Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Everybody into the boat

The chattering classes have always dismissed Maclean's as yesterday's magazine, quite unreasonably. It has a large and largely loyal readership. But what the chatterers haven't thought of is Maclean's as a lifeboat, which is what it seems to be for journalists fleeing the floundering (or is that foundering?) National Post.

Latest word is that Scott Feschuk, ex Postie, ex PMO speechwriter, is to join as is Barbara Amiel, turfed from Maclean's as one of the last acts of Tony Wilson-Smith before he was replaced by Ken Whyte. Now Whyte is throwing experienced people over one side of the lifeboat (talk to your union rep, you whiners) and pulling bedraggled Posties over the other gunwale as fast as he can. Most will, of course, sit on the starboard side (that's the right, for you landlubbers).

[sorry for so many Maclean's posts: but it's making news these days]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't apologise for the many Maclean's postings DB. Your site rocks. And the information is really valuable, useful and insightful. Besides, Maclean's is an icon of Canadian publishing, so deserves the attention.

Question: If right wingers were being tossed overboard to be replaced by leftwingers, would it be as newsworthy and would we care as much?

8:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DB - your postings on Maclean's are valuable. This is really the only impartial place on the internet to talk about what's going on.

I'm a Maclean's staffer who's watched and worried over the past year as so many of my colleagues have been let go. A lot of them are very capable, very kind, very smart people. And watching so many of them walk out the door has broken my heart. I can't help but think about all the experience and passion we've lost.

I've lost friends and mentors. And since I'm considered part of the "old guard" for a while I thought I was going to get fired too. Now I just feel terribly disloyal, because I think the magazine is getting better. I want to be angry about all the changes, and how ruthless some of it has been. But I can't be angry when people keep teling me how much they like the magazine lately.
People complain about a shift to the right, and they grumble about the tabloid sensibility that has surfaced in cover choices and headlines. But the magazine we all loved and cared about was on a really bad road. We had become predictable and dull. It had been a long time since anybody came up with a really new and exciting idea. That has all changed.
And really, Whyte has only accelerated the changes that Anthony Wilson-Smith started. The right-wing cover stories you mentioned earlier were both by the same writer, and he was hired by Anthony.

We're making some mistakes. We're pushing away some of our longtime readers. But it's going to be hard for anybody to say Maclean's is boring, or it doesn't matter. My only fear is that we might dumb-down the magazine. I hope not. But we'll see.

As for all the friends I've seen fired. I'll miss them. I wish they hadn't been treated so roughly. But deep down, I think they had to go.

11:59 am  

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