Friday, September 30, 2011

The copyright bill watcher's field guide

With the retabling of federal copyright legislation, poet and writer John Degen has posted a fact sheet and list of Do's and Dont's for people thinking about this legislation. Most of the attention seems to be being paid to digital locking provisions, but there is so much more that should concern and alarm writers and publishers. A few of each of Degen's observations:
Don’t assume that if some fair dealing is good, more fair dealing will be great – The pressure is on by so called user-rights activists to endlessly expand the fair dealing provision within the Copyright Act. More pernicious than just the adding of new categories to fair dealing (see C-11’s new “Education” category) is the free-culture movement’s desire to take logical, established category definitions and make them so vague (again, see “Education”) that just about any use will fall under them. Fair Dealing was designed as a necessarily limited provision for use. If we remove the limits, we terminally weaken copyright. I am hoping for clarifying amendments in the fair dealing section of C-11.

Do share – The Internet’s impact on the sharing of culture is indisputable. Never has it been easier for creators and cultural professionals to get their work out there and gather audience and/or readers around it. I think we should all be experimenting as boldly and fearlessly as we can with new business models for cultural distribution, but always with a firm grasp on our rights.

Don’t confuse actual sharing with forced-sharing (also known as taking) – Any three-year old knows the difference between wanting to share and being forced to share. Free-culture businesses such as Google and YouTube are making billions of dollars selling advertising on top of freely shared content. Fair enough. But when the sharing is forced (Google Books, YouTube “mash-ups” that go far beyond fair dealing) then copyright has been ignored. Don’t give in to this often intentional conflation.

Do love schools and libraries – the cultural sector has always been and should always be the strongest supporters of and partners with education and libraries. I recommend all creators and cultural professionals volunteer their time and content as much as they can in both libraries and schools.

Don’t let this love turn you into a content doormat – Sometimes love hurts. Such is the case right now when a Canadian cultural collective (Access Copyright) finds itself having to fight the misguided free-culture impulses of some of our traditional partners. This goes back to the difference between sharing and taking. The universities and colleges currently refusing to negotiate with Access Copyright want to continue to use Canadian creative content without having to pay for it. This is not about a fantastic professor you know inviting you to speak in her classroom and not having the budget to pay you; this is about extraordinarily well-financed post-secondary institutions wanting to cut collective licensing out of their expense lines altogether.
Degan is the literature officer for the Ontario Arts Council, but is careful always to state that his views are his own and not of his employer, the OAC.


enRoute magazine launches new look and features with October issue

Seat pockets on all Air Canada flights starting tomorrow will have a new-look enRoute magazine after a complete makeover by art director Nathalie Cusson and associate art director Tania Chiarotto. The magazine was relaunched at an event in Toronto this week and in a release the editor-in-chief Ilana Weitzman says that it includes new departments and new front-of-the-book features as enRoute beefs up its service aspects. 
One new feature is Ask a Frequent Flyer, a column in which a reader panel of same answer readers' travel questions from personal experience. 
The cover redesign shows the magazine's coverlines contained in a vertical colour swatch reminiscent of a luggage tag. The October issue cover image is a photo by Chris Nicolls, shot in Mexico City, presented on a new stock with a combined matte and glossy finish. 
Of course, you don’t want to mess too much with a good thing [says the release]. “The new enRoute expands on the qualities – including award-winning journalism, design and photography – that have already made the publication a favourite of close to a million readers a month,” says publisher Lyne Farley.
enRoute is published by custom publisher Spafax, based in Montreal. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon launches Kindle Fire tablet that will have Apple looking over its shoulder

Magazine people seem to divide into two, neat camps: those who look at tablets as the devil's work; and those who think they will be the salvation of their publications (and a great way to serve readers, to boot).
We think both camps will be interested, for their own reasons, in the announcement today of the Kindle Fire, Amazon's tablet that may give Apple a run for its iPad. It was reported in a post by Folio:.
The 7-inch Fire has already signed on some of the big U.S. publishers. It will be selling for about US$199, which is $300 cheaper than the cheapest iPad, and it will run Google's Android software. It will have wireless access, but not 3G. The split between Amazon and publishers is 30:70.
While the new product does afford the user a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, a service that gives free shipping on Amazon orders and free live streaming of video, there is no camera on the new Kindle Fire. The company's traditional e-reader, the Kindle, will now drop to $79 in price and Amazon is expected to release a touch screen version of the Kindle this November, according to several reports.
The Folio: story reports that Hearst magazines, including its former Hachette titles, now has surpassed 300,000 monthly digital subscriptions and single copy sales on tablets and e-readers (this includes multiple platforms such as iTunes, Barnes and Noble's NOOK and the Zinio newsstand.) ABC data reports that Cosmopolitan has 81,690 paid subs to digital replica editions as of June, Popular Mechanics 21,725, Esquire 20,997, O: The Oprah Magazine 12,567 and the Food Network Magazine 10,554.

Labels: ,

Remembering Mark Nichols, pioneer of Maclean's technology and science coverage

Mark Nichols was a highly respected magazine journalist, known best for his writing about science, who died recently and is being remembered by friends and family with a reception at his family's home on Thursday night, September 29 at 621 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (for further information write to macleod[at]stauber-nichols[dot]ca.) 
Nichols worked as a writer for Canadian Press, Reuters, Time Canada and later Maclean's in the 1970s, then for a time at the Imperial Oil Review and returned to Maclean's where he was section editor of Canada news and, later, technology and science. We asked former Maclean's managing editor and editor-in-chief Bob Lewis for a recollection. 
There really wasn't an assignment that Mark could not handle or a subject that he could not distill into a silken narrative. He wrote about politics, business and the arts with aplomb. In 1990 we sent him to Rio to cover the Earth Summit, and he launched the magazine into sustained coverage of the environment, culminating in a 30-page report in 1992 that was scheduled to be on the cover--but got bounced because of the election of Bob Rae as the first NDP premier of Ontario. 
Mark also pioneered a Maclean's beat as Technology and Science editor in 1993, shortly after I became editor-in-chief.  By April of 1996, he had written 13 cover stories and countless other articles, always with a clarity and perception that defied the complications of his original material. His subjects ranged from dinosaurs and disappearing forests to breast cancer and the mysteries of aging. If at times he was enigmatic, he was a total professional, always well versed in the subject at hand because he worked hard to master the story. As he noted in an editor's note: "Science stories can be tricky because you have to dig into abstruse scholarly studies and try to come to terms with the terminology, the concepts involved and the ifs, buts and maybes."
Later, he led the reporting/writing team that produced the annual Maclean's health report, done in partnership with the Canadian  Institute for Health Information. In 1999 a 16-page feature compared health outcomes surveyed by CIHI in communities across the country, a thicket of data that Mark waded into and wove into a telling portrait of the places with the "best" and "worst" health care.
In the spring of 1999, he concluded after completing a special report on men's health: "Men need to do a much better job of looking after themselves--by eating better, getting fitter and quitting cigarettes." By then, he was following his own advice. In a cover story on obesity, he observed: "Getting fat is a curse of our affluent era." In 2000 he explored the future potential of human genomes, part of a 13-page cover package on the medicine of tomorrow. In 1997, in a cover story on aging called "Forever young", Mark observed: "The quest for eternal youth is an ancient one. The question now is whether the modern seekers have found a hormonal solution, or are merely pursuing a false dream like their predecessors." At the time, he was 60.
Globe and Mail death notice


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Founder says he'll put an "American Spring" in's step

David Talbot, which can reasonably claim to have been the very first standalone online magazine is undergoing a complete relaunch under the direction of the man who started it.
Former editor in chief and online news pioneer David Talbot returns at CEO, six years after he left, and says that the money-losing site (said to have lost $15 million in the three years ending 2010) is going to get a fancy new name and outlook: American Spring.
"Salon is dedicating itself to an American revival," Talbot [said in a letter to the readers], taking inspiration from the social upheavals in the Arab world and the protests in Europe against financial elites. "Our editorial mission will become more explicitly and aggressively populist. We will be pushing more investigative pieces and both Democratic and Republican targets will be fair game, since both parties are increasingly under the control of the same corporate forces."
The magazine will invest in new content and new partnerships and will be launching a video talk show series. It will also be charging for some of its content -- a notion that it tried unsuccessfully in 2001 with Salon Premium, which had at one point about 35,000 paid subscribers -- with a membership program called Salon Core. Details of the program are apparently to be published soon.
"Nowadays the Web is dominated by the robotic news recycling of big aggregation sites," Talbot said. "But these news recyclers will never create the courageous and original journalism that the country desperately needs. By joining Salon Core, supporters can help ensure that Salon remains independent, free of the corporate forces that dominate the rest of the media." is the largest independent news site in the U.S., with a monthly audience of about 6 million unique visitors.  Talbot founded the site in July, 1995 and in its earlier days was celebrated for being among the best websites. In recent years, it has suffered from a troubled ownership and management turmoil and even, perhaps, had become dismissed as "old hat".

Labels: ,

Editor of This Magazine, Graham Scott, leaving at the end of the year

Graham F. Scott, the editor of This Magazine for the past three years, is leaving the magazine effective with the publication of the January-February 2012 issue. The publishers of the magazine, the Red Maple Foundation, have today advertised the job.[Disclosure: Scott is my son.]

Rogers's new Sportsnet magazine scoops Globe and Mail lead columnist Stephen Brunt

Rogers's incipient Sportsnet magazine, due to be published in two days, has announced that it has poached Stephen Brunt, the longtime lead columnist for the Globe and Mail. He joins three other announced columists who are in one way or another associated with Rogers or Sportsnet: Scott Feschuk of Maclean's, Greg Brady and Jim Lang, the hosts of Sportsnet's morning radio show and Bob McCown, the host of Prime Time on Sportsnet and a commentator on The FAN 590.

PMB fall data shows steady state for magazine readership

The fall issue of the biannual Print Measurement Bureau (PMB) data shows topline readership for Canadian magazines that is pretty much steady state.
The top 10 English and French magazines in terms of total readership are:
English ('000s)
Reader's Digest     5,610
Canadian Living     3,806
People     3,476
Chatelaine     3,291
what's cooking     3,245
Canadian Geographic     3,235
Maclean's     2,437
Canadian House & Home     2,350
CAA Magazine     2,233
Canadian Gardening     2,148

French ('000s)
qu'est-ce qui mijote     1,185
Touring (Fre & Eng)     1,079
Coup de pouce     1,073
Châtelaine (Fr)        986
L'actualité        907
7 Jours        889
Sélection du Reader's Digest        850
ELLE QUÉBEC        783
Clin d'oeil       740
Les Idées de ma maison        681

The top 10 English and French in terms of readers-per-copy are:

English RPC
Canadian Health 26.3
People 21.3
Outdoor Canada 19.9
The Hockey News Magazine 18.7
Canadian Gardening 16.2
Canadian Geographic 15.8
FASHION Magazine 12.0
Cottage Life 11.3
Canadian Business 11.1

Dernière Heure 16.9
Le Lundi 13.0
Rénovation Bricolage 12.7
Star Système 11.8
7 Jours 10.5
Les Idées de ma maison 10.2
Star Inc. 10.2
Clin d'oeil 10.1
Tout Simplement Clodine 9.2
The entire topline dataset can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

Labels: ,

St. Joseph Corporation launches mobile printing stations at Pearson Airport

St. Joseph Communications has made a foray into the mobile world as it officially announced the deployment of eight, self-service mobile printing kiosks at Pearson International Airport. The patent-pending ePrintit Kiosks -- said in an earlier release to be the world's first self-service public-pay kiosks --  is equipped with proprietary monitoring software developed by St. Joseph and is supported by HP and PrinterOn
Consumers can print reports, presentations and photos by downloading the HP ePrint service app to smartphones or tablets. Documents can be sent directly to the kiosks, each of which has a dedicated e-mail address. Each kiosk is equipped with an HP colour laser printer, a Citizen dye-sublimation photo printer, an online video camera, and 42” digital signage.
“More than 19 per cent of the world’s cell phones are smartphones and this is expected to reach 50 per cent by Christmas,” says Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman and CEO of St. Joseph Communications. “With the introduction of the ePrintit Kiosk, hundreds of millions of smartphone users worldwide can now quickly and conveniently print out their documents on the fly.”
The kiosks have been installed in high-traffic areas throughout the airport and will be viewed by an average of 87,000 people per day, the company said. Four are in Terminal 1, four in Terminal 3.
St. Joseph is, in addition to being one of Canada's largest printers and a communications and marketing company, is  also owner and publisher of some of Canada’s leading consumer magazines, including Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine, though there is no indication that the kiosks would be useful or cost-effective to print out magazines on the spot. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Kerry Mitchell, Ken Whyte's right-hand woman, let go from Rogers Consumer Publishing

It was announced today that two of the most senior publishing executives of Rogers Consumer Publishing have been let go. The most senior is Kerry Mitchell, the vice-president who had been a right hand and operative for president and publisher Ken Whyte. She had been with the company 9 years and had been involved in various firings and restructurings at magazines such as Chatelaine and Today's Parent; now, she has been restructured out of a job herself. Also gone is Kathryn Brownlie, senior vice-president of sales, consumer publishing, who had progressed through the company from working with the news and business group starting 9 years ago.
"For the time being, Lorraine Hoefler will assume leadership on the sales side of our business," said the memorandum, signed by Whyte. "Rosemary Munroe will assist in leading the teams at Today's Parent Group, FLARE, GLOW and Pure. Jim Hicks will continue to lead his brands."
Whyte's memo also said that at "town hall" sessions scheduled for this Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto and Montreal "I'll be sharing information about our publishing company, the larger Rogers organization within which we operate, our challenges and opportunities, and the structural changes behind the aforementioned departures."
It was
back in 2009 that Whyte and Mitchell were put in charge of the consolidation of consumer magazines at Rogers. Whyte, who had been editor and publisher of Maclean's magazine, became vice-president, responsible as publisher for Maclean's, Canadian Business, Profit and MoneySense magazines.

Mitchell, the publisher of Chatelaine, became vice-president and assumed the publisher's job at Flare as well as becoming executive publisher of trade and custom titles Cosmetics, Cosmétiques, Glow and Pure magazines in the role of executive publisher. Recently, Whyte was named to succeed Brian Segal as president of Rogers Publishing, responsible for all consumer and trade publications.


Magazine world view: Covering SUCCESS; 5-day U.S. mail; new HGTV mag; 6-pack ads

Mistress of the makeover at Chatelaine dies age 89

Today's Globe and Mail carries an obituary of Eveleen Dollery who, in the 60s and 70s as fashion and beauty editor of Chatelaine, started the concept of the "makeover" for her readers. Dollery died in Toronto on August 4 at the age of 89. 
Writer Susan Ferrier MacKay noted that Dollery was responsible for the launch of Canada's first teenage magazine Miss Chatelaine, which some years later morphed into today's Flare. She also worked on The Canadian Home Journal.
Dollery’s life epitomized glamour, style and propriety. Whether she was jetting off to runway shows in Paris with her friend, the designer Alfred Sung – who remembers her being kind and “a lot of fun” – or globetrotting on a photo shoot to Morocco with another designer friend, Marilyn Brooks, high heels were de rigueur. Casual was not her style. Elegance, no matter how impractical, was.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

News Group manager Mary Cosgrove chosen newsstand marketer of the year

Mary Cosgrove, National Account Manager of The News Group, has been named newsstand marketer of the year and will be recognized at the Canadian Newsstand Awards being held on Monday.
Cosgrove and friend
"Among her many accomplishments, Cosgrove has helped her client Shoppers Drug Mart become the number one magazine retailer in Canada," says the announcement by Masthead, which runs the awards. The award is sponsored by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The 2011 Canadian Newsstand Awards will be presented at the Spoke Club, 600 King Street West, Toronto at 5 p.m. Reception fee is $10 at the door (free to CMC members attending afternoon seminars presented by the Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC).)
Winning magazines in each category receive $3,000 in credits towards programs at newsstands owned by LS Travel Retail (formerly HDS). Winners are selected based 50% on single copy sales results and 50% based on qualtitative factors. The 36 finalists are available online.
The CMC seminars begin at 2:45 at the same place: Martin McEwen of LMPI will talk about "Newsstand Globalization & Beyond"; and Earl Sazant of Promag Display will present "Point of Purchase 101". CMC members $49; non-members $69.


New York designer Chris Dixon jumps
to Vanity Fair

People move about in magazines all the time, but some moves are more dramatic than others; certainly the word that design director Chris Dixon has been poached* from New York magazine by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter qualifies as big news.
He has the same title at VF, replacing David Harris who becomes the magazine's first design editor-at-large. 
A memo to staff from Carter says Dixon "made [New York] one of the most well-designed magazines in the industry."
Dixon has been at New York since 2004 and previously worked at The Financial Times, The New York Times Magazine, Ogilvy & Mather, and Adbusters.
[*the story was published in the New York Observer]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

**********PROMOTIONAL MESSAGE**********
Canadian Magazines Job Board  
puts your job and internship positions in front of 
an interested and involved audience, for only about $1 a day. 
Note: For a limited time, internship postings are FREE; 
simply put in coupon code INTERNAD

Celebration of Charles Oberdorf's life to be
October 25

A death notice has been published for Charles Oberdorf which also alerts his friends and colleagues to plans for a celebration of his life which will take place October 25 at Glebe Road United Church, 20 Glebe Road East in Toronto at 3 p.m., followed by a reception at Grano restaurant. There was also a separate, excellent, long, detailed obituary written by Michael Posner. [earlier post]

VICEmagazine launches new online video-driven site; my, how you've grown

VICE magazine has launched, announced plans to launch a series of stand-alone online media channels ans struck new content syndication deals (it retains its deal with CNN) through partnerships with The Huffington Post/AOL, Der Spiegel, Aftonbladet, the Guardian, Terra, Renren, CCTV, MTV Brasil, Youku and others. 
It's a long way from its beginnings as a feisty youth culture magazine in Montreal.The company is now based in New York and operates worldwide.
VICE acquired the domain earlier this year and is using it to create an omnibus video-driven online site. With lashings of irony, given the circumstances, VICE founder Shane Smith said in a release:
"When VICE first started, all we cared about was sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. But then as we travelled around the world, we got more into news, politics, fashion, art, the environment… basically everything. So this is that: where everything we give a shit about lives. Vive la Revoluçion!"
Some revolution. The 2011 – 2012 program lineup of free shows includes new seasons of VICE News, The VICE Guide to Travel, Toxic, Epicly Later’d, Munchies and The Cute Show and a slate of new series all backed by leading global brands like GE, Toshiba, Incase, MINI, vitaminwater.
One of VICE's new content partners is giant blogger Huffington Post, whose founding editor Roy Sekoff, says:
"HuffPost and VICE are definitely twin sons of different mothers. Their envelope-pushing takes on current events are a perfect fit with our disruptive approach to the way news, information and entertainment are delivered, consumed, and engaged with. We love the fact that VICE’s stuff is simultaneously ballsy, smart, and very well informed. And we’ve got some pretty audacious plans for teaming up to cover the 2012 campaign -- it’s sex, drug, rock n roll…and presidential politics."
The launch of was celebrated last week in Montreal, where it all began.

Labels: ,

Adbusters-spawned protest results in occupation of Wall Street park

A campaign spawned by Vancouver's Adbusters magazine resulted in a sit-in where protesters set up camp on Wall Street in New York on the weekend. According to a story in the Vancouver Observer, "Occupy Wall Street" was prompted by the magazine and the idea spread through social media. Michah White, the senior editor of Adbusters was quoted saying:
"We're trying to follow the model set up by the Egyptian activists to have an encampment and hold a peoples' assembly," he said. "This is how it's done – you pick a symbolic place, set up camp, and hold a people's assembly and decide what your demands are."
(The encampment, which was set up in Zucotti Park on Liberty Street, a block from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. An estimated 5,000 people took part in a daytime protest march and about 300 people stayed the first night and were apparently digging in for a long-term stay. There was some indications, however, that authorities were beginning to push back, with an increased police presence and suggestions that health inspections would be used to shut it down. Protesters are forbidden from erecting any structures to protect themselves from rain.)
 The event was widely covered by some media, but ignored by others -- such as television -- said the VO article. 
"This is an opportunity for independent journalism to strut its stuff," White said of the protests. "Mainstream media has been belittling it or ignoring it...It's not that there is a total media blackout but there is a kind of belittling and insulting tone taken. The corporate media is showing its true colours."
[Photo by David Shankbone]


Dogs in Canada magazine and its annual to close by year's end

[This post has been updated] Dogs in Canada magazine, which has been published for a century, is to cease, effective with the end of this year. The Canadian Kennel Club board of directors decided at a meeting Sunday that the 2012 Dogs in Canada annual and the December 2011 issue of Dogs in Canada magazine will be the last.  The magazine(s) were owned by the CKC's wholly owned subsidiary, Apex Publishing
Publisher, Ann McDonough, who had been with the magazine since 2006 and had previously been with Rogers Publishing, Brunico Publishing and the Globe and Mail, has been let go.
Founded in February 1889, Dogs in Canada is (was) Canada's oldest continuously published monthly magazine and its public face was as Canada's top selling pet magazine with Canada's top-selling annual. It had paid circulation of 42,000 including 19,000 members of the kennel club and 20,000 family dog owners as well as a small controlled circulation to veterinarians and technicians.
For many years, under the editorship of Allan Reznik, the magazine was a major winner at the Dog Writers' Association of America competition in New York.
[Update: in recent years, the magazine had taken a different editorial direction, more aimed at to private pet owner rather than to breeders, who had been the magazine's major advertising supporters. When breeders consequently dropped away, the casual pet owners did not apparently fill either the circulation or advertising gap. It is also interesting that the American Kennel Club also recently discontinued the print edition of its longstanding magazine AKC Gazette and now publishes only a digital edition.]
Its website,, won the first National Magazine Awards website of the year.
A statement from the board of directors posted on the CKC website says "there is no reasonable expectation of profit for Apex Publishing." 
"This decision has come after many months of consideration and evaluation of the financial circumstances currently impacting Apex Publishing, the Canadian Kennel Club, the publishing industry in general and in particular, the hard copy production of periodical journals in Canada.
"The decision to discontinue the monthly publication of Dogs in Canada Magazine and the Dogs Annual is solely financial and does not in any way reflect negatively on the dedicated contributions and professional services of Apex staff and their award-winning history in the production of the premier Canadian canine publication."
There is some indication that the Dogs in Canada brand will continue in some unspecified way online. 


Derek Webster leaving as Reader's Digest M.E. to do some writing

Derek Webster, the managing editor of Reader's Digest in Montreal, is leaving the publication as of October 20 in order to write full-time. This, according to a brief announcement signed by editor-in-chief Robert Goyette and president Tony Cioffi:
We regret to announce that Managing Editor Derek Webster has decided to leave Reader’s Digest to devote himself to writing full-time. Derek came to Reader’s Digest over two years ago from Maisonneuve, an award-winning small arts and culture magazine he had founded in Montreal. He helped restructure the English editorial department and introduce new, more current features in the magazine to appeal to new audiences. In the next few months, Derek will help in the transition as we find a replacement. We wish Derek good luck in his new endeavours.
Webster founded and was the publisher of Maisonneuve 9 years ago. He later gave up publisher's duties at "Maisy"to be editor full-time and in 2009 surprised a lot of people by his decision to make the leap from a small, indy cultural magazine to Canada's largest circulation magazine.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Magazine world view: Murdoch is "stiletto"; a benefit-free job; ad budgets stay solid


The pursuit of accuracy in your online publishing

Craig Silverman, the Montreal-based publisher of the blog Regret The Error, managing editor for PBS MediaShift and a frequent user of social media such as Twitter, has published (in his column for the Columbia Journalism Review) 8 simple rules for doing accurate journalism online. It's preparation for a workshop he's giving next week at the Online News Association.
One of his rules for accuracy is what he calls the "Law of Incorrect Tweets":
The point is to emphasize that a piece of misinformation is often far more appealing and interesting than the subsequent correction. People are therefore more inclined to retweet or like a false news report than to pay attention to any subsequent correction. Be careful with the information gets pushed out, and be diligent about repeatedly offering a correction. This is especially true with social media, but the principle—invest time in spreading corrections—is universal.
Another maxim is that people will forget who got a story first, but will remember who got it wrong.
Scoops are almost never as impactful and glory-filled as they seem.

Labels: ,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Charles Oberdorf dies; writer, editor, teacher, friend

It will come as a matter of great sadness to many of his friends and colleagues in the magazine business, as it has to me, to hear that Charles Oberdorf died this morning. 
Charles was well known as writer, editor and teacher and was widely loved and respected. 
There will apparently be a private family funeral and arrangements are to be made for a celebration of his life sometime later, probably in October. I will make sure to post details here for the many people who may want to attend.
When Charles was honoured by the National Magazine Awards Foundation with its award for Outstanding Achievement in 2008, I wrote:
"The award is well-deserved not only for his teaching and mentorship (he is coordinator of the Magazine and Web Publishing program at the Chang School for Continuing Education at Ryerson University) but also for a long and distinguished career as a stylish magazine writer and editor. You run out of fingers tallying up the magazines he has written for or where he's been an editor."
Charles had suffered for several years with chronic lung disease and had been  hospitalized for some time, though he continued to keep a steady hand on the tiller of the magazine program. 
He leaves wife Mechtild Hoppenrath and daughter, Anya Oberdorf.
If readers of this blog have recollections of Charles they'd like to share, please leave a comment here (click on "comments" below) .


Canadian Geographic outsourcing all but editorial and ad sales to St. Joe's

[This post has been updated] Canadian Geographic Enterprises is outsourcing production, circulation and consumer marketing of Canadian Geographic and Canadian Geographic Travel to St. Joseph Media, effective October 1. While the editorial of the magazine will still be handled out of CGE's Ottawa headquarters, starting with the November issue, both magazines (and related special interest publications) will also be printed, bound and distributed by St. Joseph Print. [Update: Ad sales will continue to be handled by CanGeo's staff in Toronto and contract sales reps.]
“We are looking forward to working with St. Joseph Communications’ team of seasoned professionals in the years to come as we continue to expand our publishing activities,” says André Préfontaine, executive director of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and president and publisher of Canadian Geographic Enterprises in a release.
St. Joseph Media and St. Joseph Print are divisions of St. Joseph Communications, the owner of some of Canada's leading consumer magazines, including Toronto Life and FASHION. The deal has interesting synchronicity because many of the St. Joe's consumer publishing properties were acquired in 2001 from Key Media, which in 1995 had entered into a joint publishing arrangement with the Royal Canadian Geographic Society to create Canadian Geographic Enterprises.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maclean's writer savours vindication for Quebec "most corrupt" story

Martin Patriquin
Martin Patriquin, the Quebec bureau chief of Maclean's magazine, wrote a cover story last September which dubbed Quebec the most corrupt province in the country, illustrating it in part by detailing the dark heart of the province's construction industry. He was roundly criticized for publishing it, including a motion in the legislature by Pierre Paquette of Joliette expressing "profound sadness at the prejudice displayed and the stereotypes employed by Maclean's magazine to denigrate the Quebec nation, its history and its institutions."
Patriquin wrote an editorial refusing to apologize (though Rogers Publishing management distanced itself). The Quebec press council later reprimanded Maclean's for the story for what it called its inflammatory headline and "lack of journalistic rigour".
So Patriquin might be forgiven for feeling a little smug today when posting about a leaked report written by former Montreal police commissioner Jacques Duchesneau, detailing widespread, long-standing and deeply rooted corruption in the construction industry.
In fact, Patriquin was asked by radio reporter whether he felt like crowing a bit and answered:
"Not at all, I said. Zen is a wonderful thing, and anyway the fact that the province of my birth has a political culture that allows such a thing to fester for so long is nothing to be happy about."


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Suits get the royal treatment in fall Men's Fashion

The apparently inexhaustible interest in the young royals continues with the fall issue of Men's Fashion from Fashion magazine. We must admit, the Duke of Cambridge can wear a suit.
The fall issue has a total circulation of 150,000, mostly distributed with the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun and Montreal Gazette at the end of this week, as well as being polybagged with the November copies of Fashion magazine distributed at Shopper's Drug Marts starting October 10 across Canada. The issue, which also includes an interview with soccer star David Beckham, is also available online 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cottage Life a major winner at international regional magazine awards

Cottage Life magazine was a major winner at the 31st  annual International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) awards, presented at the annual conference in Reno, Nevada on Saturday. The magazine won 10 gold awards (including magazine of the year over 40,000 circ and for best cover ), 2 silver, 1 bronze and 3 awards of merit.
Among other Canadian winners at the awards, British Columbia magazine won 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze and 5 awards of merit, Saltscapes magazine won a bronze award and 2 awards of merit.
IRMA has 35 regional magazine members, the majority of which are published in the U.S. though a growing number of Canadian magazines are members.
Canadian winners were:
  • Public Issues
    • Silver, British Columbia “Orca Encounters” (Fall 2010) 
    • Bronze, Cottage Life “Going Concern” (May 2010)
  • Historical Features
    • Award of Merit, Cottage Life, “The Last Boy Scout” (Summer 2010)
  • Nature Feature
    • Silver, Cottage Life, “Hark! Who Goes There?” (Summer 2010)
  • Environment Feature
    •  Award of Merit, British Columbia Magazine,  “It’s Not Easy Being Green” (Spring
    • Award of Merit, Cottage Life, “Thank You for Not Smoking” (October 2010)
  • Travel Feature
    • Silver, British Columbia Magazine, “Desolation Sound” (Spring 2010)
  • Culture Feature
    • Silver, Cottage Life, “God’s Country” (June 2010)
    • Award of Merit, British Columbia Magazine,“A Little Girl Gets Her Name” (Fall
    • Award of Merit, Saltscapes, for “Only in Pubnico” (Nov-Dec 2010)
  • General Feature
    • Gold, British Columbia Magazine, “Island Survivor” (Summer 2010
    • Award of Merit, Saltscapes, “100 Reasons to Love Atlantic Canada” (May-June 2010)
  • Profiles
    • Gold, Cottage Life,“Moose Factory North” (April 2010)
    • Award of Merit, British Columbia Magazine, “The Great Robert Bateman” (Winter 2010)
  • Reader Service
    • Gold, Cottage Life,  “On the Road Again” (Summer 2010)
    • Award of Merit, British Columbia Magazine, “Kootenays 4Treks, 4 Seasons”
      (Spring 2010)
  • Single Photo
    • Bronze, Saltscapes, “The Spirit of Sable” (Jan-Feb 2010)
  • Photographic Series
    • Award of Merit, Cottage Life, “The Other Side of the Lake” (May 2010)
  • Illustration
    • Gold, Cottage Life,  “Hark! Who Goes There?” (Summer 2010)
  • Art Direction for a Single Story
    • Gold, Cottage Life, “Moose Factory North” (April 2010)
  • Overall Art Direction, over 40,000 circulation
    • Gold, Cottage Life
  • Department
    • Gold, Cottage Life, “Puttering”
    • Award of Merit, British Columbia Magazine, “Destination”
  • Cover
    • Gold, Cottage Life (Summer, 2010) [shown]
  • Food Feature
    • Gold, Cottage Life, “Stick it on the Barbecue” (June 2010)
    • Bronze, British Columbia Magazine, “Fresh Trips” (Fall 2010)
  • Companion Web Site
    • Gold, Cottage Life
  • Magazine of the Year over 40,000 circulation
    • Cottage Life

Labels: ,

Monday, September 12, 2011

More magazine apps not necessarily better

Perhaps this is a cautionary tale for publishers who are keen on app delivery of their magazines' content to them new-fangled tablets. Research by GfK MRI of 3,000 adult tablet owners found that the more apps downloaded, the less likely they are to be used. 
95% of consumers who downloaded fewer than 10 apps used them regularly; only 16% of users with 20 or more apps do so. 
66% of the apps downloaded in the previous 30 days were free, while 34 were paid; and the main way that tablet owners search for apps is at the app store. 
[Thanks to Ellie Behling's blog on emedia vitals]

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Melony Ward named to new position as executive publisher of Azure magazine

Melony Ward, who recently resigned from Canadian Art magazine after 11 years as its publisher and executive director(until 2007) of the Canadian Art Foundation, has been appointed executive publisher of Azure, the Toronto-based contemporary international architectural and design magazine.
Her new position makes her responsible for circulation development, print and online brand expansion, and managing the successful AZ Awards, the magazine’s annual international design and architecture awards program. 
"I'm excited to be joining Azure," Ward said in a release. "It's clear to me that company has lots of growth potential in the domestic and international markets, through its new AZ Awards program, its online presence and through its sister publication Designlines
Sergio Sgaramella remains publisher and Nelda Rodger editor of Azure.


Precedent reveals Ontario wasted $350 million on failed online court procedures

“If it’s possible to make millions playing poker online in pajamas, surely there ought to be a way to schedule a court appointment or file a document online as well.” -- Melissa Wilson , assistant editor of Precedent magazine and author of Ontario Government vs The 21st Century in Precedent magazine
An investigative feature  in the  fall issue of Precedent magazine, the independent magazine for young lawyers (out September 13),  reveals that the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General has spent nearly $350 million in 15 years trying to put simple courtroom procedures online — twice.  Both attempts ended quietly in failure.
Former Attorney General for Ontario David Young, who shut down the first attempt, called the Integrated Justice Project, in 2002, admits: “We spent a lot of money and had very little to show for it.” After what was intended as a for-profit venture, the government ended up spending $265 million to develop the IJP, and $63 million to settle a breach of contract suit.
In 2007, Dalton McGuinty's government tried again, starting small, with a court scheduling and reservation system. It hired a private contractor, Court Canada, to develop the system, Online System for Court Attendance Reservations the following summer. But in March 2010, the Ministry suddenly and inexplicably shut the program down. Now Court Canada is suing the Ministry for $14.5 million, alleging the government reneged on the contract and sought to discredit the system.
The story reveals the ministry is trying again — this time with an internal project called The Court Management Information System which it claims will launch in 2012. 
Among other things, the story reports that it takes 2.5 hours to schedule a motion in Ontario; 3 minutes in BC. 
[Disclosure: I am on the advisory board of the magazine.]


Isabelle Marcoux to succeed father Remi as chair of Transcontinental Inc.

Remi Marcoux, the chair of Transcontinental Inc., will be stepping down effective with the company's annual general meeting in February, to be succeeded by his daughter Isabelle, who is at present vice-chair and vice-president of corporate development. The retirement is consistent with a number of steps that have been taken in recent years to ensure succession in the family-dominated company. A story in the Montreal Gazette says
Marcoux, 71, has been gradually handing the reins to Isabelle and husband and CEO François Olivier in recent years. Transcontinental will remain very much a family-run publishing, printing and media and communications marketing group with 10,500 employees.
Isabelle Marcoux, who studied law at the Université de Montréal and later joined McCarthy Tetrault LLP, switched to the family firm in 1997 and has been vice-chair since 2007 while continuing as vice-president of strategic development.
Marcoux said Isabelle “will lead the board with energy, vision and discipline,” but added that while he wants to slow down, he’ll “continue to monitor the business.” He will remain a director.
Ms Marcoux was named vice-chair of Transcon in April of 2007.  Her husband, Francois Olivier was appointed president and CEO in February 2008. Her brother, Pierre, was named senior vice-president business and consumer solutions group in 2009, responsible for the consumer publishing operations of Transcontinental Media.
It's not known if assuming the chair at Transcon will affect Isabelle Marcoux's membership on the board of Rogers Communications Inc.  Transcon is Rogers ' principal printer for its consumer magazines, which rank second only behind the consumer magazine operation of Transcontinental Media. 
The company has done a good deal of rationalization in the past few years, particularly in the printing sector which represents three quarters of Transcontinental's activity. 
Revenues in the third quarter ended July 31 were slightly below analysts' forecasts, but rose two per cent year-over-year to $493 million and adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) were $32.8 million, or 40 cents a share, down two per cent from $33.4 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Magazine advertising (Transcontinental is Canada's largest consumer magazine publisher) fell 10 to 15 per cent, but digital media improved and the company said it will continue to invest in it. 
Related posts

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Former magaziner Dianne Rinehart put in charge of Toronto Star books coverage

Major changes to the books coverage of the Toronto Star has resulted in Dianne Rinehart being named as a team editor in charge of the coverage, replacing long-time books editor Dan Smith, according to a report in Quill & Quire magazine. (Smith has been moved over to be editor of the Insight section.) Rinehart was most recently editor-in-chief of Metro's six English-language newspapers after a magazine career in which she was associate editor of Flare and editor-in-chief of Homemakers


Alberta Oil magazine goes after mobile with special oil sands report

Alberta Oil magazine has gone for QR coding in a big way, with the cover of its special report on Alberta's oil sands featuring a QR background and a smaller code in one corner that is actually scannable.The magazine said in a release
The inclusion of the QR code is part of a larger strategy to extend Alberta Oil content to mobile readers. The code leads readers to an exclusive video tour of Syncrude Canada’s research centre in Edmonton, filmed by Alberta-based web video agency Zoom. With a budget of approximately $60 million, this centre serves as a testing ground for ideas that aim to improve production and environmental performance for this oil sands pioneer.
 Editor Darren Campbell said of the special issue:
“The oil sands hold much promise for Alberta and for Canada, but the challenges facing the sector are also immense,” says Alberta Oil editor Darren Campbell. “In our annual oil sands report we wanted to dig deeper and tell our readers how the industry is facing up to those challenges so that that promise can be achieved.”

Labels: ,

Torstar's The Kit digital magazine adds fashion and regular print features

The Kit, the startup digital magazine for beauty that was recently acquired by Torstar's Star Media Group has now published its first print feature which, beginning in October, will be appearing regularly in select editions of the Toronto Star and in distributed nationally through local newspapers in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. The new print venture adds fashion coverage to The Kit's already established beauty and health content. 
It has also relaunched its website to accommodate more aspects of women's lifestyle journalism and, according to a release, the publication will now "be anchored by the eight pillars of clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, face, hair, body and wellness." The current issue is available here

Annals of "flapvertising": Sharp magazine sells ad window in its logo

According to a story in Masthead, Sharp magazine has made a deal with the ad agency of automaker BMW to die-cut two separate flaps in its front cover, including one that alters the name of the magazine to become part of an inside front cover ad.
Noah Vardon, strategy manager at Media Experts who worked with Contempo Media [publishers of Sharp] on the execution, explained BMW, the creative agency (Cundari) and Sharp "were on board from the beginning and the final result is an execution that plays in a space (the title) that has never been advertised in before [emphasis added]– not something you can do every day. It’s something that really engages and connects with the reader, which is a big win for the print medium.”
We understand why an advertiser would think this was a great coup, but we find it hard to believe that a publisher or editor would think so. However, John McGouran, Sharp's publisher is quoted as saying
“...this means not only creating compelling print content, but also working with our advertising partners to enrich the way our readers interact with their message. We’re confident that this issue of Sharp continues to lead the way for print innovation in Canada, and we’re thrilled to partner with BMW on it.”
Related posts:

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Deputy editor Jackie Kovacs the latest to abandon ship at Today's Parent

The exodus by staff of Today's Parent magazine, which has long been one of Canada's most successsful and respected magazine brands, continues with the imminent departure of deputy editor Jacqueline Kovacs. She has accepted a job as the managing editor of Professionally Speaking, the publication of the Ontario College of Teachers. 
Kovacs's departure means most of  the senior editorial team under editor-in-chief Karine Ewart (who joined the magazine in June) is going or gone. 
As reported here, the magazine's art director Jo-Anne Martin Grier was laid off in a surprising move a few weeks ago, followed soon after by the resignation of managing editor Laura Bickle and the move of senior editor Dafna Izenberg to join Rogers's new Sportsnet magazine.
It was abruptly announced last January that longtime and highly respected editor Caroline Connell was  leaving the magazine. It took months before the job was filled by Ewart, who had been a freelancer and had previously been EIC of Fashion 18 and features editor of Fashion magazine.


Quote, unquote: Sticking with news and digital

"I plan to focus my energies on two areas: digital innovation and integration and, no surprise here, the news."
-- New York Times's new executive editor Jill Ambramson, in a memo to the staff about changes to her team and her plans for the future.


Less than a buck a copy the pre-publication offer for Sportsnet magazine subscribers

With the September 29 launch date looming, Rogers Publishing is offering its new Sportsnet magazine for about 97 cents a copy (for 30 issues) to charter subscribers and, with that, comes a digital edition. (The price doesn't include taxes.)  The deal is sweetened by a soft offer of the first four issues free, with no obligation. 
Subscribers to Rogers cable and/or phone services can get the magazine for $2 a month added to their bill, or about 92 cents a copy.

Labels: , ,

Tar-sands advertorial in Alternatives Journal: Is it dialogue? or is it blurring the lines?

Recent issues of Alternatives Journal, the Waterloo-based environmental magazine, have contained the unusual and, frankly, unexpected: two-page spread advertorials for Suncor Energy.
Readers and contributors have apparently been weighing in on the appropriateness of this and it is commented upon in the September/October issue in both the editor's letter and in a feature by Stephen Bocking, a regular contributor to Alternatives and chair of environmental and resource science studies at Trent University. 
Editor Nicola Ross writes in her regular letter to the readers:
"In the five years I've spent as editor of Alternatives nothing has been as controversial as the Suncor Energy advertorials that have been running in this magazine. Many of you have taken advantage of the opportunity to read the opinions of Gord Lambert, this tar-sands company's vice president of sustainability. Some have even had their questions answered by Suncor on our magazine's pages. Others, however, have bristled at these paid editorials."
The current Suncor spread (clearly labelled "advertorial")  is authored by Lambert, headed Enabling a National Energy Strategy and illustrated with a colourful "wedge model", arguing for "solution-oriented engagement":
"While it is easy to articulate what we don't want, it is more difficult to describe what we desire. The NIMBY syndrome generally focuses on the former. To set a higher bar, we need to ask and answer the question: what are we for?
I propose that for every stance someone takes against something, he or she has to articulate his or her view on a solution or suggest a clear option. This will ensure that we get the discourse we need to develop and sustain a National Energy Strategy over time."
Bocking writes somewhat more passionately about the situation and the topic in his article "Our Wicked Addiction" (not posted online):
"These advertorials are something new for Alternatives. For some readers, they are a step backwards. The format is an issue: Blurring the boundary between paid and editorial content also raises concerns. But it's mainly the topic. The tar sands are causing obvious damage to the planet: Talk of improving them seems to echo the twisted concept of "healthy" cigarettes."

Labels: ,