Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Shock for Shock

Barely on the stands a day, Shock magazine may be recalled and pulped, if a photographer has his way. According to a story in Ad Age, the inaugural cover features a photograph of a G.I. holding a wounded child. The publication of the picture was never authorized, says photographer Michael Yon, a former Green Beret who went to Iraq as a freelance journalist. Shock's publishers, Hachette Filipacchi, say they bought to rights from a reputable agency, who presumably got the rights from Yon. (see earlier post on Shock's debut)

"The photo in question is that of Major Bieger holding a little Iraqi girl named Farah who was killed by a suicide car bomber in Mosul, Iraq. I first became aware of the infringement when stunned and angry readers contacted me under the mistaken belief that I allowed Shock magazine to use it on their cover," Yon says in a post on his website. "I did not, and never would have agreed to their usage. I regularly turn down usage requests for this photo -- uses that could earn money -- because this photo is sacred to me and is representative of the U.S. soldiers I have come to know. It is also representative of the horrors of the enemy we all face....

"Protecting this photo has become at times a full-time job. I am in Washington D.C. in my attorneys’ offices when I should be finishing two important dispatches on Afghanistan, and my book about our soldiers in Iraq and their families at home."

Walrus subs up, singles flat

Latest circulation results for The Walrus indicates that it continues to grow, having increased average qualified circulation by about 8.8% since this time last year.

The average qualified paid circulation published by CCAB/BPA for the 6 months ended March 2006 is 46,581. Last year, it was 42,828. (The qualified paid circulation includes about 3,300 copies that are distributed in Air Canada's Maple Leaf lounges for business and first class fliers.)

Total subs are now 35,303, of which 24,994 are to individuals [UPDATE] and 7,709 gift subs.

Total single copy sales, which have stayed essentially flat, averaged 10,459; this includes about 561 sales in a typical issue in the United States.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

U of T mag goes forest-friendly

U of T Magazine has become the 7th glossy Canadian title to switch to ancient forest-friendly paper (100% post-consumer recycled stock), effective with its summer 2006 issue. The others are explore (with the distinction of being the first to make the switch), Outpost, Yes, Know, Outdoor Canada, and Canadian Home Workshop. (Another 9 publications have switched to uncoated AFF stock.)

U of T Magazine collaborated with Markets Initiative, a Canadian environmental group working to help book, magazine and newspaper publishers print on papers that don’t destroy ancient forests, such as the Canadian Boreal and the temperate rainforests.

“Most publishers still inadvertently use papers from endangered forests. U of T joins a growing number of publishers safeguarding the forests that form part of our cultural heritage.” says Neva Murtha, magazine campaigner with Markets Initiative. “They can be proud of that.”

With an annual circulation of 1.1 million, U of T Magazine will save 2,215 trees a year, enough energy to heat 15 homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by about 200 tonnes annually – the equivalent of taking 40 cars off the road for a year.

Them Days founding editor passes away

Canadian Press reports that Doris Saunders, the founding editor of Them Days magazine and widely recognized for her work to preserve the history of Labrador, has died in St. John's at the age of 64.

The magazine and its archival annex have become a Labrador institution and are often described as among the best collections of material about Labrador.

Saunders was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1986 and received an honorary degree from Newfoundland's Memorial University in 1994.

Tribute to the trenches

It happens less often than it ought to: an editor of a major magazine paying tribute to one of his senior editors. In the June issue of Report on Business magazine, Editor Laas Turnbull devotes his Editor's Desk column (sorry, can't find a link) to celebrating the skill, insight and sensitivity that one of his senior editors, Ted Mumford, brings to his job. (And so he should, as he notes Mumford handled all four feature stories in the issue, three of which came late in the production schedule.)

"Most editors ae doomed to toil in obscurity," says Turbull. That's the nature of the job -- to make others look good, or at least as good as they can be. Ted fits the mould to a tee."

It's a nice tribute and, in this season of awards, this kind of public recognition is about the best that a mid-level guy in editorial can expect, since the prizes tend to be handed out (quite correctly) to the writers.

Some writers can't stand some editors, thinking them high handed and trying to write the article themselve by remote control. Other writers love some editors, whose light touch and empathy helps them do their best work. The writer-editor relationship is not often talked about. In the last couple of years, David Hayes has given an illuminating chat to the Magazines Canada School for Professional Publishing about the tension and torsion that characterizes it.

UPDATE: I understand that there is to be a session at Magazines University next week in which a panel including Hayes and John Degen, the executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada may get into this issue.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The freelancer's -- and the industry's -- challenge

In the recently released Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) study of the freelance writing sector in Canada, (available from it was interesting to find out that full-time freelancers not only earn higher rates, but (not surprisingly) take home more money. (This has to be put in the context that, as reported in an earlier post, that freelancers generally have seen their purchasing power erode by 26% since 1995.)

Between 2002 and 2005, for people for whom writing is their principal source of income, the highest rate-per-word earned rose from 97 cents to $1.12. For those for whom writing was not their principal source of income, the highest rates increased from 68 cents to 74 cents over the same period.

Full-timers earned $29,235 pre-tax in 2005, an increase of 13.6% from 2002; part-timers saw their total pre-tax earnings decline from $18,985 to $17,310 (-8.8%) over the same period.*

"The numbers indicate that to be most successful in this difficult profession, writers need to pursue their writing on a full-time basis. Full-time writing exposes writers to the ongoing improvement of both their skill and their business acumen, and avoids the distractions that part-time writers often experience," said the report.

According to the latest Statscan data, freelance fees total less than 5% of the total costs of a consumer magazines and about 5.6% of trade/farm titles. Freelance costs are less than a quarter of the costs of paying staff. Without freelancers, many magazines could not function. It surely cannot be argued that is is only by underpaying the most vulnerable that some magazines are making a profit.

Realistic rates for freelancers is a significant issue and one of the biggest challenges facing this industry. As one senior editor said: we hold down rates, because we can. Publishers can do it because there has always been a steady supply of young hopefuls willing to work for peanuts. But if the payment erosion continues in the direction demonstrated by the PWAC research, even those young writers will likely have second thoughts.

An across the board 20% increase in freelance rates, right now, would cost the industry about a 1% increase in its total costs. And the average would still be something less than $1 a word.

*For sake of comparison, an after-tax freelance income of $25,000 works out to a take-home for a full-time freelancer of about $480 a week. That was about what a successful Toronto freelancer could expect to earn in 1977; 30 years ago, $480 went much, much farther.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Harper's yanked from Indigo stores because of prophet cartoons

Ten per cent of Harper's magazine's total circulation comes from the Canadian market, so it's not a small deal when Indigo Books and Music pulls all the single copies from its 260 stores , as the Globe and Mail has reported happened this week. Normally the chain handles 3,000 copies a month. It's because of an article called "Drawing Blood" in the June issue.

The issue has been in subscribers' hands, and on the racks, for some time and in the 10-page article cartoonist Art Spiegelman satirically rates all 12 of the controversial so-called "Danish cartoons" with from one to four "fatwa bombs". (Spiegelman also includes, for comparison, several scabrous cartoons from the 19th and 20th centuries.) The cartoons, depicting Islam or the prophet Mohammed, were published as the results of a contest last September in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten (The Morning Newspaper). It led to protests, some violent, most nasty, around the world since some Muslims say it is blasphemous to depict the prophet.

Spiegelman's article was apparently inspired by a call from an Iranian newspaper in February for a countervailing cartooning contest depicting the Holocaust, to test the limits of press freedom and license in the non-Muslim world.

"In a memo obtained by The Globe and Mail that was e-mailed to Indigo managers yesterday about “what to do if customers question Indigo's censorship” of Harper's, employees are told to say that “the decision was made based on the fact that the content about to be published has been known to ignite demonstrations around the world. Indigo [and its subsidiaries] Chapters and Coles will not carry this particular issue of the magazine but will continue to carry other issues of this publication in the future, ” the newspaper said.

(It's not known if this was ordered personally by CEO Heather Reisman, but it seems unlikely such a move would be made without her knowledge and consent. In 2001 Reisman ordered copies of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler off Indigo shelves. )

"Harper's publisher John MacArthur said he was “genuinely shocked” by Indigo's action, in part because two large U.S. chains, Borders and Waldenbooks, are selling the issue," said the Globe story, by James Adams, noting that three months ago, both chains yanked a small U.S. publication, Free Inquiry, when it reproduced four of the Danish cartoons. That Free Inquiry issue with the cartoons is currently on sale at Indigo, the Globe said.

"Mr. MacArthur said Harper's decided to publish the Spiegelman article because 'we really wanted to expand the conversation' about the role of cartoons and the contours of free expression and not just to say, ‘So there.'”

Interesting that the Globe article made no reference in its text to the Western Standard magazine, which is even now fighting a battle in Alberta over its decision to publish several of the cartoons as a matter of principle. A complaint was laid with the province's human rights commission which is conducting an investigation that publisher Ezra Levant has characterized as an outrageous assault on press freedom. This was dealt with in earlier posts, some of which are here and here and here. (For all the previous posts, do a search using "Western Standard", since most of the pieces in the past year deal with this issue.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Water jitters noted in the desert playground

Maclean's is being noticed in some unexpected quarters. The Las Vegas Sun has taken notice of the recent Maclean's feature on Canada's fears that the U.S. is going to make a grab for Canadian water, as well as articles on the same topic in the magazine of the Council of Canadians and similar in The American Prospect. But officials in Nevada pooh-pooh it:

"We've got no desire or direction to go up to Canada," says Ken Albright, resource director for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which provides the wholesale water for nearly all residential and business users throughout urban Las Vegas.

"Heck, we've got problems going 200 miles north," he says, referring to opposition in the rural areas to the ground water pumping plan.

The Beaver redesign pays off

Let it be a lesson to all of us: good covers count. A thorough-going and very handsome redesign of The Beaver magazine (published by Canada's National History Society) is reaping the fruits of that investment, at least measured by newsstand results. According to a newsletter included with its most recent issue, an earlier issue featuring the cover story about Canada's fabled silk train was the highest seller in the magazine's history, an increase of 79 per cent.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Quark7 launched; too little, too late?

Will this be a case of closing the barn door after the cow has escaped? In New York, Quark XPress has released Version 7 of the 25-year-old software package, trumpeting some 160 changes and improvements.

But at the same time, according to a story in Folio:, its major rival, Adobe, released news of yet another convert to its InDesign Creative Suite. Health and wellness publisher Rodale (Prevention, Men's Health) has switched the production of all of its magazines and books to InDesign, joining Future Network USA, Hearst Magazines and Meredith, among others. Rodale converted 400 seats to the application over the course of a year while simultaneously upgrading to the Macintosh OS X operating system. (Just last week, Rogers Media in Toronto announced that it would be converting all its consumer and trade books over to InDesign.)

Adobe has also, and uncharacteristically, released some details about its forthoming Creative Suite 3, not due to come out until spring 2007.

Quark denies being spooked. In the Folio: story,Jurgen Kurz, Quark’s senior vice president, desktop products, called this the biggest upgrade ever and said 75,000 dowloads of the beta release indicated a huge interest. "Kurtz noted that he doesn’t “spend sleepless nights” worrying about long-time competitor Adobe, which also develops design products. 'I worry about what you need,' he said, directly addressing the designers in the audience."

Sara Angel now Editor of Chatelaine

At last, a new Editor has been appointed at Chatelaine. The magazine has been without an editor for 9 months, since the resignation of Kim Pittaway.

A brief announcement today by Publisher Kerry Mitchell said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sara Angel to the position of Editor-in-Chief at Chatelaine. Sara's unique combination of talents includes writing, editing, designing and publishing. She has produced some of Canada's most successful books and is well-known for her ability to package written and visual content."

Angel worked most recently for Saturday Night, writing on art, social issues, politics, interiors, lifestyle, fashion, food and gardening and also writing a monthly food column.

She began her career (as Sara Borins) in 1992 as an editor at Macfarlane Walter & Ross where she edited literary non-fiction, later worked with designer Bruce Mau and, in 1997, went to London to work for Phaidon Press as a commissioning editor. She returned to Canada in 1999 and founded her own company, Otherwise Editions, that specialized in the the packaging of innovative illustrated books such as The Museum Called Canada by Charlotte Gray.

Other details, taken from Chatelaine's press release announcement: Angel has contributed to a number of Canadian publications and served as an arts commentator for CBC television. Angel has a joint degree in History and Art History from McGillUniversity and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University University. She has been responsible for a number of packaged titles such as Susur: A Culinary Biography
by Susur Lee, Canada’s House: Rideau Hall and the Invention of a Canadian Home by Margaret MacMillan, Marjorie Harris and Anne Desjardins, The Trudeau Albums by Mordecai Richler et al. and Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey by Greig Dymond.

Angel lives in Toronto with her husband and 19-month-old son. She is due to have her second child in September.

UPDATE: The Globe and Mail story on this appointment. And another take by CBC Arts and Entertainment web page, with a picture.

Fox postal report makes grim reading

Michael Fox, the acknowledged industry expert on Canadian postal matters, has released another of his periodic reports on Canada Post pricing. Fox is Senior Vice-President, Circulation and Development for Rogers Media. And this one is, like others, a shocker; in addition to providing a detailed analysis of the post office's rate card and increases, it reports the indifference (bordering on contempt) that Canada Post President Moya Greene has for the industry* and predicting that the contribution margin magazines will be paying will have reached 34% in 2006. You can read the whole report, dowloadable as a pdf file, at the Magazines Canada website.

*It is reliably reported from multiple sources (not Fox) that Greene, at a recent meeting with senior industry executives, told them that their non-publication mail (renewals, direct mail etc.) is so insignificant to her that she regards it as "a rounding error".

(It doesn't seem to be doing the industry much good to have former Maclean's editor Anthony Wilson-Smith advising the CPC president on communications strategy.)

If it bleeds, it leads as Shock debuts

All the dubious pleasures of ogling a traffic accident will be brought right to your newsstand or doorstep as a new magazine called Shock, a North American version of the French Choc, debuts in Canada and the U.S. next week. It's published by Hachette Filipacchi, the world's largest magazine publisher and distributor. Hachette publishes such upscale books as Elle (and partners with Transcon in Elle Canada and Elle Quebec) and Car and Driver.A story about the launch appeared in today's Globe and Mail.

The magazine relies on a lineup of graphic photos dealing with blood, pain and natural disasters, along with celebrities behaving badly. Mike Hammer, the publication's editor-in-chief, who helped launch Maxim in Canada and the U.S. in 1997, said the magazine is intentionally provocative.

"It's a magazine that really has no competitor in the marketplace right now," Mr. Hammer said.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Saltscapes may go into restaurant business

The Gourlays, Linda and Jim, are among Canada's highest energy publishers with their magazine Saltscapes out of Halifax. They have been aggressively building the brand and, according to a story in today's Halifax Chronicle Herald, they may put their brand on restaurants in Super 8 motels in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

A decision to proceed with three locations in Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick that would tentatively open in 2007-08 will likely be made by this summer.
The restaurant plan is being developed by Saltscapes Publishing Ltd. in partnership with Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc., which is expanding the Super 8 chain in the region.

Cell phone use can skew research data

For those magazines which use telephone polling as a way of reaching or probing reader attitudes, a lonnnnggg study by Pew Research Centre in the U.S. found that the difficulty reaching cellphone-only households (about 7 t0 9%) so far makes relatively little difference (about 1%) to the ultimate results of random telephone surveys. However cellphone-only households tend to be younger, less affluent, less likely to be married, less likely to own their own home. So the trend may start to bite more in future. This may have implicaitons for publications and pollsters who are particularly interested in reaching and sampling young people.

Pew Research Center said in its own surveys over the past five years, the average percentage of those ages 18-34 in unweighted samples declined from 31% in 2000 to 20% through March 2006.

Short engagement

Oh, dear. It's not bad enough that web and online and podcasts and whatever else is threatening magazines as we know them (I'm kidding, really), now comes along some research that shows magazine "engagement" may be no great shakes, either.

For years, publishers have been pushing the idea that "engagement" with readers is the key to success for advertisers, that "engagement" is something that is a reliable measurement of what makes advertising work. Therefore the magazines that engage the reader most should theoretically be the ones that attract the most loyal audience and clean up on the ad budget. Well, um, no. At least according to an article in Ad Age magazine.

Starch Communications Research studied 25 magazines and what they found, says Ad Age, "contradicts conventional wisdom and the hopes of print publishers." High-engagement magazines perform no better than ads in magazines whose readers pay a lot less attention.

"When the buzzword of engagement became so big, starting about two years ago, we said, 'Let's really look into this,"' said Philip W. Sawyer, senior VP, Starch Communications Research, which conducted the study -- and which, it should be noted, offers creative-testing services for print ads. "If a magazine wasn't tabbed as a high-engagement publication, it was being discriminated against. Starch has said all along that it's a creative issue. That was our hypothesis."

So Starch studied high-engagement, low-engagement and middling titles, defining engagement by the frequency with which they are read, time spent with each issue and how much of each issue gets finished. When it examined the percentages of readers who remembered ads across the magazines, it found no link between those scores and levels of engagement.

But some called the Starch conclusion way off. "That's like saying there's no definitive evidence that smoking causes cancer," said Stephen Giannetti, VP-group publisher, National Geographic, a title with nearly compulsive readers. "If somebody is engaged in our magazine and spends more time in our magazine, there's no way they're not going to be more engaged in the advertising."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Quebecor and Transcon in TV listings squabble

Montreal-based Quebecor Inc. (a significant magazine player and the largest magazine printer) is accusing Transcontinental Inc. (the largest consumer magazine player and one of the largest printers) of breaking a non-competition agreement.

According to an article inside and below the fold in the Globe and Mail, the accusation came out as part of pre-trial filings.

Transcon is apparently printing a TV-listings insert for the upstart La Semaine weekly gossip magazine. By printing the insert, called Télé-Semaine, Quebecor says it is breaking an agreement that is part of its co-ownership of the TV listings magazine TV Hebdo.

In other words, that Transcon is competing with itself, and thereby injuring its partner.

The unlikely Quebecor-Transcon partnership in TV Hebdo came about as the result of Quebecor's takeover six years ago of Vidéotron Ltéé and its subsidiary, TVA Group Inc., the dominant television broadcaster in Quebec.

She's an off roader on the cusp of being an experiential with indulger tendencies

Traditional Home magazine has published its latest psychographic breakdown of the all-consuming affluent American female population, beloved bedrock of women's service and shelter publishing, according to an online item published by Media Post. Traditional Home, is owned by the Meredith Corporation (Better Homes and Gardens), which partnered with trend-tracking firm Nickles and Ashcraft to study 700 women ages 20-55 with household incomes over $75,000 a year.

It can be fleetingly amusing to see where you, your spouse, or your friends fit (or aspire to fit).
  • Indulgers -- 23 per cent of the affluent female population--are ideal marketing targets for luxury travel, credit cards, expensive cars, and high-end credit cards.

  • Standouts (21 per cent), seek to distinguish themselves with jewelry, makeup, fashionable clothes, lingerie, and fragrances.

  • Off Roaders (18 per cent) are interested in things like nutrition and health products, ecologically sound products, motor scooters, and niche tableware and lighting.

  • Reinventors (18 per cent), tend to be more mobile and interested in personal transformation--looking to categories like financial services, paint and wallpaper, retail, and moving and storage.

  • Nesters (10 per cent) place the highest value on "traditional" priorities like home and family, making them candidates for home entertainment, college tutoring for their children, real estate, insurance, and pet supplies.

  • Experientials (10 per cent) seek out technology, education, online gifts, resorts and travel, and entertainment.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Take your pick

Here's an article where a puzzled writer talks to three experts and finds three different views of the current state and future of the magazine business.
  • “Consumer magazines are being hit on all sides,” says Thomas Kemp, managing director at the Veronis Suhler Stevenson media investment firm. “A strong flight of advertising to online” poses one problem, he says, while “newsstand sell-through has been challenging at best, if not declining.” He adds: “It’s a very challenging time for the magazine industry.”

  • Samir Husni, chair of the University of Mississippi journalism department and someone who closely tracks the magazine industry, says, “When you hear all the bad news ... it’s a market adjustment. Almost every 10 years we go through the same thing.”

  • And Nina Link, the bullish president of the MPA, simply calls the current environment “a time of tremendous transformation.”

Transcon's Smart Living to launch in September

According to Media in Canada, Transcontinental will debut Canadian Smart Living in September, a mag focusing on consumer electronics and lifestyle. It will be included as a reader premium in more than 200,000 subscriber and newsstand issues of other Transcon titles. Publisher Joe Tersigni says the new publication's target is typically married or living with a partner, in their 30s or 40s with kids under 18 living in the home. Canadian Smart Living editorial aims to be more female-friendly, reflecting the trend that more women are making the purchasing decisions for consumer electronics. The magazine's debut issue hits newsstands in early August. A holiday guide is slated for November. It wasn't immediately clear whether this is the result of the deal with Yellow Pages to produce "hybrid" magazines that are distributed largely in conjunction with existing Transcon titles.

The freelancer's life and earnings

The Professional Writers of Canada (PWAC) have released a major study they did of the earnings of freelance writers in this country and the results are bracing:
  • Real earnings for freelance writers in Canada shrank in the decade between 1995 and 2005. In 1995 respondents to the PWAC survey indicated that their average annual income before taxes was approximately $26,500. "A decade later, that figure has dropped to $24,035. Allowing for 10 year’s worth of inflation, the effective purchasing power of the average freelancer writer’s income has clearly dropped – and significantly." *
  • Membership in professional association such as PWAC apparently pays off; on average, PWAC members earned nearly $5,000 more than non-members in 2005. And the longer a writer is a member of PWAC, the higher their pre-tax income.
  • In 2005, the highest average rate per word was charged by writers living in British Columbia (99 cents) while the highest average rate per word charged in Quebec in 2005 was 81 cents per word, the lowest rate in the country. PWAC posits that this may be because Quebec hosts fewer national magazines, so most writers in this province tend to do more corporate and government work. Or fees in that province may be depressed by the low rates paid by Francophone publications, which have a smaller potential audience than English.

  • Women still earn a word rate lower than men, but the gap has narrowed steadily between 2002 and 2005. "However," says the study, "it appears that women are also willing to work for less than men. Although the average lowest rates per word earned by men and women have increased overall, the lowest rates are still consistently paid to women."
*[In fact, according to the Bank of Canada, that $24,035 in 2005 is the equivalent of $19,709, 10 years ago. Which means that, measured in constant 1995 dollars, the average freelancer lost almost 26% of his/her purchasing power over the past decade. That's not a significant drop; that's a catastrophe. [The magazine industry cannot avoid the implications this news has for fees; the quality of their publications depends on quality writing and, at some point the erosion of income will be such that the best and the brightest will leave the field. Some say this is already happening.]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

OCAD Publication Show rocks

Tonight attended the 1st annual Publication Show at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Lamentably, this show only runs for 3 days, but if you're able, go and see it. Or make a note in your calendar for this time next year, as it is sure to be repeated after this stellar debut. There is some excellent, and I mean excellent, work from this year's Faculty of Design graduates, featuring magazine, book and annual report designs that reflect what they've learned at OCAD over the last four years.

Particularly interesting was the quality and quantity of illustration, a good many examples of retro and whimsical approaches, some very accomplished use of type and really fine instances of packaging print and webpage design. Much of what is shown could certainly hold its own in the National Magazine Awards.

As I understand it, this show was pulled together in about three weeks. The faculty advisors were Donna Braggins and Karen Simpson. Clearly the show reflects the strength of the publication design curriculum and the formidable faculty plus the kinds of students such a faculty and program attracts. The future of art direction in this country would seem to be in good hands.

The show is in the Great Hall, Level 2 at 100 McCaul Street.

Michael Fox named Volunteer of the Year

It's a great pleasure to see that Michael Fox has been named Magazines Canada Volunteer of the Year for 2005. It's a brand new award and he well deserves to be its first recipient.

Fox is Senior Vice-President, Circulation & Development at Rogers Publishing Limited in Toronto and is actively involved in the publishing industry as Chair of Magazines Canada's Postal Subcommittee and a member of the Magazine Directors Advisory Committee, Audit Bureau of Circulations. Fox is an authoritative and effective advocate for the industry and continues to play an instrumental role in the PAP battle. (Indeed, there are times when it seems that he alone can unravel the mysteries of Canada Post.) He has volunteered as a faculty member at all three Magazines Canada schools, sharing his knowledge and insight with industry up-and-comers.

In addition to Fox's award, Magazines Canada has cited three people who were particularly effective volunteers on behalf of the industry and/or particular Canadian titles.
  • Melissa Edwards is a former Associate Editor at Vancouver's Geist where she has been a member of the board for the last decade and is also their cartographer. She sits on the boards of the B.C. Association of Magazine Publishers and Vancouver's Word on the Street. In her ten years in the industry, Edwards has selflessly shared her time and experience with many western magazines as well as volunteering on the Magazines Canada Small Magazine Committee.
  • Tony Fouhse is the resident photographer at Ottawa's Burnt toast. His shots give the magazine a charge and a charm that invigorate every issue yet he contributes far more than photography. In addition to designing ads and contributing to layout, Fouhse helps out with marketing, business planning and advertising. His twenty years in the magazine industry, coupled with a good business sense and a desire to see Burnt toast succeed, make Fouhse a valued member of the publishing team.
  • Colin Martin volunteers at dANDelion as a member of its editorial collective. When he is not helping out with grant writing, reading through slush piles, he is lending an editorial and administrative hand wherever and whenever needed. Martin is actively involved in Calgary's literary scene where his outreach connects the city to dANDelion.

Fox will receive his award during the Magazines Canada luncheon on June 8 at Magazines University. Edwards, Fouhse and Martin will be honoured at the Magazines Canada Volunteer Appreciation Reception, also on June 8 at Magazines University.

Dose proves fatal

It may have rounded the corner into its second year (see earlier item) but it almost immediately stumbled into oblivion. Dose, the "daily magazine" is no more. It was launched in April 2005 (right). CanWest MediaWorks is discontinuing the publication and rolling its website into its crowded stable of online services. About 50 people will lose their jobs, although it's not clear if Noah Godfrey, the publisher is among them. Although the figure wasn't broken out in CanWest's financials, the free tabloid was losing something like $5 million a year. "In this very competitive newspaper market, we feel the printed publication will not produce the financial results we expect over the long term," said CanWest MediaWorks CEO Peter Viner in a release.

In some senses, it is a shame. Dose was doing some interesting work and seemed successful in appealing to the younger demographic which was its target. But it was always a weird business model and particularly so in the CanWest empire, which can only carry so many money-losers, the principal one being the continuing drain on its side, the National Post.

UPDATE: Fine Young Journalist has a long comment of his own and links to a good many other bloggers' comments on Dose's demise. Why did it die? Take your pick.

UPDATE: Media in Canada reports that was doing much better than the print vehicle, with 160,000 unique visitors a month. It will now carry on as the "youth" component of CanWest's media mix.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Botting takes early retirement from Rogers

Harvey Botting, the head of trade publishing for Rogers Media, is taking early retirement. Botting's decision to retire makes him only the latest of the senior vice-presidents to leave Rogers (earlier departures were Paul Jones and Donna Clark). Botting was one of the most senior magazine guys in the company, and one of the last links to the old Maclean Hunter management.

President Brian Segal's announcement said "those who know Harvey well know that when his mind is made up he has thought about the issue carefully and he can be tenacious when he sets a course. In this case, the decision to retire, while right for Harvey, means we lose a terrific leader, friend, storyteller and jazz lover. We all appreciate Harvey’s many achievements and the success of the businesses he shepherds, but most importantly, we appreciate his respect for people, for his honesty, integrity and the evidence of these values in all his business relationships."

Glow gets a francophone sister

A sister publication to Glow, published by Rogers Media for Shoppers Drug Mart, has been launched. Pure magazine went on newsstands across Quebec yesterday, according to Media in Canada. It will be published by Rogers six times a year and distributed to 65,000 Optimum card bearers and on newsstands; content includes international beauty and fashion trends to health, lifestyle and cuisine ideas aimed at women in Québec.

A dollar-a-year man

The former President and owner of CB Media and publisher of Canadian Business, the Honourable Roy MacLaren, PC, has been appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a Commissioner of the Public Appointments Commission. MacLaren, a former MP, diplomat and businessman, was one of three commissioners appointed.

“Establishing the Public Appointments Commission is an important step toward a more open, honest and accountable government for Canadians,” said the Prime Minister. “The Commissioners will ensure our appointments system is based on merit and is done in an open and transparent way. And, they have agreed to work for a salary of $1 a year.”

MacLaren spent twelve years with the Canadian diplomatic service, in Hanoi, Saigon, Prague and the United Nations in New York and Geneva. Subsequently in the business world he was President of Ogilvy Mather (Canada) before buying and being publisher of Canadian Business. (CB was eventually sold to Rogers Publishing.) Elected Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North in 1979, he served as Minister of State (Finance) in 1983 and Minister of National Revenue in 1984. After a few years in opposition, he was appointed Minister for International Trade in 1993. He was High Commissioner for Canada to Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1996 to 2000.

Monday, May 15, 2006

George Bain dies; wrote for Maclean's

George Bain, who for many years wrote for Maclean's magazine as well as anchoring the main political column for the Globe and Mail, has died in Halifax, aged 86. Bain, who recently lived in Mahone Bay, had become the first director of the journalism school at the University of King's College in Halifax in 1979 and became an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001. He authored five books and won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour for his 1966 work Nursery Rhymes to be Read Aloud by Young Parents with Old Children.

CMAJ Editor speaks out; says he was fired without cause

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a letter (which it solicited) from Dr. John Hoey, the former editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Dr. Hoey says that, while the CMA refused to give a reason for firing him, his exploration of politically sensitive issues may have led to his dismissal. It was the first time he had spoken or written about the dispute. The CBC website has a report.

While Hoey and his former deputy editor, Anne Marie Todkill, are bound by confidentiality agreements not to talk about the circumstances of their dismissal, Hoey said in his letter that a medical journal must address controversial issues, and to do otherwise would be "irresponsible".

"The notion that politically sensitive topics can be expunged from a medical journal is folly," he wrote.

In a comment accompanying the letter, said the CBC, University of Toronto bioethicist Peter Singer and former CMAJ editor Gordon Guyatt argue that the CMA should reinstate Hoey and Todkill unless it can provide a compelling reason for their dismissals. Singer and Guyatt offered 'a second best alternative' in the event that the former editors are not reinstated.

"The CMA should agree to charge an independent body of highly qualified and disinterested individuals with the selection of a new editor," they wrote.

Meanwhile taking over as head of the blue ribbon panel charged with advising the CMA in the matter (after the premature departure of Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer) is Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Rogers dumps Quark; goes with In Design

That giant sucking sound you heard was QuarkXpress going down the drain at Rogers Media. All publications are to switch over to Adobe In Design as soon as it can be managed. Quark launched QuarkXpress in 1987 and sparked off a revolution in destktop publishing. It rapidly eclipsed other software like Ventura Publisher and PageMaker, but in recent years the major complaint of users was failure to innovate and a touch of arrogance with customers. Because it owned 90 per cent of the market, it thought it always would. Nope.

Adobe parlayed its preeminence in type and delivered an integrated suite including its own excellent tools like Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat. Plus it sold the whole package at a significant discount to Quark. The only thing holding back people at larger magazines was the power of the Quark Publishing System (QPS) that allowed people across the organization to work simultaneously with stories and images. In Design has a similar system but it always had a reputation for being a bit "buggy". Apparently, this last obstacle has been overcome or no longer matters as much as it did. With a huge installed base, Quark isn't going away any time soon; but it can ill afford to lose a customer like Rogers.

Friday, May 12, 2006

United Church Observer wins CCP award

Winner in the magazine category of the Canadian Church Press 'Awards of Merit' given out this week was The United Church Observer, which was hailed for inspiring readers to "explore and apply their faith and spirituality."

Dose rounds the corner into Year Two

Congratulation to Dose, the "daily magazine" from CanWest MediaWorks, which this week celebrated its first year of publication. I admit my continuing scepticism about their business model, but there is no denying that, day in, day out, they have produced an interesting and entertaining publication; it is no more than it claims to be, and sometimes pleases and surprises its readers.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

U.S. National Magazine Awards given out

The guiding principle in magazine awards is "you can't win it if you're not in it"; lots of entries usually result in some nominations, which in turn can result in a couple of wins. But not always, as evidenced by this weeks U.S. National Magazine Awards. The Atlantic Monthly, which had 8 nominations, went home with no awards.

The "Ellies" (named after the elephant shaped "stabile" tropy designed by artist Alexander Calder) were given out Tuesday night at a black tie event at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. The National Magazine Awards are run by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and, unlike the Canadian awards, prizes go to the magazines rather than their contributing "creators" (writers, illustrators and photographers). The full list of award nominees and winners can be found here.

Twenty-two awards were presented to 14 different magazines. Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Esquire, Virginia Quarterly Review, Time, Harper's and New York each got two awards.

Dollco Printing wins award for family enterprise

A family owned company that prints many Canadian magazines has been given the 2006 CICA Family Enterprise of the Year Award by The Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). The award is made biannually.

"Dollco Printing is a true Canadian family business success story,' said Lawrence Barns, National CEO of CAFE, 'Having reached its third generation of ownership and celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, Dollco Printing continues to flourish as a model of family business success under the co-leadership of cousins Krista Nicholds and Kevin Nicholds.' It has been owned and operated by the Nicholds family in Ottawa since 1956.

International magazine launches

According to the International Federation of the Periodical Press, Marquard Media AG, the Swiss publisher, has launched a Russian version of JOY. It is its latest of 10 international editions pf the pocket-format trend magazine is aimed at young, fashion-conscious women aged 18-34. The Russian edition starts with 320,000 copies.

Other international launches of note, according to FIPP:

Millionaire Media Group International, a UK registered company operating in Dubai, has announced plans to publish a new magazine in South Africa called Millionaire Lifestyle which will focus on the luxurious lifestyles of the global elite. Millionaire Lifestyle will be launched this month and be published on alternate months with an initial circulation of 50,000 to wealthy and high-profile South Africans and international visitors throughout southern Africa.

Emap Consumer Media (ECM) has announced plans to this month launch a new woman’s weekly magazine called First. It will be Emap’s fifth new launch in five years following the successful launches of Closer (2002), Zoo (UK-2004 and Australia-2006) and Grazia (2005).

Hachette Filipacchi UK has announced plans to launch a bi-annual catwalk fashion title as a spin-off from Elle magazine. Elle Collections is the first stand alone title to focus solely on catwalk shows.Elle Collections, which will be in an extra-large glossy format, will retail at £5 and will go on sale July 19 with a print run of 50,000.

Disney-Hachette in France has launched Fairies, a new magazine intended for young girls from 7 to 9 years of age.The first issue of Fairies was published May 3.

Australian publisher ACP has announced plans to launch a new magazine on 15 May called Shop Til You Drop 4 Kids, targetting customers shoping for babies and children under the age of five - everyone from mothers-to-be to grandparents and extended family. It will be launched on 15 May with an initial print run of 65,000 and a cover price of A$6.95.

OOPS! This Magazine reprints entire issue

The May-June issue of This Magazine was like a sudoku puzzle for subscribers, with pagination in one copy going 1-6, 15-22, 7-14, 31-46 and some forms/pages missing altogether, including an article on copyright on page 28. The magazine has recently posted a notice on its website apologizing for this, which was said to be an error at the printer. Subscribers are just now receiving a reprinted issue with a cover note of explanation.

Get a glimpse of the future at OCAD grad show

Many of Canada's best art directors and designers have graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto; many others have passed through in one way or another. The graduate students are holding a showcase on Wednesday, May 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. at 100 McCaul Street where you may get a glimpse at the future of magazine design in this country

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Quote, unquote

"HERE is the most important thing you need to know about Star: It is not a magazine; it is a picture book that chronicles celebrity distress.... [it] shines in a lesser galaxy, where celebrity is just a hunka hunka of burning loss presented in bite-sized bits."
-- Fern Siegel, contributing writer to Media Post, in her commentary (free sub requ'd) on Bonnie Fuller's Star.

Gzowski literacy award call

If you've written anything about literacy issues in a Canadian magazine, you might want to consider submitting it to the Gzowski awards. The Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit was developed by ABC CANADA, in honour of broadcaster and writer Peter Gzowski, to recognize the talent,effort and commitment required to achieve quality reporting on issues related to literacy.

The prize is glory and $1,000 donated in your name to the literacy group of your choice. Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2006, open to all professional journalists in all media, working and residing in Canada. Journalists may submit their own work, or nominate the work of a fellow journalist. The work must have been published between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005. The winner will be notified by Friday, July 28, 2006.The award presentation is September 6.

Goodbye to frequency; hello to engagement?

Frequency of message has been, for many years, a foundation of selling magazine advertising. But, as Paul Parton points out in the May issue of Media (Media Post):

"Frequency suggests that you can create successful communications by simply beating people over the head with the same idea."

But, he goes on, that doesn't mean that the new buzzword 'engagement' is much of a substitute because "engagement in
the context of media and advertising is a very nuanced idea."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Department of euphemism

Trafalgar Productions, which publishes a controlled-circ youth entertainment bimonthly Access, has struck a deal with The Forzani Group to start distribution in October of a 100,000-circ glossy called Replay to Forzani’s chain of 116 Sport Chek stores across the country. It was reported today in mastheadonline (sub requ'd).

The magazine will feature Forzani merchandise and, according to a statement from Trafalgar “will work constructively with sports manufacturers and execute an extensive schedule of promotional activities that will link key corporate sponsors with major sporting events.” Custom publishing, or a catalogue, in other words.

Michael I is a good guy. Discuss

The Tyee is an online magazine published out of Vancouver and it frequently brings an fresh perspective on the issues of the day. That's the case with its article defending Michael Ignatieff, by Shefa Siegel. Even if you think the Kennedy School at Harvard is an intel organization for the American empire, you may enjoy this interesting personal view of the man who is undoubtedly setting the pace of the Liberal leadership race.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Chatelaine boss imminent?

The Toronto Star's prolific blogger Antonia Zerbisias has posted that an editor is about to be named for Chatelaine and that it is a Canadian. We were beginning to wonder if the Publisher Kerry Mitchell was trying to get in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most drawn-out executive search in history.

Canadian newsstand finalists announced

The fifth annual Canadian Newsstand Awards finalists have been announced. The release and the complete list of nominees can be found here and all nominated covers may be seen there, too. The winners are announced at a cocktail reception and presentation, Tuesday, June 6 at 5 p.m. during Magazines University at the Old Mill in Toronto. Nominated covers will also be displayed in a special exhibit at the Masthead Trade Show at Magazines University, June 6-9. (The cover shown above is Spacing magazine, Spring-Summer 2005, nominated for magazines under 10,000 circulation. Below, left is the Jan-Feb 2005 issue of Canadian Geographic, nominated in the large magazine category)

Thirty magazines, ranging from the small-circulation literary title This Magazine to mass-circulation Canadian Geographic, have made the list. There will be one winner in each of five contest categories, plus the overall best newsstand magazine cover of the year

The prestigious Newsstand Marketer of the Year, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated passion and innovation for a newsstand project in 2005, will also be announced at the reception.

Winning magazines in most categories receive $3,500 each in credits towards promotional programs at newsstands owned by HDS Retail. The winner in the Small Magazine Category wins $1,000 in credits, plus $500 cash.

Sponsors of the awards are HDS Retail,Transcontinental Printing (which sponsors the reception), Quark,Audit Bureau of Circulations, Government of Canada (Canada Magazine Fund) and the Circulation Management Association.

Who will pay for watchdog journalism?

[But] the most serious competitive threat to traditional journalism doesn't come from bloggers and their compatriots. It comes instead from businesses that are also using technology's power. They're winning advertising, the other kind of "content" that appears in print publications and broadcasts....

What if we're in for a decade or two of decline in the watchdog journalism that takes deep pockets and a civic commitment to produce?....

Sound journalism is a foundation of an informed citizenry in self-governing nations. These economic trends suggest serious problems for the organizations that have used the manufacturing model of media - with attendant barriers to entry that made it so profitable for more than a half-century - in part as a way of supporting high-quality journalism....

Many classified adverts are moving to the net So I worry. What if we can't come up with useful journalism business models in the near term to replace the eroding ones? What if we're in for a decade or two of decline in the watchdog journalism that takes deep pockets and a civic commitment to produce?

-- excerpted from a BBC News column by Dan Gillmor. He is author of We the Media, a book about technology and the development of grassroots journalism. He is also director of the Center for Citizen Media.

Ottaw Sun writer accuses Adbusters magazine of anti-semitism

Perhaps it's not a surprise, given the source, but a writer in the Ottawa Sun on Monday accused Adbusters magazine of anti-Semitism. Jordan Michael Smith, in a column headed 'Anti-Semitism still lurks in left', lumps together Islamists and the far left as fellow travellers in such attitudes, while saying that such views won't get much traction in Canada. Smith is a graduate student in political science at Carleton University. Apparently he is a little behind in his reading, since he had to dig back to an article that was published two years ago to get a hook for his column.
"In both Islamist circles and on the far-left, anti-Semitism is permitted and accepted," he said.

"On the far left, as well, anti-Semitism is now in vogue. From theorizing about a clique of American Jews waging wars on Israel's behalf to denying the right to Jewish self-determination in Israel, radical leftists have taken up what was once the terrain of the Old Right.

"An article in the March/April 2004 issue of Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, called "Why Won't Anybody Say They're Jewish?" asks the following question about Jewish neoconservatives: "Whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?" The answer: Israel's interests, of course.

"That Jewish neoconservatives could think Israeli interests and American interests overlap was apparently too much for these anti-Semites to contemplate. And somehow Adbusters ignored the predominance of Jews among the far left in North America: Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Michael Albert, Norman Finkelstein, Rick Salutin, Judy Rebick, etc.

"No, for Adbusters as for many radical leftists these days, whenever Jews take a stand in favour of Israel, it must be their Jewishness that is making them do it."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Atlantic Journalism Awards magazine winners

The gold award winner for magazine articles in the Atlantic Journalism Awards given out on Saturday evening in Halifax was Joanne MacPherson, for her article 'Home Sweet Home' in Saltscapes, Dartmouth. Finalists in this category were Amber Harkins, East Coast Living Magazine, Halifax, for 'Marine Life' and Joshua Samuel, Progress, Halifax, for 'The Birth Of A Company'.

The best magazine cover gold award went to the Shambhala Sun, Halifax, for their January 2005 cover. - Finalists in this category were East Coast Living, Halifax (Fall & Winter 2005),
and Progress, Halifax, (November 2005)

Best magazine profile article gold went to Barry Boyce, in Shambhala Sun, for 'The Man Who Prescribes The Medicine of the Moment'. Finalists in this category were Trevor Adams, Business Voice, Halifax, for 'Wayne's World' and John DeMont, Progress, for 'The Big Thinker'.

High end zines; a contradiction in terms?

There is a bull market these days in articles that start out: "The traditional magazine model is dead." Which is how a May 7 article in the New York Times (free sub requ'd), by Jessica Pressler, kicked off when talking about the growth of high-end "zines". Now, aside from the fact that the "zines" she was talking about are to true zines as today's "lofts" are to lofts, there were a lot of interesting perspectives which are worth checking out. (The article was mostly about quite expensive, vanity productions with cover prices ranging up to US$14.95 -- a far cry from photocopied, hand-collated precursors.)

Curiously, the article quoted an account manager from a Winnipeg printer: " 'It's like this whole culture.'...Over the phone, he cited a handful of titles he has helped start up in the last six years: 'The Believer, Lemon, Clamor, Swindle, Anthem, Beautiful/Decay, Bidoun, Re:Up, Archetype, The Drama. There's so many.' Though he wouldn't say how many copies he printed of each magazine, he said the runs are anywhere from 4,000 to approximately 50,000."

The creators of these publications suit themselves and celebrate the very ephemeral nature of their creations, acknowledging that when they start to ape traditional magazines in their business models, people lose interest.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Geist fired by auditor

There must be more to this story: Geist magazine has been expelled by BPA Worldwide, the circulation audit firm, effective April 26. The text of the announcement:
At a meeting of the BPA Worldwide Executive Committee held on April 6, 2006, the Committee voted to terminate the BPA Worldwide membership of The Geist Foundation,for violation of Section 10.1.3 of BPA Worldwide Bylaws in that it failed to allow BPA Worldwide to complete an audit for the twelve-month period ending March 2005.The last audit report for GEIST was for the three-month period ended March 2004.
Usually, a magazine that is cheesed off with its auditor or the results of its audits, resigns.

All comment and background gratefully received.

Gordon Badger, a founder of Homemaker's dies

One of the founders of Homemaker's magazine, Gordon Badger, passed away April 30. His death notice in the Globe and Mail said the death, aged 70, was unexpected. He had apparently married just last month and had taken his new bride Marilyn Weir to rural Ireland for a honeymoon.

Badger, a chartered accountant, had been one of the small group that launched Comac Communications Limited and, with Homemaker's in the early 70s, helping to pioneer controlled circulation publishing with a little digest that grew into one of Canada's most successful and largest-circulation titles.

Jeff Shearer, a friend and publisher of The Bay magazine, based in Collingwood, told the Stayner Sun: "He was a smart, big thinker and passionate about the community."

For many years Badger, an accountant, worked on the business side of the publishing industry. Among his ventures was a partnership in Comac. He also published the now defunct Creemore Star and a number of other titles, including the Elmvale Lance, Stayner Star and Wasaga Star. The newspapers ceased publishing in the 1990s.

A service will be held for friends and family at Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. W., Toronto on Monday, May 8, 2006 (his 70th birthday) at 4:30 p.m. More importantly, says the death notice, the major celebration of his life that he directed include martinis and good wine will take place at the Badger Hill farm near Creemore on Saturday, June 24 with tee- offs for those who wish to golf on Badger Downs starting at 2 p.m.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Quote, unquote

"We're not narrow, we're svelte."
-- Peter Kaplan, editor of The New York Observer, commenting on announced reduction in width of the paper to save money.

"Salmon, sliced thinner"
-- headline in the Media Mob column in the Observer (the paper is printed on salmon-pink newsprint)

The demise of the weak and the small

Rob Gregory, group publisher of Maxim, and Dana Fields, executive publisher of FHM were recently interviewed by Media Life about the current state of men's magazines, in light of the recent slump in advertising sales for the category. They were also asked about the demise of Cargo. Here's their response to two of the questions. You can read the rest here.

Q: What is the next big trend in men's magazines? Or is there a next thing?

Gregory: Consolidation. The demise of the weak and the small.

Q: What killed Cargo? Is there room for a men's shopping
magazine, and if there is, how would it be different from Cargo?

Gregory: Cargo wasn’t so much killed as it never actually lived. It was based on an abstract, advertiser-driven idea: that hopefully, men would respond to a Lucky magazine-like approach. Successful men’s magazines have to be reader-driven, not cold catalogs. Stuff has been the successful model of how to do a product-oriented men’s title that puts the reader first. Men want to be entertained, not just shown eye-glazing product listings. Men want genuinely original tone, a clever sense of humor, and diverse entertaining content.

Fields: Guys love gadgets. There is no question about that. But, guys like to read about gadgets in a magazine that also includes their main interests, namely entertainment, sports, music, gaming, sex and girls. Otherwise, a gadget-centric title is nothing more than a catalog. And while women love catalogs, men don’t.

Transcontinental makes deal with Meredith to publish "Canadian" edition of More magazine

The fox is in the barnyard, but apparently we are also inviting him into the henhouse. Transcontinental Media has so enjoyed its partnership with Elle magazine (publishing Elle Quebec and Elle Canada) that it has now announced that it will publish a Canadian editon of the popular U.S. women's magazine More, starting in spring 2007.

The editor-in-chief will be Diane Rinehart, the former editor of Homemaker's magazine (1999-2003).

Transcon announced it has reached an exclusive, multi-year licensing agreement with U.S. publisher Meredith Corporation, one of the largest U.S. publishers, with 24 subscription titles (including the behemoth Better Homes and Gardens) and more tha 150 special interest pubs.

More, which comes out 10 times a year, targets the 40+ female demographic and has an Audit Bureau of Circulation-verified circulation of 1.1 million copies in the U.S. The addition will bring Transcontinental Media's magazine total to 43, including 27 consumer titles. Transcontinental will, of course, also print More's Canadian version.

"This agreement with a major American publisher is yet another successful execution of one of our primary growth strategies: to partner with otherindustry-leading companies to develop innovative products and services," said Luc Desjardins, president and CEO of Transcontinental. "Meredith's reputation as the American consumer magazine specialist for over a century now and More's popularity combine to make this a promising partnership that may foster further opportunities for both our publishing and printing activities."

[Update: Meredith also announced it was going to publish a Spanish edition of Diabetic Living and some of its Better Homes and Gardens specialty books in Spain.]

Warrior cops interview with Seymour Hersh

In what must be a coup for a small magazine published out of Montreal, the current issue of Warrior carries an interview by contributing editor and Democracy Now producer Aaron Mate with muckraking journalist Seymour Hersh.

Mate writes: "In an era when journalists have become nothing but gatekeepers for long and beguiling echo chambers, that a man like Hersh is still scooping, still making his own deadlines, still using the saltiest language, and still making powerful boots shake brings us a bit of hope and a great deal of inspiration."

Torstar says Scoop launch cost $1 million

Information released at the annual general meeting of Torstar Corporation indicate the Weekly Scoop launch last fall, cost $1 million and Torstar executives were quoted yesterday saying they expect the losses to be in excess of $3-million this year, because of slower than anticipated ad sales and the cost of promotions such as the last week's sale of the magazine with a cover price of 25 cents instead of $2.99.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Chair of CMAJ governance panel steps down for health reasons

In yet another loose strand of a story that has unravelled steadily over the past few months, the chair of the panel launched by the Canadian Medical Association to recommend a new governance structure for the Canadian Medical Association Journal has resigned, for health reasons. The panel was to have reported back to the association in June, but that now seems unlikely. Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer, 72, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, was brought in to give some impression of stability after two senior editors of the journal were fired in what seems to have been the result of a dispute sparked by the CMA’s decision to privatize the publication. For background, see earlier posts including here and here.

Meanwhile, the two fired editors, Dr. John Hoey and Ann Marie Todkill, have been awarded the 2006 World Press Freedom award by the National Press Club. "Editors should be free to express critical but responsible views about all aspects of medicine without fear of retribution, even if those views might conflict with the commercial goals of the publisher," Spencer Moore of the press club told the Canadian Press before the ceremony Wednesday to present the $2,000 award.

Hoey and Todkill have not spoken publicly about the specific events leading up to their firing. Both had signed confidentiality agreements before the controversy arose.

However, details of the conflict with journal publisher Graham Morris have leaked out, and led almost all members of the publication's editorial board to resign in protest. Several of the departed board members have said they are actively exploring the possibility of setting up a rival journal, possibly online.

U.S. Postal Service hikes mag rates by 11.4%

The U.S. Postal Service today filed a rate case for a system-wide increase of 8.5 per cent, with magazines looking at an average of 11.4%. Combined with the 5.4 per cent postal increase in January, says Folio: in a bulletin to its subscribers, U.S. magazines will have seen rates go up by 17.4% in a year and a half.

Kathryn Swan to sell for new Transcon "hybrid"

Kathryn Swan, who resigned as Publisher of Torstar's Weekly Scoop in February, has emerged again handling business development for a new publication being developed by Transcontinental Media. This is likely one of the new "hybrid" magadirectories that Transcon is to produce in cooperation with the Yellow Pages group. More on mastheadonline (sub'n requ'd)

Meanwhile, Advertising Manager Tracy Day has been named Publisher of the Weekly Scoop, which is now selling again for $2.99 after a one-week fling of selling for 25 cents.

[By the way, we understand that, though the price promotion seemed to smack of desperation, in fact Weekly Scoop is enjoying a sell-through of something over 60% and is steadily and strategically buying up pockets across the country.]

Quote, unquote

"This is truly a disruptive era for traditional media businesses. And from all that I read, and from everyone I talk with, I don’t think anyone can safely predict which business models are going to take hold and which businesses are going to fade away. New technologies are empowering consumers to create and share their own content. People expect to be able to skip commercials on television and get their news online without having to pay for it. Consumers are more demanding than ever, especially the younger ones."

-- Patrick Phillips, founder of I Want Media, quoted in Media Shift

Handicapping the US mag awards

Here's a fun way to pass the time. Joe Friedman, who writes the column Media Web in MarketWatch, has handicapped the (U.S.) National Magazine Awards, giving his picks and possible "dark horses" for some of the categories. Wish we'd thought of it. Anyone want to make their own list for the (Canadian) National Magazine Awards?

Michael Enright comes to the defence of Western Standard

In his opening essay recently on the Sunday Edition, CBC host Michael Enright came to the aid of the Western Standard in its struggle with the Alberta Human Rights Commission over the Standard's decision to publish the so-called "Danish cartoons". Enright notes that most mainstream media demurred from publishing the cartoons, an act which he compared to reporting an earthquake without showing pictures of the damage. He asks some perfectly reasonable questions about why other Canadian magazines and newspapers have not sprung to the defence of the Western Standard in what is clearly a matter of press freedom. And, not surprisingly, WS Publisher Ezra Levant was quick to pick up on the "amazing support from a surprising source" (from within the great Satan, the CBC). If you'd like to listen to the essay, go to the Western Standard blog and click on the link.

University Affairs article wins writer health research medal

Toronto freelance writer Michael Smith wrote a "scientific whodunit" for University Affairs magazine (published by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada). And the story of the tragedy and perseverance that yielded powerful new drugs has won this year's sanofi pasteur Medal for Excellence in Health Research Journalism, presented by Canadians for Health Research (CHR).

The award -- a commemorative medal and a $2,500 bursary -- will be presented on June 24 during the Canadian Science Writers' Association (CSWA) annual general meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador.

The story describes how the work of Queen's University biochemist Michael Axelrad was cut short inthe 1970s by ankylosing spondylitis, a spinal inflammation that created a fatal build-up of amyloid deposits in his brain. His condition and fate became the focal point of ongoing
research by Dr. Axelrad's colleagues, whose subsequent understanding of amyloid chemistry laid the foundation for new treatments of this neurological disease, as well as Alzheimer's and even atherosclerosis.

The award judges praised the way in which the article made a very complex topic accessible to any reader.

"Michael Smith has given us a rich insight into the lives of the people who populate our research community," says CHR president Patricia Guyda. "I was especially moved by a passage which states, 'Dr. Axelrad did not live to see the secrets of amyloid unravelled. But he did pass the torch.' Any scientist would be proud to be remembered in that way."

CHR launched the sanofi pasteur Medal in 1995, and administers the selection process. A national, federally chartered, nonprofit organization founded in 1976, CHR is dedicated to promoting the understanding and communication of medical matters by the public, scientific community and government, with a membership made up of organizations and individuals who
share these goals.

The medal is sponsored by sanofi pasteur, Canada's premier vaccine company. The sanofi-aventis Group is the world's third-largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. In addition to vaccines, it specializes in developing medicine for use in cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central nervous system and internal medicine.

Government repudiates 2/3 of pledged support for Canada Council

The federal Conservative government has effectively repudiated two-thirds of a $150 million cash injection promised last fall to the The Canada Council for the Arts. The budget announced on Tuesday gives the Council a mere $20 million in 2006-2007 and $30 million in 2007-2008.

And while Heritage Minister Bev Oda has said she'll work with the arts community to understand its needs, the flat fact was that the Council and the community was promised $150 million and, will get a third of that. It is a clear message about the priority that the arts and culture will get with this government.

The Canada Council supports over 100 mostly small, independent literary and cultural magzines and it is not clear how much of the $50 million will find its way to them since it must be spread among all arts disciplines.

It's understandable that a Magazines Canada accentuated what positives it could in its news release in the wake of the budget. Having played an active role in the Canadian Arts Coalition that won the increased investment from the previous Liberal government of Paul Martin, it needs to keep working with the government in power.

Magazines Canada tried to extract some joy from the announcement that donations of securities to charities will now be exempt from capital gains tax. However, very little of the approximately $300 million in additional annual donations to charities this is expected to engender will assist magazines, since Revenue Canada has made it all but impossible for magazine publishers to qualify as charities. It is, however, some good news for magazines that already have charitable status.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Laframboise named exec editor of LOULOU

Claude Laframboise, until now editorial director of Mariage Québec (and, before that, Montreal
editor of
Fashion magazine), has been named executive editor of LOULOU's English and French editions.

"I am absolutely thrilled with this challenge," said Laframboise, "because I believe in shopping magazines, which reflect a new consumer reality. LOULOU's success, both with consumers and with advertisers, shows that there is a real demand and a keen interest in this type of publication."

LOULOU is published by Rogers Publishing Limited, a division of Rogers Media.

Now THAT'S recycling

Metro, the free daily newspaper that litters the Toronto and Montreal subway is apparently trying to do something about this problem, in New York. Uniformed attendants will 'recycle' up to 40,000 copies a week, cleaning them up and smoothing them, stamping them "Recycled" and handing them out to people over the lunch hour. We could not make this up.

John Macfarlane to receive National Magazine Award for Outstanding Achievement

The Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement has been one of the outstanding achievements of the National Magazine Awards. It is an opportunity to highlight people who have made a real difference in this business and it has created an enviable and hard-to-join club. Entering that select group this year is John Macfarlane, the Editor of Toronto Life and Vice-President of Strategic Development at St. Joseph Media.

Macfarlane has twice been editor of Toronto Life: since 1992; and from 1972 to 1974. Under his editorial direction,Toronto Life has won more than 70 National Magazine Awards. He's been publisher of Saturday Night and of the Financial Times of Canada, Editor of Weekend magazine and an editor at Maclean's. He served as President of the National Magazine Awards. He is being honoured for what writer Robert Fulford calls "his unrelenting pressure for excellence and his shaping vision of what a good magazine can be."

The Foundation's inaugural Best Student Writer Award goes to Leigh Doyle for her article So Long that appeared in The Ryerson Review of Journalism. Leigh is a recent journalism graduate from Ryerson University and former editor of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

The winner of this year's Alexander Ross Award for Best New Writer is Larry Frolick, for his articles The Wired Cabin in Outpost and Danger Signs in The Walrus. Larry Frolick is the author of Splitting Up: Divorce, Culture, and the Search for a Real Life, Ten Thousand Scorpions, and Grand Centaur Station. He lives in Toronto.

All National Magazine Awards, including the President's Medal for overall excellence (popularly called Magazine of the Year), will be presented June 9th, 2006 at the Carlu in Toronto.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Walrus lumbers away with 49 Magawards nominations

The Walrus has been nominated an astounding 49 times* for this year's National Magazine Awards. The nominees represent over 300 articles in 75 different magazines, and were chosen from over 2,300 total entries.

Other top nominees were Toronto Life (24 nominations) and the late Saturday Night (20 nominations). L’actualité got 18 nominations, Explore 14 and Toro 13. The full list of nominees can be downloaded from the website of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.*In the illustration category alone, The Walrus has 7 of 10 nominations

Quote, unquote

"A problem for many magazine publishers is that they serve several customer segments, forcing a dual focus, or sometimes a focus on more than two audiences. That’s the brutal reality of static media. To get higher circulation, magazines must go broad, even some of the more-narrowly focused enthusiast publications. Thus, any customer buying a single issue, or subscribing, gets something a lot less than 100 percent value from each and every page. Many may read 20 percent or less of a magazine. Take a typical business magazine, which has both consumer and professional content. Often, there are articles of extreme value, and senior executives might easily pay a whole year’s subscription price for that single piece of advice.

The old adage that magazine customers are happy to just read a few articles from their favorite columnists was only true when customers had little or no choice—before the advent and major penetration of the Internet, mobility, and cable, among others. That’s why circulation directors are having a tough time with pricing.

And in that environment, advertisers, with the ROI mentality now becoming de rigueur, will gravitate elsewhere. General, undifferentiated media is in decline everywhere."
-- From a thought-provoking article in the current Folio: by Daniel Aks formerly Chief Operating Officer of Primedia’s Consumer Media and Magazine Group, and a founder of a boutique media management consulting firm focusing on business strategy, operations excellence, and product development.

Masthead reports draft guidelines for advertising

Like a good investigative reporter he is, Masthead editor Bill Shields has revealed some of the changes being proposed for industry advertising guidelines. The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors guidelines have been in the process of revision for some months by a broad industry working group. Read more about it here. [Fair disclosure: I sit on the task force and the final version hasn't been produced yet.]

With TQ, is Globe heavying up on contract publishing?

The church and state boundaries get fuzzier by the day. The most recent example was TQ magazine, published by the Globe and Mail and distributed last Wednesday. In fact, it is a handsome and interesting magazine (TQ stands for Technology Quarterly), with a lot of well-written and presented articles about technology (must make Backbone wonder, given that it is distributed by the Globe). But there are a couple of interesting aspects.
  • Its masthead says it is published by the Globe and Mail, but not by the editorial division that publishes its successful Report on Business magazine; it is produced by the Marketing Solutions Group, and is therefore part of what is effectively the Globe's custom publishing side, headed up by Teena Poirier. But it is edited by staff editor and columnist Simon Beck.
  • There seemed to be category exclusivity. Telus dominates the ad support, with 4 ad pages and a 16-page advertorial supplement (in which there was 1 Nortel and 1 Avaya ad); other advertisers are Cisco Systems (6 pages), Microsoft (4), a 3-page advertorial from IDC and1 each from Air Canada and Xerox.
  • On the TQ website, TQ promotes its advertisers as "publishing partners"

Storyteller magazine editor shortlisted for Arthur Ellis prize

Melanie Fogel, the editor of Storyteller magazine, has been shortlisted for Arthur Ellis Award, this country's top prize for excellence in crime writing.She was nominated for Best Short Story for her story "Plenty of Time" in When Boomers Go Bad (Rendezvous).

The Arthur Ellis prize is named after Canada's last official hangman.

Winners of the award will be announced by the Crime Writers of Canada on June 8 in Toronto.

The three per cent club

The Time magazine 100 is on newsstands today and three Canadians made the list:
  • Basketball MVP Steve Nash is a Hero and Icon;
  • Stewart Butterfield of Vancouver who, with his American-born wife Caterina Fake, created the photo-sharing site Flickr, is a Builder and Titan
  • Filmmaker Jeffrey Skoll is an Artist & Entertainer
Apparently, there were no Canadians deemed worthy of being Scientists & Thinkers or Leaders & Revolutionaries.