Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Flare internship candidates apply on video, with readers voting

Flare magazine has turned unpaid internships at its magazine website into a competition in which readers vote on video applications.

The three-month internships (January to April) at the Rogers fashion title are unpaid and successful candidates have to pay their own expenses to live in Toronto. To be eligible they must be registered or recently graduated from an accredited college or university. "Basic knowledge of HTML and PhotoShop would be an asset. You must have excellent written and oral communication skills and be able function independently and meet assigned deadlines."
Do you think you have what it takes to become an intern at FLARE? If so, we'd love to meet you! Simply upload a video (90 seconds or less) telling us why you would be the ultimate intern. Make sure your video is unique and interesting to catch the eye of the voters and judges.You must have excellent fashion and internet knowledge and on occasion will work with the marketing, fashion and beauty departments...As part of this amazing opportunity, you will also host your own blog and webisodes tracking your journey with FLARE, both of which will be live on
While readers get to vote online on the videos, the final decision is made by a panel of judges including Flare magazine editor Lisa Tant, Liz Cabral, fashion editor, Elio Ianacci, features director, Juliette Lie, beauty director, Amanda Virtanen, general manager of, Tracy Finkelstein, director of business development and promotion and Janet Stern, director of human resources at Rogers Publishing.

So far, it appears four people have sent in videos.


Green Living will turn 10 and quarterly

Green Living magazine is celebrating its 10th year of publication with a major relaunch as a full-size, national quarterly as of Spring 2008. What began as the annual Enviroguide, which provided information about environmentally friendly goods and services, it went bi-annual in 2004, and in 2005, was redesigned and renamed Green Living to reflect an expanded editorial content. (shown is the Fall/Winter 2007 issue).
"An increasingly large number of Canadians recognize that a greener lifestyle not only benefits their health, homes and families but also their planet," says Green Living Enterprises President Laurie Simmonds. "Green Living has a solid 10-year track record in providing consumers with the information they need to make responsible, affordable and stylish choices about the way they live and the goods and services they buy."
Recent surveys have clearly shown that more and more consumers are concerned about both their own and the larger environment, and are actively searching for information and daily-life solutions. Green Living is perfectly positioned to be a primary resource for this fast-growing segment. For almost a decade, it has provided its readers with entertaining and informative eco content, ranging from food, fashion and homes to beauty products, energy-saving tips and compelling investigative stories - all delivered in a visually sophisticated package.

Editors are Mary Anne Brinckman and Jocelyn Laurence and Creative Director is Gary Hall.

The magazine is associated not only with the recently launched website, but also the Green Living Show Toronto. This spring, a spinoff Green Living Show will debut in Vancouver.

Green Living is owned by Environmental Defence, a not-for-profit environmental organization and is published under licence by Green Living Enterprises, a division of Key Publishers Company Limited. (In effect, it is a sort of retirement project for Michael DePencier, ramped up after he sold Toronto Life and the other Key Publishers titles to St. Joseph Corporation. According to the Green Living website, Key is "currently focused on encouraging the preservation of biodiversity, protecting natural habitats, investing in the environmental economy and spreading the environmental message to the public through its practices and publications.") Key has also created Investco Capital Corporation, which invests in green enterprises.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Andrew Coyne jumps from National Post to Maclean's

There has been a major defection from the National Post with the announcement that national affairs columnist Andrew Coyne is joining Maclean's magazine as National Editor in early November.

Ken Whyte, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Maclean's, said:

"We are delighted to have Andrew at Maclean's," says Whyte. "He's a great addition to our enviable roster of correspondents. He's a brilliant journalist-funny, insightful, profound. He'll write a column as well as longer pieces. We'll also benefit from his editorial guidance in our coverage of national affairs in print and online. Andrew knows Canada and its politics as very few others do but his interests are broader than just Ottawa and we intend to use the full scope of his talents at Maclean's."

On his personal blog, Coyne said:
I leave the Post with great reluctance, and not a little heartache....But every now and then you have to shake things up, and try something new, and the opportunity Maclean’s presented was simply too good to pass up. I have always wanted to try my hand at editing, and having only ever worked in newspapers, am eager to see what the magazine side of the business looks like. And what a place to start: Maclean’s is an established title, with all the strength that brings, and yet one that is in the process of reinventing itself, with the fluidity that suggests. Under my old boss Ken Whyte, it has put together a first-rate bunch of writers and editors, and it just sounds like something that would be a lot of fun to be involved in.

Not that I’ll be any less busy on the writing side. In addition to a weekly column, I’ll be writing longer-form pieces for the magazine, as well as blogging for the website (at last, paid to blog!)."

Before being one of the original "Posties" at the National Post, the tart-tongued, vaguely rightish Coyne has been an editorial writer and columnist for The Financial Post, Globe and Mail, and the Southam newspaper chain. He's also frequently visible on public affairs panels on CBC Television and TV Ontario.

He is the winner of two National Newspaper Awards and the Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism. Raised in Winnipeg, Coyne graduated with a B.A. in Economics and History from the University of Toronto and a Master's degree from the London School of Economics.

Aileen who? The 6th Ontario culture
minister in 7 years

More than half of Canada's magazines are published in Ontario, so who is the culture minister is an important issue. Would that the Ontario government saw it that way.

In a recent post, we pointed out that there had been five culture ministers in Ontario in seven years (and five different names for the culture ministry.) Of those, perhaps only one -- David Tsbouchi -- had obvious chops to do the job. Well, here we go again, with the latest Dalton McGuinty shuffle, the cabinet post has been given to another person without many apparent qualifications for the job. If this had happened once, it might have been inadvertent; but the fact is that time after time this portfolio has been seen by both Tory and Liberal governments as a suitable place to try out green ministers. Of minor importance, in other words.

No offence meant to Aileen Carroll, who was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2007. She began her career in politics as a Barrie City councillor. She's not a political neophyte, having run and won three times as federal MP for Barrie (1997, 2000 and 2004). She served as the Minister for International Cooperation for a time.

Her resume doesn't seem to have the word culture anywhere in it, however, unless chairing a fundraising project for the Barrie Public Library counts. Other good works include being honorary chair for the Barrie United Way, a volunteer at Hospice Simcoe and a founding member of Barrie's Big Sister Association.

Carroll is a graduate of St. Mary's and York universities, and co-owned a manufacturing and retail business in Barrie for many years. She and her husband Kevin Carroll, Q.C., have two adult children.

But culture? Once again, a minister who has on her training wheels will have to be brought up to speed on this file, even though she is responsible for extremely important agencies such as the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. She's not a rank beginner, mind you, and apparently knows how to get things done. It remains to be seen if one of those things is getting due attention paid to cultural industries.

Canadian Jewish News criticizes This Magazine article as "imbalanced"

The Canadian Jewish News has written a longish article that takes issue with This Magazine's cover story about Israel as an apartheid state. The cover shows an image of the Israeli flag and the headline "The New Apartheid".

Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf, a staff reporter, gathered views from a number of sources about perceived shortcomings and "imbalance" in the various stories in the cover package. He said a call to This Magazine editor Jessica Johnston was not returned before his deadline.

He quoted Johnston's editor's note which says: “It’s impossible to sum up one of the world’s most complicated and contentious challenges in 15 or 20 pages.” But he referred to it as " a brief nod toward the imbalance of the issue’s content".

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee, was quoted saying he wasn’t surprised by the magazine's approach.

“It doesn’t represent any kind of new phenomenon,” Fogel told The CJN. “It’s a hard-left-oriented magazine that is targeted to and reflects a particular radical left orientation to pretty much all things. Why would it come as a surprise to anyone that they would adopt a position that is hostile to Israel?”

Fogel added that the magazine didn’t intend to provide balanced coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“It wasn’t a serious inquiry into [Israel]. It didn’t evaluate the question, offensive as it is, about whether Israel is an apartheid state in any kind of objective way,” Fogel said. “It was seeking to promote, in the guise of some kind of investigative journalism, a particular perspective that seeks to perpetuate the narrative of Israel as the ‘villain’ and to demonize the Jewish state.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Regrets, we've had a few

Craig Silverman of Regret the Error, the website that reproduces the correction notices that magazines, books and newspapers publish, has gathered them together in a book Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech (Union Square Press/Penguin Canada).

And the website for the book contains a page in which Silverman, punctilious as ever, publishes corrections of the mistakes that readers have found in the book.

Silverman is a Montreal author, writer and editor as well being president of the Quebec chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).

Marketing magazine and CARD
staffs merged

Rogers Media Inc. is merging the staffs of its Canadian Advertising Rates and Data (CARD) directory and Marketing magazine. There will be a full integration of the two brands, with primary focus on the linking of their websites and online services.

Chris Loudon, the editor-in-chief of Marketing magazine, has been promoted to publisher and CARD publisher Bruce Richards will assume additional duties as associate publisher of Marketing. Carol Eby, director of sales and marketing for Marketing, becomes associate publisher, sales and marketing for both. Over all editorial management will be handled by Paul Ferriss, who is promoted to executive editor.

“In 2008 the websites will be more closely linked, but as for the print there will be no changes,” Loudon told mastheadonline (sub req'd). Richards said, in the same report, that the two publications share the same advertisers.

CARD is the monthly "bible" that publishes data about virtually every magazine, daily and community newspaper, radio and television station and networks, ad agency and buying service in Canada. Marketing is a business-to-business magazine with a paid circulation of about 12,000, concentrating on advertising and media. It will be turning 100 next year and recently went through a thorough-going redesign and resizing and reduced its frequency to be a biweekly.

(It will be interesting to see whether the CARD directory, which is both a fat print directory and a searchable online service -- both by hefty subscription -- will continue as a monthly, or as a print publication at all. Its US equivalent, Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) reduced its publishing frequency to quarterly last year.)

Loudon has had an interesting ride at Rogers, launching its Hello! magazine edition as editor, then being terminated, then being rehired as editor of Marketing. Before that he was with Inside Entertainment (Kontent Publishing) and was editor of TV Guide (Transcontinental).

New LIVElibrary program links authors, teachers and students

Author and Broken Pencil magazine founder Hal will this week be teaching a lesson called “DIY ZINES: Your Own Pop Culture Machine” as part of an unusual online program just underway for middle and junior high school students. (Nedzvieki's presentation this week was preceded by author Mark Shulman and media literacy activist and author Shari Graydon.)

Annick Press and Skype Technologies, with two years of funding from the Canada Council, launched LIVElibrary a couple of weeks ago; it brings authors, experts and teachers together online and makes them available to students from grades 4 - 8, ages 9 to 13. According to a story in January magazine, the program is free, requiring only that teachers and/or teacher-librarians pre-register, and it is open to parents and homeschoolers.
Every week a lesson plan is distributed containing reading material, an assignment, a quiz and questions for discussion. Students participate using a variety of technologies, including blogging, e-mail and Skype chat. Each week a noted author expert serves as instructor and meets with students for a live one-hour chat via Skype. Annick Press is providing tech support for schools and libraries to ensure smooth connections.
To find out more, go to the blog for the project.

Alexander Graham Bell's g-g grandson to revive American Heritage magazine

Last April, we reported that the venerable history magazine American Heritage was being suspended by Forbes Inc., its owners. Now, Edwin S. Grosvenor, the great-great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and a founder of the National Geographic Society, has bought 75% of American Heritage and its affiliated Web site ( and book division. According to a story in Folio: magazine, Mr. Grosvenor, 56, paid $500,000 in cash and assumed about $11 million in subscription liabilities. Forbes retained a 25 percent stake in the company.
The crux of his plan is to bring the brand back to “what we believe it stands for,” when contributing writers included John F. Kennedy and Pulitzer-prize winning historian Bruce Catton, while bringing it back into black as well, Grosvenor says. He also plans to ramp up the Web site by leveraging the “passionate” readership of American Heritage to add more blogs and other social tools.
He said he was going to take the magazine back to its literary and historical roots and away from a pop culture detour that it had taken a few years ago in a last ditch attempt to appeal to youth.

“As a publisher, I saw saving
American Heritage the way a preservationist sees preventing Grand Central station from being turned into an office tower,” Grosvenor told the New York Times.

Grosvenor, an inventor and technology investor who will be editor in chief, plans to publish his first issue in December. No stranger to publishing, at one time in the 1970s and '80s he published Portfolio, an art magazine. The Times says he is putting together a group of investors to raise about $2.25 million to invest in the company. John F. Ross, a former senior editor at Smithsonian magazine, to be managing editor.
Grosvenor [told Folio:] he is grateful to the Forbes family for keeping a 25 percent share. “They could have made a lot more money selling all the assets off, but they are betting on this new strategy,” which includes a psychographic, rather than demographic, target audience. “I think it was a mistake to target demographics, he says. “There was this perception that only older people were interested in history, so they tried to widen the editorial scope to include pop culture, like the history of the martini or pizza.”

The main problem, he says, was with dropping renewals. “They might have picked up some incremental subscribers, but they lost a lot of their core.”
American Heritage Media, the company he has created to handle the takeover, will see about 90% of its revenue coming from American Heritage and a sister publication Invention and Technology; the company also has a backlist of about 400 book titles.


Rue Morgue shivers its way into its second decade

Congratulations on 10 years of horror and entertainment to Rue Morgue magazine, started in the fall of 1997 by Rodrigo Gudino, who was bailing out of the frustrations of the music business (he had been music and reviews editor of the late RPM Weekly). No one can say Gudino isn't diligent in his study of "horror culture"; before he launched the magazine, he watched -- in order -- all 100 of the most influential horror movies of all time as compiled by horror novelist Stephen King.

The magazine has an international following and the company that publishes it Marss Media Inc. is branching out into independent production of specialty horror films. The magazine's content is not to everyone's taste (mine included) but there's no arguing with its success and loyal audience. The October issue (shown) contains a personal memoir of the motivations and first 10 years by Gudino.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Being noticed; being remembered; being released; being launched

As part of its Saturday package redesign, the Globe and Mail has started thumbnail reviews of magazines picked up off the newsstands by writer James Adams. On The Stand's inaugural reviews includes the October 22 issue of the New Yorker, one of Portfolio (both imports from Conde Nast) and (obligatory Canadian content) the fall issue of Geist. Paradoxically, of course, by the time Adams reviews the weekly New Yorker it is no longer available to anyone who's not already got it. And while quarterly Geist is still on the stand, Portfolio already has its November issue on sale. Still, it's nice to be noticed.

A memorial service was held on Saturday for Tom Skudra, who died on October 10. His was a credit not well known to younger magaziners, but resonant with people who have been around the business for some time. Skudra did much of his work for books and such things as the Festival of Festivals, though he did some photojournalism for a number of mainstream magazines. For instance, he did a fine series of photos for Toronto Life about migrant "dirt workers" in southwestern Ontario. Fleetingly, he even starred in a Canadian TV series called Programme X, produced in 1970. He is survived by sons Max and Theo Skudra and Gynts Skudra.


It's become a commonplace for small magazines to defray some of their costs and get some buzz by holding a release party for their newest issue. But this is the first time we've heard of a magazine asking its readers to suggest where the party should be held. Spacing magazine is offering a free subscription to the person who comes up with the best place to hold a party focussed on the impending fall 2007 issue's theme of green/eco consciousness. Presumably, in Toronto.

Three-button black suits were heavily in evidence at the launching last week of Precedent magazine at Kultura on King Street E. in Toronto. It was a crisply run, packed event to mark the debut of the independent title for young lawyers. Some of the talk was about how lame was the "spoiler" issue of a magazine for associates (read: young lawyers) published one day before Precedent's launch by CLB Media's Canadian Lawyer magazine. It didn't seem to dampen enthusiasm. (And CLB might have been very happy to have had such a diverse cross-section of young, hip lawyerdom turn out for one of its events.) Ryan Merkley, associate publisher and husband of publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, told the assembly that soon after they started dating (they got married this summer), Kluger told him she wanted to quit law and start a magazine. "I wanted to keep dating her, so I said I thought it was a great idea." Kluger told the crowd that when she was at General Printing watching the first issue come off the press she turned to Merkley and said "this is the best day of my life!" then added "...except for our marriage." It was also announced that, as part of promotion for the magazine, Kluger was holding launch parties at every law school in Ontario over the next few weeks. [Disclosure: I'm on the advisory board of the magazine.]

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rémi Marcoux, Transcontinental founder, named Member of Order of Canada

Rémi Marcoux, the founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Transcontinental Inc., was made a Member of the Order of Canada on Friday at a ceremony presided over by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada. Marcoux's company is not only dominant in printing, it controls the largest consumer magazine publishing operation in Canada.

The citation from the office of the secretary to the Governor General said:
"Rémi Marcoux is the perfect example of those builders who contribute to the vitality of the economic sector and the growth of communities. In 1976, he
bought a little printing shop with about 30 employees. With talent,determination and innovation, he has made Transcontinental a flagship of the Canadian economy in the field of printing and publishing. The company is also known as one of the most socially responsible in Canada. He is respected and admired for his generosity and ongoing commitment to a number of organizations, such as the Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation, the Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, the United Way and HEC Montréal."
For a list of other members and officers invested, see the Governor General's website.


France Lefebvre resigns as editor-in-chief of Châtelaine after only 8 months

The editor of Châtelaine, the French counterpart to Chatelaine magazine, has left the job after only 8 months. France Lefebvre, left Transcontinental's coup de pouce (the French equivalent of Canadian Living) to be appointed editor-in-chief at the Rogers title just last February. She resigned recently, without any fanfare.

This means that both the English and French versions of this flagship of the Rogers women's division are without editors. Sara Angel resigned in July from Chatelaine after only 13 months in the editor's chair at what is Rogers most successful consumer magazine.

Both editors reported through Vice-president and Publisher Kerry Mitchell and Lise Ravary, the editorial director for women's publications.

Maybe those free papers aren't
such an easy sell

A story in the Georgia Straight points out that Metro International S.A., which is a partner in the Vancouver Metro Vancouver free commuter paper lost twice as much in its third quarter as it lost all of 2006.

Metro International's US$18.2 million loss came on sales of US$91.5 million. This means that for every $5 in sales, the company posts a loss of almost $1. This has occurred despite Metro's efforts to woo advertisers by selling its front covers.

It makes one wonder about the future of free commuter papers. Two-and-a-half years ago, three of these publications appeared on the streets of Vancouver.

Dose , created by CanWest Media Works, stopped publishing papers last year. More recently, local billionaire Jim Pattison dumped his 50-percent stake in a different commuter paper, 24 hours , which he created along with Quebecor Inc. in 2005. Pattison isn't known for selling profitable businesses, so it's safe to assume that 24 hours is still recording significant losses.

But it's the financial woes of Metro International, the world's biggest publisher of commuter papers, that raises questions about this nascent industry's future. Maybe people want a little more fibre with their newspapers, and they're not quite as celebrity-obsessed as the media mandarins might think. Gee, wouldn't that be a refreshing thought?

Canzine this year is a horror

Just in time for Hallowe'en, Canzine, the annual zine fair, is gearing up for a ghoulish good time in Toronto. It's Canada's largest annual Zine Fair and Festival of Alternative Culture, organized by Broken Pencil, the Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts. (Canzine East was held last weekend in Halilfax).

Hotel Canzine is on Sunday, October 28, 2007, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West (Queen just East of Dufferin). $5 at the door gets the new Horror Issue of Broken Pencil and access to hundreds of zines, all-day horror screenings, DIY Gore workshops, readings, and all sorts of other madness.

Hotel Canzine (Toronto) will feature (among other things):
  • a zine fair and show, with 150 indy zines available
  • six indie writers telling ghost stories in front of the Canzine Campfire.
  • The "Cheap Thrills Special Effects Exhibit" where participants can indulge in do-it-yourself gore, then ham up a fake black eye, bloody lip and severed hand
  • All day indie horror movies in the Canzine screening room.
  • An all-day murder mystery game, The Canzine Whodunit

U.S. mag covers may need to change to suit new high speed sorting system

For those U.S. magazines who hate how the mailing label on their magazines clutters up their covers, worse may be coming. Magazine mailers in the U.S. have until December 10 to comment on -- and, many hope, to head off or modify -- some drastic changes in handling and delivery standards that the US Postal Service is proposing, according to a story in Folio: magazine.

The changes would be set in January 2008 and implemented in January 2009. They would likely impact Canadian titles with copies going through the U.S. mail stream.

One of the biggest changes would be to mailing labels. Under the proposed terms, labels would likely cover a magazine’s nameplate, parallel to and within three inches of the top edge, or perpendicular to and within two and a half inches of the top edge. The result may be a requirement for magazines to redesign their covers and logos to accommodate the new label position.

Unless they want to pay full-rate, single-piece first class mail, publishers would have to meet some stringent "flat piece" regulations including more stringent address verification. And magazines that are used to putting in cardboard or hard inserts may no longer be able to, in order to allow the magazines to be 'flexible' and capable of being bent or folded.

Most of the changes are related to allowing faster automatic sorting using new high speed machinery called the Flat Sequencing System (FSS). The new system, due to come in sometime in October 2008, is said to bring 40% savings in the time of mail carriers.

(One interesting fact about the proposed changes is that, right now, about 17% of mail gets damaged in existing mail handling, such as saddle-stitched covers being torn off.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Harrowsmith Country Life launches companion "100% Canadian" almanac

Harrowsmith Country Life magazine has launched a companion, wholly Canadian, almanac.

Now, almanacs (particularly published at this time of year) are nothing new. But usually they are American or repurposed American content. This one promises to be 100% Canadian, right down to the weather.

"Don't be fooled by the American Almanac that claims a "Canadian edition". Harrowsmith Country Life magazine introduces Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac," say the publishers.

"The all-Canadian cast features organic gardening, green living, eco-homes, long-range weather forecasts, month-by-month night sky, useful calendar, a celebration of our small towns and so much more ! The most useful compendium of entertainment and information for countryside-loving Canadians. The Truly Canadian Almanac features all the gardening, do-it-yourself, country cooking and eco-homes stories that you count on from Harrowsmith, plus all the astrology and weather forecasts you expect from a farmer's almanac."

The almanac, which is edited by Bridget Wayland, is available for $8.95, including GST and shipping; or you can order it for the next three years for $20.80. Advertisers can buy a full page, 4-colour ad for $4,995. There is no word on what the expected circulation will be.


Where your $5.29 went: Canada Council annual report available online

The Canada Council for the Arts is looking ahead at its next 50 years and its annual report is now available online. The Shoestring Blog, published by Magazines Canada, gives a brief summary of the challenges, opportunities and underlying statistics extracted from the report, including the fact that the Council invested $5.29 per Canadian in the arts in 2006-07. The full annual report is available at the Canada Council website.


Shambala Sun turned away from immigrant mentorship program

It's enough to make you lose your serenity. An application by Shambala Sun, a well-respected magazine about Buddhism and the contemplative tradition, published in Halifax, was turned down by the federal government's immigration mentorship program.

According to a story in the Halifax Daily News, despite the magazine's award-winning ways it was twice not selected for the work-experience program. The reason? It was said not to provide an introduction to the business community.

Mentor companies selected under the program are given $100,000 and have to agree to give six months of meaningful work and at least $20,000 back to the immigrant as salary. The program has run into problems in various places across the country as participants have criticized the quality of the program, which is intended to give useful work experience and help immigrants integrate into the community.

Shambala Sun is run by the Shambala Sun Foundation, a non-profit organization and has a paid circulation of 75,000.

NDP Immigration critic Leonard Preyra said he has looked at the Shambhala file, and can see no credible reason why the applications were rejected. He believes the magazine is an ethical organization that would have provided good middle-management experience. Certainly as good an experience as a Subway restaurant, a gas station and a laundromat that were selected, according to a list released by the immigration department.
"It's surprising that all of these groups were accepted for mentorships and Shambhala was not," Preyra said. "There may not have been a consistent standard applied."

An April 16 letter from Immigration Office executive director Elizabeth Mills explained Shambhala's rejection.

"It is important to recognize that the primary goal of the business mentor program is to provide economic immigrants with an orientation to the Nova Scotia workplace and to the business environment," she wrote. "Charities and not-for-profit organizations cannot necessarily provide that important introduction to the business community.
"It's not what you know but who you know that appears to have determined if you got placed on a mentorship list," said Preyra. "It's not so much the amounts of money, but the perception that groups connected to the Conservative party or groups connected to Cornwallis got preferential treatment. It's that perception that's just as important as the reality."
Thirteen of the mentors donated a total of $7,261.83 to the ruling Progressive Conservative Party in 2005 and 2006. Quality Cameras and Computers chipped in the smallest amount, at $75. The GEM Health Care Group, which runs a number of nursing homes, gave $3,000, the largest donation.

That's peanuts compared with what the party got from the company that ran the provincial nominee program from December 2002 until June 2006. Cornwallis Financial Corp. kicked in more than $15,000 over a five-year period.

Three of the companies on the list of approved mentors have business connections to Cornwallis president Stephen Lockyer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Self-made heiresses

It was said by some wag that George Bush was born on third base and thought he'd hit a triple. I was reminded by the Hello! magazine top 10 list of North American heiresses. As hard as the magazine tries to justify this ("While they may have been born into a world of privilege, these ambitious ladies are building their own roads to success.") the preview of this selection of silver spooners (out tomorrow) manages to remove what little sympathy you might have for someone whose position owes everything to a) being born to a privileged family and b) having two x chromosomes. Twenty-five-year-old Ivanka Trump says of a line of jewellery that bears her name: "It's important to control your destiny and this jewellery isn't meant for people who don't."

Utne Reader publishers start green shopping portal that buys carbon offsets

The publishers of Utne Reader, which has a strong following in Canada, is launching a shopping division whose hook is that it will remit half of its commission revenue from vendors to buy "carbon offsets". This is rather than "marking up" costs and diverting the difference to environmental causes.

According to a story on the website Environmental Leader, Ogden Publications, publishers of Utne Reader, Mother Earth News and Natural Home, has launched, a shopping portal with access to more than 15 million products and services from over a thousand merchants including Apple, Barnes and Noble, Blockbuster, Circuit City, GNC, Kohls, Macy’s, Office Depot, Sharper Image, and Wal-Mart.
The company says that while other companies that put money toward “environmental funds” do so by tacking on fees to consumer purchases, contributes 50 percent of its revenue from vendors to carbon offsets - at no additional charge to the consumer.

Earth Moment allows consumers to compare prices from different vendors, then takes the shopper directly to the retailer of their choosing. Any purchase made on the retailer’s site within 24 hours will contribute to

Shoppers can create a profile to assess their total annual emissions and the dollar amount needed to offset their personal contributions to global warming.

CanGeo to publish 10 issues a year

Canadian Geographic will put 10 issues a year into subscribers hands, with the announcement that it is increasing in addition to publishing its CanGeo flagship magazine 6 times a year it is increasing the frequency of the companion Travel issues to quarterly. This, according to a story in Media in Canada.

The new magazines may be being put out from a different location, however; as predicted, the magazine's Ottawa building has a "for sale" sign on it.

CalgaryInc. promotes from within

CalgaryInc. magazine has hired a new editor. According to a story in mastheadonline (sub req'd), RedPoint Media Inc. has promoted former managing editor Carol Harrington as editor-in-chief, replacing Christina Reynolds, who left the magazine in August.

Dad was cool and so was his highball

Although it is Canadian in name only, Fortune brands' Canadian Club rye whisky is getting its first advertising push in 20 years, built around the theme "Damn Right Your Dad Drank It".

Some of that advertising may find its way into Canadian magazines though, for now, the campaign is running in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News, with additional placements in Playboy, Men's Journal, Esquire, Outside and Men's Fitness in December and throughout 2008. The campaign will also be featured in spirits trade publications, radio, out-of-home media buys and viral elements, according to a story in MediaDaily News.

Using sepia-toned photos from the 1960s and 1970s of guys holding gals and rocks glasses of whisky cocktails made with Canadian Club, the number two Canadian whisky (and 4th best-selling alcoholic product, behind Jim Beam, Sauza Tequila and DeKuyper). The message is that consumers' dads were cool, stylish and masculine, and so were their whisky cocktails.

Many of the shots were culled from family photo albums by employees of Beam Global Spirits & Wine (the Fortune division that holds CC). The very first ad execution, with the headline, "Your Mom Wasn't Your Dad's First," as well as several point-of-sale materials, feature vintage photos of a mid-to-late twenties Dan Tulia, Canadian Club's current global brand ambassador.

The ads target men 30-40 "who are looking for a masculine, classic cocktail, something that their dads embraced when they were cool and stylish back in the 1960s and 1970s, said the company."

Other executions of "Damn Right" have headlines like "Your Dad Was Not a Metrosexual" and "Your Dad Never Got a Pedicure."

Canadian Club has for years been produced by the Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, though the brand was bought by Fortune Brands in 2005 when it bought some 20 spirits and wine brands from Pernod Ricard after Pernod Ricard acquired Allied Domecq. Until this new ad campaign, the CC focus has been in motorsports.


What should we do about Indigo deal? asks the Book & Periodical Council

The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) is asking its members what stance the organization should take (if any) on the issue of Indigo Books & Music taking over all sales of books and periodicals to school libraries, with the blessing of the Ontario Liberal government.
As you know, during the Ontario Provincial election Premier Dalton McGuinty announced $120 million in additional new funding over four years for books and [school] librarians across the province," said a memorandum to members from Executive Director Anne McClelland. "The Premier made this announcement at an Indigo Books & Music chain bookstore. Heather Reisman [Indigo's CEO] then committed to providing all the books to schools at Indigo’s cost.

"While the announcement in principle is fantastic and everyone is very pleased that the Ontario Liberals are committing to a major funding initiative for school libraries in the province, the proposal to direct the funding for the libraries through one single retailer without any tendering process is of major concern."
BPC is the umbrella organization for associations involved in the writing and editing, publishing and manufacturing, distribution, and selling and lending of books and periodicals in Canada (Magazines Canada is a member). Member organizations are being polled to find out a) whether their organization is taking a position, b) whether they think the BPC has a role to play, c) if so, what role and d) what message should be delivered to the Ontario government.

The McGuinty announcement took the industry completely unaware and seems to ignore the fact that wholesalers and library buying services -- which often handle magazine subscriptions too -- already have arrangements in place with schoolboards and school librarians across the province.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Does the magazine industry have a permanent "kick me" sign?

The newspaper industry absolutely hates it when people talk about it being in freefall and the daily newspaper being doomed. But a major Canadian paper, the Calgary Herald, part of the dominant Canadian chain, felt no compunction whatever about running a story that characterizes the whole magazine sector as a hopeless case. The headline on the story makes it appear that government funding -- which amounts to, at most, 2% or 3% of magazine revenues -- is all that stands between most magazines and oblivion.

(The hook for the story was apparently a fundraising event that The Walrus was holding in Calgary Monday night. And there were the quotes from Ken Alexander who is surely misquoted saying that Harper's Bazaar is published by the Harper's Magazine Foundation. (In fact, Harper's -- not the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar -- is published by the foundation.))

Nick Lewis wrote the following lead:

Is there a more financially risky venture than producing a magazine in Canada?

The federal government funds 2,300 Canadian magazines with $30 million annually, yet that doesn't seem to be enough in light of the number of titles that have recently ceased publishing.

It is a bald misstatement, a conflation of the total number of magazines of all kinds in the country and the funding that some magazines receive from the Canada Magazine Fund. The facts are that less than a tenth of published titles receive any funding at all. Slightly more qualify for a subsidized postal rate -- but then, so do newspapers. And the failure rate is nowhere demonstrated in the story to be either extraordinary or increasing.

(Lewis also spells Masthead publisher Doug Bennet's name wrong and confuses Harper's magazine with the fashion title Harper's Bazaar.)

The story cites Toro, Saturday Night and the Western Standard as examples that apparently represent the parlous nature of the business. The first was summarily executed by the rich man who lost interest in his plaything, the second had more lives than a cat. The third isolated itself in a narrow, partisan niche.

"Magazines come and magazines go," says Doug Bennett [sic], publisher of Masthead magazine, which covers the industry in Canada.

"We track all the launches and closures of magazines in Canada, and in 2006, we tracked 21 closures. Of them, 18 per cent were one year of age or younger, and 31 per cent were between one and five years old.

"So half of all magazines in Canada fold in their first five years.

"An analogy with the restaurant business is one that's often used."

These kinds of statements about the iffy nature of magazine publishing is repeated so often that even knowledgeable people in the industry seem to believe it. But it's simply wrong.

The plain fact is that, according to a study by Statistics Canada*, 45% of all business startups don't survive longer than two years. While almost three quarters of small business startups survive the first year, less than one third of companies with fewer than five employees were in business after five years.

At least half of new companies in Canada go out of business before their third anniversary, and only one-fifth of them survive a decade, according to a new study investigating the factors that are related to success and failure in young enterprises.

In fact, roughly one out of every four new firms (23%) won't make it past their first birthday, according to the study which examined 1.3 million businesses that began operations during the 10 years between 1984 and 1994. The study found that new businesses have short lives, about six years on average.

So, it could just as well be said that magazines are a better bet than other kinds of businesses. Masthead's own tally shows that more than twice as many magazines were started as closed over the period 1996-2006.

Further down in the Herald story, Bennet is allowed this observation:

Despite the difficulties facing the industry, there are many Canadian magazines thriving for many different reasons.

"There are a number of small operations that are doing very well, thank you," says Bennett. "It has to do with creating a publication where there's a real reader need and there's enough advertisers in that field to support a business model."

Let's hope that Calgary readers got that far.

And, as an industry, let's resolve to correct the record the next time anyone tries to suggest that startup magazines are any more, or less, risky than any other entrepreneurial activity. A well-considered, well-run magazine with a good audience is no more likely to fail than any other well-conceived and well-run business. Bad businesses and bad magazines fail, but so what?

*Failure rates for new Canadian firms: New perspectives on entry and exit. Statistics Canada, 2000.

How cool is that? Trend hunters
look to Flare

Cool-hunting site Trendhunter Magazine has scooped up some shots from Flare magazine to illustrate what's cool for fall.
These looks are a little wild, but don’t think by any means that dressing in technicolour is the only way to look haute this autumn. Even an outfit in blacks and neutral tones the second you add some vibrant bangles, a bold hued scarf, or a colourful, statement making handbag. We already mentioned that purple is hot this season.

Canadian Freelance Union: a lamentably
long time coming

It was more than two years ago (August 2005) that the first word of the launch of the Canadian Freelance Union was heard about, under the auspices of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the country's largest media union with 25,000 members.

Since then, there have been a series of information meetings and repeated promises that the founding, annual general meeting of the union was imminent. A lot of hope was placed in the idea precisely because of the clout of the parent union. But after all this time, those who anted up their provisional fees may now be wondering if anything is ever going to happen.

In early September, I wrote to Michael OReilly, the president of the union, asking what was happening and he said:
We're still growing, and we're still working on a number of issues to put more meat on the CFU bones. This includes benefits, contract services, and advocacy. We're still trying to get to the negotiating table at any of the major newspaper publishers. All have revised the standard freelance contracts in the past 6 months, making them more onerous and ugly. Just when I think it can't get worse, the next version comes out at proves me wrong.

Yes, the AGM is still on the horizon. I may have more information on that soon -- we're looking for a university partner since we want to make it a real symposium on freelance issues. There are a few possibilities bubbling. I'll let you know as soon as I can, but I am hoping for sooner rather than later.
This union has been simmering for far too long, without coming to a boil.

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Is Transcontinental plum job
sour to the taste?

Is it taking an unusually long time to find a new boss at Transcontinental Media?

Back in July, it was announced that Francine Tremblay, until that point the Senior Vice-President of Consumer Magazines responsible for all English and French consumer titles, would be focussing on the Quebec Consumer Group effective November 1. A wholly new position, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Magazines, was being created and the headhunters started beating their jungle drums more than three months ago.

But now, less than two weeks until Tremblay moves on, there is still no word. In theory, at least, this should be one of the plum jobs in Canadian publishing, piloting the largest stable of consumer magazines in the country, with something like 11 million readers a month. There are not such a lot of senior management jobs in Canadian magazines. Could it be that the prevailing ethos as Transcon, requiring champagne results on a beer budget has made good, ambitious candidates shy away?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Young writer despairs of the tyranny of CanLit

[This post has been updated]It's a bit off topic but there's a remarkable personal essay in Saturday's Toronto Star by a young writer who is mad as hell. The reason? Stephen Marche is 31 and he maintains that the CanLit environment in Canada is heavily biased in favour of "boomer self-congratulation".

Marche spent a couple of years in Brooklyn, where he said the writing community was youthful, or wished to be seen as youthful. He came to Toronto and found the exact opposite, with prizes like the Giller and establishment regard reserved for the (at least metaphorical) greybeards.

He angrily dissects what he says are the three allowable themes of Canadian literature, themes which he says younger, but unrecognized, writers don't follow.

Setting is everything in Canadian fiction. Plots don't matter much. There are only a few plots anyway: recovering from historical or familial trauma through the healing power of whatever (most common); uncovering historical or family secrets and thereby achieving redemption (close second); coming of age (distant third place).

The characters are mostly the same: The only thing that changes is the location of the massacred grandmother, what kind of booze the alcoholic father drinks himself into fits with, what particular creed is being revealed, in deft and daring ways, as both beautifully transcendent and oppressive.

He asks whether CanLit was only one generation long, with a boomer stranglehold even as the name writers are now dead or dying (he says Margaret Atwood "has entered a Shavian twilight, where every book she produces takes away from her legacy.") the message for young writers is that if they want success, they will have to find it elsewhere.

[Update] Marche gots some support in a letter from a 61-year-old poet who wrote a letter to the editor. Rick Patrick of Madoc, Ontario says:

Anyone who knows anything about publishing in Canada knows about "the loop." Either you're in it or you're not. Many who aren't in are trying to get in. Those in a fourth group, to which I belong, are too angry to bother. We are tired of seeing the same old loopsters getting all the glory and money.

Do Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje need either more recognition or more cash? I greatly admire the work of both writers, but what Atwood said is true: If she wrote a phone book, they would publish it. Of course they would, and some twit would give it a prize.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bob Sexton of Outdoor Canada
new CSME president

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) has elected Bob Sexton, associate editor at Outdoor Canada, as its president, according to a report in mastheadonline (sub req'd).
Sexton replaces Douglas Thompson, editor in chief at Canadian Home Workshop, who served as CSME president for three years. Thompson, currently studying for his MBA at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, will stay on in a past president’s role.
The CSME board is:
  • President - Bob Sexton, associate editor of Outdoor Canada magazine.
  • Vice-President - Laurie Jennings, managing editor of Wish and Gardening Life.
  • Treasurer - Angela Keenlyside, senior managing editor of Chirp, chickaDEE and OWL.
  • Program/Communications Director - Liann Bobechko, assistant editor at Cottage Life.
  • Awards Director - Jodi Avery MacLean, managing editor at Canadian Home Workshop.
  • Membership Director - Martin Zibauer, senior editor of Cottage Life.
  • Technical Co-ordinator - Jessica Ross, executive editor of Homemakers.


Puncturing the Afghan survey balloon

Maisonneuve magazine's daily news roundup, Media Scout, provides a smile this morning with its headline: AFGHANS LIKE US, THEY REALLY LIKE US

The post by regular contributor Jordan Himmelfarb points out that all the gushing prose of the main media these days (what Media Scout calls the Big Seven newpapers and networks) might give Prime Minister Stephen Harper "a big head". (We thought he already had one.)

But the item goes on to caution that all is not as it seems in the Canadian-sponsored survey of the Afghan populace carried out by Environics on behalf of the CBC, La Presse and the Globe and Mail.
Though the survey’s results are genuinely encouraging, the analysis in today’s sources is remarkably one-dimensional. Besides the largely unaddressed methodological concerns implicit in the administration of a survey to citizens who have probably never been exposed to such an exercise, every source seems to conflate Afghan popular support for the mission with its strategic success and moral righteousness.
By the way, the Maisonneuve site has a nifty little feature whereby a picture of the current edition allows you to riffle through the issue's pages, an unreadable, but intriguing promotional device.

Cottage Life cleans up at IRMA awards

Cottage Life magazine was named Magazine of the Year and won 12 other awards at the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) conference last week in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. (That's the magazine's current issue at right.)

It received seven gold and two bronze medals as well as two awards of merit. It was picked as Magazine of the Year (over 40,000 circulation).

IRMA is an association of state and regional travel destination magazines, mostly American (such titles as Adirondak Life, Oklahoma Today, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Vermont Life). There are four Canadian members: Cottage Life, British Columbia, Prairies North from Saskatchewan and Saltscapes, from Nova Scotia. Jim Gourlay, the co-publisher of Saltscapes, is president of the organization.

British Columbia magazine received six awards, including
two bronze awards and four award of merits.

Cottage Life has been published by Quarto Communications since 1988 and has a total paid circulation of 71,000. Publisher is Al Zikovitz, General Manager is Terry Sellwood. Penny Caldwell has been the magazine's editor since 1991 and was named Editor in Chief in 2000. She was named Editor of the Year in 2006 by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.

Transcontinental Inc. pledges to promote "environmentally preferable" paper

It's too early to say if this is a tipping point, but the announcement yesterday by Transcontinental Inc., Canada's largest commercial printer, that it would champion "environmentally preferable" papers may be the breakthrough that the green paper movement has been working for. It is the first major North American printer to do so.

The company, which is also the largest publisher of consumer magazines in the country, will "promote the use of paper with maximized post-consumer and de-inked recycled fibre and encourages the use of paper made with pre-consumer recovered fibre or alternative fibres in preference to virgin wood fibre", according to a story in the Montreal Gazette.

"Our goal was to develop a paper-purchasing policy that would promote sustainable development in a tangible way by giving our clients clear choices," company president Luc Desjardins said.

The new policy was developed with input from environmental publishing advocate Markets Initiative.

"Transcontinental is the first major North American print-media conglomerate to take such a comprehensive step toward safeguarding our forests and our climate," said Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Markets Initiative.

In addition to such well-known consumer magazines as Canadian Living, Elle Canada and More, Transcontinental prints La Presse in Montreal and other Canadian and U.S. daily and community newspapers. At least one of Transcontinental Media's titles -- Outdoor Canada -- has made the switch. The announcement did not say that other Transcontinental titles would lead the way for their other printing customers, but that seems compelling and inevitable in light of the announcement.

(See our earlier posts)

Markets Initiative says that, currently, publishers of 74 Canadian magazines are working with them to shift away from papers that contain fibre from the world’s ancient and endangered forests. Less than 5% of magazine paper has any post consumer recycled content and every second, a tree is cut down for use in magazine paper. Canadian periodicals use about 110,000 tons of paper annually, while consumer magazines use an estimated 81,000 tons of paper every year.

The figures are even more dramatic for the newspaper industry: About 1.1 million metric tonnes of newsprint were consumed in Canada in 2004, equivalent to over 12 million trees used to produce Canada’s newspapers alone. Canada's total production of newsprint, including exports, uses almost 95 million trees.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Media Democracy Day

Today is Media Democracy Day and the day actually stretches over the next week across Canada. In Montreal the 19-21st, there's a conference with keynote address on Friday by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, in Vancouver on the 26th, there's a Media Democracy Fair and film screenings, in Toronto today, there's a screening of short documentaries and a panel discussion on Burma at the Brunswick Theatre and on the 18th a Media Democracy Fair at Ryerson University. Full details and schedules.

[Thanks to Nicole Cohen at Shameless magazine for alerting us to this.]

Momentum building towards green paper

Magazines in the U.S. are being slow to convert to recycled paper, but momentum is building. Cost, misconceptions and general ignorance are among the reasons given in an item in Folio: magazine's online site. [see earlier posts about ancient forest friendly paper.]
There are about 100 magazines currently printing on recycled paper, says Frank Locantore, director of the Magazine Paper Project for Co-Op America. Locantore says cost, misconceptions about cost and general ignorance of publishers have contributed to the lack of conversion.

Even a large number of “green issues” aren’t printed on sustainable paper (see: Vanity Fair’s 2006 “green issue” for a case study on just how disappointing not following through can be to the green community), something Locantore says is the ultimate irony. And even when they do, most magazine publishers don’t continue the practice for their non-green issues. Nonetheless, he says, there’s a momentum building for magazines to continue to demand green alternatives from their paper suppliers.
When Mansueto Ventures started to look at recycled paper, said Kristine Kern, general manager, “You could see the garbage—literally, you could see the garbage in the paper.”
Now, Mansueto’s magazines—Fast Company and Inc.—are printed on 100-percent recycled paper that is 85 percent post-consumer waste. And Kern says the company pays less than it would to print on regular paper.

“Price and quality don’t have to be sacrificed to make the switch,” says Locantore.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Protégez-Vous beats back injunction
application by toymaker

Les Éditions Protégez-Vous, publishers of the consumer magazine Protégez-Vous, successfully defended itself against an injunction application by Montreal-based toymaker Mega Brands Inc.

[UPDATE: A story in the New York Times quotes
David Clerk, the magazine’s publisher and the executive director of Les Editions Protégez-Vous saying: "“This is a loophole. Why is it that in 2007 we are still finding lead in toys?”]

The toy company had asked the Quebec Superior Court to issue an
injunction forbidding the magazine from further selling copies of its 2008 toy guide because it maintained it contained erroneous reports of elevated lead levels in Mega Bloks toy blocks that Mega Brands sells.

Protégez-Vous had said it stood by its story and successfully fought the application for an injunction in Quebec Superior Court.

According to a story in Toy News Online, the toy company was trying to prevent newsstand sales of the magazine's 2008 toy guide, which has already been mailed to subscribers, single copies of which were to go on sale this Friday.

The toymaker says that
Protégez-Vous used the wrong test for the type of toy they make, according to Toy News Online:
Mega Brands says Protégez-Vous used a so-called "total lead" test applicable only to coated products on a molded Mega Brands product that contained no paint or other coating. Protégéz-Vous did not use the global standard lead test for unpainted plastic products, commonly referred to as the "lead migration" test....

"While we respect and support Protégez-Vous' commitment to informing consumers about product safety, in this case, they made a very grave error," said Marc Bertrand, President and CEO of MEGA Brands. "Simply put, Protégez-Vous used a paint test on an unpainted plastic product and reached a misleading conclusion.
" While it is not unusual for plastic products to contain traces of lead, they can be toxic if ingested by young children, " said a story carried by Canadian Press. "Mega Brands is particularly sensitive to claims about the safety of its products after one child died and four others were seriously injured when they swallowed tiny magnets in the Magnetix line of building sets."

According to Toy News Online:
Upon learning of the Protégez-Vous report, Mega Brands immediately contacted the Canadian Toy Association, Canada's principal trade association for toy manufacturers and distributors, as well as Bureau Veritas, a leading international independent safety testing lab.

The Canadian Toy Association confirmed that the publication used the wrong test for lead content on the Mega Brands product and that their results do not properly measure the product's safety.
The magazine announced its successful defence on its website, but said it would withhold further or detailed comment until it had a written judgement in hand.

Protégez-Vous has approximately 140,000 paid circulation, mostly in Quebec and is analogous to Consumer Reports.

Geist and The Tyee team up on
postcard story contest

Small is indeed beautiful, at least when it comes to the Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest, self-described as "the writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries!"

The 4th annual contest, co-sponsored by The Tyee, is underway now, with a deadline of December 1 to write a fiction or non-fiction story of no more than 500 words. Details on how to enter can be found here.

The stories must somehow relate to the image on the card, however tangentially.

First prize is $250; second $150; third $100 (more than one prize may be awarded in each category) and there are "swell Geist gifts" for honourable mentions.

The entry fee is $20 for the first entry (includes 1-year Geist subscription or subscription extension), $5 for each additional entry.

Winning entries will be published in Geist and at Selected stories will be posted at Honourable mentions will be published at

Your name and rep here; Graphic Arts hyper-customizes its covers

Graphic Arts magazine, a Newmarket-based business-to-business title has published an October issue in which all three covers are customized to the customer receiving them, according to a story in Media in Canada. The project was carried out for Fujifilm Canada and, in the process, the magazine produced more than 428,000 variations on its covers.

Graphic Arts is published 10 times a year and has a request and controlled circulation of 12,700 trade professionals in Canada and the United States.

Selective binding and inkjet customization are commonplaces in the industry, but this is much more sophisticated. The covers are customized based on the position of the customer, company size and type of business.

The front covers had a zipper ad for Fujifilm along the bottom, with pictures of the subscriber's local Fujifilm account representative and ad content based on whether the subscriber is a current Fujifilm customer, plus sales territory and customer status.

The inside front cover showed how the cover was generated for each recipient and the inside back cover showed the subscriber's actual Fujifilm team depending on what territory the customer was in. The back cover had ads from companies that were involved in the production, RP Graphics and Data Business Solutions, personalized with each subscriber's name and company.

Fujifilm initiated the project, bringing in industry expert Terminal Van Gogh, a marketing and database specialist, for creative, programming and production. After the creative was finished, the first step was for the magazine to provide TVG with subscription information. TVG then extracted key demographic information and overlaid the combined database with Fujifilm's own customer database.

TVG CEO David Murdoch says the process generated more than 428,000 different covers and combinations - not including names and addresses. The bottom line for marketers, he adds, is, "You no longer have to fit a square peg into a round hole."

(There was no indication of what it cost Fujifilm. An outside back cover on the magazine would normally cost $3,200.)

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What, is it that time already?
Merry, er, Holiday

I know you may not even have bought the Hallowe'en candy yet (OK, smarty, you did) but it's that time of year again.

The November issues of the big shelter magazines are already celebrating the seasonal event that may not speak its name, using their covers to pump up "holiday" cheer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PWAC fighting back against
contractual rights grab

The people lowest on the compensation ladder of this business are being asked to choose between being paid at all and being paid fairly, according to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).

The organization, which represents more than 600 individuals across Canada, is urging freelance writers not to sign contracts that take away their rights to their own work without compensation.

Apparently,large publishing organizations are asking freelancers to sign away their rights and, worse, indemnify the publications for any actions that result from the work.
“Writers across the country are being forced to choose between protecting their rights under the law and seeing payment and/or publication for work already completed” notes PWAC President, Carolyn Gibson. “Traditional working agreements are being changed on the fly. Never mind how bad these terms are; it’s completely unfair to expect a writer to agree to new terms after her work has already been accepted.”
The Vancouver Sun, a CanWest MediaWorks paper, is asking for extended rights, including a waiver of moral rights, with no extra compensation. Furthermore, it requires the writer to indemnify the paper against all damages and liabilities that may result from publication of the work. (A similar contract dispute last year between freelancers in London, Ontario and Sun Media's London Free Press has not been resolved.)
“These terms are simply untenable for a working writer,” added Ms. Gibson. “The Vancouver Sun is sending a sad message to its industry partners. Obviously extended rights are valuable or they wouldn’t be demanding them, so what they are saying to writers is we value the rights you have over your work, but not enough to pay for them.”


The rich are not like you and me;
they use more media

The top magazine reads in terms of average issue audience among the affluent and business elites in the U.S. is not, surprisingly, financial magazines, golf journals, or high-end luxury magazines: but People magazine, followed by House & Garden, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. And the affluent consume not only consume more print than the average citizen, but huge amounts of all sort of other media, according to a story in MediaDaily News.

The research has implications for any publisher who is in pursuit of high-end readership using what has become a commonplace hybrid strategy of print and online.

Research by Monroe Mendelsohn Research (MMR) and Ipsos both found that the elite -- representing just 0.26% of the U.S. adult population, but earning an aggregate $246 billion annually -- are voracious users of all media, often in unexpected ways.

Nearly a third (31%) reported reading an online blog at least once a month, while 5% said they have personally contributed to a blog, statistics that surprised even the Ipsos research team.
"When we added that question for this year's survey, I told people not to expect anything," Hugh White, director of Ipsos admits, citing other noteworthy digital media stats, including the fact that nearly a quarter (23%) of the elite business audience reported downloading a podcast in the past month, and that their overall usage of the Web is growing more prevalent. More than half (54% ) reported visiting a business related Web sites, while the overall daily online reach has grown 6% since Ipsos' 2006 study.

Quote, unquote: Newsweek on pieces that repay the effort of reading

We have two pieces of news close to home: a redesign of the magazine and of Our renovations come at an interesting time for journalism. As the number of news outlets expands, it is said, attention spans shrink; only the fast and the pithy will survive. Some people in our business believe print should emulate the Internet, filling pages with short, Weblike bites of information.

We disagree. There is a simple idea behind the changes in the issue of Newsweek you are holding: we are betting that you want to read more, not less. Other media outlets believe you just want things quick and easy. We think you will make the time to read pieces that repay the effort.
-- John Meacham, Editor Newsweek, unveiling a major redesign of the magazine on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.


Monday, October 15, 2007

The Tyee offering fellowships to promote B.C. investigative reporting

The Tyee, the excellent online newspaper published in Vancouver, has announced a proposal call for $5,000 fellowships for independent journalists who want to do investigative or "solutions reporting" on important issues in British Columbia.

Entries are due Dec. 15, 2007 and will be judged by an independent advisory board who will share only the winning entries with Tyee editors. Winners will be announced Jan. 31, 2008.

The resulting series -- each one consisting of three or more articles of at least 1,000 words each -- will be published on The Tyee, and made available to other publications, pending approval by the authors.

The Tyee Fellowships for Investigative and Solutions Reporting are largely funded by Tyee readers, who last year gave over $21,000 in charitable deductible donations to the paper's foundation, the magazine said. Donation was spurred by an offer from the Endswell Foundation to match the first $15,000 donated, dollar for dollar.

Among the series published already as a result of the fellowships:

Information on how to apply, and an application form, can be found here.