Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best of the season and see you in 2011

Canadian Magazines is taking its annual seasonal break and is not planning to be posting again until January 3, when we'll take a look back at 2010 with our round up of The year in Canadian Magazines. With things apparently looking rosier than they did in 2009, we imagine you'll be looking for even better things in the next year. Here's wishing that for you. And to all our friends and colleagues in this marvellous business, have a merry and a happy.  DBS

Controversy over Maclean's's "Too Asian?" article kept on boil

Maclean's magazine's so-called "Too Asian?" controversy simply will not die down. A group called The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) has rejected a letter from Rogers Publishing offering them a full-page ad in the magazine to "directly express to Maclean's audience your concerns" about the article in November. 
“We believe that Maclean’s has not adequately addressed our concerns and we seek an unqualified public apology from Maclean’s,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today. “In our view, since Rogers is the parent company of Maclean’s, then Rogers should step up and take ownership of this controversy.”
Even more interesting is that the CCNC has apparently arranged a meeting in the new year with Heritage Minister James Moore and has asked in writing for the Commons standing committee on Canadian Heritage to initiate a study of the Canada Periodical Fund -- presumably to see if Maclean's's funding can be revoked, similar to a letter written earlier by Senator Vivienne Poy (see earlier post).
The CCNC has also done a detailed parsing of the original article and contacted people quoted in it, some of whom said they were misquoted or their remarks were taken out of context. 
“These responses from interviewees themselves point to numerous significant errors by Maclean’s writers and editors, Victor Wong added. “There are just so many problems with the “Too Asian”? article that it simply doesn’t meet the standard for good journalism.”

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The rich are not like you and me;
they have more broadband

The rich are not like you and me, they have more money. A study by the Pew Research Center found that those with incomes >$150,000 are also significantly more likely to have broadband service, use the internet and email than the rest of the American population. The report can be read online or downloaded. 
The affluent are more likely than other internet users to participate in video chat, pay bills online, and get online news. Nearly all of this affluent demographic use the internet or email. Nine in ten of the high-income internet users have searched online for maps or directions, 86% have researched a product online, and 82% get a portion of their news online. And, as the chart below shows, they are more likely across the board to adopt the latest technologies.


Maclean's launches iPad digital edition

Maclean's magazine is now available as a digital app on Apple's iPad. The first of the issues is the Newsmakers 2010 issue. While the app can be dowloaded for free from iTunes, each issue dowloaded is priced at $2.99. The inaugural issue contains all of the content of the magazine, plus some things that take advantage of the technology:
  • an animated video cover
  • a video of Justin Bieber performing live
  • a video montage of newsmakers who passed away in 2010
  • Ability to share articles via Twitter, Facebook, and email
  • Viewing the entire issue page-by-page or jumping directly to departments or columnists
  • a live letter feed and author blogs
"Maclean's is dedicated to bringing readers relevant and thought-provoking content on today's latest technology," says Maclean's publisher and editor-in-chief Ken Whyte. "With the new Maclean's App for iPad, our readers can now enjoy everything they love about Maclean's from the convenience of iPad."

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One in five Americans say they own or plan to own a tablet within three years

Twenty per cent of Americans own or plan to purchase a tablet computer within the next three years, according to results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive (sponsored by app designer Fuze Box). [reported by Folio:]
Both personal and business reasons will drive the tablet purchases, with 53 percent of respondents saying they plan to read e-books and newspapers on the device (that actually eclipsed gaming, which just 33 percent of respondents say they'll be doing on tablets).
While men are more likely to say they own or plan to buy a tablet than women in the next three years (26 percent versus 18 percent), women are more likely to say they'll use tablets for social networking (60 percent versus 43 percent, respectively).

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Halifax's Metro Guide Publishing sold to its printer, Advocate Printing & Publishing

Metro Guide Publishing of Halifax has been sold to its printer, the Pictou-based Advocate Printing & Publishing Company, expanding the printer into the glossy print media market Advocate CEO Sean Murray confirmed the sale Monday, according to a story in the New Glasgow News
Sole owner Sheila Blair-Reid, who has owned the 42-year-old company for the past 21 years, wanted to allow more time for her family, Murray said.
Metro Guide Publishing owns Halifax Magazine, East Coast Living, and publishes the tourist guide Where Halifax under license from St. Joseph Media Inc.,Nova Scotia’s Doers’ and Dreamers’ guideGreater Halifax Visitor Guide and programs for the Neptune Theatre; 13 titles in all in the four Atlantic provinces. The Advocate has printed the magazines for most of the past 15 years. Metro Guide has 13 employees and Murray said there were no plans to make any personnel changes.
“It’s our intent to keep everything as close to what it is today as possible until we build and grow on it,” he said.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

National Reading Summit to be held in Montreal Jan 20 and 21

The TD National Reading Summit II is one month away. It takes place at La Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal Thursday, January 20 and Friday, January 21. 
The conference was started two years ago by a group of concerned librarians, parent activists, booksellers, teachers, publishers and corporate leaders who wanted to create a national reading strategy as a lynchpin for responsible citizenship. The first summit was in Toronto. The third is scheduled for next year in Vancouver.
The complete program is available. The opening keynote address is by author, professor and screenwriter Antonine Maillet.

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Transcon online sub deal not quite as good as it looks at first

On its face, it looks like a great deal. Transcontinental Media is using couponer Toronto Deals Blog to offer a one-year subscription to Style at Home for $11 and for the Hockey News at $23. But the fine print in the "one-day only" deal is that, while you nominally save 56% off the newsstand price, you'll have to pay $5.95 for shipping, handling and applicable taxes on Style and $7.95 for Hockey News. (An earlier coupon offer  had Canadian Living (12 issues) for $18 bonused by 6 issues of Elle Canada, but that didn't have the added shipping and handling provision and taxes were included in the price.)

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Is CBC required to share sensitive and competitive information, Maclean's asks?

Maclean's magazine's Quebec bureau chief Martin Patriquin this week chronicles the siege being laid on the CBC by Michel Drapeau, a fervent and frequent user of Access to Information act and how his campaign may be fuelling a feud between Quebecor and the CBC. The story reports that Drapeau -- a lawyer and retired colonel -- has filed nearly 800 ATI requests with the CBC since the fall of 2007 when, under the federal accountability act, the crown corporation became subject to access to information requests. 
“The CBC has not made the psychological and corporate turn,” [Drapeau] says. “They don’t understand that they are no longer a private-like organization that they can do as they wish without any public oversight. They have a sense of hostility toward anybody exercising their right to have access to records.”
For its part, CBC management maintains that much of the material Drapeau has requested is of commercial value to his client, the Quebecor-owned Sun Media chain, and giving it up would be tantamount to Macdonald’s sharing its secret sauce with Burger King. Yes, the CBC is a taxpayer-funded organization, they say; but it is also a broadcaster whose competitors aren’t similarly compelled to divulge sensitive journalistic, creative and programming information.
Drapeau says his requests are his own initiative and Sun Media had no input into them. But it's clear that the results of his requests are providing a stout stick with which Quebecor can beat their hated rival. 
Quebecor's Sun Media chain has been hammering away at the CBC, a major competitor in the French television market, but the impetus for the campaign (vendetta?) is that Quebecor boss Pierre Karl Péladeau, is steamed about a  2007 Le Devoir interview with Sylvain LaFrance, head of CBC's French service, who said that Péladeau "was acting like a thug" by pulling out of the Canadian Television Fund. Péladeau launched a $700,000 defamation suit against LaFrance, which is in court now.
The trial has taken on elements of the absurd. La­france’s lawyer brought in an expert to distinguish the difference between calling someone a thug and saying that they are acting like a thug. (“It’s not an identity, it’s an analogy,” testified linguist Jean-Claude Corbeil.)

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"No frills", browser-based digital editions may be the affordable way for smaller titles

The noise about magazine apps has tended to be about big magazines who have commensurate budgets for such development. But for many smaller magazines there just isn't the money available to do such work. In any event, there is a point of view that creating apps for individual platforms may turn out to be less efficacious than moving to browser-based digital editions, readable on any device.
So it's interesting to read in emedia vitals a story about a small U.S. magazine that is going the browser route and providing a magazine experience cost-effectively. Not all the bells and whistles, but up and out there.
BCT Publishing is pursuing this “no frills” tablet strategy with its flagship title, Automotive Traveler.
Richard Truesdell, editorial director of Automotive Traveler and the website says:
“Tablets like the iPad add a new level of portability to web content that wasn't available to us back in 2007. The 10-inch form factor rivals a traditional magazine. It allows us to give our audience the most magazine-like product we can, with all the things we love about a magazine – the structure, the editorial focus, with recognizable contributors and professional editors.”
Truesdell questions the logic of any small publisher dedicating resources to the iPad and other tablets that are currently owned by just 4% of U.S. households. But he also sees the potential of a mass market developing for tablets as Android, Windows Phone 7 and other new devices debut in a variety of form factors and lower price points.
“We're taking an all-inclusive approach in trying to bridge the divide between the comfort of traditional print magazines and something that can be delivered digitally to the widest possible readership,” he said.
That means a digital magazine that can be viewed through any browser, with minimal scrolling and zooming. To ensure iPhone and iPad compatibility, BCT Technical Director Jay Sherman built a proprietary, non-Flash viewer.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Think positive; think honeysuckle: the colour of the year for 2011

The Pantone Colour Institute has unveiled the 2011 colour of the year and it is...honeysuckle. (Which I always thought was yellow. But apparently not.)
"While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many," says the Pantone release, "Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.
“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”
In case you were keeping track, here are the recent colours-of-the year:
  • 2010 Turquoise
  • 2009 Mimosa
  • 2008 Blue Iris
  • 2007 Chili Pepper
  • 2006 Sand Dollar
Pantone says that honeysuckle is guaranteed to produce a healthy glow when worn by both men and women and a lively flair to interior spaces. Watch for it in layouts in the leading shelter magazines.

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Liberal Senator asks for revocation of $1.5 million in federal funding from Maclean's

Senator Poy
Oh, boy, this is simply going way too far. 
A Liberal senator from Toronto, Vivienne Poy, wants Canadian Heritage to yank $1.5 million in funding from Maclean's magazine for its recent article now indelibly labelled "Too Asian?", a headline which the magazine acknowledged was misunderstood. 
From a story in Georgia Straight, by Steven Hui:
Senator Vivienne Poy of Toronto has sent a letter to Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore, calling the magazine's controversial “Too Asian?” article "offensive material" and a "legitimate reason" to revoke the publication's federal funding.
In her letter dated December 16, Poy notes that the city councils of Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto have all passed motions condemning the piece.

The November 10 article, since retitled "The Enrollment Controversy", has been described as "offensive and full of stereotypes" by the Chinese Canadian National Council, which has demanded an "unqualified public apology" from Maclean's.
Poy, a former University of Toronto chancellor, points out that the magazine has also garnered complaints that it has exhibited an "anti-Islamic bias".

"It has offended large portions of the Canadian population through its divisive journalism, which is increasingly unprofessional," Poy wrote in her letter. "As such, given Maclean's propensity for speculation, editorializing, and courting controversy merely for the sake of publicity, it should no longer be deemed worthy of public funding by Canadian Heritage."
Maclean's is due to receive $1.5 million in funding from the Canada Periodical fund, the maximum available, and is one of only a handful of larger titles to do so.
From a report in Saturday's Globe and Mail:
A month after the article first appeared, critics continue to agitate against Maclean’s and its parent company, Rogers.

Organizers have begun distributing 12,500 buttons with the words “Too Asian for Maclean’s” and “Too Asian for Rogers.” Protests are being organized at the University of Toronto, the University of Victoria, McMaster University and Ryerson University, according to Brad Lee, who created a Facebook page as a venue for criticism. He said his page received more than 17,000 hits in the last 24 hours, and more than 100 groups have endorsed a letter opposing anti-Asian racism.

“As Canadians we strongly believe in freedom of the press,” he said. “As taxpayers we don’t want our money spent on a media outlet that misrepresents us.”
Related posts:


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Waterloo Region newspaper's lifestyle title Grand going strong after 5 years

Five years ago, when the Waterloo Region Record newspaper launched a couple of magazines -- one about business, one lifestyle title, there was some well-founded scepticism; newspapers routinely think it is no big whoops to do a magazine the same way they do the daily, and often fail. 
However the Record (a subsidiary of Torstsar's Metroland media group which publishes an astonishing number of targetted lifestyle magazines across Ontario) has proven its mettle. While the business title foundered, the lifestyle bimonthly, Grand magazine, has gone from strength to strength and is celebrating its 5th anniversary with a fat holiday issue. 
The magazine has a controlled circulation of 19,000 in this booming region, which includes the cities of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo plus four rural townships.It has the expected focus on people and stuff: home decor, local cuisine, health and fitness and travel. By exclusively spotlighting local people and local goods and services, it has carved out a valuable niche and augmented it by insisting on professional design, photography and production values (a perfect-bound glossy).

It has also given its advertisers the online opportunity to offer promotions and their own digital flyers. Those who don't pick it up at a participating location can have a 6-issue mail subscription for $33.76 (including HST). And it has developed a branded consumer show.
A 1x full page ad in the magazine is $2,650 and a leaderboard on the magazine's website is $199 a month.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Toronto City Council censures Maclean's's
"Too Asian?" article

Toronto City Council last night voted 30-11 to ask Maclean's magazine to "apologize unreservedly" for an article published last month with its "Too Asian?" headline (later amended online). The thrust of the article was to question whether the preponderance of Asian students at the University of Toronto was turning away other students.
The Toronto vote is the most recent such censure motion to be passed by municipalities with large Asian populations: Victoria was the first, Vancouver passed a similar motion a week ago. 
The motions are more than pro forma; in fact, it seems that Maclean's may be happy with the kerfuffle, which keeps its brand in the public eye on a daily basis.

The magazine essentially acknowledged that the headline was over the top by its decision to amend it, though it pointed out that it was a direct quote from an authoritative source.
"Although the phrase “Too Asian?” was a question and, again, a quotation from an authoritative source, it upset many people. We expected that it would be provocative, but we did not intend to cause offence."
But pursuing such provocative topics is a commonplace for Maclean's these days. By its vote last night, Toronto City Council won't be changing that strategy anytime soon and may encourage it.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

New magazine promotes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Practitioners and those who'd like to be in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) now have a magazine of their own. Jits Magazine, which has an initial print press run of 10,000 copies and companion website, was launched today.
"It's all about finding a really great balance in your life and balancing training with the rest of your life," says publisher Dave Menceles in a story in the Toronto Star. It's described in the story as a blend of judo and amateur wrestling.
"Getting all the positive effects that training Jiu Jitsu has on the other parts of your life...There's a worldwide community of people who do BJJ and it's very supportive....When I talk to people to people who aren't familiar with the sport and try to explain it they say 'so it's basically dudes rolling around on the ground with each other, right?'" Menceles says. "It's much, much more than that. It's really a beautiful sport.""
The quarterly magazine is distributed free at selected gyms and relevant retailers,but is also available by mail subscription for $19.99 plus HST.


Quebecor's 24 Heures bumps Transcontinental's Metro out of Montreal subway

Quebecor Media has hip-checked Transcontinental Media out of the way to take over exclusive distribution rights for its free daily paper 24 Heures on the Montreal subway system. La Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) said Thursday it has granted a five year exclusive contract to Quebecor's Sun Media Corp. following the considerations of tendered proposals; the new arrangement begins January 3. 
Previous to this, since 2001, Transcontinental Media's Métro newspaper had exclusive distribution rights on the Metro.
The STM will receive a page of content in each edition of the 5-day-a-week 24 Heures.
A press release from Quebecor said that 24 Hours/Heures employs over 30 journalists, desk manager and photographers and is the most widely distributed free daily in the Greater Montreal area.
"As a company firmly established in Montreal, Quebecor Media understands the necessity to help meet the city's public transit challenges. That is why we are very happy to be joining forces with the STM and to leverage our media and technology networks to help create a mass movement towards public transportation," said Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor Media.
"Our new distribution partnership with the STM will allow us to reach all metro users, throughout the day. This will undoubtedly contribute to accelerating the exceptional growth 24 Heures has experienced since being launched in 2001," said Christianne Benjamin, 24 Heures Editor and 24 Heures-24 Hours Vice-President at Sun Media Corporation.
According to the most recent NADbank data, Métro had five-day accumulated circulation of 688,800 in Greater Montreal; 24 Heures had 561,900. This compares with Journal de Montreal (owned by Quebecor) with 1.124 million,  La Presse with 650,100 and The Gazette (English language) 442,600.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let it snow, we've got our iPad to keep us warm

British digital software provider PageSuite, which creates iPhone, iPad & Android apps from deep in the Kentish countryside, had some fun at iPad's expense when it came time to send the company's video season's greetings.

Thomson Reuters woos publishers by launching Reuters America wire service

Although it denies that it is an "anti-AP" move, Thomson Reuters has launched an American wire service that promises to provide cash-strapped newspapers, radio and television with general news, business and financial coverage, sports and entertainment news.According to a Reuters story, the service called Reuters America is part of a multi-million dollar investment that aims to compete with the Associated Press and CNN's wire service.
Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside journalists, or "stringers," to provide general news stories in addition to its business and financial news. It also will write stories commissioned by its news clients.
"This is being designed and being run in a way that is not one size fits all," said Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters' president of media. "It gives (publishers) comfort and flexibility that there are other choices than... some of the legacy providers."
Reuters owns a worldwide news agency as well as a newswire business providing financial and professional data to business.
 The Reuters story points out that, about two years ago, major metropolitan newspapers such as the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Boston Globe, urged the AP to lower its fees and some newspapers such as the the Tribune Co., publishers of the Chicago Tribune,  threatened to leave. At about that time, CNN started its news agency as a cheaper alternative.


Rogers makes it easy for its magazines to be purchased with gift cards

The consumer hunger for e-gift cards has caused Rogers Publishing to launch a program for its magazines that sells whatever number of issues fit within $25 or $50 gift amounts. According to a story in Masthead subscription details and bundles of magazines were modified to fit into the standard card amounts, including taxes.
“We have seen the statistics that over 50% of shoppers will buy at least one gift card during the holiday season so we wanted to get at that market” [said Rogers Publishing senior director, multi-magazine sales Suzanne Phillips.] “A normal subscription to Chatelaine is $14.95 but for $25 including tax people will get 18 issues with the eGift Card program,” she says. Bundles of magazines were also created for the program, such as packaging three issues of MoneySense and 12 of Canadian Business for $25. 


Magazine world view: Newspaper to become magazine; US postage hike; open or closed? Last with the news


Advertising Standards Council advertises that truth in advertising matters

The Advertising Standards Council is launching a new advertising campaign of its own to drive home the message that truth in advertising matters. The multi-media, national public service campaign is called "Truth in Advertising Matters".According to an ASC release
Developed by Cossette in Toronto, the multi‐media attention grabbing advertising campaign takes a tongue‐in‐cheek approach, presenting a variety of situations that have been purposely exaggerated or distorted, and then makes the point that “Dressing it up doesn’t make it true.” The advertising ends with the ASC’s theme line: “Truth in Advertising Matters.”
“We all know that maintaining consumer confidence in advertising is essential. That’s why Advertising Standards Canada exists. Truth in advertising is equally important to the advertising industry and the public,” says ASC President and CEO Linda Nagel. “Cossette did a great job in finding a way to deliver this message with a dramatic flair. Like all good advertising, it’s designed to stand out and drive our message home.”
Print ads use highly stylized and boldly painted illustrations and a 30‐second TV spot uses an awkward moment between a teenager and her dad to make the point.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Magazines Canada welcomes six new member titles

Magazines Canada has welcomed six new member titles:
  • Birthing magazine About healthy alternatives so they can make the most informed choices during the childbearing year and beyond.
  • Eighteen Bridges -- people, politics, culture, and ideas; its articles substantial, in-depth, and grounded in the narrative tradition.
  • Here's How! --Canada's largest circulated lifestyle technology magazine targeting active, travel-savvy, high-end, design-oriented Canadians, who use consumer technology to enhance their lives.
  • The Newfoundland Quarterly -- art, history and culture, publishing four times a year.
  • OCW magazine -- Hybrid art book, literary journal, and magazine, showcasing new ideas and new voices and is a new way of experiencing art. With a spotlight on Canadian artists -- particularly those in British Columbia -- features work across the spectrum of art-making
  • One Hour Empire -- Contemporary culture magazine featuring new and rediscovered works that explore creative practice, theory and speculation.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Quote, unquote: Why newspapers don't create good magazines

Newspapers do fast food. Whether they're the McDonald's-like mass-market appeal of The Sun, the broadsheets' Caffe Nero or Prêt à Manger, or even the Daily Sport's late-night kebab house full of pissed-up punters, they're all in the business of efficiently serving large quantities to large numbers of people every day. They get the customers fed, they wipe down the counter and they start the prep for the next day's rush. No pause for reflection, no room for individual chefs' talents or differing ingredients. Like a fast food chain, they de-skill wherever possible, and aim for consistency rather than genius. It's a mass-produced item.

But magazines do restaurant food. They take time and trouble, and they genuinely care about the quality of the result. Often they can be the result of one person's vision, in a Gordon Ramsay/Marco Pierre White/ Raymond Blanc sense – think of James Brown at Loaded, Marcelle D'Argy Smith at Cosmo, or Tina Brown at Vanity Fair. Or they can be a great team who are deeply knowledgeable about their ingredients – ie their subject matter – and have a decent number of faithful, regular customers. Many niche mags are like the reliable local bistro; not earth-shatteringly innovative, but always welcoming and good value. There's room for variation and variety.
-- British blogger Chris Maillard writing a couple of weeks ago about why newspapers, at least British newspapers, struggle to produce a decent standalone magazine.


Quote, unquote: Is the iPad stereo redux?

"I fear at the moment we're in the psychedelic stage of iPad magazine development, where the digital equivalents of stereo panning, extreme reverb, phasing and backwards tapes are being used to distract attention from the fact that in the end it's all about the tunes."
-- Blogger David Hepworth, comparing the mania to get on the iPad with the earlier mania in the '60s to put anything, and we mean anything, in stereo.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Make internships in creative industries more accessible to the less well off, says UK report

Informal recruitment through word-of-mouth and social networks is one of the key reasons why young people from affluent families get ahead in creative industries such as publishing, according to a study released by the UK think tank Social Market Foundation.
In other words, to get your foot on the rungs of the ladder in design, publishing, architecture and advertising, it's not what you know so much as who you know. It's opportunity, rather than ability that is unevenly distributed, says Alan Milburn, who contributed a chapter to the study, which is entitled Disconnected: Social mobility and the creative industries. The report is available as a downloadable pdf.
The report says that networking is much more important than internships, which are out of reach of the less affluent, who can't afford to support their living costs while working unpaid.
Rather than focussing so much on phasing out unpaid internships (which, as readers of this blog will know are endemic in the magazine industry in Canada), the report recommends a concentration on ensuring that such opportunities are extended beyond the better off, giving opportunity to the widest possible range of young people.
In the introduction to the report, Milburn says:
Action is needed on several fronts. The creative industries could take a lead, for example, on internships. They have become a new rung on the professional ladder but they need to be brought out of the informal economy where they are at present and made far more widely accessible. The industry could establish a new Code of Practice to make internships more transparent, a new website to openly advertise them and a kitemark to recognise best practice.
Making a professional career open to the widest pool of talent is not about social engineering or dumbing down. It is about making current access routes fairer and ensuring that those young people who succeed in gaining a top job do so based on talent and merit alone.


8 ways to tune up your professional skills at Ryerson's magazine and web publishing program

The Magazine and Web Publishing program in Ryerson University's Chang School for Continuing Education in Toronto is offering 8 professional development opportunities starting in January. New this year is Ad Sales on the Web, taught by Martin White.
Classes start the week of January 10.
42-hour (14 week) courses:
Magazine and Website Editing with Penny Caldwell

Introduction to Magazine Design with Jayne Finn

Advanced Feature Writing with David Hayes
21-hour (7 week) courses:
Editing Service Journalism with Doug O’Neill
Ad Sales on the Web with Martin White  NEW
Register early to avoid disappointment. Classes start the week of January 10. More information is available at


Demolishing the "God complex" in ad industry is strategy of new Marketing editor

The new editor of Marketing magazine, Tom Gierasimczuk, has put out a heckuva bow wake with his interview with the Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt this morning. He was brought into the traditional publication covering the advertising and media industries to shake things up. And this apparently includes getting himself, and the magazine, talked about in fairly graphic terms.
When he interviewed for the job, he says Rogers executives were clear in their expectations: “Piss people off, get them talking, be indispensable. No matter what they think of you, they’re gonna grab you [the magazine].” He pauses, chuckles, and references another Rogers publication: “It’s essentially what Maclean’s is doing.”
The Globe story points out that, in a world in which media and advertising is in turmoil, Marketing had become somewhat staid, what Houpt described as a "blandly supportive house-organ approach". 
Mr. Gierasimczuk says he’d like Marketing to be a Rolling Stone for this time and place. “It’s a potential journal to document the paranoia of an industry, and an industry’s uncertainty.”
“You gotta take your head out of the sand,” he adds. “What’s happening in the industry, it is humbling, and hopefully their sort of God complex is crumbling a little bit. It needs to.”
 Related posts:


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Magazine world view: Flipboard; Ebony; e-ink; standards; Wallace & Gromit


Best Health magazine launches healthy
blogging awards

Best Health magazine is on the lookout for the best blogs about its subject areas --beauty, cooking & healthy eating, fitness and personal growth. So it has launched the Best Health Blog Awards, with nominations accepted until January 30 and finalists announced February 16.Top bloggers will be announced March 31.
 All finalists will receive a Best Health Blog Awards badge for use on their blog, recognition on and the four top blogs will also be featured in the Summer 2011 issue of Best Health magazine.
“Best Health is all about taking a balanced approach to living better and feeling great,” says Kat Tancock, Senior Web Editor at Best Health and Reader's Digest. “We’re excited to hear from our readers and learn more about the Canadian bloggers who inspire them, all while presenting their ideas in a fun and informative way.” Tancock also writes the Magazines Online blog.


"Unpublished" Grafik last issue heralds the magazine's revival in 2011

Some months ago we reported on the lamentable closure of Grafik magazine. Since then there has been planned a revival of the high end graphic design title by its original editorial team, but under new ownership. Well now the "unpublished" last issue of Grafik (ready to go in June 2010 when the abrupt closure was announced) has been posted online as a pdf and it is the precursor to a relaunched print magazine and website in the new year.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New measurement tool promises to track return on marketing investment

Matterhorn, a new data analysis tool for measuring the effectiveness of ad spending in publications and other media, is being introduced by media planning company Telmar. According to a story in MediaDailyNews, the new system measures return on investment for the first time, looking at brand awareness, differentiation and persuasion over the life of a media plan. It would be considered  alongside of, and possibly replacing, the usual measurement CPM, which counts the costs of reaching a thousand readers.
"This has been the Holy Grail of media planning for years," said Telmar chief Stan Federman, during an exclusive preview of the system for MediaDailyNews. Federman was referring to the elusive goal of tying media exposure to marketing results, and the multitude of attempts made on Madison Avenue - including expensive "single-source" measurement systems, and proprietary marketer and agency systems...
"Reach and frequency is great. CPM is great, but what's it really going to do in terms of moving my client's goods," Federman said. Now planners have the ability to take the time-consumer marketing ROI analysis and build it into their plans."


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Magazines BC elects a new executive

Magazines BC now has a full executive slate after the following were elected at the recent board meeting:
  • President -- Kim Mah, managing editor, TV Week
  • Vice-president --Steve Ceron, publisher, Arrival
  • Treasurer -- Alexandra Samur, managing editor,
  • Secretary -- Michele MacKenzie, marketing consultant, Business in Vancouver
The new slate was made necessary because of the resignation at the first of November of president Elizabeth Rains, treasurer Jennifer MacLeod and director at large Patrick Mackenzie. Macleod is leaving Color magazine in December. Rains's  is said to intend to rejoin the board sometime in the future. Mah, then vice-president, stepped in as acting president until the recent board vote. MacKenzie and Samur are new to the board.
* * *
The regional association is getting ready for its annual conference ("magazine camp") at the Tigh-Na-Mara resort in Nanaimo January 28 to 30. Keynote speaker is Terry Sellwood, the general manager of Quarto Communications. Other presenters will be
  • Jon Spencer of Abacus Circulation; 
  • Haig Armen, creative director, LiFT Studios and John Maxwell, assistant professor, SFU Master of Publishing program;
  • John Burns, editor at Vancouver magazine and instructor at Capilano University;
  • Gwen Dunant, president of Dunant Consulting and Magazines Canada program coordinator;
  • Hilary Henegar, digital editor of;
  • Patty Osborne, executive director of Geist magazine;
  • Rick Staehling, art director, instructor and consultant


Are magazine apps being met with a yawn by advertisers?

Magazines that have invested heavily in online apps are finding that the payoff is smaller than their investment now and may continue to be for years to come.
Those publishers who have taken the plunge and hired staff and put money into upfront and development costs are finding that their investments are being met at worst with a yawn by advertisers and at best lukewarm ad interest, according to a story in Brandweek.
While there is a lot of hype and a very few success stories, audiences are too small to have much impact.
"The problem with apps is, not a ton of people are downloading them," said Martin Walker, a publishing industry consultant. "It's a very small business at the moment. Apple still owns it and they won't let you sell subs. You can't make money on something where you're selling a few thousand copies."
Forthcoming tablets that support the Android platform are expected to offer a subscription option, but that opportunity won't come without extra cost. Until developers come up with a way to let publishers create apps that will work on multiple devices, publishers will have to spend more to customize their apps for each screen size and operating system.
Publishers privately downplay their apps' development costs. But whether they grow their apps in-house or use an outside developer, development and ongoing staffing costs are adding up.
Even for companies that profess not to be hiring a lot of additional people, there are the hidden costs of staffers' time that could have been spent on other products.
"There's a lot of investment for the future," said Andy Sareyan, president of consumer brands at Meredith Corp.'s magazine group, which expects to create apps for Better Homes and Gardens, Fitness and its other titles. But, he added, "there will be a time when these are profitable. When that time is, I don't know."
The Brandweek story notes that publishers, making apps free, may be may be replicating a mistake they made 15 years ago when they used websites as a upsell bonus and then found it hard to charge for online ads.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Golden opportunity with C magazine launch of its "Money" issue

C Magazine launches its “Money” issue on Wednesday in Toronto with an issue containing an artist project by Abbas Akhavan called what is above is as that which is below…. He  has hand-inserted a sheet of imitation gold leaf in the centrefold of each of 2,200 copies of the magazine and there are 25 special limited edition magazines with real gold leaf, signed and numbered by the artist. They sell for $50 a copy. The gold leaf (imitation and the real thing) overlays a low-resolution pornographic image taken from the Internet and an image of a gold mine.
"With continued handling the gold leaf deteriorates, leaving a shimmering gold nugget where the sheet has been affixed to the magazine. The inside back cover image, titled and… presents the text “what is below is as that which is above” gilded onto a gallery wall in real gold leaf and licked off by the artist. Conjoining the centerfold image, the gilded text circles back to the title of the centerfold, creating an endless loop that evokes, alternately, physical transcendence and bodily abjection. An article by Marina Roy, titled Holy Shit, accompanies the artist project," says the magazine in a release.
Regular issues will be available at the launch for $5 a copy or free with a subscription. Christmas gift subscriptions are $15.The launch is  Wednesday December 8 from 7 -10 p.m. at the Beaver, 1192 Queen Street West.

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Something solid to say about freelancer-publisher relations in the Canadian magazine industry

It is almost always alarming and dispiriting when a settled system, like a marriage, is disrupted. I have been reading a legal textbook that deserves the widest possible circulation because it addresses the issues involved in just such a breakup -- the relationship between magazine publishers and their freelance suppliers.
The author of Copyright, Contracts, Creators: New Media, New Rules is Giuseppina D'Agostino, an associate professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and the founding director of IP Osgoode.
As I say, the longstanding system for assigning and paying freelance writers is broken, at least from the perspective of freelancers (and, I would argue, from thoughtful publishers, too); so far nothing good is taking its place.
Freelancers are all-but despairing about the trend to blanket, all-rights contracts being imposed by big, multi-title publishers such as Transcontinental Media and Rogers Publishing, without commensurate additional compensation -- what is characterized as a "rights grab". Publishers, on the other hand, see the future of digital publishing lies in control of copyright and the ability to repurpose and re-sell material they commission, so they appear to be resolute in their strategy. They do so even in the face of resistance by more seasoned freelancers because publishers take the view that there is a glut of hopefuls willing to accept the terms to take their place.
While D'Agostino's book casts a wider net than the smallish world of Canadian magazines -- indeed takes a trip around the world of freelancer-publisher relations -- much of what she outlines and the solutions she suggests should be read by every freelancer, agency, editor and publishers (both independents and those inside our Canada's largest media conglomerates.)
This is unquestionably an academic textbook and therefore not the easiest going, what with the scholarly approach, extensive footnotes, table of legal cases and bibliography. But it repays the effort because D'Agostsino's writing is quite sprightly and she resists the tempation to be mealy-mouthed and obscure about the issues. 
It is clear from her introduction, conclusion and body of the book that she is sympathetic to the plight of freelancers in a digital age and that she's not at all sure that it's in the long-term best interests of the business and publishers to ignore that plight or ride roughshod over freelancers just because they can. They want to be the primary rights holders and exploiters and if this means using their power to cut freelancers out of the loop, so be it.
The book evaluates the adequacy of current copyright law by taking an historical look back  and looking at the experiences in the U.S. and various European countries to see how they differ in their approach and how much they share with Canada's experience. She says that the copyright matrix is shot through with ambiguity and confusion. As she says in her introduction:
"I argue that copyright law, which purported to address the needs of the author through protection of works and thus to create incentives to produce and bolster societal well-being, has insufficiently met these objectives."
D'Agostino goes into some detail about a pivotal case whose results resonate in Canada. The so-called "Tasini Case" involved six freelance writers, led by National Writers Union president John Tasini, sued three publishers, including the New York Times, Newsday Inc. and Time Inc. 
The dispute centred on 21 articles written by the freelancers between 1990 and 1993, in which they had registered copyright. Without explicit permission of the writers, the publishers had sold licenses to the articles to third-party databases. The outcome was a majority decision of the Supreme Court that essentially took the side of the freelancers.
In many of the most important ways, the dispute paralleled the drawn-out Robertson case in Canada, a class action led by Heather Robertson (Robertson vs. Thomson Corp et al) taking on most of Canada's publishers for doing essentially the same thing as in Tasini. However in Canada, D'Agostino points out, the Supreme Court, while finding for Robertson on the issue of copyright infringement, shied away from pronouncing on the central issue of licensing.
"And so the majority opinion," she says, "seemingly more sympathetic to freelancers, acknowledges that it has not even begun to scratch the surface of the real issue: had freelancers implied a wish to give away their digital rights in the first place?"
D'Agostino suggests that what is needed are "equilibrated solutions", saying that such solutions need to work through some combination of legislative intervention, education, collective action by freelancers,  stronger agreement in the industry about best practices and a voluntary code. "I have often argued," she says, "change is often necessary where it is most resisted." She says that the scales have been tipped too far, too long in favour of the publishers:
"There was a time, at least rhetorically, when publishers and authors were thought to be in a 'joint adventure'. Certainly such a concept no longer figures in the caselaw, let alone current publishing practices, which yield more of a freelancer-publisher misadventure."
She also says that while what is assigned or licensed is basically a matter of negotiation, freelancers are seldom in a position to negotiate favourable terms. In another context, this would be referred to as "lack of leverage". 
" Freelancers, especially in the common law, remain short-changed by national copyright legislation."
In all the blather and emotion of this situation, it is good to have some hard facts, some in-depth review and some well-reasoned argument brought together in one tidy package. While painting a somewhat gloomy picture in part D'Agostino has gone to some trouble to suggest that there is no need to accept the status quo, which isn't working very well for the writers or the public and, arguably, for publishers.
While people may be put off by the price of the book ($116.96 ordered online from the publisher--  not uncommon for a legal text -- and also available as an e-book) it is good value for money.
Copyright, Contracts, Creators: New Media, New Rules 
by Giuseppina D'Agostino, Edward Elgar, 2010. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reader's Digest believes it has the recipe for a bigger position in food editorial

Reader's Digest, in collaboration with its food and recipe website has launched a regular new editorial section of RD called Open Kitchen
While Reader's Digest has always had a share of the lucrative packaged goods and food-related advertising, this editorial cross-pollination makes it a somewhat bigger player in the market.
At the same time as launching Open Kitchen in its December issue, edited by the new food editor Valerie Howes, the company is launching a French version of the Allrecipes Dinner Spinner, an application for iPhone and iPad matching time-stretched readers with everyday ideas about how to feed themselves and their families. The "slot machine" format is activated by shaking the iPhone or iPad and it comes up with various food combinations (I can remember the cartoon character Cathy who lamented 'Where do you get a pound of cooked chicken?') .
And newsstand buyers of the December RD edition get a bonus 48-page Allrecipes booklet, sole-sponsored by Kraft Canada, which is one of the biggest accounts in the food advertising business.

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FIPP becomes...FIPP, officially

The International Federation of the Periodical Press, which everyone has taken to calling FIPP has changed its name officially to FIPP Limited, with the revised tagline "The worldwide media magazine association".  The change was approved by members at a general meeting December 2.
"FIPP is not only changing its name, but also its mission, its organisation structure, and its approach to its products and services so that it represents more appropriately what our members are doing and the journey they are on in developing multimedia brands that come from a magazine heritage starting point,*” said president and CEO Chris Llewellyn in a post on its website
The new name and mission is being reflected in new articles of association which will have the added benefit for FIPP's far-flung members (of whom Magazines Canada is one) that future communications can be sent electronically; until now, everything was mandated to be delivered in hard copy.
[*How do you like the concept of print being a "magazine heritage starting point"?]

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Swiss distributor to open Motto Vancouver, a new source for indy titles

A new, very specialized magazine and bookstore is opening in Vancouver on December 9 at the Or Gallery, an artist-run centre at 555 Hamilton Street. It's called Motto Vancouver and it is an offshoot of a Switzerland-based company called Motto Distribution which specializes in hard-to-find indy magazines and fanzines. 
Started in 2007 to serve the Swiss market, it has since expanded to serve more than 20 outlets --galleries, independent bookstores, chainstores, galleries, museums and concepts stores in Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, Geneva and Basel. In December of 2008 it opened its first standalone, permanent bookstore, in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Motto Berlin functions not only as a store, but an event space for discussions around publishing about art, graphic design, photography, typography and related matters. There is also Motto Brooklyn.
Now, in collaboration with the Vancouver culture magazine Fillip (3x a year, published by the Projectile Publishing Society) it is opening a Canadian outlet.
[We'd appreciate a comment from anyone who attends the opening.]

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Friday, December 03, 2010

New interactive digital fashion magazine Real Style is launched

A new Canadian interactive digital fashion title called Real Style Magazine was launched this week. It is an extension of the website The magazine has a Twitter feed
“The Real Style Magazine will work synergistically with the Real Style Network website and Real Style TV’s You Tube channel to bring an enhanced digital fashion experience to our readers. Our editors and contributors are style experts who will show fashion lovers what to wear, how to wear it and where to buy it for a great price!”  says founder and President, Elen Steinberg.
The senior editor is Afiya Francisco a former editor at Lou Lou and Style at Home who runs a blog called;  the art director is Jill Monsod who  is art director at The Magazine and was associate art director at Wish and Chatelaine and a senior designer at Canadian House & Home. Among contributors is Karen Kwan, former health and lifestyle editor at Flare magazine.


Getty Images offers new Eurostyle fashion and lifestyle line of syndicated photography

Getty Images, the photo agency that specializes in celebrity portraits through its Contour by Getty Images, has now launched Contour Style, which provides high-end fashion, travel, interiors and lifestyle imagery to art directors and publishers. It has an exclusive distribution agreement with  Figaro Photos – Le Figaro, Le Figaro Madame and Le Figaro Magazine.

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Digital newsstands to launch in U.S. in Q1 of 2011

[This post has been updated] Next Issue Media, a consortium of the four biggest magazine companies in the U.S. -- Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith and Time Inc. -- is finally going to launch its digital newsstand in the first quarter of 2011, according to a story on MediaDailyNews.  
Digital and mobile publisher Texterity and design firm The Wonderfactory will be launching their own digital publishing platform in Q1 of 2011, announcing that it will target niche, trade and association publishers with technical "sophistication currently reserved for the largest consumer magazines." 
[Update: A story in minonline gives more detail about the Texterity/Wonderfactory offering:
  • The applications will all be done in HTML5 and will vary by device but have a "family similarity";
  • There will be a series of add-on modules, depending on the degree of sophistication required;
  • Magazines will be asked for a 12-month commitment at a per-issue cost of about $1,500 plus $200 - $500 for each module.]
In Canada, the digital newsstand partnership between Magazines Canada and Zinio is well into its second year of operation. 

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Department of loyal readers: "This is me, in front of the pyramids, holding the magazine"

What would we do without loyal readers? Here is Vince Hancock of Hamilton, Ontario, holding up a copy of Downhome magazine in front of the pyramids in Egypt. It is one of the many reader photos regularly submitted to the popular title.


Would a Lagardère sale have some impact on Transcontinental Media?

The French media company Lagardère says it may sell its international magazines in order to concentrate on its domestic publishing operation. The company, which publishes Paris Match, owns Elle magazine and a change in ownership would obviously be of some interest to Transcontinental Media, which publishes Elle Canada (right) and Elle Quebec under license from Lagardère subsidiary Hachette Filipacchi Media.
Lagardère is reportedly in talks with up to five publishers over the possible sale and is reported to have held presentations to US media giant Hearst – which owns NatMags in the UK - as well as Bauer Media Group [said a report in Press Gazette.]
The suggestion of a sale may affect titles such as Car and Driver and Woman's Day that it owns through its Hachette division.
A story in Mediaweek says that the company is close to a deal to sell Hachette to Hearst.

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Quote, unquote: Billionaire Branson speaks up for the trees

PROJECT magazine demo - issue 1 from PROJECT on Vimeo.
“It's quite a good idea that paper disappears. It's best that trees are growing and not being cut down and I do believe that the writing is on the wall for paper.”
-- Media tycoon Richard Branson, who this week launched his iPad-only magazine Project, which is now available as a paid download ($2.99 an issue). Branson, the billionaire owner of the Virgin Group, has been launched ahead of a similar venture that is to be launched by another billionaire, Rupert Murdoch of the News Group.  


Fact checking remains a priority, says Reader's Digest EIC Goyette

Reader's Digest, which this week laid off its entire staff of researchers and fact checkers (8 positions in all), remains committed to the fact checking rigour for which the publication has always been known, according to its editor in chief, Robert Goyette. 
"We remain as committed to fact checking as we ever were," he said in a phone conversation. "These are activities that bring value to the readers and we still value them highly." The difference now is that the magazine has made a business decision to save money by outsourcing fact checking and research to freelancers rather than having full-time staff doing it.
He said he was very sensitive to the uncertainties this would bring to the lives of those losing their jobs, but hoped to negotiate some degree of stability for some of them in terms of a guaranteed number of billable hours during a transition period. 
He also said that RD has recruited freelancers who are familiar with the magazine's standards and expectations and that the work would go on, regardless.
Reader's Digest magazine is effectively the last holdout in the broader company, where book publishing and other magazine titles such as Our Canada and Best Health already outsource fact checking and research.
A story about the layoffs on Mastheadonline quoted Goyette:
“We are shifting to a variable cost model,” he says. “With the old model we had permanent employees which had downtime after the issue closed and then were rushing to get it out in the last few days. Now it will allow us to better adjust the resources. It is based on a cost model which has been proven at other departments in the company, including Our Canada.”
This provoked a number of angry anonymous comments:
  • "What every salaried professional longs to hear: 'Goyette says he hopes most of the affected staff will stay on with the company as freelancers.' "
  • "I started my magazine career as a Reader's Digest fact checker and do not remember having much down time. In my experience, as magazine's staffs and budgets shrink, editorial staff do not have enough time, let alone down time. Why do management always keep their jobs while jettisoning the people who do increasingly more work with fewer resources?"
  • "Variable-cost model?! Don't you mean the no-cost model? No cost for medical. No cost for dental. No cost for pension. No cost for long-term disability. No cost for life insurance. Aren't there laws against firing your staff then hiring them back on contract for less?"
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