Sunday, May 31, 2009

The existence of Magazines Week is reason enough to celebrate

This is Magazines Week in Toronto, with two conferences -- Magnet, run by Magazines Canada and its partners and Magazines University, run by Canadian Business Press. As a result, there are something like 75 different seminars over the space of a week, addressing issues that are of interest to people in the magazine business.

In many cases, our Canadian colleagues are talking of issues ranging from single copy circulation to management, design, markeing, digital publishing and such. In some cases, we're going to hear American experts tell us what to do, or at least what they're doing.

It's an intense, fact-filled, opinion-filled week and many publishers, editors and other magazine people come away from it immersed in ideas for making their businesses better or doing their jobs better. That, in fact, is what professional development events like these are all about -- the pursuit of excellence.

The whole week is full of the measures of that excellence, starting with the KRW Awards for b2b magazines, the Harvey Southam award for lifetime achievement, continuing with the Circulation Management Association's marketer of the year and the Magazines Canada national and regional volunteers of the year, capped with the National Magazine Awards, where the creators of our magazines' content are honoured for their work and where we honour fleeting and lifetime achievements.

What questions will people be asking in the corridors and the reception areas and the coffee rooms and bars? Here's my guesses:
  • Who's in trouble because of the recessionary downturn in advertising?
  • Are we through the worst of it?
  • What's working for you? How are you doing?
  • What is Heritage up to and how will the Canada Periodical Fund shake out?
  • What are the successful models for digital publishing? Are there any?
  • What about that Canadian Writers Group and will it bring rates up?
  • Where can I get a good martini?
You may have your own suggestions for likely topics. Whatever... the resilience, robustness and collegiality of this Canadian industry is evident everywhere you'll go this week.

Which by itself is something to celebrate.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Filipino magazine highlights players in the hotel trade in B. C.

Living Today, the Filipino Canadian magazine published out of Surrey, B. C. has just issued its fourth number. Every issue highlights Filipino Canadian success stories, but this issue contains a bumper crop, highlighting leaders in the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry of British Columbia.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Scotland may give teens free newspaper subs

Earlier this year, the French government launched a program to help the French newspaper industry by giving a free newspaper subscription to every 18-year-old in the country. Now it looks like Scotland may follow suit.

According to a report in the Press Gazette, the Scottish government has been asked by distribution firm Menzies Group to provide a free subscription to the newspaper of their choice to every 17-year-old.

"We recognise that Scotland's newspaper industry is facing a number of challenges," the spokesman for Menzies said.

"There is an absolute shared conviction that newspapers still have an important role to play in the economic and democratic fabric of Scotland."


Toronto Life and the case
of the little red dress

Toronto Life magazine's style blog tapped into a motherlode of online controversy this week when blogger Courtney Shea featured an apparently innocuous Q & A about a "best dressed" socialite named Deena Pantalone and her economical little red cocktail dress.

Pantalone (whose dad is president of National Homes in Toronto and who is a partner with her siblings in a local development firm) claimed the dress was "a really old vintage dress" that she had redesigned and had stitched by "one of those tiny mom-and-pop seamstress shops on Queen West".

Then the comment floodgates opened, not least of all from the Queen West designer Caroline Lim who designed the dress and sold it to Pantalone last month for $159. In a comment thread and Twitter storm that got by turns ugly and hilarious, Pantalone was hung out to dry by the readers and the wider fashion community.

The upshot, according to the Toronto Star, was that a humiliated Pantalone and her mother visited Lim's boutique Champagne and Cupcakes where Pantalone's mother burst into tears and her daughter apologized and asked the store's owner for a hug.

Here's the Toronto Life style blog item and the comments that followed it. And here's the Star's story on the outcome.

Talk about reader engagement.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Top towns for doing business in Alberta not necessarily the big towns

Alberta Venture magazine has showcased 10 communities in the province that are best when it comes to doing business and the result -- based on factors such as rental rates, land costs, taxes, market size, transportation access, licensing fees, average income, cost of living, post-secondary institutions and other amenities -- are sometimes surprising.
"The change in the economy has really shuffled the deck as far as which cities are most attractive to business. Costs are coming down everywhere, but some places definitely have more upside than others," says Michael McCullough, editor of Alberta Venture, in a release.
Top spot went not to oil boom town Calgary or provincial capitol Edmonton but to the "international region" encompassing the City of Leduc, Leduc County, and the towns of Beaumont, Calmar and Devon. The other nine runners up profiled in the issue are Airdrie, Calgary, Camrose, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Lloydminster, Strathcona County, and Strathmore.

When selecting the top communities, Alberta Venture editors paid special attention to those which exceeded the baseline criteria. All 10 communities scored highest on promising growth indicators key to surviving the current recession, including long term population increases, infrastructure improvements and other capital spending.
The list is featured in the June issue of Alberta Venture, and profiles of the 30 communities considered in compiling the list will be available online on June 1, 2009.

Study details attitudes about working conditions in Canadian magazine industry

The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and its partners in a joint industry task force, Magazines Canada and the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, have published the results of an in-depth study of attitudes about working conditions in the Canadian magazine industry.

[Disclosure: The research and report, entitled Respect And Remuneration: Attitudes about Editorial Working Conditions in the Canadian Magazine Industry were undertaken by Impresa Communications Limited, my consulting company.]

The findings of the report will serve as the basis for a second phase of the Magazine Industry Task Force’s efforts, where key magazine industry stakeholders will gather for a series of round table meetings across Canada to work out a Best Standards and Practices agreement for the magazine publishing industry, said a release from PWAC, which led the project.
“We’re all hoping that sitting down and coming to a mutual understanding of the issues facing the magazine business will prove valuable to all parties involved and help keep this important cultural industry vibrant,” said David Johnston, PWAC Executive Director.
The full text of the report is available online and hard copies are available through the PWAC national office in Toronto; they will also be distributed at the MagNet conference in Toronto next week.


Archie chooses Veronica? Say it isn't so.

One of the longest-running and most enduring romances in history -- a love triangle, really -- may be about to come to an end as the comic character Archie Andrews is about to propose to Veronica. It will happen in the comic's next issue on sale in comic shops August 19 and on newsstands September 1, for $2.50.

For decades (65 years, in fact), Archie has dithered about Veronica, the rich, perky brunette and Betty, the cute and poor blonde in the benign, family-rated comic where change has not been much in evidence.

The news was broken on the Archie website.
Could it be true? Has Archie finally decided to take the plunge and propose to comics' favorite rich girl? It sure looks that way!
The site says that the story is written by movie producer Michael Uslan, drawing upon his lifelong love of Archie comic books to write this very special tale, and it is drawn by legendary Archie Comics artist Stan Goldberg.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

School breakfast program started by Canadian Living editors is spread thin

A program to feed hungry children, begun 15 years ago by a group of editors from Canadian Living magazine is finding itself spread thin because of increasing demand and decreasing funding.

Founded on the belief that hungry children have more difficulty learning, Breakfast for Learning began in 1992 and since then has grown into a national movement that has helped feed 1.5 million children across Canada.

It boasts 30,000 volunteers, 3,100 nutrition programs and that it has served millions of healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks to more than 360,000 students across the country.

Carol Dombrow, a dietitian and nutritional consultant to the program says the program is feeling the pinch in these economic times. She told Judy Creighton of the Canadian Press:
‘We’ve been told that in British Columbia the numbers of children being served is up 25 to 100 per cent in the last couple of months, so the numbers are increasing but the funding is getting spread thinner.’’
In a Toronto school where she volunteers, serving 500 students, she says the Ontario government funding in the last four years has dropped almost 50%.
‘‘It is one of the identified schools in a very poor area,’’ she adds. ‘‘Four years ago they received $77,000 and now they get only $40,000.’’
Canadian Living and its parent company Transcontinental are founders and patrons of the program and the list of individual leadership donors continues to include familiar names from the Canadian Living masthead, including food writers Elizabeth Baird and Anne Lindsay.

The program partners in Quebec with Club des petits déjeuners du Québec and in Newfoundland and Labrador with the Kids Eat Smart Foundation.

The 2008 annual report of Breakfast for Learning shows that the program has total revenue of $5.4 million, of which $4.5 million are donations and grants.

When it comes to purchase intent, magazines play the starring role

Thoughtful publishers and marketers are concentrating more and more on accountability; how to track it, how to make the most of it. And we can all hope that the current trend towards "effectiveness planning" prevails over "reach-based planning" because that is very good news for this medium.

In a guest column in Publishing Executive, Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice-president* of Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) writes about how, from the perspective of marketers, magazines provide better return on investment than other media. And she illustrates it with specifics.

Reach-based marketers only care about the maximum number of eyeballs at the lowest cost, she says, which is classic "old thinking". Effectiveness-based marketers are more concerned with outcomes, based on their objectives and the cost to achieve them. Another way to put it is how the medium drives purchase intent.
When leading accountability researcher Marketing Evolution looked at the cost for marketers to drive brand awareness, it found that magazines play well in the sandbox. TV drives awareness most efficiently, and magazines contribute as well. On average, it cost 98 cents for TV and $1.08 for magazines for every person whose “awareness of a brand increased”—roughly a 10-percent difference. (Note: Online contributes to awareness, too, but at a more distant $1.97.)

If awareness is the marketing objective, marketers would be well-served to have TV as the lynchpin of their plans and to have magazines play an important supporting role.

But when purchase intent becomes the marketing objective, the roles reverse. Magazines play a starring role, with TV in the background. On average, it costs just $1.23 per person whose purchase intent shifted due to magazine ads, compared to $1.77 for TV (44 percent more) and $2.61 for online (112 percent more). In fact, the cost to get one person to want to buy your brand via magazine advertising is not that much more than it is to get that person to be aware of your brand.
Her column points out that every magazine marketer and seller should understand and deploy this kind of intelligence, thereby positioning their magazines as a "medium of action".

*She was, previous to joining MPA in 2001, the senior vice president, media director for Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.

[Thanks to Peter Lebensold for alterting me to this article.]


Free magazine promotion partners publishers with cereal maker

Buy your favourite breakfast cereal. Get a free magazine.

According to a story on mastheadonline, cereal maker General Mills has partnered with the publishers of Chickadee, Owl, Chirp and three other titles.
By typing a code placed inside the box of selected General Mills cereals onto the General Mills website, consumers can receive a free copy of an OwlKids magazine. “I’ve been to many grocery stores and I just see it everywhere,” says OwlKids group publisher Jennifer Canham “It’s a great promotion. We’ll get more subscriptions. Everybody is happy.”

General Mills also struck the same deal with publishing giant, Transcontinental Media. Fans of Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerios Oat Cluster Crunch and Oatmeal Crisp can get a single free copy from a selection of 12 Transcontinental titles, including Elle Canada, Western Living, The Hockey News and Homemakers. The offer will last until the end of August and is available nationwide.


Corduroy co-editor moves back to Toronto,
keeps on publishing

Interesting to see that Tim Chan, the co-editor of Corduroy Magazine (that's issue 5 shown), is moving back to Toronto from New York, nevertheless keeping on with publishing the quirky quarterly that he and fellow Torontonian Peter Ash Lee launched in October 2007. (I know this from an interview on the Torontoist blog by Sarah Nicole Prickett.)
He’s already sacrificed his New York job—and the work visa that came with it—to devote himself to the magazine. Now he’s leaving the loft-land of Brooklyn to hang out in the 905 (his parents live in Richmond Hill) while finding any excuse to explore downtown—and, hopefully, find Corduroy’s ideal readers: “You know, the kind of person who knows about sneaker collaborations and goes to art galleries, but isn’t a snooty collector.”

“I’m excited to come back,” Chan says, twice. It sounds like he’s convincing himself, but we understand; we've got the feeling. “I’m just walking around, just fascinated by the way things are migrating west on Queen, for example. We had our launch party at The Ossington and I didn’t know if anyone would come, but they just wandered in off the street.

“People always talk down Toronto, but I’m finding a lot to do here. It’s really—well, I’m thinking of it, at least, as a new opportunity.”

Related post:

Canadian Newsstand Awards deadline is June 26

The deadline for the Canadian Newsstand Awards/Grand prix d'excellence en kiosque 2009 has been announced. Entries from all Canadian magazine publishers with newsstand sales are due by June 26. Entry form, rules, and The awards are sponsored by: HDS Retail/ Great Canadian News/ Maison de la Presse; CMC (Circulation Management Association of Canada); ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations); and Masthead.The awards are no longer coupled with Magazines University.

The winners will be announced at a special reception in the fall. Prizes include $15,000 worth of promotion credits for HDS Retail-owned stores. Entrants compete in four categories, based on circulation size from small to extra-large. The Newsstand Magazine Cover of the Year, is chosen as “best in show” and given special recognition. Judging is done by a panel including a distributor, a retailer, circulation manager, editor, and art director and is based on a number of criteria including total newsstand sales, sell-through percentages, newsstand promotions, and overall cover appearance.

The awards also recognize an individual as the Newsstand Marketer of the Year, selected from mailed-in nominations.


Magazine world view

Monkey business is good as magazine expands into Scandanavia

Monkey, the free digital men's weekly from Dennis Publishing (Maxim) is expanding into Sweden, Denmark and Norway after successfully launching in Thailand last year. Monkey was launched in 2006 as a digital "flipbook" e-mailed to subscribers, which following conventional magazine layout and with plenty of audience-pleasing female pulchritude.

According to an item Guardian,
The Denmark-based digital magazines specialist NetPublications will launch the digital magazine, which is emailed to subscribers, as well as other Dennis digital publications, consumer technology magazine iGizmo and its digital motoring magazine iMotor, which launched in June 2008.
The article quotes Dennis saying the online audience of Monkey, iGizmo and iMotor now exceeds 1.4m readers each month.

The subject who is truly loyal...will be obscure

The recent post about the departure of Edward Greenspon as editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail and his replacement by John Stackhouse was based on a memorandum by publisher Phillip Crawley. We didn't bother to comment at the time on the turgid, jargon-laden, confusing, burying-the-lede nature of the memo; we just extracted the facts.

But David Olive, over at The Toronto Star makes a case for why CEOs feel the need to be obscurantist in such cases.
CEOs are rightly chided for jargon, and Crawley's May 25 internal memo gives us a beaut with its "reimagination-inspired teamwork." But here's the deal: If you can avoid demoralizing staff by withholding fears and facts that would sap their strength, you do so unless your sense of morality says they do need that information....

And, jeez, when you write anything you know will be leaked before you hit the send button, you don't disclose your competitive strategy. You merely allude to it, incomprehensibly. The essence of competition is that you keep your rivals guessing about your new products under wraps, the industry stars you hope to recruit, and planned acquistions that will embellish your key strengths.

This desire to not demoralize the troops is the mirror opposite of Napoleon's observation that it was good to shoot a general once in a while "pour encourager les autres".

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magazine world view

New Yorker publishes first cover
created with an iPhone

The New Yorker magazine has published its first cover created on an iPhone. According to a story in the New York Times, artist Jorge Colombo used a $4.99 'Brushes' app after buying his iPhone in February and rendered the view of a hot dog stand outside of Madame Tussauds on 42nd street.
“The best feature of it is that it doesn’t feel like something that was done digitally; quite the opposite,” said Françoise Mouly, the art editor for The New Yorker. “All too often the technology is directed in only one direction, which is to make things more tight, and this, what he did very well, is use this technology for something that is free flowing, and I think that’s what makes it so poetic and magical.”
For the artist, it was also a matter of convenience.
It “made it easy for me to sketch without having to carry all my pens and brushes and notepads with me, and I like the fact that I am drawing with a set of tools that anybody can have easily in their pocket,” he said. There is one other advantage of the phone, too: no one notices he is drawing. Mr. Colombo said he stood on 42nd Street for about an hour with no interruptions.

“It gives him an anonymity in the big city that an artist with the easel wouldn’t have,” Ms. Mouly said.

“Absolutely nobody can tell I am drawing,” Mr. Colombo said. “In fact, once I was doing the drawing at some place, and my wife was around, and they asked her why did I have to work so hard? I seemed to be always on my iPhone sending messages.”
A video of Colombo's technique has been posted on


Magazines volunteers of the year announced

Magazines Canada has announced this year's winners of the volunteer of the year award from across the country. The regional winners, selected by the five regional magazine associations, will be honoured along with national volunteer of the year winner Patrick Walsh on June 4 at 5:30 at an awards reception during the MagNet conference in Toronto.

The regional winners, with the accompanying citations, are:

  • Anicka Quin (nominated by the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers) is the managing editor of Western Living and editor of Western Living Condo. She also sits on the Langara College publishing program advisory committee and on the communications degree advisory committee at Capilano University, where she is involved in the building of the framework for their new communications degree program. She also participates on the board of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. A past board president and committee member at BCAMP, Anicka remains active in the organization’s professional development committee.
  • Errine Sevigny (nominated by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association) has been the president and managing editor of Other Voices for the last five years and has made a significant impact on a publication that was once at risk of folding after 17 years of publishing. With virtually no training or experience at age 19, she taught herself how to publish a magazine, maintain financial records, develop tracking systems for submissions, manage volunteers and develop promotional strategies. Erinne’s strong work ethic and determination has made Other Voices a better magazine and a valuable contribution to Edmonton’s vibrant literary arts community.
  • Penni Mitchell (nominated by the Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association) is managing editor of Herizons Magazine, has been involved with the MMPA in its various forms for more than a decade and has played a significant role in the growth of the association. She served as president from 2003 to 2006 and in almost every other standing and ad hoc committee position including membership committee chair. Penni was also instrumental in the planning of the Association's first magazine weekend professional development event and has been active on the planning committee and as a presenter or conference volunteer ever since. This year, she participated as a volunteer on the assessment team for the MMPA award for the Red River College Creative communications department's student magazine project.
  • Hervé Juste (nominated by Magazines du Québec) is senior editor at Sélection du Reader’s Digest and has been involved with Magazines du Québec for many years. His role as a member of the Grands Prix committee for the last five years has consisted mainly of supervising the competition’s search for judges. He is the key contact when it comes to rules, categories and understanding the contest selection criteria. He is spokesperson not only for the committee but also to the hundreds of people who participate in the project every year. Devotion, integrity and honesty define Hervé, who takes the success of the project to heart and effortlessly leads the Grands Prix contest.
  • Patty Baxter and Sheila Blair-Reid (nominated by the Atlantic Magazines Association). Sheila, Metro Guide Publishing owner/publisher and Patty, associate publisher/production manager, were instrumental in the founding of the Atlantic Magazines Association. By donating countless hours, they brought together various players in the industry to build the AMA. Since the association’s inception, Patty and Sheila have continued their work behind the scenes, donating their time and company resources to promote the industry and stage professional development events around the region. These efforts have contributed dramatically to the professionalism of the publishing industry in Atlantic Canada. Both women foster an atmosphere of social responsibility at Metro Guide, encouraging the team to give back to their professional and civic communities.


Texterity offering chance to win Kindle e-reader as incentive

For those who are curious about the new Kindle e-reader, Texterity, the digital edition provider, is offering the chance to win one as an incentive to come to its booth at MagNet, June 3 -5 at 89 Chestnut Street or to attend a digital edition seminar at the Canadian Business Press's Magazines University at the Old Mill Inn on Tuesday, June 2. Enter the contest and you may be kindling (that didn't come out right).

Encouraging advanced sales for
Magnet and Magawards

Projected attendance at next week's industry events should be quite heartening. Word is that there are about 900 registrants for the MagNet conference, booked for 3,000 sessions. And sales for the National Magazine Awards are going well, so much so that the floor tables at the Carlu are all but sold out. No word yet on what attendance is expected at Magazines University conference run by the Canadian Business Press (CBP).

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Beating back the aggregators? They wish

Publishers -- principally newspaper executives -- rage about aggregators who repost their content online, with or without links. Said publishers can be heard to mutter into their Scotch and water that these guys are "stealing" their "intellectual property".

Recently, the Associated Press announced it would be taking steps to prevent "illegal" use of their content, though they haven't revealed how they will track such behaviour, let alone enforce their will.

Well, according to an article on, two start-up companies in California have come up with products for dealing with those pesky* appropriators.
  • Scribd is a social publishing company that, with its iPaper software allows publishers to post issues to their websites inside a widget; a blogger can only extract the document through the widget, which tracks which sites use it. The idea seems to be more aimed at book and other document publishers, but could work equally well and selectively for some newspaper and magazine sites.
  • Attributor has digital publishers upload all their content to a master database then continuously searches the web for telltale strings of words (in this, it is a little like the plagiarism software Turnitin used by universities) then sending demands for users to pay a fee or take the articles down. The company's chief executive says it is useful for wholesale theft of articles rather than fair use of headlines and excerpts.
*Yes, we recognize that this blog is one.

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Homemakers pulls in e-subscribers

Homemaker's magazine has its own, unusual way of getting readers to sign up for their Insider Access e-newsletter: they're offering a chance on a vaccum cleaner.

The monthly Insider Access newsletter gives readers the top 10 most-read online articles, a recipe and "ingredient of the month" from food editor Andrew Chase, a message from editor-in-chief Kathy Ulyott, access to other contests and an (unspecified) "free download of the month".

Plus, of course, a chance to win a bagless vaccum.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The mystery of Global Brief magazine

The decision by the Canadian International Council to pull the plug on its planned flagship publication Global Brief immediately after its first issue, raises more questions than it answers. An article in the Globe and Mail on Saturday suggests that the CIC and its multimillionaire chair Jim Balsillie were startled by the cost of producing the lavish, perfect-bound magazine. The magazine had a masthead staff of 9, including editor Irvin Studin and well-known art director Louis Fishauf. (Editor Studin can be seen in a video promotion of the magazine's mission.)

The Globe story focussed on the abrupt resignation of Hugh Segal as the executive vice-chair of the board and said it was the result of a dispute over the costs of the magazine.

“CIC has decided that given the current climate with regard to print publications everywhere, we will not be proceeding with another print issue at this time,” said [CIC spokesperson Neve] Peric.

The board worried the project would become a huge money drain, people familiar with the decision said.

“This is not the time to be launching another print publication in Canada. It would be like opening a buggy whip operation after the car was invented,” one person close to the foundation said.

Nobody in the story explains how a group of high powered business people were so blindsided. Was there no budget? No business plan? Was this longstanding objective being run as a rogue operation within the CIC? Apparently the Council had provided about $200,000 in funding so far and it seems bizarre to suggest that they didn't know how the money was being spent. Or that it would have had to be subsidized long term by the Council (its projected controlled circulation was 6,500 and a full page ad was $1,500.) It had all the earmarks of a vanity publishing project, rationalized as a prestigious brand-builder for the CIC.
The magazine features a roster of erudite policy pieces – the issue's editorial said it is in the same vein as Foreign Affairs or The Economist – and is printed on heavy, high-quality paper, a cost Mr. Studin dismissed as negligible. He said the project has a “strong public interest component,” pointing to a high-profile roster of contributors for its first issue, including Louise Fréchette, John E. McLaughlin and Alexander Downer.
An interesting perspective on the debacle is provided in a blog posting by David Olive, a Toronto Star columnist and former magazine editor (Report on Business magazine, Toronto Life).
Especially with journals in which Canadians are telling uniquely Canadian stories to fellow Canadians - a rare sight on our newsstands utterly dominated by foreign, mostly U.S., titles - one despairs at the lost promise of a failed Canadian perspective on, say, global affairs. But the reaction to the death of such publications always is that the Canadian market is too small, that Canadian audiences aren't interested in Canadian stories, that distributors discriminate against small titles...all of which is, in varying degrees, true.

But what we don't hear, and should, is that far too many new titles sabotage themselves from the start with a cost structure that is impossible to support beyond the first three issues. Costs which don't advance the publication's mission to inform, but quickly conspire in its premature demise - long before the potential audience of readers, advertisers and angel investors has even had a chance to even see it.
There's more to this story, we're sure.

Shakeup at the top at Globe and Mail -- Greenspon steps down as EIC

In a major shakeup at the Globe and Mail, editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon is stepping down, to be replaced by Report on Business editor John Stackhouse. Greenspon (right) has been editor-in-chief for almost 7 years. Stackhouse, 46, (below, right) has been with the Globe since 1989 and has served as a foreign correspondent and both foreign and national editor before joining ROB.

What will happen to Greenspon was left unsaid in the statement by publisher Phillip Crawley: "I know you will join me in thanking Ed and wishing him well as he moves on to new challenges."

Three other senior management changes were also announced:
  • An (unnamed) vice-president of IT has been recruited to take over those duties from Perry Nixdorf, vice-president of operations. Nixodorf will continue to be responsible for circulation and production, including the move to new presses next year.
  • Angus Frame, will become the vice-president digital. Frame moved to the digital side from editorial last summer and was editor of
  • Roger Dunbar, who had headed digital for two years, moves to a new position as vice-president of business development and marketing.

Transcon exec sees upside potential
in online direct marketing

Last November, Transcontinental acquired four, small technology firms and consolidated them into a communications marketing division. The new head of that division, Christian Trudeau, said in an interview published in La Presse that the company is prepared to act quickly on other acquisitions in database and e-mail marketing "if it finds rare pearls in the market".

The communications marketing division is the only one of Transcon's divisions -- the other being media (including consumer and b2b magazines) and printing -- to be generating significant new revenue sources.

He said while other media and particularly traditional direct mail were hit hard by the recession, there was great potential in direct marketing online: "If one looks at the market data, this is a field of tremendous growth. More and more companies will use e-mail to reach their customers."

However he said that doesn't mean the focus on electronic mail will cannibalize more traditional businesses, such as the Publisac distribution, which is important to the company's flyer printing business. "We are here to bring more business to other divisions."
[Photo: Robert Skinner, La Presse]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Elsevier's fake journal had company

Scientific publisher Elseiver published not just one, but six fake medical journals between 2000 and 2005. Readers will recall our recent post about Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine which was surreptitiously created on behalf of and paid for by the pharmaceutical company Merck. The blog The Scholarly Kitchen now reports that there were five others (all in Australia) and expresses scepticism about the company's claim that all the employees involved are no longer with Elsevier:

[I]t’s unlikely that everyone involved has left the company, despite Elsevier’s assurances. Elsevier’s Asia-Pacific region was run at the time by an executive known to have approved all business decisions, exerting tight control over operations.

Despite the intrigue, a more fundamental question exists: Why would this happen? Among the developed countries, only the United States and New Zealand allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. [Note: Canada does not.] Perhaps this is part of the rationale for the journal format. The conspicuous lack of sponsorship along with the staid academic journal format appears intentional for the purposes of creating a semblance of an objective source of medical information.

Following the lawsuit over the drug Vioxx, an article appearing last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that Merck routinely prepared journal manuscripts for publication and subsequently recruited academically affiliated researchers to be the authors (dropping the company scientists in the process). In half of the manuscripts, industry affiliation or support was not disclosed on the manuscripts.

The fake publishing ordeal may have been a lucrative opportunity for Elsevier at the time. Right now, they appear to be paying the price.

New design and decor title,
Montreal Home launches

A new English language design and decorating magazine, Montreal Home, has been launched that hopes to go national. Publisher Leah Lipkowitz says the magazine is dedicated to covering the city's best interior design, architecture and landscapes.

According to a story in The Gazette, the inaugural edition is limited to Quebec, but will go to the rest of Canada with its next issue.

Lipkowitz is quoted as saying that the next issue will be sold nationally "and give [Canadian] House & Home a run for the money coast-to-coast." Distribution of the inaugural issue is 90,000 -- 70,000 distributed in The Gazette, 20,000 on newsstands in select cities in Quebec. It sells for $5.95 a copy.

"Montreal Home is the kind of magazine I've always wanted to read, but there was nothing like it in the Montreal market so I launched it myself," the 32-year-old founder said yesterday.

She managed to produce the summer issue in 75 days despite the difficult economic climate and a tight production schedule.

Doubling as sales director, Lipkowitz sold $140,000 in advertising on her own to create the 132-page premier issue.

"Montreal is a trend-setter in design and I think this city should be a beacon for the rest of Canada," Lipkowitz said of the magazine's high-end target market. "We should be showing the country what great design is and we can do that because we have it here."


Friday, May 22, 2009

Careful on behalf of our readers? Not us, says Entrepreneur

It's hard to take seriously a $178 million suit readers who claim that they were guided in their investments by a list published in a magazine. But that's precisely what's happening in the U.S.

According to a posting on MediaBistro's Fishbowl NY, Entrepreneur Magazine has filed a motion in federal court in New York seeking to dismiss a case filed by 87 readers sho accuse the magazine of gross negligence in publishing its annual Hot 100 list and including Agape World, a company which soon turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Agape's CEO, Nicholas Cosmo, was later arrested and, their money lost, the readers are suing Entrepreneur Media.

The magazine is asking for a dismissal based on two arguments: that the Hot 100 was simply informative material, never to be taken as an investment recommendation; and that, under New York law, the magazine owes no "duty of care" to its readers. The former seems to be right; the latter seems to be lame and depressing. As Folio magazine's Dylan Stableford, who has been covering this case from the beginning, pointed out:
"It's probably all legaleze, but it's awfully weird for a publisher to argue it isn't obligated to care about its readers."

Dave Eggers says he'll send you an e-mail message of hope

Popular writer and publisher Dave Eggers of McSweeney's magazine has an irresistible offer, made at a New York Authors Guild event held in his honour earlier this week. He told people who were worried about the so-called "death of print" that he would e-mail them to convince them they are wrong, to worry that is.
I actually have established an e-mail address, – if you want to take it down – if you are ever feeling down, if you are ever despairing, if you ever think publishing is dying or print is dying or books are dying or newspapers are dying (the next issue of McSweeney’s will be a newspaper – we’re going to prove that it can make it. It comes out in September). If you ever have any doubt, e-mail me, and I will buck you up and prove to you that you’re wrong.
[Thanks to Quill & Quire for this.]

Magazine world view

Quote, unquote: on "bare-knuckles publishing"

“We’ve been feeding off of excessive advertising revenues for years, and now it’s over. It’s time to get back to bare-knuckles publishing and create great products with fewer resources.”
-- Atlantic Media president Justin Smith, speaking to the Fulfillment Management Association in New York


Shameless anthology to launch June 23rd

Shameless magazine, the publication for teenage girls, is launching its inaugural collection She's Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back (Tightrope Books) at an event Tuesday, June 23 at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen Street West in Toronto. It's a This is Not A Reading Series event . It's $5 at the door, free with the purchase of a book. Check out the Facebook page about the event.

Here's how co-editors Megan Griffith-Greene (editor-in-chief of Shameless and contributing editor at Chatelaine) and Stacey May Fowles (publisher of Shameless and circulation marketing director at The Walrus) describe the book:
an anthology of fearless and funny non-fiction about strong, smart and shameless young women. With wit and honesty, the writers share stories of their teen experiences (both positive and negative) on everything from pop culture to high school principals. The book is founded on Shameless magazine's tradition of smart, sassy, honest and inclusive writing, and reaches out to young female readers who are often ignored by mainstream: freethinkers, queer youth, young women of colour, punk rockers, feminists, intellectuals, artists, and activists.

Paring the big apple: New York magazine increases sub 25% and cuts rate base

New York magazine is increasing its subscription rate by a whopping 25% and reduced its guarnteed circulation rate base by 6% in an effort to offset the recent decline in advertising. The sub price, according to a story in MediaDaily News, will now be $24.97 and publisher Larry Burstein said:
"Our magazine is valuable and worth paying for, and history has shown that our readers feel the same way. By reducing our circulation slightly and lowering our newsstand draw, we'll be able to better target our magazine to the readers who will be most engaged with the product."
The magazine will be trimming public place copies (the magazine has been putting 62,000 copies in waiting rooms and lobbies until now; it will be reduced to 42,000) and reducing newsstand draws. (Some critics of public place copies refer to them as "junk circ", but many circulators believe that it is an important part of the circulation mix -- expanding readership and reach.)

More on the fake scientific journal

The Current, CBC's morning current affairs program, has today picked up on the story we first posted here May 5, about a fake scientific journal, paid for by the drug company Merck, published by the scientific publisher Elsevier. (The program is not yet posted on The Current's website, but should be by tomorrow.)

Vancouver Sun Olympics reporter writes for Olympics promotional magazine

The Tyee in Vancouver has reported that the Vancouver Sun's lead reporter on the Olympics, Jeff Lee, freelanced an article to the Olympics promotional magazine, Olympic Review. "Feeling the Buzz" appeared in the January-February-March issue of the Review, which is billed as the "offical publication of the Olympic movement". The 84 page magazine is published by the International Olympic Committee.

Contacted by The Tyee, Lee said:
"I'm being paid for it, sure. I'm freelancing," said Lee. "I would hope nobody at The Tyee would suggest I've given them a free ride or this is a conflict....I don't see any point having a discussion about it at this point. I was waiting for you guys to call. Someone told me you were on this bullshit."
Lee said that the Olympic Review is produced by a company under contract to the IOC, so the IOC was not paying him directly. He said he didn't remember what he was being paid. He was approached to write the piece, as were other reporters in other Olympic cities, he said.
"This is a common thing," he said. "If you go back and look at The Olympic Review for Olympics in the past, whether it was Torino, Athens or anywhere else, what they do is depend on a reporter who's in the area."
He also said his editors at the Sun were aware of the story.
"I did clear this with my editors," he said. "My editors were advised I'd been asked to do this and nobody had any problem with it."
The Tyee story notes that the Sun's parent company, Canwest Publishing Inc. is an official supplier to the Vancouver 2010 games (as are The Globe and Mail and La Presse.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Print-on-demand books outnumbered traditional titles in 2008

Total output of books in the U.S. jumped by 38% in 2008, according to data from Bowker's Books in Print database, reported by Quill & Quire magazine.

The details are quite interesting: traditional book production actually fell 3%, to 275,232 titles; but on-demand and short run titles jumped 132% to 285,394. In other words, print-on-demand now outnumbers what we have thought of as book publishing.

The story says that,since 2002, production of print-on-demand books has leaped 774%, compared with 126% for traditional titles.

Quote, unquote: why we started a magazine

Why does anyone start a magazine? The idea definitely didn’t start with, “Let’s figure out a way to sell advertising.” We were looking for a way to communicate. Abe’s Penny starts a conversation. First, between the artist and the writer, then between the result of their work and the person who reads it.
-- Anna Knoebel, one of the founders of Abe's Penny, a "micro magazine", each volume of which contains four postcards, once a week for a month. Each set of postcards is a full story. Quoted from an interview by Samir Husni.


CAJ says Harper government is front-runner in Code of Silence award

The Canadian Association of Journalists has announced the nominees for its 2009 Code of Silence Award and Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the front-runner.

Journalists from across Canada nominated Harper and his government for "muzzling civil servants and cabinet ministers, blackballing reporters who pose tough questions and building a huge spin machine designed to staunch the flow of information." The Harper government was "the hands-down winner" in 2008, too.
Other nominees include:
  • Fort Erie's Economic Development and Tourism Corporation
  • Canada's human rights commissions, federal and provincial
  • The RCMP, its partner organization the Canadian Police Research Centre and police forces across Canada
  • The Yukon government
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • Alberta's Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • The Ontario government
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The 2009 Code of Silence Award will be handed out at the CAJ's gala award ceremony Saturday, May 23 in Vancouver.

Porftolio magazine's website gets
new lease on life

Portofolio magazine was folded last month and most of the print staff and the staff of the well-regarded online site were let go. That seemed an end of it. But Mediaweek reports that the web site will get a new life as a part of American City Business Journals’ online division Bizjournals, a unit of parent company Advance Publications.
“At the time of the announcement, we knew we had a good asset in the digital property,” said David Carey, a group president at Condé Nast. “The question was, where would be best to operate it, because we needed to replace all the content produced by the Portfolio team.”
Bizjournals, the umbrella site for ACBJ’s 40 local business publications will continue to share content with other Condé Nast Web sites. The basic look, feel and tone will stay the same, according to Carey.

alive Magazine partners with in-store
digital media system

alive Magazine, the natural health publication based in Vancouver, has partnered with Planet-Tek systems to provide content and advertising sales for in-store digital signage in Whole Food Markets and other natural health retail locations.

According to a press release, the digital system is called The Marketplace Station and will feature short video or "condensed full-motion segments" on topics like nutrition, health, environment and holistic issues.

The partners in the new venture claim that the combination of print, online and digital in-store media will reach a monthly audience of 1 million consumers.

Raji Kalra, Managing Director of The Marketplace Station said:
"The ultimate benefactor of the partnership will not only be the marketer but also the consumer who can read about new product trends through alive platforms before coming to the store and now have it further addressed at retail through The Marketplace Station."
Alex Karch, Marketing Manager, alive Magazine said:
"alive has evolved to become more than just a magazine publisher, but rather a content provider. In today's digital era, marketers are looking for an efficient approach to communicate campaigns at every consumer touchpoint. Digital signage technology allows us to take an integrated approach to adapt creative content to reach the target audience across all of these platforms."
alive Magazine has been published for 34 years. The print magazine claims 200,000 average paid circulation per month and 560,000 readers (2.8 readers per copy).

Amber Bowerman foundation to celebrate its work in her memory

[This post has been updated] Almost a year ago, highly respected freelance writer and editor Amber Bowerman was killed in a multiple murder-suicide in a Calgary home. Her shocked friends, of whom there are many in the magazine business, immediately talked about some tangible and lasting means to commemorate her life and interests.

The Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation was created and next Tuesday, May 26, a news conference is being held in Calgary to announce the many positive things that have come of the tragic loss. It will be held at 11 a.m. at The Odyssey Coffeehouse in the SAIT Campus Centre in SAIT’s main campus at 1301-16 Ave. N.W.

Soon after her death, The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) created an arts and journalism scholarship in her name. Bowerman had written for a number of Alberta publications, including Avenue Magazine and Alberta Views, and was working as a publications editor of the weekly student newspaper at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology at the time of her death.

[UPDATE Magazines Canada and the National Magazine Awards have donated space for the foundation to hold a silent auction during MagNet and the Magawards, June 2 to 5 in Toronto. Bids may be made on a Canadian Rockies package courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts valued at $1,500. The package includes two nights at each of the stunning Fairmont Mountain Resorts—Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Lake Lodge.]

Present at the news conference will be: Chris Bowerman, Foundation President; Kathe Lemon, Foundation
Vice-President; Susan Webb, Amber’s mother and other foundation board members, friends, family and Amber's colleagues.

Related posts:

Doug Bennet of Masthead to receive editorial career award

Congratulations to Doug Bennet, the publisher of Mastheadonline and Design Edge Canada, who is to receive the 2009 Harvey Southam Editorial Career Award at the KRW trade magazine awards in two weeks.
[photo by Nik Sheehan]


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homemaker's sponsors women's health series with Women's College

Homemaker's magazine (Transcon) is teaming up with Women's College Hospital in Toronto to present a speakers' series on women's health. The first presentation is May 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, 44 Price Street, with three expert panelists:
  • Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, an endicrinoligist and expert on how lifestyle can influence health
  • Dr. Catherine Kelly, a registered dietician, talking about body and lifestyle changes, weight gain and hormones
  • Rosie Scwhartz, a registered dietician and Homemaker's columnist, on eating for optimal health
Tickets are $25. Proceeds go to the F.M. Hill Chair in Academic Women's Medicine at Women's College Hospital.

Magazine world view

"In-taxi" magazine launched in India

Talk about niche. Apparently first in the world, Mumbai, India has seen the launch of an "in-taxi" magazine, MumBaee. It was launched Tuesday evening by the Mumbai Taximen’s Union (MTU) and and bears a strong resemblance to slick in-flight magazines.

Explaining the need for such a magazine, editor-publisher of MumBaee Vishnu Kadam said that on an average, commuters spend anything from 15 minutes for a short ride to over a couple of hours for a long ride in the taxis.

‘People who travel by taxis fall in the middle and upper middle class category of consumers, who are educated and command considerable spending power,’ he added.

The magazine is light and featurish, with comprehensive listings of events in Mumbai, India's commercial capital.

‘Presently, we have got very enthusiastic response from the advertisers. We have ordered an initial print run of 30,000 copies for the first half of May. By July, we plan to double it,’ said Kadam.

There are 65,000 taxis in Mumbai running under the MTU banner, plus a few thousand more on the Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Nashik and other regional sectors, in addition to several thousand private taxis. Kadam said that he would consider expanding the reach of the magazine after gauging the response from Mumbaikars.


Aeroplan custom pub now available online

Aeroplan Arrival, the custom pub produced for the frequent flier program by Redwood Custom Communications, is now available online to members and prospective members. According to a release from the company, the online site will contain the current issue as well as a archival material from the first three issues of the travel and lifestyle pub.
Sylvie Bourget, Senior Vice President, Marketing and eBusiness, Aeroplan. "The print version of Aeroplan Arrival was launched in fall 2008 to not only raise awareness of Aeroplan's expanding loyalty program but to provide a quality publication that truly reflects our members: urban travelers who continually seek more out of life."
The May issue celebrates Aeroplan's 25th anniversary.

In-house ad customization a growing
trend at magazines

Chasing the elusive and wary advertiser, magazine companies are doing more and more ad work in-house, which allows them to customize ads for various titles. According to a story in Women's Wear Daily, Hearst has gone on the road to agencies and advertisers with a one-hour presentation about the kind of customization they are willing and eager to do. The initiative started two years ago and now is showing results in various Hearst titles.
Dior Beauty, for example, recently selected five Hearst titles to advertise in, including Marie Claire, Seventeen and O, The Oprah Magazine. All three are read by different audiences so the brand’s ad design, from text to images, varies in each. The variations can be dealt with in-house at Hearst since everything is processed digitally. “There have been iterations of this before, but it’s never been done to this extent before,” Michael Clinton [of Hearst] claimed, declining to discuss pricing.
The story said in 2007, Hearst produced 415 pages of advertising in-house, and in 2008, almost 600 pages, or 22 programs, were published. This year, 16 programs have been completed, with three more about to close.

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Former Masthead editor roars
ahead in motorcycle racing

"This day was a relief for me," says Shields. "Normally, my pre-race thoughts tend to focus on organ donation. This time I just decided to tailgate the front pack and pick up any scraps they might leave. Turned out they left enough for these two wins."
Many of you will remember Bill Shields as the editor of Masthead who, after a brush with cancer, decided to smell the roses/follow his bliss which, in his case, involves motorcycle racing. The characteristicly wry quote above is from a release (presumably written by Bill) in about the regional R.A.C.E. Superseries roadracing championship. Bill's team, BnE Racing (Bill from Unionville and Efram Ellenbogen, from Otttawa) successfully contested Amateur 600 and Amateur Superbike classes aboard Yamaha R6s.

As hard as it can be to believe this is as exciting as covering the magazine business, we're glad to see Bill following his dream, at high speed. [Thanks to Patrick Walsh for the tip.]

Early bird deadline for Magawards is Friday

A reminder that Friday 22 is the last day to get early-bird price of $90 + GST for the National Magazine Awards gala.

The 32nd annual National Magazine Awards gala will be held on Friday, June 5, 2009 at the Carlu in Toronto.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What is a magazine?

What makes a magazine a magazine? Bo Sacks, president of the Precision Media Group, told the Independent Magazine Advisory Group’s sixth annual meeting in Boulder, Colorado this week that a magazine has the following properties. (Thanks to Tony Silber of Folio: for reporting on them.)

1. It’s metered. It’s paginated. It has a beginning, middle and end.
2. It’s edited, or curated.
3. It’s designed.
4. It’s date-stamped.
5. It’s permanent. Once created, it can’t be changed.
6. It’s periodic. It has a calendar or rhythm. It has a series of issues.
That number 5 is questionable; what about digital magazine sites that change and allow comment and reader-generated content? But it is interesting that most of the points on the list are agnostic about ink on paper -- a magazine doesn't have to be printed.

Marie-José Desmarais named
publisher at Châtelaine

Marie-José Desmarais, the acting editor of Châtelaine, has been named Publisher. This is in addition to her current role as publisher of the French and English editions of LOULOU.The appointment was announced today by Rogers Publishing Ltd., a division of Rogers Media Inc.

Châtelaine, which next year celebrates its 50th anniversary, is one of Quebec's largest and most influential women's titles. It was redesigned in 2002 by Lise Ravary, then Châtelaine's editor-in-chief Lise Ravary. She is currently vice-president and editorial director, women's titles and new print products at Rogers Consumer Publishing.

With Desmarais's appointment, Kerry Mitchell, until now publisher of both English and French magazines, relinquishes her role at Châtelaine.

Desmarais' first priority will be to recruit the publication's next editor-in-chief, who will report directly to her, the release said.

Robertson suit settlement goes to court for approval June 16

Possible claimants in the settled class action suit Robertson v. Thomson, have until June 8 to submit any objections they may have about the terms and conditions to the law firm Kloskie, Minsky LLP.

A notice in the Globe and Mail and National Post on the weekend says that there is a hearing before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 16 at 10 a.m. at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto at which time the court will be asked to approve the proposed $11 million settlement. Class members (claimants who are automatically members of the class action) may attend the hearing and may ask to make submissions regarding the settlement.

Details of the the various documents in the case are posted on the Kloskie, Minsky website. Further information is and will be posted on the website of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).

Related posts:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rick Boychuk, former CanGeo editor, now handles communications for NDP's Jack Layton

Rick Boychuk, who recently resigned as editor-in-chief of Canadian Geographic magazine, is becoming director of communications to the New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, effective June 8. He replaces outgoing director of communications Brad Lavigne who moved over to the NDP party headquarters and holds the position of national director.

Boychuk, before his 13-year stint at Canadian Geographic, had been a newspaper reporter with the Edmonton Journal and the Montreal Gazette.

Quote, unquote: Wintour of Vogue on
price and value

You have to remember exactly who you are and not panic. I don't think that Vogue should turn into Recession Weekly. But at the same time, I think that we have to be very aware of what's going on in the world. In terms of our fashion choices ... racks and racks of clothes are wheeled into my office, and we discuss what's going to be in the magazine and what's not. And up until a year ago, we've been very free about the prices of clothes, and I probably didn't delve as deeply as I should have into what things cost. Now I ask the price of every single outfit that comes into the office, and I think a lot of my editors have been quite surprised about what a little sequin dress from an unnamed designer might be, and if it's $25,000, we'll say, ‘Okay, well, not this time.’ So we're looking at that, and at supporting younger designers — like Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler — that are more price-friendly ... But at the same time, we are who we are. We represent the fashion industry, and we have to show the best in the fashion industry, and that's not going to change.
-- Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour responding at New York's 92nd street Y, during a rare public interview. She had been asked how she keeps Vogue current, in harder times. (Reported by New York magazine).

Lavish spreads in wedding magazines create envy in penny-pinching couples

A Calgary wedding planner says couples are suffering serious wedding envy as the economic downturn requires them to cut back, but bridal magazines continue to show lavish ceremonies, Ciara Daykin of Firefly Occasions, said in a release
“I have brides and grooms come to me and tell me that they are really upset because the weddings in the magazine seem so amazing and they actually have a bit of wedding envy as they don’t think that their budget will afford them the opportunity for that wedding magazine look.”
Her cures? Renting lighting. Using candlelight. Foregoing flowers for feathers and branches. And not getting too hung up on having everything match.

Daykin said that what makes a wedding magazine-worthy wedding is that, “the couple’s personality shines through in all their wedding details and that the wedding is unique to them.”

Watery radio doc wins science writers' journalism award

Freelancer editor and writer Kim Pittaway (former editor of Chatelaine), hasn't done a radio documentary for some years, since university in fact. But last year she teamed up with her sister Tina (the first time they had ever collaborated), a very experienced and award-winning documentarist, to do a radio program on water and our use and abuse of it. The program documents the sisters' exploration (and their growing alarm about) their "water footprint" and the impact they have on the earth.

The teamwork must have been a charm since "Tina and Kim's Watery Road to Hell" has won a Science in Society Journalism Award from the Canadian Science Writers Association (CSWA)in the category of 10 - 30 minute radio documentaries.

The award will be presented on Saturday 23rd at a banquet in Sudbury; with it goes a plaque and $1,000 prize.

The program was heard December 16, 2008 on CBC's The Current, as part of an extended series about water. (You can hear the documentary there.)