazine-related finalists:

Atlantic Magazine Article 

Richard Woodbury – Halifax Magazine – Halifax, NS – Out of the darkness
Stephen Kimber – Atlantic Business Magazine – St. John’s, NL – Scents and sensibility.

Atlantic Magazine: Best Cover
Atlantic Books Today – Halifax, NS – Spring 2018: Retail revival
Jenn Thornhill Verma – Saltscapes – Halifax, NS – Half a century a fisherman.
Maggie Rahr – Halifax Magazine – Halifax, NS – Standing on his own.

Atlantic Magazine: Best Profile Article

Excellence in Digital Journalism: Enterprise/Longform
Matthew Halliday – The Deep – Halifax, NS – Homeland.

Business Reporting: Any Medium

Arts and Entertainment Reporting: Any Medium


Monday, April 01, 2019

UC Observer relaunching as Broadview magazine

Relaunched and repositioned
North America's oldest continually published periodical, the United Church Observer, is relaunching with a new name and a new outlook, one designed to influence a broader audience with an emphasis on social justice, ethics and spirituality. 

Founded in 1829 as the Christian Guardian; became the Observer in 1939. Now it is rebranding as Broadview. It will be available to a wider audience, both distributed as subscriptions to church members and  by single copies through various book grocery and drugstore chains across Canada. Its new tagline is "spirituality, justice and ethical living".

The relaunch was provoked by declining subscriptions and the recent closure of other denominational publications such as the Presbyterian Record, which closed last year. "We pretty much knew what would happen if we did nothing," says editor Jocelyn Bell, adding their business plan projects sustainability within three years. 
"It’s a matter of trying to unlock the potential of what we’re doing here and getting it out to a wider audience," said editor Jocelyn Bell in an interview with the  Winnipeg Free PressThe new name reflects open-mindedness and inclusivity, while maintaining its identity as a left-leaning Christian publication.  "We felt (the new name) would counteract the idea that religion could be closed and dogmatic."
Editor Jocelyn Bell
The 29,000 current Observer subscribers will continue to receive the national edition.The publication hopes to appeal not only to current  church members, but to a broader "spiritual-but-not -religious" audience. 
"We’re going after people who are progressive Christian and share those core values with us," says Bell.
The magazine has operated independently of the United Church since 1986. It will now be published 10 times a year instead of 11, but with 16 more pages per issue. The cost for a single issue is $6.99; a year's subscription, $30.
[Disclosure: I am a board member of the Observer.]


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rogers Media is out of magazine business as it agrees to sell all remaining titles to St. Joe's

Rogers Media is selling all its remaining magazines to St. Joseph Media, effective in April. The price for the transaction was not revealed, but it includes Maclean's, the English and French versions of ChatelaineToday's Parent, HELLO! Canada, along with digital publications FLARE and Canadian Business. All current employees will be offered employment with St. Joseph, which is a largest, privately owned print, media and communications company in Canada.

St. Joseph's most well-known titles are Toronto Life, FASHION Magazine, Weddingbells, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. 

"Our experience with brands such as Toronto Life, and the strategies applied and growth we have seen there, gives us confidence that we can help transform these brands so they may prosper in the quickly changing media landscape," CEO Tony Gagliano said in the release. “Bringing together two talented teams and many of Canada’s most celebrated magazine brands is an important opportunity for SJC, the media industry and our country.” 

Rogers has been trying to sell its magazines for well on a year and last fall sold MoneySense magazine as a digital portal to Ratehub Inc. 

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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

St. Joseph Media sells Torontoist to Daily Hive

The daily online news source, Torontoist, has been acquired from St. Joseph Media by Daily Hive, a national online publication which has recently expanded into the Toronto market.
“Torontoist has a strong local readership in the community, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to build on the site’s legacy and continue its success,” said Karm Sumal, CEO of Daily Hive. “We will be building on everything you have come to love about Torontoist — the trust, passion, and quick reporting — while simply adding a bit of our signature flair.”
Torontoist was purchased in 2011 by St Joseph Media. It had been launched in 2004 and, for a time, beginning in 2009, had been in a content partnership with the Globe and Mail. 

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Condé Nast planning to put most, if not all, its titles behind paywalls

Condé Nast intends to implement some form of a paywall on all of its digital media brands. These receive more than 100 million visitors each month. Already,the paywall is well established in such titles as The New Yorker, Wired and Vanity Fair. 
"I don't think anyone should be surprised to hear that a publication is going behind a paywall these days," says Sean Griffey, founder and CEO of the digital-first B2B firm Industry Dive. "What is surprising to me is the blanket statement that all Condé Nast publications will go behind a paywall. A paywall can be a viable model for a publication, but it isn't a viable model for every publication. The business model has to match both the content strategy and audience."
Samantha Barry, editor-in-chief of the now digital-only Glamour, which unveiled its redesigned website days after the paywall news broke. "Here’s the thing about paywalls," Barry told Cheddar in an interview posted Wednesday. "One of the great things at Condé Nast is that we can learn from the other publications. I think the paywall will take different variations based on the publication. We’re in the exploratory phases of what that looks like for Glamour."
Condé is suggesting that paywalls may only apply to "niche content". 


Thursday, January 31, 2019

UC Observer and Readers Digest collaborate on major feature about rescue of "White Helmets"

Reader's Digest Canada and the United Church Observer have collaborated on a major piece about the daring July 2018 rescue of the "White Helmets", the volunteer first response workers in Syria.
"Veteran journalist Sally Armstrong and photographer Peter Bregg have been producing powerful stories for The Observer since 2017, so when Armstrong pitched the White Helmets idea, I was immediately intrigued—and also realized its potential as a co-produced feature with Reader’s Digest,” says Jocelyn Bell, editor and publisher of The Observer. “Together, Armstrong’s writing and Bregg’s images create an incredibly compelling story, one that makes me proud to be a publisher—and a Canadian."
In August 2018, Armstrong and Bregg travelled to Jordan and Israel to learn about the people and planning behind the secret Canadian-led international operation that saved 422 lives and was, among other things, an inspiring testament to the value of working together.
The special report—which runs at 3,200 words in the January/February 2019 issue of Reader’s Digest and at 5,000 words in The Observer’January 2019 issue—is available on newsstands and at and
[Disclosure: I am a board member of the Observer.] 

Friday, January 25, 2019

David Balzer to step down as editor in chief of Canadian Art magazine

After three years in the position, David Balzer will be stepping down as editor in chief of Canadian Art magazine, effective at the end of March. 
Balzer will be departing to finish his forthcoming book; and taking up a teaching residency at Quest University in Squamish, BC. According to a release from the magazine, he will continue his association with Canadian Art as a contributing editor.
In a message to staff, Gabe Gonda and Debra Campbell, co-chairs of the Canadian Art Foundation board of directors, said, “As editor-in-chief at Canadian Art, David has pursued bold and innovative subjects, mentored young writers and editors and championed underheard communities and emerging voices. Through all this, David has remained one of the leading critical voices in contemporary art, and he will continue to play that role for the magazine going forward as a contributing editor. We’re delighted to be continuing our association with David and grateful for his contributions to the magazine.”
 Debra Rother, currently co-publisher, will become publisher of Canadian ArtSenior editor Bryne McLaughlin, who has been with the magazine since 2001, will assume the role of interim editor-in-chief, responsible for Canadian Art’s editorial operations.