Friday, July 30, 2010

Vancouver arts publishing highlighted with
Main Street Magazine Tour

The BC Association of Magazine Publishers is holding The Main Street Magazine Tour, a free event in Vancouver, on Thursday, August 19. BCAMP teams up with neighbourhood businesses to showcase local arts, literary and cultural magazines.
Local poets Elizabeth Bachinsky and Jennica Harper lead a free series of 30-minute readings, exhibits and performances, held in various Main Street shops and cafes, culminating in an afterparty with music, prizes and more.
The event starts at 6 p.m. at Rhizome Café (317 E. Broadway) where complimentary light refreshments will be served.
Participating magazines include:
* OCW Magazine
* Ricepaper
* Room
* Sad Mag
* subTerrain
More details can be found at:


Geist and The Walrus featured in Saturday's Globe

The Walrus's September issue and Geist  summer issue are both featured in James Adams's Saturday column in the Globe and Mail about magazines. But you can read what it says now, online.

Controlling their customer data big challenge of iPad for magazine publishers

With the announcement today that Research in Motion (RIM) will be unveiling a tablet in November, the burgeoning of this form of delivery will further whet the appetites of magazine publishers, but...
One of the things that magazines particularly value and cultivate is their customer data. But the business model being pushed by Apple with its iPad and its iTunes store is such that magazines who participate, in order to deliver their magazines in iPad-friendly form, will lose control of their customers and wind up as virtual tenant farmers on iPad's land.The magazine's customers will belong to Apple.
For example, Time Inc. wanted to sell a Sports Illustrated subscription app on iTunes, and handle its own transactions. Apple rejected it.
As Peter Kafka of AllThingsDigital points out,
Subscriptions, whether they’re for ink-and-paper magazines or their digital editions, are a big deal for Time Inc. and every other magazine publisher. They value them in part because they provide recurring revenue, but primarily because they provide a treasure trove of data.
Unless a way can be found for magazine publishers to participate on the iPad and bill their customers directly (thereby retaining coherent subscriber data), there is trouble ahead. A compromise has to be found.

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David Bentley, co-founder of Frank magazine, feted for 50 years of feisty journalism

Bentley at his Halifax semicentennial celebration Thursday

Good to read about the celebration, in Halifax on Thursday, of David Bentley's 50 years of afflicting the comfortable, reported in Parker Donham's Contrarian blog. 
Bentley was the co-founder of Frank magazine (the Atlantic edition that carries on, despite the closure of the national, Ottawa-based edition) and the late Halifax Daily News
When future historians recount Nova Scotia’s late-20th century transformation from a staid, British colonial outpost to an almost modern society, Bentley will emerge as an unsung central figure. He taught the province that ritual deference to one’s betters is the surest guarantor of mediocrity.

This is a good -- but wholly American -- list of the best magazine articles ever

Much excitement in the Twitterverse about a list of what are said to be the "Best magazine articles ever (in English)", compiled by the website Cool Tools.  The list contains 27 articles from The New Yorker over the years, 17 from Esquire, 9 from Harper's, 8 from The Atlantic Monthly and 8 from Wired and ones and twos from more than a dozen other magazines. Nothing very surprising; these are all excellent magazines that publish and have published excellent, largely long-form journalism. I certainly don't quarrel with the top 5, as selected based on how many people cited them. However...
I bow to no one in my admiration for many of these articles which I have read; I am also glad to have links to many that I have not yet read. But I don't think I'm alone in saying that the list is mislabelled: it should have been the "Best American magazine articles". I note that there are no British, no Australian, no New Zealand and no Canadian articles included.
To be fair, the creators of the list invite inclusion of new links. Certainly, we should take them up on it and send in at least the top articles from Canadian magazines as selected by the National Magazine Awards, demonstrating that there is excellent, involving journalism being done outside the U.S.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toronto theme featured in launch of New York literary journal Assembly

Editor Marek Denisiuk introduces Assembly

Speaking of Canadian magazines, I suppose it counts when a Toronto native launches a new literary journal in New York whose theme for the first issue is all things Toronto. According to a post on the Wall Street Journal blog Speakeasy, the editor and publisher of Assembly is Marek Denisiuk. Of his magazine, he says
“A lot of the literary journals seem like a broad inside joke between friends,” said Denisiuk, who grew up reading the “Paris Review” and now lives in Brooklyn. “I created this journal to give writers a chance to set the record straight about Toronto, to give it an identity, to reciprocate. There’s a fairly direct pipeline between Toronto and Brooklyn, and that’s part of it, too.”
 The article says that though each story in the magazine (which is 158 pages and sells for $9 a copy) does not relate directly to Toronto, the writers are primarily people who live in Toronto or New York. The launch was at Bluestockings bookstore on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


U.S. business press editors choose Computerworld and SC as mags of the year

The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has chosen IDG's Computerworld magazine as its magazine of the year in the category of titles over $2 million in revenue; and Haymarket's SC magazine for the under-$2 million category, according to a story in Folio:.
Judges cited both winners for clean design, use of illustrations, easy pullout data and coverage of timely issues.

Other finalists in the $2 million or over category included Architect, Associations Now, Bloomberg Businessweek (honorable mention), Building Design & Construction, CFO, HR Magazine, Overdrive, Restaurants & Institutions and Security Management (honorable mention).

In the under $2 million category, finalists included Chain Leader (honorable mention), Emergency Management (honorable mention), Exhibitor Magazine, Move, Oregon Business, Residential Architect, Strategy + Business, Vineyard & Winery Management and Wearables.

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Meredith magazines in U.S. increase advertising market share and are back in the black

Meredith Corp. is hoovering up a larger share of magazine industry advertising in the U.S., according to a company release which reports that the company's fiscal 2010 puts it back in the black after coming through a dismal recession.  The story says that Meredith's magazine advertising market share increased to 12.3%; it was about 9.5% two years ago. Readership of measured Meredith magazines grew to 113 milliion.
The company, which publishes many of the best known women's interest magazines (including Better Homes & Gardens, MORE, Family Circle, Country Home, Traditional Home, Parents, Baby and so on) had net earnings of $103.96 million (compared with last year's loss of $107 million) on revenue of $1.38 billion. Since revenue last year was $1.4 billion, it seems most of the profitability came from last year's staff layoffs. The company said its operating costs declined by 3% last year.

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Briarpatch publishes exchange between brothers separated by immigration status

The human and complex face of immigration, and particularly illegal immigration, is illustrated by an article published in Briarpatch magazine. It's an e-mail exchange between two Pakistani brothers separated by the Canada and U.S. border. The family emigrated illegally to the United States 15 years ago, but one brother was deported and came to Canada on a student visa, and now working towards his Canadian citizenship. His brother, father and mother remain in the U.S. without  legal status; as a result, the border is an uncrossable barrier for both brothers, though they live only 800 km apart. Worth a read.


Cottage Life goes with a flapvertisement

The summer issue of Cottage Life magazine features a "peel and reveal" cover which, when so peeled, features an ad for Corona beer. According to the blog Cover Sell, quoting an unattributed staffer:
“This was an idea that our sales team presented to the client about a year ago. It was expensive to produce, and required five additional days to print, glue and die cut. This is a first for Cottage Life, but the creative was executed easily. We were able to work with the client while sharing cover and creative at early stages with each other. Positioning of the peel worked well along the edge, and our cover lines were not compromised. This isn’t for everyone, but the concept was a success and everyone was happy.”
This is an example of what's come to be called "flapvertising", which proponents say doesn't offend industry ad:edit guidelines and is a a pure revenue play but which critics say makes covers just another advertising page.  

Esquire magazine was an early adopter, but there have been others. The Canadian industry is just now in the midst of a review of its guidelines (I sit on the task force) and it should make for interesting discussion. Wade in.

Related posts:

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The case for editors and editing, in case one
needs to be made

I've just come across an article, written originally for the blog Writing for Digital and reprinted by Digital Book World, in which James Mathewson, editor in chief of shows pretty conclusively the value of good editors, in this case working on online marketing materials.
Matthewson says that editors are sometimes seen as an extra, and unnecessary, step getting in the way of publishing on the web, but an experiment demonstrated editors' value. The same sample of pages from various business unites were delivered to two, random groups of end users in edited and unedited form. Then the company measured "engagement" which it defined as clicks on the desired links on the page over the course of a month. The result? A 30% improvement from the edited pages.
Now it was just one test and it needs to be replicated before we draw strong conclusions. Your mileage may vary depending on the quality of your editors... But we can provisionally conclude that well edited pages do 30 percent better than unedited pages.What would 30 percent better engagement do to your bottom line? I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions about how 30 percent better engagement might affect your business. But let’s put an end to all the talk about editors being unnecessary.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Print, online and mobile staff at LouLou to report to a "director of multiplatform content"

Rogers Publishing has created a new title at LouLou magazine -- director of multiplatform content -- and has given the job to Julia Cyboran (right). She had been with the shopping magazine since 2006 as editorial manager on the web team. 
According to a posting on Masthead, Cyboran will now oversee print, online and mobile staff.
Claude Laframboise, who has been editor-in-chief of the print magazine since 2006 has now shifted to be style editor “A new position perfectly tailored to his deep knowledge of the Canadian fashion scene,” said a company release.
Cyboran has worked for the CBC in Montreal, as editor of the medical journal Perspectives in Cardiology and as a freelancer for Bell Globemedia before joining Rogers.


Used bookstore savvy and how to demonstrate it

Utne Reader's blog The Sweet Pursuit alerted us to an essay in the Toronto-based literary magazine Descant that counsels people on how to behave in used bookstores. The author of the essay should know, because it's David Mason, a bookseller with 40 years of experience. There are 44-rules of which number one is:
“When you enter a used bookstore, do not ask if it is a library. A common preliminary to that question comes from the man who stands in the entrance, looks around, nods his head sagely and astutely observes, ‘Books, eh?’ ”
and number 19 is:
When the proprietor of a used bookstore asks if he can help, he is not beginning his campaign to sell you something you don’t want or need, like a new suit or the latest fad. He actually is interested in directing you to the appropriate book. If you answer, “Just browsing,” he will assume you are afraid of him. You should answer, “Only if I don’t find something on my own.” Remember, the bookseller wants you to buy a book, indeed he depends on it. But unlike many businesses he only wants to sell you a book that you want. The bookseller knows that he may never own another copy of that book and he wants it to go where it will be appreciated.
 (The essay is not posted online so you'll have to go to your local bookstore and buy issue 149;  Mason is apparently intending to issue it separately as an 18-page chapbook for $10.)

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Magazine world view: ABC freeze; post and repent?; green printing; rattling Radler

Taddling down the road: a peripatetic little literary with a big itinerary

Starting a few weeks ago with launch of its summer number called the "Out of Towner Issue" in Toronto, the twice-yearly literary Taddle Creek has undertaken a cross-continent tour to promote itself. 
This is not a small matter for the small, yet spunky, magazine because it is one of those unfortunates left in the lurch by the revisions of the funding requirements of the Department of Canadian Heritage (see previous posts). In round numbers, the magazine says that its funding has thus been cut 40% and its postage costs increased 40%400%. So it, more than ever, needs to increase support from readers far and near.
The Taddle Creek Travelling Series of Happenings has now completed a swing through the Maritimes, with readings and libations in Halifax, Fredericton and Saint John. Next week, on August 2 it's in Portland, Oregon with readings by Michael Christie, Lee Henderson and Catherine McGuire. On August 3 it's in Vancouver, with readings by Michael Christie, Peter Darbyshire, Lee Henderson and Marguerite Pigeon. (Coyly, the itinerary says that fall dates in Montreal and New York are to be announced.)
As an aside, the magazine's reach has been extended with copies being sold in three bookstores in the U.S.: Quimby's in Chicago, McNally Jackson in New York and City Lights in San Francisco. (Of course, people who value such publications could always subscribe to show their support. We understand that, given its financial challenges, the $12 annualrate for two years (4 issues) won't probably stay that way for long.)

Related posts:

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

U.S. mailers, including magazines, ask that postal rate increase be turned down

A coalition of business mailers, including magazine publishers, h;ave asked the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to dismiss the US Postal Service's demand for a rate increase that would effectively force up rates for periodicals by 8 per cent. According to a story in Folio: the Affordable Mail Alliance filed a 96-page motion that said the demand for a rate increase above the consumer price index would essentially nullify safeguards for mailers built into the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The organization also issued a public statement:
“Now the Postal Service expects customers to pay the price for its refusing to do what its customers had to do [cut spending]. For our organizations, the Postal Service’s unwillingness to do its part will mean the loss of thousands of additional jobs, further cuts to pay and benefits. This is an issue about investing for possible future growth or paying higher taxes in the form of higher postal rates. … Punishing customers with higher prices is not the way to make the Postal Service solvent.”
The Postal Service is asking for increases in first class mail, catalogues and standard mail parcels as well as periodicals, hoping to raise about $2.3 billion additional dollars next year.
“This is a major step in MPA's fight against the USPS' unlawful attempt to shatter the price cap,” Nina Link, president and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America, says in a separate statement. “MPA supports all efforts by this unprecedented alliance of the mailing community to continue to litigate aggressively. We hope the Postal Regulatory Commission grants the motion without delay.”
Among the publishers joining the Alliance were Bonnier Corp., Condé Nast and Time Inc.

Wedding Bells magazine videos fashion shoot in Newfoundland

Wedding Bells magazine (St. Joseph Media) went to Newfoundland to do a fashion shoot and posted a video to document the event.


Fashion titles' September issues bulk up, possibly a good sign for other magazines

Fashion magazines are apparently putting on some weight in all the right places,  possibly heralding a broader recovery in the magazine industry, according to a story in Media in Canada.
 "If Canada's top fashion magazines really are a barometer of the industry's health, the outlook appears to be promising, yet capricious," the story said.
It reports that Fashion magazine's traditionally strong September issue is 206 pages, with ad pages up 18%. Elle Canada's September issue is 250 pages, up 56 pages from last year. Flare magazine's September is down in size by comparison with its blockbuster 30th anniversary issue last year, but still has 232 pages. In June, Flare was up 25% in ad pages, Elle up 47% and Fashion 51%.
"It's almost like we're the foot soldiers, going in and getting really beaten up," says [Lilia] Lozinski, senior vice president of St. Joseph Media,publishers of Fashion. "All the different vertical categories behind us, as soon as they see the fashion category getting hit, it's like ‘batten down the hatches because trouble's coming.' As things slowly start coming around, consumer confidence starts coming back and retail sales start increasing, then basically we're the first ones to recover."


Rogers says publishing growth now positive as over all Q1 net income up 21% from last year

Rogers Communications has reported net income for the second quarter of 2010 of $451 million US or 78 cents per share. This was up 21% from the same period last year. Revenue was up 5% to $3.03 billion US. Revenue growth was 7% for the wireless network, 4% for cable and 8% for media. 
For the six months to date, media revenue, which includes consumer and trade magazine publishing, television, Sportsnet, radio, The Shopping Channel and sports franchises including the Toronto Blue Jays,  was $697 million, up $30 million from the same quarter a year ago. For the first two quarters, operating profit was $67 million, up $47 million from the comparable six months the year before, or about 10.6%/ The company reported: 
"Publishing is also beginning to experience positive growth in advertising revenues for the first time in several quarters." 
However, the consolidated financial statements do not break out magazine data.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Quote, unquote: Not a post racial society quite yet?

“I am so so hurt and confused and frankly angry by this news. I feel like a girlfriend has died.”
-- Former Essence magazine fashion editor Michaela angela Davis, commenting to Clutchmagonline on the news that the black women's title, now controlled by Time Warner, has hired a white fashion director, Ellianna Placas, formerly of O: the Oprah magazine and US Weekly


McSweeney's -- the collected, eclectic works

I know there are many readers of this blog who are also passionate McSweeney's readers and have followed the fortunes and content of the publication over a little more than a decade. Now, according to a post on MagCulture,  the collected illustrated history of the venture has been published called Art of McSweeney's.
This collection does a great job of showing off the work, running through the issues chronologically and sharing printed items that inspired the look and feel of each issue (the team have clearly maintained a deep archive). The introduction makes clear the teams’ desire to celebrate the physical nature of books, and describes the team as lacking formal design or production training. That might explain my slight anxiety about some of their design but not the exuberance of the production, as anyone who’s seen a copy can testify.
McSweeney's began in San Francisco in 1998 as a literary journal and has  appeared in varying forms and formats: a hardback book, a printed newspaper, even a collection of junk mail. Founder Dave Eggers with his every breath seems to celebrate not only the art of the book (broadly interpreted) but also the readers he attracts with his eclectic approach.The collected work is no different, with everything from napkin stetches to the final objects. Contributors include Michael Chabon, Rick Moody, Jonathan Lethem, Charles Burns, Dave Eggers, David Byrne, Nick Hornby, Joyce Carol Oates, Jordan Crane, William T. Vollmann, Lawrence Weschler, Sean Wilsey, Marcel Dzama and many more.
The 264-page book is published by Tate (yes, they of the Tate Modern Gallery and so on) and is £25.00 so, to have it delivered to your Canadian door, standard postage, will cost roughly C$63.)

Quote, unquote: On seeking a balanced
revenue stream

“Our DNA at Condé Nast is content in how we start the cultural conversation in everything we do. We are now going to get organized to develop our content and our brands in a way that starts with the foundation of the magazine but also extends into other platforms and in a way that develops a more balanced revenue stream for us.”
-- Bob Sauerberg, the new president of Condé Nast, on the strategy he'll be pursing as the company escalates its research and development to make money from consumers online, consumers who value the content of the company's brands. (Sauerberg is said to have won the job with his passion for putting consumers, not advertisers, at the centre of the company's strategy.) []


Magazines Canada launches enhanced website

Magazines Canada has relaunched its website, While the redesigned site continues to offer public information on magazines for consumers and special members-only content, a new splash page leads to a number of enhanced interactive features that offer the ability to:
  • comment on news articles
  • sign up for RSS feeds on specific topics (ie. advertising, business media, public affairs, etc.) or all news
  •  listen to podcasts or watch videos directly in the browser
  • purchase print or digital small magazine handbooks online
  • apply for Magazines Canada membership online
  • submit industry events
  • share content on social media sites
"Similar to iGoogle, the Magazines Canada homepage allows users to customize the content that is most relevant to them'" says a release. "Users can simply log in to customize three boxes with the information of their choice. Are cultural magazines, circulation and professional development news most relevant to you? Then those are the news feeds you’ll see."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Monocle magazine editor Tyler Brûlé is clicked in by his staff as a media powerhouse

It's not clear what the story is here, whether it's about the fundamental silliness of online reader polls (I know, Canadian Magazines has one) or the loyalty and industry of Canadian expat, Monocle magazine founder and former Wallpaper editor Tyler Brûlé's staff in London.
The Guardian, which reported the story, was seeking a "reader's choice" list for the annual MediaGuardian 100, a sort of thermometer of media power. And suddenly, in the last 30 minutes of the poll, 160 votes came in that put Brûlé at the top, pipping Doctor Who showrunner Steve Moffat at the post. Suspiciously, the votes all came from the same IP address, which coincided with Brule's publishing group Winkreative.
Apparently there was no restriction on multiple voting on the Guardian site. So it's not exactly Brûlégate.
Emily Smith, the Monocle press officer who sent out a link to her colleagues urging them to support their boss, said the late surge was down to staff not knowing about the poll until just before voting closed.

"As soon as we found out Tyler was on the list, we all wanted him to win. I sent out a link to everyone saying we'd love to see Tyler in this," she said. Smith said she only voted once.

Scholarship fund at Ryerson University accepting donations to honour Cynthia Brouse

As reported earlier, a group of Cynthia Brouse's friends are establishing a scholarship in her name at the Ryerson School of Journalism. The plan has the blessing of Cynthia's family and, while the actual criteria for the scholarship remains to be determined (probably going to a multi-talented first year student moving into second year) the goal is eventually to build up at least $25,000 in an endowment that would give an annual award forever. Once $5,000 is obtained, it could at least produce a scholarship for five years.
Donations can best be made online at the following secure site: 
Look for "memorial fund" and follow the steps. 
On what would have been Cynthia's 53rd birthday, a Facebook page was set up to allow her friends from all over to talk with each other, sharing memories, photos and the music she loved.

Related posts:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

U.S. consumers cutting back and about a third have done so by cancelling magazine subscriptions

The repercussions of the recession in the U.S. has caused many people to cut back and economize in many areas of their lives. According to a story on MediaPost,
about a third (31%) said they have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions, and 17% have cancelled newspapers. Almost half of Americans (22%) have cancelled -- or are considering cancelling (22%) -- cable TV.

Fifteen percent said they have cancelled their landline telephones and are only using cell phones, and another 22% say they are considering this option. In addition, 15% said they cancelled or changed cell phone service to save money, and 17% said they have considered the option.
The research is based on a poll conducted by Harris Interactive between June 14 and June 21 involving 2,227 people.

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Comparing circ with Prospect, its British equivalent, The Walrus is doing OK

A recent report on the impending departure of David Goodhart from the editor's chair after 15 years at Prospect magazine contains the factoid that the magazine, a source of serious, long-form journalism that has uncanny similarities to The Walrus, has a current circulation of 30,000. Quoted by the New Statesman, Goodhart expressed the hope that his successor could push this to 40,000 or 50,000.
The Walrus has a circulation of about 60,000 and, while that remains insufficient to eliminate the need for aggressive and ongoing fundraising, it is still quite impressive by a per-capita comparison. Prospect exists in a country with not-quite twice the population of Canada, albeit with a number of weekly and monthly "thinkie" competitors. 
No danger of The Walrus getting smug, but it should take some comfort from the fact that, fishing in a smaller pond, it does considerably better than its British counterpart.


Publishers' outsourcing of pre-press
steadily growing

It would seem that magazine publishers, at least in the U.S. (and probably in Canada) are moving steadily away from doing all of their own pre-press in-house. According to Folio: magazine's 2010 manufacturing and production trends research, the number of publishers doing it all themselves was 60% last year and only 51% this year. Complete outsourcing has stayed steady at about 17% of publishers.
Interestingly, the majority of respondents to the survey spent less than $5,000 on new technology last year and just 2% said they spent more than $200k.

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Coast Publishing acquired
Duly Noted Wedding Guide

Coast Publishing Limited of Halifax has acquired Duly Noted Wedding Guide, a twice-annual title that has been around for about seven years. By so doing, it opened up a whole new area of revenue for the company.
"We are excited about all the possibilities this opens up to us," says Christine Oreskovich, publisher for Coast Publishing in a release. "Lots of Coast readers get married, and we've looked at getting involved in the local wedding industry with a guide, but Duly Noted owns the market. By doing this deal, we get to build on a solid foundation and use all our experience to make Duly Noted even better. It's a perfect match." 
The outcome will be that Duly Noted will begin immediately printing 15,000 copies of the free, digest-sized publication -- a 50% increase -- and making the guide available at more distribution points. Coast Publishing staff will create the editorial and put the publication online with a directory the company says is the most comprehensive in Nova Scotia.  
Started in 2003 by sisters Nicole Venema and Cindy Midgley, Duly Noted grew to become a go-to source of wedding planning information. "We weren't publishers, but we knew a wedding guide would work," says Venema. "Now I'm excited a dedicated publisher can take it to the next level." Venema and husband Michael Smith will continue to operate their Halifax stationery store Duly Noted Stationery, specializing in event invitations.
Coast Publishing is independently owned and publishes The Coast, a 17-year-old free weekly newspaper, started originally by a group of college friends who admired New York's Village Voice. The company also publishes and four glossy City Guides, including the titles Food & Drink Halifax, Green Halifax and Buy Local Halifax.


Quote,unquote: Google says journalism
should save itself

"The data suggest that publishers have yet to come close to maximizing their ability to attract and keep users engaged with their online offerings."
-- Google, in its response to recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) musings in the U.S. about changing regulations to help traditional media in the age of the internet.  


Magazine world view:BBC strike vote; paywall plunge; journalists and revenue; royal libel

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aspirants aren't getting the education they need for entry level ad agency jobs

Karen Howe, senior vice president, creative director of Due North Communications in Toronto has written an interesting, tub-thumping rant in Applied Arts about the state of education for people who want to work in advertising,and specifically agencies.
I’ve attended portfolio nights for many years. I also review student books constantly. I’m seeing epic erosion in the quality of education that advertising students are now receiving. Judging by the state of their books, most are not remotely prepared to walk into an entry-level agency position.
Students should be outraged. Tuition has skyrocketed, yet the quality of their education has plummeted.
It’s fixable. But colleges and students will have to roll up their sleeves. Ad schools: please start with the basics. Teach your students how an agency is structured and how it makes money – it will help your students figure out how they get paid and how to stay employed. Teach them about the individual roles of those in an agency, so they can understand their own.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crow Toes Quarterly offers 4 PDF copies for $5

It's nice to see little magazines, with limited resources, innovating. Case in point is Crow Toes Quarterly, which offers a one-year, four-issue e-zine subscription to its magazine (which is about children's literature) for $5.
We’ve taken all those great words and illustrations and we’ve crammed them into this magical doohickey and we’ve turned them into these little files called PDFs, which can be opened and saved on any computer.

Now, as soon as an issue of CTQ is complete, you can have it on your computer, in all its amazing amazingness. Isn't that amazing?
 It also sells single PDF copies of back issues for $1.50. The magazine also sells individual single copies of the print edition.
While this may not be the absolute answer for other small magazines and their wrestling with back issue inventories and guesstimating print runs, it's worth considering, along with print-on-demand copies served through a third-party provider.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Andrew Nikiforuk named first writer-in-residence at The Tyee

Just catching up with last week's welcome announcement that award-winning writer and journalist Andrew Nikiforuk has agreed to be the first writer-in-residence for the online magazine The Tyee. He's best known for his Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. Therefore it is no surprise that for the next while he will be writing a regular column called Energy and Equity. 
His first column tells the lamentable story about the parliamentary standing committee that not only didn't publish a report on its deliberations about the tar sands and contamination of the ground water and the Athabasca River, but shredded all copies.Editor David Beers says:
Andrew painstakingly pored over what the committee had heard and been shown, and today he constructs a damning picture of grievous pollution made possible by lax regulation and a government that would rather kill reports than learn from their contents.
On the phone from Calgary, where Nikiforuk lives with his wife and three sons, he described why, even though he has written an entire book on the tar sands, he savours the opportunity to stay on the file and share his findings with readers of The Tyee. He acknowledged the excellent work that Tyee reporters Geoff Dembicki and Mitchell Anderson have been doing on the issue in recent months, offering that "unfortunately the tar sands project is so extraordinarily large and beyond a scale that most can imagine, you could have 100 reporters covering it and not tell the story."
Nikiforuk said his intent is to widen his scope to examine all angles of Canada's morphing into a petro state, a political and cultural sleepwalk that he believes will profoundly change our character as a people. So far, it is proceeding with very little serious public debate.

Ryerson's Chang School expands mag publishing program to encompass web publishing

Ryerson University's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education has broadened the scope and the name of its industry-endorsed magazine publishing program. Starting with the 2010-2011 academic year, the Magazine Publishing program will change its name to Magazine and Web Publishing.
"We have seen digital delivery become increasingly important to the future of ink-and-paper magazines. By expanding our program, we are offering students the opportunity to sharpen knowledge and skills that are very much in-demand. The incorporation of more web-related content in our courses simply reflects a changed reality," says Charles Oberdorf, academic coordinator of the program.
The Chang School's Magazine and Web Publishing program offers career-focused courses in publishing and management; editing; copy editing and fact-checking; writing; design and production; ad sales and circulation; website content; and desktop publishing software. Much of the program was already applicable to both those working for print magazines and those working for online magazines or websites. The recently added course  -- Creating Website Editorial (CDJN 206) --  provides students with the opportunity to develop their online editorial skills. New curriculum for 2010-2011 includes a wider focus for some of the current courses as well as the introduction of a new offering on online advertising ­ -- Ad Sales on the Web (CDJN 208).
Students are still welcome to take individual courses for personal or professional development, or to boost their credentials by pursuing the Certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing. Effective Fall 2010, graduating students will receive the new certificate name.
For more information about the Magazine and Web Publishing program, visit
[Disclosure: I have taught and expect to continue to teach a course that will now be called Magazine and Website Publishing (CDJN112)]


Rogers Publishing rolls out new freelance contract that requires rights across "all forms of media"

[This post has been updated]Rogers Publishing is rolling out a new contract for freelancers. The differences between the old and the new is that Rogers is stipulating that a given article would be published across multiple platforms, presumably for the same freelance payment [see update* below] .
Rogers spokesperson Suneel Khanna said "the changes in the contract reflect the changing environment of how media is consumed. The revised contract clarifies and standardizes the exclusive and non-exclusive rights we are securing."

[*Update: Khanna says:  "Please note there is no mention in the old or new contract about payment. Compensation for the work being produced continues to be freely negotiated between freelancer and editor on a project-by-project basis."]
  • The old contract says it is buying first publication rights; the new contract says the same but "in all forms of media" and requires a 90 day exclusivity from the date of publication. Thereafter, Rogers retains non-exclusive rights.
  • The old contract specifies first publication rights; the new contract says the work may be published in all media, through any type of device or service, on Rogers websites, mobile or digial platforms and applications and in e-mail or electronic newsletters, so long as they are associated with the brand of the publication issuing the contract
  • The old and the new contract both specify the right of Rogers to archive the work "in any format" and make it available, for a fee or otherwise, themselves or through third parties. The new contract says the same thing, except referring to articles published in "any form of media. 
Such contract language makes second and subsequent rights for freelancers all but worthless. Where, in the past, a freelancer or their agent could resell the story in other publications and markets, this becomes pointless when the full text is available for free online. Yet Rogers -- and other large publishers like Transcontinental -- are not offering any premium for effectively tieing up all rights. The gesture of saying the freelancer retains copyright is negated by Rogers retaining a "non-exclusive" right to it after the 90 day exclusive period.  
A freelancer could negotiate a larger fee to reflect the fact that it is the only fee they'll get from a given story, but the general trend is that publishers are asking for more and more rights for the same fees as before.
  • The contract provides for an option for the right to publish the work or an edited version across all Rogers properties in all forms of media
Even the preamble to the contracts is somewhat different. The old contract said: "What we are buying"; the new contract says "What you are granting to Rogers". The old contract has been in place for more than seven years. The new one has begun to show up in  freelancers' mailboxes quite recently.
    [Note: I did not receive the contract from Rogers, which refused to provide a copy to me. Old and new versions were obtained elsewhere. Anyone who wants the comparison table can e-mail me at impresa[at]inforamp[dot]net]


    Hewlett-Packard's MagCloud print-on-demand service out of beta and rolled out worldwide

    After a two year U.S. trial, Hewlett-Packard is rolling out its MagCloud print-on-demand service worldwide, according to a story from Reuters, and will offer a software app for Apple's iPad tablet to allow downloading digital copies of magazines and order hard copies. 
    "Volumes are becoming significant and that's why we're ramping it (the service) up out of beta," Andrew Bolwell, HP's director of new business initiatives, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We really feel there's a multi-billion opportunity."....
    HP, whose imaging and printing division accounts for about a fifth of company sales and a third of its operating profit, will use its network of Indigo printing-press customers in the U.S. and Europe to print and deliver for MagCloud.
    HP's standard price is 20 cents per page, which includes a small profit margin for HP, and publishers set their own prices for consumers, taking the entire mark-up.
    Consumers pay for delivery, which costs about $1.40 in the U.S. and is subsidised by HP. Bolwell declined to say whether HP was yet covering its costs.


    Flare magazine posts a list of do's and don'ts for prospective interns

    Flare magazine has posted a list of do's and don'ts for editorial interns. 
    DO: Have a strong work ethic.Whoever said that fashion is all glitz and glamour has never worked in the industry. Moving your way up the ladder involves tedious tasks and physical labour - whether it’s sourcing an obscure prop for an upcoming shoot, or schlepping heavy luggage to set.

    DO: Show off your keen fashion sense.In an industry of tastemakers, it’s important to practice what you preach. When it comes to dressing around the office it’s as much about who you’re wearing as it is about how you’re wearing it. I always take notice of a potential intern with an individual sense of style and a distinct point of view, price tag aside.

    DON'T: Complain about the tasks.Editorial work is fast-paced and demanding, so there is little time for bad attitudes and diva behaviour. A positive outlook and readiness to lend a hand makes all the difference when the fashion closet starts to overflow with back-to-back shoots.

    DON'T: Be late.With endless deadlines and early call times, our team relies on one another to keep the momentum going. We expect that our interns treat the internship as they would any full-time job, and that means showing up on time and performing tasks in a timely manner.

    DO: Have an interest in fashion. This may seem like an obvious point, but I get a surprising number of applicants drawn to the idea of working at a fashion magazine without even the most basic fashion know-how. When it comes to working in editorial it is essential that you know your stuff and stay on the pulse, whether its through magazines, websites, blogs, or newspapers.

    DO: Give us a reason to hire you.
    Whether it’s a background in merchandising, styling or journalism, at the end of the day it’s that certain je ne sais quoi that seals the deal. Every intern we take on brings something unique to the table that makes them an integral part of the FLARE fashion team.
    There is no indication that this strong work ethic, on-time performance or uncomplaining attitude is worth paying for in these four-month unpaid internships.


    Downtown Winnipeg magazine launched

    A new, twice-annual magazine called Downtown Winnipeg has been launched. As its name implies, the magazine, which was officially launched on Friday, intends to highlight the downtown's best features, including its stores, restaurants, hotels and its downtown walkway system.It has a circulation of 40,000 and is published by the Downtown BIZ association. An online copy of the magazine is available.
    “Downtown is growing and changing for the better everyday,” said Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ executive director. “We wanted to create something that showed that off through a beautiful and memorable publication that not only demonstrates all the strengths of downtown but also educates and entertains people.”


    British association back beating the drum for magazines

    The British Periodical Publishers Association has had a difficult time for about the past 18 months after the tumultuous reign of his predecessor, but with the appointment of CEO Barry McIlheney in February, that has changed. He told MediaWeek:
    "When I took up this job six months ago, I asked chief executives of magazine publishing houses what they wanted me to do.
    "They said they wanted me to get out there and start beating the drum again for magazines."
    Mark Frith, the editor of Time Out magazine, said:
    "The obvious issue here is that the PPA has had a quiet year and a half, and you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
    "Magazines are strong. They are not going through the same issues that newspapers are – they’re pretty resilient. I’ve never seen a stronger magazine market and we have got to start shouting about that."

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Readers like digital magazine editions and expect to read them on digital devices

    A survey conducted by Texterity of 31,00 readers of digital magazine editions it serves (28 consumer titles and 69 b2b) says that 62% of iPad owners use their mobile devices to read magazines. This compares with 13% of the full sample. About 25% of respondents said that their reading of print magazines was lower in the past year; 33% of iPad readers said so. 
    The survey, which was audited by BPA Worldwide, also found:
    • 85% of respondents declared themselves satisfied or very satisfied with digital publications. Among the reasons given were a) environmentally friendliness, b) convenience and c) searchability/linking and sharing.
    • 92% of readers open and read their digital issues the week it arrives, 58% the day it arrives (an increase of 10% over a similar survey last year)
    • All respondents who intent to get an e-reader are anxious to have digital editions on them
    • 3% of respondents have an iPad now (the survey was done only weeks after its introduction), but 12% plan to have one within 12 months
    • 35% have an iPhone or iPod and 7% say they expect to have one within 12 months
    • 88% of respondents have a cell phone
    • 52% look through digital editions and read articles of interest; 32% read cover-to-cover; 12% clip a page for later use
    • 60% said they looked at an advertiser's web site as the result of seeing an ad in a digital edition
    • 45% have read 4 out of the last 4 issues
    • 58% of respondents spend 30 minutes or more reading or looking through an average digital edition


    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    NOW magazine hosts North American alt-weekly conference in Toronto

    NOW magazine and the City of Toronto today begin hosting a three-day conference of the Asssociation of Alternative Newsweeklies conference. The association represents 130 alt-news organizations from across North America, with a combined weekly circulation of over 6.6 million and 17 million in print readership. 
    The keynote speaker today is Maher Arar, and a release notes that for many of the U.S. delegates it will be the first time for them to hear his story of rendition, imprisonment and his struggle to clear his name.
    Michael Hollett, the editor and publisher of NOW, says:
    "We're pumped to be hosting this year's AAN Conference right here in Toronto. With members like the Village Voice and LA Weekly set to converge on Toronto for three days, Toronto's alternative voice is about to get a whole lot louder."


    Magazine world view:Hef buys, not sells; data rather than sources; celeb mags boom

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Cynthia Brouse memorial service announced for September 11th

    [This post has been updated]It has been announced that the memorial service for Cynthia Brouse will take place on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Norway Anglican Church, 470 Woodbine Avenue (at Kingston Road), Toronto. [Update] The service and reception in the church hall afterwards are open to all; anyone is welcome to come and remember Cynthia as a friend and colleague. (Please note that space at the reception in the church hall afterward is open only to people specifically invited by the family via e-mail.)
    There will be other ways to honour Cynthia; a group of her friends are working towards setting up a Ryerson scholarship in her name, of which more later. 
    Related posts:

    Quote, unquote: Bonnie Fuller on why you don't have to be perfect

    “There’s...a difference between trying to achieve a certain goal professionally and knowing what you need to do to get there and whipping yourself up about housework or running around trying to buy the perfect present for your cousin’s 30th birthday party. You have to decide what you’re going to be most focused on. For me, I’m most focused on my kids, my husband and my job.”
    -- Bonnie Fuller, the high-profile president and editor-in-chief of and serial magazine queen, speaking to a Women of Influence luncheon in Toronto [from the Globe and Mail]. There's a video available


    Playboy Portugal breaches mother ship's standards; is shut down

    Playboy Portugal has been shut down by Playboy headquarters after running the cover image shown here (minus the black bar), according to a story on the site of the British Daily Mail. The cover shot and inside spread was to illustrate a story inside about Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saragamo.
    The pictures show a long-haired, glowing Jesus watching two models in a lesbian clinch, standing next to a prostitute and looking over the shoulder of a woman reading a book. [On the cover] a heavily tattooed woman, appears to have died in his arms.
    Playboy HQ said it didn't clear the cover, which a spokesperson said "is a shocking breach of our standards" and it has therefore decided to terminate its agreement with its Portuguese publisher.
    Saramago’s novel is a fictional re-telling of Christ’s life, depicting him as a flawed, human character.
    It generated controversy among the Roman Catholic Church, who accused Saramago of depicting a ‘substantially anti-religious vision.’
    However, other critics have praised it as a ‘deeply philosophical, provocative and compelling work.’

    Montreal's SNAP! magazine celebrates paper, printing and publishing

    SNAP! magazine is Montreal's free and independent arts and lifestyle magazine and its current quarterly issue (no. 11) is all about paper and, in its own way is an exultant promotion of print publishing. 
    For instance, it celebrates the wide variety of independent magazines produced in Montreal in the past year and the love of magazines by a variety of contributors and the future of newspapers. It has some occasionally weird and generally wonderful fashion-related shoots, with a paper theme, and profiles of people working in various ways with paper, including a woman who makes "couture pinatas", someone who makes street posters, others who do screen prints, letterpress printing, bookbinding and so on. 
    Something that takes as its theme the threat of the digital to the world of print, is a revelation about how vibrant and alive print is in all its manifestations.
    (The Montreal SNAP! should not to be confused in any way with the Snap chain of franchised, free photographic papers in Ontario).


    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Study suggests Canadians spend 6x more time using the internet than reading magazines

    A study of media use by the international communications company Fleishman Hillard suggests that Canadians are just about at the median when it comes to such activities as reading magazines, internet access and listening to music. The international survey was clearly intended to study internet use compared with other media, and it does, but the comparison across several countries suggests some interesting variations.
    Clearly, the internet is the most impactful medium, says the study, called the Digital Influence Index. Impact is measured not only by the amount of times spent but also the relative importance they attribute to that medium. 
    •  On average, individuals across the 7 countries measured, including Canada, spent around 13 hours a week online, not including e-mail. The Chinese spent the most (15 hours), the Japanese the least (11 hours) and the Germans spent the lowest per cent of their weekly media time online. Canada spends at the high end, about 13.1 hours. 
    • Canadians spent 2.2 hours a week reading magazines, compared wtih China (3.1), Germany (2.6), the U.S. (2.2), the UK (2.1), Japan (2.0) and France (1.9).
    • The most time spent on e-mail per week is 4.6 hours in the U.S., compared with 4.2 in the UK, 4.1 in Canada, 3.6 in Germany, 3.3 in China, 3.2 in Japan, 3.1 in France.
    • Watching television is 15.5 hours in the UK, 14.1 in Canada, 14.0 in the U.S. 13.1 in the U.S., 12.0 in Japan, 10.8 in France and 6.7 in China.
    • Canadians are the champs when it comes to playing offline video games: 4.5 hours a week, compared with 4.3 in the UK, 4.0 in China, 3.8 in France, 3.8 in Gramany, 3.6 in the U.S., 3.0 in Japan
      You can download the white paper.

    The report indicated the relative importance of various information services to respondents and, in Canada, advice from family, friends and colleagues came out a strong number one (28%) and magazines came out at 5%. The internet came out at 21%.
    The research was carried out by Harris Interactive based on a comprehensive 15-minute online survey among a representative sample of 4,243 internet users in China, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingsom. (Some caution must be taken in assessing the data since it was garnered from panels that had already been assembled for other purposes by Harris and since it reflects the view of people who skew in as internet users.)