Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Real costs of distance related pricing for postage may whack editorial

Good story today on Masthead's website about the real costs of Canada Post's distance-related pricing on one national magazine, The Beaver. It will increase its mailing costs 6.2% and, if those costs can't be mitigated, the difference will come out of the editorial budget. And it may cost a Manitoba printer a contract.
“The first thing that’s going to go is we’re not going to pay writers as much and maybe not hire as many people to write,” says publisher Deborah Morrison, “which is counterintuitive to what we’re trying to do with our magazine. Our editorial staff will probably not get that cost of living increase. What hurts is the editorial content first, because all these other costs—getting it out there, distribution—are beyond our control. We have to manage those and respond to those first. We’ve got to get the magazine out the door.”
The magazine's printing contract, now held by LGM Transcontinental in Winnipeg, expires at the end of the year.
“We’ve made it very clear to anyone bidding on the contract that Canada Post is a factor for us,” Morrison says.
Like many other national magazines with 50% of their circulation in Ontario, there may be irresistible pressure to get regional and local mailing rates by printing in Ontario.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, always go for the writers' rates first... kind of like the airline industry cutting frontline workers' pay while the big execs get bonuses.

Keep us posted on this one, db. I just might have to cancel my subscription to the Beaver. I make a point of not supporting magazines who don't treat writers well.

3:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hardly think that the cuts to editorial are being facilitated in order to keep the "big execs" fat and wealthy. It is more of a survival strategy, like it is when the airline industry cuts front line jobs.

Afterall, who needs baggage handlers when there are no bags to toss around?

4:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to commiserate with the first anonymous poster.

We've invested significantly in The Beaver's editorial over the past three years - at an average of about 8% per year infact - which also benefitted our freelance writers.

We found the money from everywhere else in the organization, so trust me there are no wealthy execs here - and we still don't break even.

Nonetheless, we have a good plan for growth and I believe it our team - my point in saying that editorial always suffers first was not because I though it deserved the hit - but because I'm as frustrated as you that we may have to pare back just to keep pace with these unanticipated, (and unfairly punitive) costs.

Don't get mad at me - I'm doing everything I can to maintain the magazine as a place for editors and writers to work... in Manitoba.

Get mad at Canada Post! And do please keep subscribing!

Deb Morrison

12:02 pm  

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