Monday, June 06, 2005

Currents under the surface

The usual frenzy is about as Magazines Week is upon us. Mags U at the Old Mill in Toronto is the place where magazine people work on their upper thighs traipsing upstairs and down in search of the room for their seminars. The trade show is where everyone practices eye-avoidance, as near-desperate vendors and exhibitors try to snag passersby who are only passing through in a search for a cup of coffee. Panelists wonder how the hell they'll ever fill a 3-hour slot; later they'll wonder why they ran out of time to cover all there is to cover. There is lots of corridor schmoozing and a general sense of goodwill amidst the mock-Tudor eloquence. If the sun shines, it is interesting to be on the patio where the smell of cigar smoke is still evident. All would seem right with the world....and yet?

There is an undercurrent at Mags U, not least of which is the continuous tension between the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association and the Magazines University steering committee, or its major player, Masthead magazine. They have agreed to stand down on the dispute that blew up a couple of years ago when the CMPA said it was fed up with carrying most of the costs but having proportionately much less say over the way the event was run. Negotiations are supposed to be going on.

That issue hasn't so much gone away as been put into hibernation for this year, and next. But unless something is worked out to rebalance the matter, the CMPA is probaby going to walk and put on its own event in 2007. Masthead cannot afford for that to happen. But CMPA can well go on its own.


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