Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dinner, with brains on the menu

Might this be what is called fleeting fame? Ed2010's Toronto chapter is having one of its periodic mixers tomorrow, at which (for a $5 fee), attendees are given a chance at dinner and the chance to pick the brain of Laurie Grassi, the executive editor of Style at Home magazine.

The event is at The Duke of York (39 Prince Arthur Avenue) on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. (Consolation could be provided by dropping your business card in a free draw for an Elle Canada subscripton.)

Ed2010 is a networking community of young magazine editors and magazine-editor wannabes who want to learn more about the industry so we can fulfill their dreams of landing top editing and writing positions in the the magazine industry

"Le Lux" to honour Quebec photographers and illustrators

Tomorrow, the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators of Canada (CAPIC) and the Association des illustrateurs et illustratrices in Quebec, in collaboration with the magazine Infopresse will be presenting Exposition Lux, the 11th annual gala where photographers and illustrators are honoured. It is at the Just for Laughs theatre 2111, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal at 8 p.m., with free admission. Advance reservation of tickets is recommended.

Primeau's gardener's memoir recalls when front yard gardens were leading edge

Liz Primeau, the founding editor of Canadian Gardening magazine, and former editor of Ontario Living, is in the midst of a whirl of publicity for her recently published memoir My Natural History: The Evolution of a Gardener. (Tonight she'll will be signing and selling copies at 7 p.m. at the Mississauga Central Library. On the weekend,she was reading from it at Word on the Street in Kitchener.)

From her beginnings as as a community correspondent for The Mississauga News and the Port Credit Weekly, Primeau built a career where she founded Canadian Gardening and hosted Canadian Gardening Television for many years on HGTV.

In an interview with the Mississauga News, Primeau said she got her feet wet in journalism in the 1950s when she was a member of the women's auxiliary at the South Peel Hospital.
"My first story was about the crossing guard at Lakeshore Rd. and Dixie Rd. and I did stories about things like the new traffic lights at Applewood Rd. and the South Service Rd."
The experience whetted her appetite for magazine journalism. She eventually worked for many of Canada's top publications, including Toronto Life and Chatelaine before the launch of Canadian Gardening.
Author and editor of numerous gardening books, Primeau is probably best known for her pioneering Front Yard Gardens: Growing More Than Grass which promotes tearing out mundane front lawns in favour of planting a diversity of native plants that promote healthier natural environments. That principle, called biodiversity, "makes people's eyes glaze over," [she] admits.

But people understand the principle when they see it in action. When she and her husband Chris Zelkovich replanted their entire front yard a decade ago, there was consternation from many neighbours.

Now, there is a parade of similar treatments in the front yards of her neighbourhood. That makes the garden writer smile with pride. "Once it starts to happen," she says, "the ball rolls faster and faster."

Magazine world view

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jewish Living magazine folds
after five issues

Since this blog has written several items in the past about the launch of Jewish Living magazine, we feel under some obligation to report, with regret, that publication of the magazine has been suspended after five issues, according to a posting on magazine's website.

Publisher Dan Zimerman who, with his wife Carol Moskot as art director (formerly of Toronto Life magazine), moved from Toronto to New York to launch the magazine, wrote to subscribers that, although the magazine was named one of the top launches of the year by Media Industry News and had made headlines, it wasn't enough.

Jewish Living was fortunate to have attracted a significant subscribers base, committed advertisers and the respect of the editorial and creative community.

However, given current economic conditions, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure sustainable funding and therefore the ongoing viability of the business.


CBC.ca apologizes for columnist Mallick's article about Palin

[This post has been updated] The Publisher of CBC News, John Cruickshank, has written a column apologizing for publishing a column by Heather Mallick about U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The volume of complaints played a part in prompting his apology and CBC Ombudsman, Vince Carlin, fashioned the justification. Cruickshank said:
Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.

And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site.
Mallick will be on a short leash in future as the corporation's news chief says they will exercise "healthy restraint"; "new editing procedures [are] in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear."

Even a casual reader of CBCNews.ca will wonder, now that the management is seeking higher ground (so to speak) over the controversy (drop-kicking one of its most popular columnists in the process) whether the same leash will be put on the commenters on the site. Nothing that Mallick said could compare in vituperation and venom with things that are posted there routinely, including many of the couple of thousand comments posted about the item in question itself.

[UPDATE: If you wish to see how the CBC will become a laughingstock over this decision,read this item in Gawker, the Manhattan media gossip site.]

[The column in question has been removed from the CBC site. The column is still available at Heather Mallick's own site.]

Related posts:

Quote, unquote: Stephen Harper's hidden theo-con agenda

They see him as an image-savvy evangelical who has been careful to keep his signals to them under the media radar, but they have no doubt his convictions run deep—so deep that only after he wins a majority will he dare translate the true colours of his faith into policies that could remake the fabric of the nation. If they’re right, it remains unclear whether those convictions would turn government into a kinder, gentler guarantor of social justice for all or transform the country into a stern, narrow-minded theocracy.
-- Marci McDonald in her article in the October 2006 issue of The Walrus, "Stephen Harper and the Theo-Cons". Republished recently on the Walrus website, apparently because of its relevance to current circumstances.

Daybook :
Cracking U.S. market; Marking TFEW's 10th

Reminders about a couple of worthwhile events in Toronto posted about before, that may be of interest to readers:
  • Cracking the 49th parallel: Thursday, October 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ryerson University School of Journalism, 80 Gould Street, Toronto. Price is $20, $10 for students (free to Ryerson students). It's being sponsored by the American Association of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), a 1,300-member international group that is seeking Canadian members.The panelists are all Canadian expats, New York-based journalists Clive Thompson,(Wired, contributing editor, New York Times Magazine), Gold National Magazine Award winner Duff McDonald (Portfolio, New York), and ASJA board member Caitlin Kelly (New York Times, Glamour, Family Circle). (for more background, go to earlier post.)
  • 10th anniversary of TFEW: Monday, October 6 from 6 p.m. on at Big Mamma's Boy, 554 Parliament Street. The little Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv grew from 6 members a decade ago to more than 270 members now. Those who intend to attend are asked to responde to RSVP@ jessross.com. (Earlier post)

British mag wins cover contest by taking a chance on "Dalek" concept

That it pays, sometimes, to take chances is apparent by the outsider win from Britain's Radio Times magazine in a cover competition held by the Periodical Publishers Association.( Of course it may also be an expression of a public write-in campaign on behalf of a wacky entry.) More than 10,000 members of the public cast ballots.

The May 2005 "Vote Dalek*" cover (shown above in its full gatefold), by was up against 50 other magazines and then a shortlist of 16 that included Vogue, Time Out and Loaded, according to a story in UK Press Gazette.

Editor Gill Hudson was accompanied by a Dalek when she collected the award for winning the Great Cover Debate at a PPA Magazine Week event. She said: "I think in the magazine business we’ve got to remember that we’ve got to be creative, we can’t play it too safe."

The cover concept played off two events: the runup to the general election and the return of Doctor Who to TV for the first time in 20 years.

"The combination is really funny [said Gill], you wouldn’t normally put the two together but the timing was great. What’s really nice about this is that a lot of people probably assume this is just a computer job, but we did it properly. You can see the extra effort has lifted it to something special.”

The cover, which pictures a Dalek on Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background, was recreated from a photo taken in 1964, found by art editor Paul Smith.

The team smuggled an old Dalek onto the bridge to take the photo at exactly the right angle, then took a trip to the TV studios in Cardiff where the new-look gold Dalek was being kept under lock and key and took a photo which they then superimposed on top.

Radio Times went on to sell 20,000 posters of the cover.

[*For those who are not or never have been fans of the television program Doctor Who, Dalleks were a malevolent mutants in machine-like armour whose every moment was devoted to exterminating living creatures they consider inferior to themselves. As an aside, the original Doctor Who was developed in the early '60s by a Canadian, Sidney Newman, who was the BBC Head of Drama at the time.]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Search will drive sales, but content can build branding

I have often felt that so-called "traditional" magazine publishers are being mistaken in chasing after online dollars by trying to compete with search advertising. This doesn't play to magazines' strengths. I found some reinforcement for this view in a posting about a speech made by David Churbuck, Vice President, Global Web Marketing, at Lenovo (what we used to call IBM). He said that search is their largest ad spend, but content publishers (which is what magazines are)probably shouldn't make the mistake of trying to compete with search directly.
His advice was for content publishers not try to compete with search but to develop their offerings in a different direction. He uses content based media, both online and print, to brand his company while using search to drive sales. He is more interested in doing business with content publishers who offer him media to help his branding efforts than just lead generating.


Friday, September 26, 2008

It's not nice to fool your readers

Some readers of women's weeklies in Britain are not only grumbling about inflated headlines, they're holding the magazines to account. According to a story in the Guardian, two separate complaints to the Press Complaints Commission were about tantalizing coverlines that turned out to be misleading.
One reader objected to the front cover of Look magazine which pictured Jennifer Aniston with the caption "I'm having a baby!", when in fact the article only said she was thinking about having a baby.

The complainant, Elaine Benton of Berkshire, accepted an apology from the editor of Look and the reimbursement of cover price as resolution of her complaint.

However, an OK! reader went one better. Marlene Bentley of North Yorkshire received a six-month subscription to the magazine after criticising a misleading teaser.

The front cover of OK! featured a headline about the "Star-studded wedding" of Wayne Rooney to Coleen McLoughlin, which Bentley said would have misled readers to believe the issue contained coverage of the wedding.

Instead, the magazine contained just a single full-page advertisement for the wedding to be covered in the following week's edition.

Rogers's Pharmacy Post relaunched as
Drugstore Canada

Pharmacy Post, a 15-year-old Rogers Publishing business-to-business title, is being completely renovated,with a new name, a new size (from tab down to standard magazine) and a new look, according to an item posted on Mastheadonline.

It will now be called Drugstore Canada and its new look and editorial structure will reflect changes in modern pharmacies which often seem more like cosmetic boutiques and variety stores than pill-pushers.
The monthly magazine is now divided into four sections: “Self Care and Wellness,” “Health and Beauty” “Mind Your Business” and “Frontshop Focus.” There’s more in-depth analysis of issues and “more info on how to grow business,” publisher Jackie Quemby says. The switch to standard format was made because readers said they’d be more likely to hold on to a normal-sized magazine rather than a tabloid, [editor Vicki] Wood says.
The magazine goes to about 165,000 readers. The new-look September issue is 84 pages.

Labels: ,

National drive launched to "vote for culture"

The Canadian Arts Coalition is working with Quebec’s Culture Pour Tous to give everyone in , regardless of any age, sex or politics, the opportunity to vote online for arts and culture. To add your voice and your vote, click on the "I vote for culture" banner above.

Ravary campaign to abolish Quebec status of women council prompts boycott call

There's quite a storm over at Châtelaine magazine where readers are threatening boycotts and subscription cancellations because editor-in-chief Lise Ravary is campaigning for the abolition of the Quebec Status of Women Council (QSW).

Her proposal, published in the September issue, said that the current council is unrepresentative and holds back today's modern Quebec women. In its place, the magazine's position is that a new council, with equal numbers of men and women, should be created.

The strength of feeling about her proposal can be sampled from comments, both positive and negative, on Ravary's own editor's blog (in French) and at a feminist blog called Bread and Roses; it suggests that Ravary was particularly annoyed because of a paper published by the QSW that criticized stereotyping and the growing sexualization of females in the media, including magazines like Châtelaine.

It's also suggested that the controversial statement was designed to create a buzz and bring attention to the magazine's redesign.

The directors of Université du Quebec à Montréal's Institut de recherches et d'études féministes has issued a call for a boycott of the magazine and for current readers to cancel their subscriptions:
Les membres de la direction de l’IREF tiennent à protester contre le billet de la rédactrice en chef de la revue Châtelaine, Lise Ravary, en raison de la nature et du ton de son propos intitulé « Minute ! » dans la livraison de septembre du magazine. Le billet fait référence à l’Avis du Conseil du statut de la femme, Le sexe dans les médias : obstacle aux rapports égalitaires. Nous vous invitons donc à boycotter l’achat de la revue et pour celles qui y sont abonnées, à annuler votre abonnement.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Take our digital magazines...please,
say publishers

Faced with a slower-than-expected uptake of digital magazine subscriptions and the fact that many consumers don't know the difference between a digital magazine and a website, a bunch of U.S. magazine companies are giving 50 million free digital magazine subscriptions away.

According to a story in Folio:, 200 companies like Hachette, Wenner Media and Reader's Digest are using a new site mounted by digital magazine vendor Zinio. It's called GoReadGreen and it hopes that readers can be convinced that they should use digital magazines to be environmentally friendly.
“We’ve seen thus growing undercurrent of consumers who see the benefits of sustainability,” said Jeanniey Mullen, executive vice president, chief marketing officer at Zinio. “But the general consumer walking down the street doesn’t even know what a digital edition means—they think it means the Web....We wanted to do something on a large-scale that would take the barrier of cost away and allow consumers to sample digital editions, while publishers can provide the environmental benefits of digital and not incur the huge waste—and huge cost—of printing magazines.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Individual magazines given tools to lobby campaigning local MPs in favour of PAP

Magazines interested in lobbying their local member of Parliament about the publications assistance program now have the tools to do so. Magazines Canada has prepared a riding-by-riding spreadsheet tally of the number of PAP-supported subscriptions in each riding, along with the e-mail address of the sitting MP. Even if, perchance, a magazine isn't sure who their member is, MC provides a handy finding aid to the riding name by postal code.

The organization already sent out letters to all MPs and is now asking members to contact their local MP and/or send a copy of the letter (in both English and French), substituting the paragraph at the end of the form letter with information about their particular title rather than about Magazines Canada.

Related posts:

Mix it up with magazines: Word on the Street this Sunday across Canada

Sunday, September 28 is one of the biggest opportunities for readers to meet magazine-makers and for magazine makers to meet each other in the annual Word on the Street book and magazine festival, which takes place all day long in Toronto, Kitchener, Vancouver, Halifax. Over 250,000 people attended the regional festivals in 2007.

Related post:

Does the internet "democratize" or "commoditize" information online

Interesting exchange:
  • A writer in Folio: says that the internet allows corporations to communicate with end users without the mediation of traditional media, like magazines.
  • A reader rebukes the writer, saying that, far from "democratizing" content, the internet "commoditizes" it, which undermines the ability of content providers to be paid for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finalists announced for best (U.S.) covers
of 2008

The finalists in the American Society of Magazine Editors best cover awards have been posted. Above are the 2008 Cover of the Year finalists: "Andy is 80", from Interview (June/July); "Eliot Spitzer's Brain" from New York (March 24);"Short Stance", from the New Yorker (October 8). The latter is by Canadian expat illustrator Barry Blitt.

Other best cover categories are celebrity, concept, fashion, leisure interest, news, service and coverlines. Finalists in all categories.

Winners will be announced October 6 at the American Magazine Conference (AMC).

Tougher ad:edit guidelines needed to counter pressure from advertisers

With the considerable, and apparently inexorable, pressure of advertisers, editorial integrity is under seige. And to withstand the pressure, says an opinion piece by Lucia Moses, a senior editor of MediaWeek, editors need something more than well-intentioned ad:editorial guidelines.

Both the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) have published such guidelines, which attempt to define terms and draw a thin black line between editorial and ad content. [Disclosure: I was on the committee that reviewed and revised the Canadian guidelines.] For instance, they specify how ads shouldn't look like editorial and how editorial staff shouldn't be required to create ads. And they defend the cover as sacrosanct. The Canadian guidelines rely on moral suasion; the American guidelines threaten sanctions but almost never use them.
It all sounds good. But how much protection do they really provide in today’s multiplatform, boundary-pushing media world? To hear editors and publishers tell it, not a whole lot. For one, a growing number of ads that blur the ad-edit line is sneaking into print, as advertisers have grown bolder and magazines have begun to acquiesce. One publisher, I heard, received an RFP that actually called for an ad guaranteed to “piss off your editor.”

Take ad positioning. ASME says ads shouldn’t be placed right before or after edit pages in which the advertiser is shown or written about. Yet as the publisher of one major fashion title groused to me recently (off the record only, so as not to scare off advertisers), adjacencies—or their close equivalents—happen all the time in that category.
Moses says that some advertisers recognize that eroding editorial integrity is counter-productive; while others argue that the guidelines aren't rules, just suggestions.
All buyers, even those sympathetic to editorial concerns, still answer to their clients.

That pressure will only continue to grow. With guidelines that are so easily circumvented—and have no enforcement teeth anyway—ASME could be serving its members better. The organization officially says it will publicly sanction and disqualify members from its coveted National Magazine Awards. But in reality, those that cross the line usually just get a slap on the wrist.

Veteran women’s magazine editor Lesley Jane Seymour, now helming Meredith Publishing’s More, is among those who think the guidelines need to be tougher. “Editors have very little protection these days,” says Seymour. “The forces aligned against us to make money are enormous.”

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mark your calendar: TFEW 10th
anniversary on Oct. 6

A friendly reminder that the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list is marking 10 years of existence with a major celebration of Monday, October 6 from 6 p.m. on. The list grew from 6 people who gathered in freelancer and teacher David Hayes's living room to 270 members signed up today. It's being held at Big Mamma's Boy, 554 Parliament St*. (2 blocks north of Carleton on the west side, in Cabbagetown.

The evening will include
● An encomium by me (whatever an ecomium is!)

● A reading by Margaret Webb from her recently published book, Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms

● A reading by Tim Falconer from his recently published book, Drive: A Road Trip Through Our Complicated Affair with the Automobile

● An awesome 10th anniversary TFEW cake

● Door prizes, including magazine subscriptions & special surprises. (National Post graphic columnist Steve Murray will be sketching a large, ink wash New Yorker-style cartoon depicting the freelancers swirling around him during the event which will be a door prize for one lucky reveller.
To know how much cake to have on hand, the normally laid-back TFEWers need people to be more than usually punctilious about saying whether or not they're coming. Send your RSVP (or your regrets) to RSVP@jessross.com so the organizers know how much space to reserve, appetizers to order, etc.

There will be some appetizers provided. Everything else is a la carte. www.bigmammasboy.ca

*Take the Carlton streetcar east to Parliament & walk north. Or grab a Wellesley bus east from the Wellesley subway station, get off at Parliament, & walk 2 blocks south.

New York memorial service being held to pay tribute to Clay Felker

A tribute is being paid tonight in New York (you might just have time) to the late Clay Felker, the founding editor of New York magazine. The memorial service is being held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem and Lesley Stahl will speak.
Felker's legacy, which Wolfe in July described as nothing less than the restoration of vitality to a bloodless, disconnected New York media, is also honored less directly today in New York's excellent issue on the Great Shakeout [said media blog Gawker].

Columnist Mallick's Palin commentary provokes rage and threats

CBC.ca and occasional magazine columnist Heather Mallick seems to have touched a particularly tender nerve with a recent commentary about U.S. vice-presidental candidate Sarah Palin. In her article, she said Palin appeals to "the white trash vote" with her "toned-down version of the porn actress look."

The column (from a woman who has been renowned for her strong opinions) had already been receiving a lot of outraged comments on the CBC website, but an attack from Fox News commentator Greta van Susteren, calling her a "pig" on air, has resulted in a ramping up of vitriol and threats of bodily harm. These come from U.S. commenters who probably had never before heard of her...or of the CBC. The column has received almost 1,500 comments so far.

Mallick told Canadian Press she was shaken by the aggression of some of the responses.
"The responses to my column proved me correct about the extreme right in the United States: they have a great misogynist rage in them," Mallick said in an interview from Toronto on Saturday.
CP said Mallick "has been branded an insane Pakistani Muslim by commentators on Fox message boards and has received violent and threatening email, some of which include anti-Semitic slurs - despite the fact that she's neither Jewish nor Muslim."
"I'd love to punch you right in your chops and knock every tooth out of your head. Come see me bitch, I have something for you!" someone named Dave Jones wrote in an email to Mallick....

Messages left on the Fox News website also contain a lot of anti-Canadian sentiment.

"Canada is made up of small towns and many if not most trace their ancestry back to their 'redneck cousin' and they still have relatives here in the U.S.," one wrote.

Wrote another, "Those morons up north just can't keep their ignorant mouths shut when it's really none of their socialist business ... the People's Republic of Canada is no friend of the USA!"

News magazines an endangered species
in North America

In the last five years (2003-2008) 39% of newsmagazines in North America have disappeared, dropping from 75 publications to 45, according to a story in Folio: about data published in the National Directory of Magazines. As but one example, this year, U.S. News & World Report became a biweekly.)

The Directory (misnamed, since it catalogues some 20,500 U.S. and Canadian titles)says that shelter titles jumped from 82 to 241 titles, making it among the most robust categories, while the largest was for regional titles; 1,120 regional magazines were in existence in 2008.
“Regional magazines capitalize on the fascination with ‘things local’ and also benefit from strong local advertising,” according to Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge Communications, publisher of the directory. “Many regional magazines are also pitched to an upscale audience making them doubly attractive to readers and advertisers.”


Is Maghound the future?
And do we want to go there?

I don't like to rain on the innovation parade, but an article in the National Post hymning the wonders of Time Inc.'s new Maghound single copy service (see previous posts) suggests that this is an unalloyed good thing and that the sooner it begins servicing Canadians, the better.

Masthead editor Marco Ursi is quoted saying:
You don't get as much revenue selling copies on Maghound, but attracting American eyeballs would be a real incentive for publishers here. A singular Time Inc. title like People is bigger than the entire Canadian magazine industry."
Geist editor Stephen Osborne is quoted as saying:
"There's a hell of a good audience for us in the States.If we could use their distribution stream, I would think we could double in size."
My question is how a Canadian publisher could manage meeting the demands of such a service.

For one thing, we're not talking about digital editions here but hard copies. With readers mixing and matching, often on a monthly basis, how would press runs be determined?

And if readers are buying single copies at a huge discount in the first place and Maghound presumably passes on only a small part of the price, is this worth diverting current single copy buyers from newsstands?

Is there any evidence that the total number of single copy sales will increase? And is there any fear that we will convert some current paid subscribers into single copy buyers? Just asking.

Liberal reply to magazine industry says party would maintain PAP

The Liberal Party of Canada has told Magazines Canada -- in response to a series of questions about funding and other matters -- that
  • it would support the continuation of the publications assistance program (PAP) and
  • commit to continued funding of the Canada Magazine Fund at current levels.
  • However, it declined to say it would do anything to introduce competitive postal delivery for magazines.
  • And it merely said that it would review any recommendations of the current review of Canada Post as it related to the introduction of distance-related pricing.

Reality check demonstrates that arts support has been cut under Tories

The Globe and Mail has done us all a favour by pursuing the federal Conservative party's claim that its support for arts and culture has increased during its time in power. The story in Saturday's paper, by reporter James Bradshaw, demonstrated that, depending on your definition of "culture", arts support has actually declined under the Tories.

A close look at federal budget documents suggests that nearly $45-million in recent federal funding cuts are symptomatic of a larger trend under the Conservatives that has seen dollars gradually shifted away from arts and culture, and funnelled instead into other branches of the Department of Canadian Heritage that focus on the department's social mandate.

The analysis also calls into question the rosy picture the Conservatives have sought to paint about their support for the arts: Although there is some truth to the government's claims, they derive their force from a vague definition of “culture” – which can comprise everything from piano recitals to ESL classes.

Central to the article's research, spending on two kinds of "strategic outcomes" at Canadian Heritage was quite different. The first is what most people would normally call spending on arts and culture -- money spent on Canadians expressing their cultural experiences to each other and the world. The second is spending on promotion of Canada as a diverse society, intercultural understanding, citizen participation and sports.
Although this second arm undoubtedly deals with “Canadian culture,” broadly defined, it's at best misleading to include those dollars in Harper's proclamation about funding “the arts.”
The article also make the point that the overall cultural budget, combining funding for the Department of Canadian Heritage and its agencies and Crown corporations (National Gallery, Canada Council, National Arts Centre) has increased since the Conservatives came into power. But the Globe quotes Canadian Conference for the Arts figures that demonstrate that the Conservative are claiming credit for Liberal spending in 2005-06.

Related stories and information:

Idea for three covers of Maclean's claimed by advertising agency

[This post has been updated] So we thought the three covers idea of Maclean's magazine last week was a good one -- with excellent art direction and each cover featuring one of the three leading candidates in the federal election. What an original idea, we thought.

And it appears it was original, but not to Maclean's. The idea came from an advertising agency, according to the president of the agency Bensimon Byrne. Maclean's columnist Paul Wells, had written in his blog
"This week’s print edition of Maclean’s is so cool it will make you plotz."
Jack Bensimon wrote (and, to his credit, Wells posted) the following response:
I think Maclean’s has done a terrific job with the three covers this week. But credit really must go to the media director here at Bensimon Byrne, Tatania Tucker. The idea was to create an impactful magazine ad buy for our client Hyundai to launch their Genesis model. She and her team proposed the three cover idea to a number of magazines, including Maclean's. Several took us up on it.

I’ll grant you that you guys have taken full advantage of it. And your art direction is outstanding. But it’s a little misleading to blog about it as purely an editorial concept.
[UPDATE: An item in Masthead says that the idea originated with Cottage Life magazine, who took it to the ad agency, who in turn took it to the other magazines. And that the idea was adapted from the New Yorker and Conde Nast Traveler magazines.]


Friday, September 19, 2008

Green Living magazine; grown up and now also contains electrons

Green Living magazine is growing, in more ways than one. Not only has it moved from digest size (having started out as Enviroguide in 2004) once a year to a quarterly, now to full size with a circulation of 150,000, it is also launching a digital edition.

Striving to be hard to ignore, The Walrus celebrates its 5th anniversary

The Walrus magazine is 5 years old. A statement published in the October/November issue from Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher and executive director, The Walrus Foundation and John Macfarlane, co-publisher and editor, gives due credit to co-founders David Berlin and Ken Alexander and to creative director Antonio de Luca and former publisher Bernard Schiff..
The Walrus won more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine in Canada and was the country’s 2007 magazine of the year. In five short years, its circulation has grown to some 60,000. To put that in perspective, Harper’s — in that much larger market to the south — has just 215,000 paying customers, and it’s over 150 years old.
The praise also went to the Chawkers Foundation "by far the magazine's largest financial supporter" and to The Walrus's loyal readers.
Without your appetite for quality journalism, without your enthusiastic encouragement (proof, if any were needed, that this country needs and wants The Walrus), it would not have survived.

Not that the magazine’s future is guaranteed. Because Canada is a small country, and because a magazine with such lofty aspirations can appeal to only a tiny fraction of the population, The Walrus will always require — in addition to advertising and circulation revenue — a third revenue stream: fundraising. This is why it is published by the non-profit Walrus Foundation.
The co-publishers said they will continue to aim high, to produce a thoughtful magazine about Canada and its place in the world.
A magazine that endeavours to inform, amuse, and entertain its readers with powerful — and educational — writing, photography, and illustration. This is indeed an optimistic project. Making so ambitious a magazine sustainable is bound to be a struggle. But if we can build on the achievements of our first five years, there is no reason to believe we cannot succeed. We hope The Walrus will continue to earn your time, attention, and support. We hope it will always be hard to ignore.
The cover of the October/November issue is by Douglas Coupland.

Related recent posts:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Al Gore may buy into magazines, environmental title Plenty

[UPDATE: Jeff Bercovici of Portfolio now says that it is not Gore who is interested in the magazine, but Kevin Wall, a collaborator of his in the Live Earth concert last year.] Al Gore may be getting into the magazine business according to a story in Portfolio magazine.
Sources familiar with the former vice president's plans say he is set to announce the acquisition of a stake in Plenty, a four-year-old title about environmentally-conscious living. As it happens, Gore -- who already has a toe in the media business through his TV network, Current -- is on the cover of the current issue.
Asked about the situation, Plenty founder Mark Spellun acknowledged there is a deal of some sort in the works but said it was "not correct" to say that Gore was buying the company. "That wouldn't be quite accurate," he said. Pressed on whether that means Gore is purchasing some sort of interest, however, either directly or through another entity, Spellun declined to comment further, saying an announcement would come next week.

Will Canadian Forces vote Conservative? Embassy Magazine says so

Rabble.ca in its election blog notes that Embassy Magazine, the foreign policy newsweekly, manages to report that most soldiers will be voting Conservative, without quoting any soldiers.
"I would suggest that most of the members of the Canadian Forces would probably vote Conservative in this election," said retired colonel Alain Pellerin, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations. "I think the message from the current Conservative government probably resonates more with the troops."
It also quoted Canadian military historian and senior research fellow with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute Jack Granatstein:
"I suspect [the military vote] will stay heavily Conservative," he said. "They essentially gave the Afghan force everything it could possibly want, except for helicopters. My guess is that the Tories have earned the vote."
Embassy reported that, in the last federal election, in the top 10 ridings in which military ballots were cast in the last election, nine contain major military bases. The Conservatives won five of the top ten, the Liberals three, the Bloc Québécois two and one went to independent Quebec MP André Arthur.
The most potentially damaging move the government has made, military watchers said, is the decision to extend the mission in Afghanistan to 2011.

Many Canadian soldiers have now done multiple tours of duty, something that takes a toll on both the troops and their families. The prospect of yet another tour could turn soldiers against the government, particularly in Quebec where support for the mission is lowest.
Rabble blogger Stephen Staples said:

We could all easily guess that Dinosaur Jack Granatstein and Col. Allain Pellerin (ret) will vote for Stephen Harper, since their groups get a lot of funding from his government, but do they also have some “Vulcan mind-meld” with Canada’s 62,000 regular military personnel that allows them to know who soldiers will vote for?

I think that we would all be surprised to learn that military families have the same priorities as the rest of the Canadian population.

During the 2006 election, I listened to an incredulous reporter interviewing a military wife who said she was far more concerned about health care funding than more money for military equipment.

And again, this week the CBC interviewed a military wife in CFB Petawawa who said that many wives wanted the troops home right away. Could they be planning to vote NDP? Sacre blue!

Holding Canadian media feet to the fire

A nice piece by Sheldon Gordon on the Ryerson Review of Journalism is published in the October issue of University Affairs magazine. It's a wholly-student written magazine which, if it didn't exist, we'd have to invent it, precisely because it covers the media in a way that no one else does.

We can hope that the article will galvanize the magazine community to make some donations to keep this feisty publication going (it has always operated on the kindness of donors).

At right, Ryerson Review editors Canice Leung and Carla Wintersgill with their 2008 issues
[Photo: Carla Wintersgill and Rebecca Rose]

Toronto duo celebrate a year of publishing Corduroy in New York

Corduroy, a quarterly arts/entertainment/fashion magazine, recently celebrated its first anniversary being published in New York, according to a story in the Toronto Star. The magazine's fourth, October, issue is due on newsstands in and around New York this week.

Peter Ash Lee and Tim Chan, both 26, both from Toronto, live in New York where they run Corduroy, editing it at a table in a coffee shop.

Chan and Lee finance the mag with their savings and loans, and income from other jobs to pay the bills -- Chan as a producer at a NY television news station, Lee a freelance photographer.
"This is New York. Everyone is a hyphenate, a model slash waiter or student slash something else," says Chan.
The magazine is printed and distributed from Toronto. The name? Well, a corduroy jacket never goes out of style.

"Our whole model from the beginning was we wanted it to resemble a book instead of a glossy magazine, something that is timeless, that sits on your bookshelf," Lee says.
[Thanks to a post in the MyHogtown blog for the heads up]

Vita adds a French twist to More

Transcontinental Media has launched a French-language version of More magazine called Vita. It will be on newsstands in the Québec market tomorrow. The magazine is customized for 40+ women in the French-speaking market.
Since Transcontinental announced the launch of Vita, the magazine has surpassed its target subscription goals by nearly 80%,” said Francine Tremblay, senior vice president of consumer magazines, Transcontinental Media. ”We were hoping Vita would share the same success as More in Canada, and we’re thrilled that readers and advertisers have responded so enthusiastically. This launch is a celebration of what’s to come.”

Vita is edited by Sylvie Poirier, formerly editor-in-chief of Elle Québec . Chantal Ares is the art director.

More and Vita are published under a multi-year licensing agreement with Meredith Corporation announced in May 2006, and brings Transcontinental Media’s magazine portfolio total to over 40 publications.


Copies up, dollars up, but Canadian magazine market share slips

Canadian magazine publishers get a 38% "share of wallet" for the approximately $870 million spent on audited magazines in this country, according to a study by released by Rogers Publishing.

The data and commentary is compiled by Michael Fox, the senior vice-president of circulation and development at Rogers (and a stalwart supporter of Magazines Canada).

Using available single copy and subscription sales data from 228 Canadian and 551 American titles, all of them audited by either the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) or BPA/Canadian Circulations Audit Bureau (CCAB), Fox points out that spending on magazines in 2007 was up $20.7 million from 2006 but that Canadian magazines' market share has declined by 3% since 2003.

U.S. single copy sales account for the largest share, at 45% of dollars. 24% of revenue ($207.8 million) went towards subscriptions for Canadian magazines.

A full pdf of the report is available here.

Buy online, get print free?

Publishing 2.0 blogger Scott Karp asks whether this promotion is an indicator of the future, selling online ads by giving print advertising as a bonus in the New York Times.


Magazine world view

Cottage Life editor's 50th issue marked by a surprise hijacking, and bubbly

Penny Caldwell's staff at Cottage Life magazine wanted to mark the occasion of her 50th issue so they hit upon simply hijacking her editor's blog, posting a message about the occasion, surprising her in her office and then cracking open a bottle of champagne. Her first issue as editor (left) was in July/August 2000 (though she'd been on staff in various other capacities before assuming it). Her latest edition (October 2008) is at right.

A mock posting quoted Caldwell as saying: “I was genuinely surprised. We plan so far in the future here that I actually thought it was the year 2037.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New web-based tool helps sniff out people using magazine content without permission

Magazine publishers who want to detect if someone is using their content without permission may be attracted to a new tool from iCopyright called Discovery. It works by "fingerprinting" a publisher's content and searching the web for sites using all or part of the material, according to a story in Folio:.
The service identifies Web sites that have obtained a valid license and verifies that they are using the content within the terms of the license. As a plagiarism and copyright infringement detection tool, Discovery sniffs out Web sites that may be using the content in a commercial manner without license or permission from the publisher. It even retains a snapshot of each piece of content it finds on third party sites and creates an audit trail of all actions taken by the publisher and the site with respect to the site's unauthorized use of the content.
Cost of the services is based on the number of articles tracked and how many matches that are found. It starts at $500 a month for up to 1,000 articles per month and magazines are eligible for a 30-day free trial, says CEO Mike O'Donnell


Magazines hurting for ads but research shows their audiences are UP

Financial sector advertisers may be in meltdown and ad pages may be down, but according to first half figures from Mediamark Research and Intelligence (MRI), U.S. consumer magazine audiences are up. That's right. Up.

According to a story in MediaDaily News, a comparison of MRI data for 95 leading consumer magazines shows that 74% increased their audience between spring 2007 and spring 2008, for a total increase of 4.3%. The remaining 25 titles were flat or experienced only moderate drops.

Labels: ,

Canada Post's smartmoves signs up for three years with Transcontinental

Canada Post's venture into publishing its own magazine, smartmoves, for people who move house and use its change of address service, has apparently worked out, but not for its original partner, Rogers Publishing.

It has just been announced that Canada Post has contracted for the next three years with rival Transcontinental Media to provide creative design, editorial content, printing, distribution, and fulfillment of the 52-page, digest-sized magazine which is distributed three times annually to 1.2 million households.

Canada Post put out its original request-for-proposal in 2005 and launched the new magazine in partnership with Rogers in 2006.

Newspaper readership is holding up, says NADbank study

Just released data from the Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank) for selected markets shows that newspaper readership remains strong, with over 75% of the population reading a daily each week.

This is particularly true in the most competitive markets in Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montréal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, according to a story in Media in Canada.

Ottawa-Gatineau led the pack with an 82% over-18 readership of printed or online edition of a daily newspaper. Calgary followed with 79%, Vancouver at 78%, Montreal and Edmonton respectively at 77%, and Toronto at 76%.(The Calgary CMA and Edmonton CMA readership reports include 24 hours and Metro results for the first time.)

Online readership grew with the highest weekly reach in Ottawa-Gatineau (24%), followed by Toronto at 22% and Calgary at 18%.

The new readership results cover 28 Canadian daily newspapers. The Toronto Star led in weekly readership, La Presse in Montreal, the Ottawa Citizen in Ottawa-Gatineau, the Calgary Herald in Calgary, the Edmonton Journal and The Province in Vancouver.


If elected, will you protect the PAP, asks Magazines Canada of MPs

Magazines Canada has sent a letter to every member of Parliament in the country trying to impress upon them the importance of the Publications Assistance Program (PAP) to the Canadian magazine industry and the threat to the industry from recent decisions of Canada Post.

The letters detail the number of magazine subscribers in each MPs constituency who benefit from the postal subsidy. The letter explains the background of Canada Post's withdrawal of at $15 million contribution to the program and its plans to introduce distance-based pricing, both of which threaten to render magazine delivery unaffordable, it said, adding:
“If Canada Post is permitted to implement these changes, readers of Canadian magazines in your constituency will be affected. Canadian magazines will see a 40 per cent increase in postage costs. The cost of magazine subscriptions will increase, foreign magazines will be advantaged over Canadian ones and some magazines will no longer be available at all.”
MPs are asked to respond and say whether, if re-elected, they would
• Ensure that Canada Post maintains its contribution to the PAP program?
• Stop Canada Post from implementing Distance Related Pricing, at least until the strategic review of Canada Post’s mandate is complete

Transcon closing print edition of small business magazine PME

Transcontinental Media is discontinuing print publication of PME, a French-language magazine aimed at small business and entrepreneurs. The October issue will be its last, according to a story in lesaffaires.com.

The company, through Sylvain Bédard, publisher of business publications for Médias Transcontinental, said that the changing media industry and new technologies meant that there had to be a different way of communicating with the readership base of PME -- adding that some new initiatives -- likely online -- would be announced in coming weeks.

The decision was apparently prompted in part by the recent Print Measurement Bureau results, which showed a 16% decline in audience, now standing at 134,000.


Did big business titles in U.S. lead investors down the garden path?

Several of the biggest U.S. business magazines have reason to be shamefaced for the way they promoted companies that are now wards of the state. With perhaps over-much glee, Gawker, the Manhattan media blog, catalogues the hymns of praise that the likes of Fortune, Business Week and Forbes were singing not so very long ago about of Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG. For instance, in December, Fortune was touting AIG as one of "10 stocks to buy now".
All the big financial magazines butter their bread with dubious prescriptions for how hobbyist investors can beat market professionals, so Fortune is hardly alone in being humiliated by the ongoing market meltdown.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Transcon rolling out paid, digital editions of 170 papers across Canada

Transcontinental Media, which has developed robust online versions of all its consumer magazines is now rolling out digital editions of all its daily and weekly newspapers. The company says this is a natural progression of its ongoing online strategy.

Twelve dailies in the Atlantic provinces have already been released as digital editions, available to paid subscribers, including the Journal Pioneer, The Western Star, The Guardian, La Nouvelle Union and The Telegram. Plans are to use NewspaperDirect technology to do the same for all of Transcon's 170 papers Canada-wide. These papers reach about 3 million readers a week.
"Transcontinental has always been a model company in terms of its respect for the environment," said Alexander Kroogman, CEO, NewspaperDirect. "We are proud to work with them in the migration of their newspapers to digital, which will not only serve the long-term interests of its readers; it will open opportunities for new revenue streams for the company and its advertising."
Paid subscribers log on and can use any web browser to view digital replicas of the papers, with advertising in place, on devices such as PCs, Macs, smartphones, iPhones, and Blackberry and iPod Touch devices.
For advertisers, it means that their print ads will also be online and will give them the ability to have more options to enhance and make their advertisements more interactive
for readers, the company said in a release.

Labels: , ,

Circulators to ponder state of the newsstand; then it's time to party

The Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) is holding a high-powered panel discussion/seminar about the state of the newsstand. Then, having taken their medicine, they're having a party.
All people working in the magazine industry have their own particular stake in how many copies get sold at the newsstand [says a release]. You could be a publisher, a distributor, a wholesaler, or you might even work for one of the many retailers who sell magazines as part of their overall product mix.

But no matter where your interest lies, all of us have one thing in common – which is to ensure that the newsstand industry remains vibrant and healthy, not only today but long into the future!In order to address these issues, the CMC is holding a special moderated “open panel discussion” that we guarantee will be tough hitting, will ask the hard questions and maybe even offer a glimpse or two at possible solutions.

Though we can’t guarantee answers, past experience has taught us that issues addressed collectively can often produce rewarding though sometimes surprising results. At the very least, everyone in attendance will have a better sense of the direction newsstand will need to go.

The seminar is on October 9 at 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on King, 370 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J9. Participating panelists are:

  • Scott Bullock, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, CDS Global (moderator)
  • Kevin Brannigan - Vice President Circulation Canada – The News Group
  • Mike Marcos - Retail Operations and Distribution Manager – Rogers Publishing Limited
  • Martin McEwen - Director of Sales and Marketing - LMPI
  • Arlene Shepard - Vice President Press Management – Gateway Newstands
  • Pat Strangis - Director, Newsstand Sales – Transcontinental Media Inc

Price is $59 for CMC members, $89 for everyone else; tickets can be booked here.

The seminar is followed by the CMC annual fall social, starting at 5 p.m. at Spice Route (an Asian-Bistro+Bar) nearby at 499 King W, Toronto. CMC members get in free, non-members cost $10. RSVPs to Brian Gillet (cmc@tamicirc.ca)

Quote, unquote: Suzanne Boyd is serving the "then" with the "now"

"When you're young, all you have is your youth. When you're older, you have not just a now but a then. It's a spectrum and the magazine, I believe, can reflect that."
-- Suzanne Boyd, in a profile by the Globe and Mail's James Adams about the forthcoming launch of Zoomer magazine. (It's now in the mail to subscribers and will shortly be on newsstands.)

Related posts:


Shameless pitch for Bitch

[This post has been updated]

Bitch magazine of Portland, Oregon is in trouble and in sisterly fashion, Canada's Shameless magazine is making a plea on its behalf, saying that, without Bitch, Shameless and other magazines like it might well not exist. Publisher Stacey May Fowles says in a post on the Shameless blog:
Bitch is not only the reason that magazines like Shameless exist, but it’s also the reason that feminists like me exist. The first issue of Bitch was published in January 1996 and the mag has acted as “a feminist response to pop culture” ever since.
Apparently, Bitch needs to raise $40,000 by October 15 or the current issue may be its last. The Shameless post includes a video featuring Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial director and Debbie Rasmussen, director and publisher, making their pitch about the perils of independent magzine publsihing and their own particulars (and introducing a whimsical weiner-dog motif and donations thermometer).

[Update: in just three days, Bitch supporters gave the magazine $46,000.]

Bottled water industry blows its cap over Canadian Water Treatment article

An article in Canadian Water Treatment magazine about the industrial component Bisphenol A leaching out of plastic bottles and cans lined with BPA epoxy resins has been slammed by an industry association as "inflammatory" and "biased".

In a release from the magazine, it was reported that, in response to Chad Born's article "Eliminating Exposure to BPA," the Canadian Bottled Water Association's executive director Elizabeth Griswold referenced a May 29 statement from Minister of Health Tony Clement saying, "Consumers can continue to use polycarbonate water bottles and consume canned foods and beverages, as the level of exposure from these products is very low."

Born's article discusses the possibly "very serious" health effects linked to BPA, from tumors to the feminization of males. "We have concluded that it is better to be safe than sorry," stated Minister Clement in an April 18 press conference regarding the proposal for the federal government to regulate BPA." But the association claims the minister was sending mixed messages.

The magazine intends to give more coverage to the controversy in its October "Water Controversies" issue.

Canadian Water Treatment is published out of Winnipeg by WE Communications Inc., which also publishes ReNew Canada.