Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Publishers of iconic U.S. black magazines Ebony and Jet file for bankruptcy

The publishers of two of the best-known magazines aimed at a black audience -- Ebony and Jet -- have filed for bankruptcy. Johnson Publishing Co. said the company was “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.”

Ebony was founded in 1945, patterned after LIFE magazine and it reached an average monthly circulation of around 2 million in the 1990s, according to an AP story.

Jet had ceased print publication in 2014 and became a digital-only publication. 
“Johnson Publishing Company is an iconic part of American and African American history since our founding in 1942, and the company’s impact on society cannot be overstated,” the company said in Tuesday’s statement.
After reporting revenues in the hundreds of millions in the 1990s, the company’s fortunes began to decline after Johnson died in 2005 and magazines in general began to struggle as advertisers moved to alternative media. 
In 2014, Jet ceased print editions and became a digital-only publication. In 2016, both publications were sold to Clear View Group, an equity firm in Texas.Despite being under new ownership, the company struggled financially, with freelance writers suing to be paid. The lawsuit was settled last year.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Scott Jamieson named COO of
Annex Business Media

Scott Jamieson has been promoted to chief operating officer (COO) of Annex Business Media, effective immediately, Jamieson is currently the chair of Magazines Canada.

He has been with Annex since 2004 and since then has helped built out the event business and consolidate the audience department. 

“Growing our own talent is a key part of the Annex culture,” says CEO Mike Fredericks  (to whom Jamieson reports), “so it’s exciting to have someone with Scott’s breadth of hands-on experience and media knowledge to lead the company. Scott has played an important role in recent innovation at Annex. I look forward to seeing where he takes us next.” 

Annex Business Media is Canada’s largest business media company, with 66 media brands and a sector-leading technology suite. It is a values-driven outfit with offices and printing facilities in Simcoe and Toronto, ON.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Magazines Canada will not lobby about foreign investment or supports for journalism

Magazines Canada does not intend to lobby the federal government about either support for the journalism sector in advance of budget 2019 or about foreign investment in the magazine sector. 

Jacqueline LaRocque of public affairs firm Compass Rose said she intends to lobbying about a number of  budget matters such as antispam legislation and the review of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts as well as  increased funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Canada Periodical Fund.

But Magazines Canada would not lobby as it relates to government support for journalism or foreign investment restrictions in the Canadian magazine sector under the Investment Canada Act (ICA). 
“Magazines Canada will not be lobbying the federal government on this issue [foreign investment],” Melanie Rutledge, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. While the group is “interested in” the ICA, it will not be “engaging with parliamentarians or political offices on this issue at this time,” she added.
Magazines Canada also confirmed that it would not be lobbying political offices on supports for the journalism sector.
The Liberal government announced last fall that it would provide almost $600 million over five years in incentives to Canada’s ailing news media. The measures would allow some qualified outlets to receive a 25 per cent refundable tax credit on newsroom salaries and issue a 15 per cent tax credit to digital subscribers. They would also create access to charitable tax incentives for not-for-profit journalism.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Thomson Reuters divests its law titles and sites to Australian b2b publisher Key Media

Thomson Reuters Media Solutions has sold the titles Canadian Lawyer, InHouse, Law Times and other leading media brands, including digital, print, event and directory assets to HAB Press, part of an international b2b media company Key Media.
Key Media has been in the legal market dating back to 2002 as the founding publishers of Australasian Legal Business/Asian Legal Business and associated events. Currently the company publishes Australasian Lawyer and NZ Lawyer - leading online resources for partners and in-house counsel in Australia and New Zealand.


Magazine-related finalists for the Atlantic Journalism Awards

Finalists for the Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) have been announced. The gold and silver awards will be presented Saturday, May 11 at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel. Here are the magazine-related finalists:

Atlantic Magazine Article 

Richard Woodbury – Halifax Magazine – Halifax, NS – Out of the darkness
Stephen Kimber – Atlantic Business Magazine – St. John’s, NL – Scents and sensibility.

Atlantic Magazine: Best Cover
Atlantic Books Today – Halifax, NS – Spring 2018: Retail revival
Jenn Thornhill Verma – Saltscapes – Halifax, NS – Half a century a fisherman.
Maggie Rahr – Halifax Magazine – Halifax, NS – Standing on his own.

Atlantic Magazine: Best Profile Article

Excellence in Digital Journalism: Enterprise/Longform
Matthew Halliday – The Deep – Halifax, NS – Homeland.

Business Reporting: Any Medium

Arts and Entertainment Reporting: Any Medium


Monday, April 01, 2019

UC Observer relaunching as Broadview magazine

Relaunched and repositioned
North America's oldest continually published periodical, the United Church Observer, is relaunching with a new name and a new outlook, one designed to influence a broader audience with an emphasis on social justice, ethics and spirituality. 

Founded in 1829 as the Christian Guardian; became the Observer in 1939. Now it is rebranding as Broadview. It will be available to a wider audience, both distributed as subscriptions to church members and  by single copies through various book grocery and drugstore chains across Canada. Its new tagline is "spirituality, justice and ethical living".

The relaunch was provoked by declining subscriptions and the recent closure of other denominational publications such as the Presbyterian Record, which closed last year. "We pretty much knew what would happen if we did nothing," says editor Jocelyn Bell, adding their business plan projects sustainability within three years. 
"It’s a matter of trying to unlock the potential of what we’re doing here and getting it out to a wider audience," said editor Jocelyn Bell in an interview with the  Winnipeg Free PressThe new name reflects open-mindedness and inclusivity, while maintaining its identity as a left-leaning Christian publication.  "We felt (the new name) would counteract the idea that religion could be closed and dogmatic."
Editor Jocelyn Bell
The 29,000 current Observer subscribers will continue to receive the national edition.The publication hopes to appeal not only to current  church members, but to a broader "spiritual-but-not -religious" audience. 
"We’re going after people who are progressive Christian and share those core values with us," says Bell.
The magazine has operated independently of the United Church since 1986. It will now be published 10 times a year instead of 11, but with 16 more pages per issue. The cost for a single issue is $6.99; a year's subscription, $30.
[Disclosure: I am a board member of the Observer.]