Monday, May 31, 2010

BCAMP to be refreshed and rebranded as Magazines BC

The British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers, popularly known to date as BCAMP will very likely be changing its name to Magazines BC after approval from its annual general meeting on Saturday, June 12. In the annual report for 2009, executive director Rhona MacInnes explains:
In the process of strategic planning made possible with a Flying Squad grant, BCAMP has reaffirmed its vision and mission and has embraced a brand refresh, emerging with a new look and a new marketing name. Doing business as Magazines BC, your organization hopes that it will appear more inclusive to industry partners, more memorable to the general public and more appealing to corporate sponsors.
In addition, planning is well underway for the development of a charitable arm, which we hope will allow us to draw from a larger pool of funders, and provide stability and sustainability to those key programs that provide education and advance research for our industry.
All of the arts and culture groups in BC are still reeling from drastic funding cuts from the B.C. government and the intention to develop charitable status, announced in April,would result in creation of WSPER, The Western Society for Periodical Education and Research. This depends, of course on the granting of the privileged charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency. If granted, the separate arm of Magazines BC would seek new sources of private and public funding to raise capital and operational support for BC magazines.

Related posts: 

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Two finalists named for PWAC
Editor of the Year award

Holly Bennett, editor-in-chief of Today’s Parent Special Editions and Michael Totzke, editor of Canadian Interiors have been named finalists in the Professional Writers Association of Canada Editor of the Year Award. It is to be presented at the Writers' Industry Awards Luncheon on Friday 4th during the MagNet magazine conference.
“This is a unique editing award because it comes from Canada’s writers,” said PWAC President Tanya Gulliver in a release. “Freelance writers from across the country submitted nominations for deserving editors, and Michael and Holly rose to the top.”
Nominations for the award are submitted by PWAC members and a panel of three member judges evaluate the nominees based on criteria that includes editing and communications skills, the ability to bring out the best in writers, and the fairness of pay rates and contracts. PWAC is the national organization representing over 600 freelance writers and journalists in Canada.


MagNet conference sees registrations soar; up about 23% over last year

It appears that people in the magazine industry are bullish about the business as word is that the registrations for MagNet conference  in Toronto starting tomorrow is up about 23% over last year, with about 1,300 individuals slated to attend and 4,300 sessions and events booked.

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Magazine world view: VSS co-founder leaves; Time Inc. excited; troublesome letters

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Globe editor tells journalists that re-launched paper will be "magazine-style"

[ This post has been updated] I'm only now catching up (courtesy of J-source) with John Stackhouse of the Globe and Mail, Canada's largest circulation national paper, saying last weekto the Canadian Association of Journalists  that the daily newspaper model as it stands is doomed and that when his paper relaunches this fall it will be as a daily full-colour magazine-style publication printed on good-quality stock and aimed at the Globe's digital readers.

[Update: The author of the real-time post on J-source, Ivor Shapiro, acknowledges that he may have overstated in the headline and misinterpreted Globe editor John Stackhouse's comments. J-source has posted an update, quoting him:
Approached for comment on J-Source's May 29 post about The Globe and Mail's relaunch plans, editor-in-chief John Stackhouse said the post was inaccurate. While the Globe was "taking some inspiration from magazines learning from the success of the ones [mentioned in the post] as well as newspapers in southern Europe and South America," describing the planned relaunch as "a daily magazine" was "way, way off," Stackhouse said in an email.]

It's interesting to read his comments in conjunction with an article On the Eve of Destruction about the Globe by Matthew Halliday in the spring issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism

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One mag writer disses another over article about Montreal jazz scene

A while back, we posted an item about the illustrations by Montreal illustrator and artist Aimée van Drimmelen in the spring issue of Maisonneuve, illustrating a story by Chantal Braganza about the late jazz guitarist Nelson Symonds. There as no comment here about the story itself, but what it said (or how it was said) it seems to have aggravated some Montreal jazz fans. 
One of them, lournalist and obvious fan fan Jenn Hardy, took the magazine to task for seeming to suggest that jazz was on life support in Montreal, unlike the good ol' days. Hardy said on her blog Pork pie jazz that, while she thought most of the profile was "a lovely job", she was cheesed off by the coverline When Canadian jazz was good and a sentence in the story that said: "“Symonds stayed, but it was jazz that left the city.”
The scene has changed, sure. Jazz clubs have in Montreal have certainly closed down since the time of Davis and Coltrane. That might mean there are fewer gigs for local musicians, but how does that take away from the stellar quality of the music they are making? It doesn’t.
She concluded:
My well-researched opinion is this: forget the maisonneuve article. An article like this does a disservice to an already under-appreciated genre of music. Get out to one of the remaining jazz clubs in town and support live music.
 Her comments were picked up by Ottawa Citizen jazz blogger and columnist Peter Hum, who complimented Hardy on her "spirited rebuttal" and noted that some of the harsh criticism in the article came from an interview with Montreal guitarist Greg Clayton:
Montreal's jazz scene doesn't need me to blow its horn. All I'll add to what Hardy wrote is that the maisonneuve piece's slant brings to mind a) Wall Street Journal theatre critic Terry Teachout's riling take on the health of jazz today, and b) the misconception that when it comes to jazz, the sleazier the setting, the better. Yearning for what what Clayton calls "the bad ol' days" is a false or at least unhelpful nostalgia, as far I'm concerned, and I'll append a few quick reviews by some Montreal jazz youngbloods to show that there are creative folks making it happen there, even if they are not on Braganza's radar.

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Jailed Cannabis Culture publisher blogs and podcasts to pass the time

If the U.S authorities thought that slapping the former publisher and editor-in-chief of Cannabis Culture magazine in jail would shut him up, they hadn't reckoned with Marc Emery. Formally extradited to the USA on Thursday, May 20th, 2010, Emery appeared in Seattle federal court to enter a (negotiated) guilty plea on May 24. He had surrendered on charges relating to selling marijuana seeds by mail. Sentencing will take place on September 10th. Meanwhile, he is keeping boredom at bay by blogging and podcasting (!) from prison.
As but one example, one of his posts says, in part:
My day is the same thing over & over again each day: I read, I write, I eat poor food, I see no sun and feel no fresh air and can't sleep, its like Groundhog Day (the movie) unless I get stuff in the mail, or photos, or articles, or anything that has some substance that changes my day.

Had a physical exam at the doctor. Then I got interviewed by US Immigration for my return to Canada, whenever that happens. I'm going through media withdrawal, so I hope people send me updates about the outside world. It's very isolating and boring here.(The blog helpfully gives supporters an address where such updates can be sent).
Last year Cannabis Culture ceased its print publication, but carries on online. 

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New listserv for Atlantic Canada freelancers

[This post has been updated] One of the things that I think distinguishes the magazine business, and journalism in general,  is its collegiality; people in this trade, such as freelance writers, wish each other well and realize that there's much to be gained from sharing, collaboration and networking. One good example is the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list (TFEW), a listserv that has crested 400 483 members [and expects to have 500 this fall].

Inspired by that, Christine Beavis, the editor of digital and print publications for the Nature Conservancy of Canada has started a group called HEW -- Halifax Editors and Writers.

As she told the TFEW list:
By no means do I want to take members away from TFEW, and I don’t imagine that it will ever grow to the extent that TFEW has. However, the more I delve into Halifax’s writing and editing scene, the more I realize that we need a resource like this to help us to connect, and occasionally meet for dinner and drinks (since most of us can’t join TFEW members for their gatherings).
The group is open to any and all writers and editors working freelance or in-house in the Atlantic Canada region (it just happens to be housed in Halifax). If you’re interested in connecting with fellow editors and writers in your area , I invite you to join HEW and tell others who you think might be interested as well.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

NOW magazine says it is the first magazine in Canada to offer its readers an iPad version

It remains to be seen whether iPad mania will be as virulent in Canada as it has been in the U.S. (where in a little over a month Apple has sold a million units), but today's launch (which had some lunatics lining up overnight) coincides with NOW magazine claiming bragging rights for offering its readers an the iPad iBooks friendly e-reader version. It can be downloaded now from
Michael Hollett, Editor / Publisher of NOW Magazine says in a release, "We're pumped about this. We've spent 30 years giving our readers the latest, the hottest, the most current so our readers would expect no less from us. We take great pride in being at the forefront of all of the latest technology available and now with the iPad version of our magazine, every Thursday, the newest issue will be right on your iPad to enjoy." The iPad version joins the print magazine, available on newsstands across the GTA every Thursday and online everyday at

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Totem's Joe Barbieri named to board of Custom Content Council

Joe Barbieri, the senior vice-president of marketing and business development at Totem (formerly Redwood Custom Communications)  has been appointed to the board of the Custom Content Council, the professional association for custom media. Barbieri, got his start in the business as publisher of Eyetalian magazine in Toronto, later worked at the Globe and Mail and then moved to Redwood (now Totem). 
The Custom Content Council runs the Pearl Awards, a national conference and has done a number of industry surveys through Roper Public Affairs. It also publishes Content, a magazine that is sent to 32,000 marketers. 
Barbieri was one of three new members appointed to the CCC board, including Philip De Jong of the Journey Group and Andrew Seibert, president and publisher of SmartMoney, the Wall Street Journal magazine.


Magazine world view: Rodale repurposes; Newsweek redesigns; US editor goes Hollywood

What a week! The Canadian magazine industry celebrates its best people and their work

We're heading into what, for many, is a hectic, amazing and energizing Magazines Week in Toronto, beginning with MagNet, the industry conference and culminated by the National Magazine Awards. There is much to celebrate about this business as it emerges bruised, but unbowed, from a brutal recession, not least of which is the blossoming collegiality, with cooperation and collaborations all over the place. And there is still time if you're in the Toronto area, to catch some of the events and seminars. Here is just a sample of the special events:

The Kenneth R Wilson Awards for the business and trade press are taking place Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Carlu. It's the first time these awards have been co-hosted by the Canadian Business Press and Magazines Canada, so the first time they have been held formally in conjunction with MagNet conference and this year managed by the same people who pull of a miracle every year managing the MagAwards.
* * *
The MagNet Marquee is being held Tuesday evening, though there's every likelihood it will be a sellout it is a sellout, to hear Esquire editor David Granger talk about his initiatives that have made the magazine an innovator and leader.
* * * 
Wednesday, there are two luncheons -- the CMC Excellence Awards will be presented at to the country's best circulators, and a members-only affair called the PWAC Meet-and-Greet. Both at 12:15.
* * * 
Also on Wednesday, the Circulation Management Association and sponsor CDS Global will be hosting the CMC and CDS Global Connoisseurs Club, a cocktail bash open to all MagNet participants.
* * *
The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) is presenting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. its annual Editors' Gala, at which the guest speaker will be Sally Armstrong, once editor of Homemakers and a president of the Magawards, but now better known as a human rights activist, documentary filmaker and author. Culminating the evening will be the presentation of the Editors' Choice Awards. 
* * * 
Thursday at noon, Magazines Canada hosts its annual luncheon and presents its Volunteer of the Year Award; this year it is John Milne, the vice-president of business and professional publishing at Rogers Publishing Limited. 
* * * 
Later Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. the Cross Country Volunteer of the Year awards, as selected by the partner regional associations across the country, will be presented at a reception sponsored by Reader's Digest Foundation , followed by the Canadian Magazine Industry reception hosted by the Canadian Business Press and Magazines Canada.
* * * 
Thursday evening at 7, the PWAC Dinner Awards Banquet will be held, where the inaugural Professional Writers Association of Canada awards will be presented five Regional Volunteer Awards, the Barbara Novak humour/personal essay award, and the Larry Jackson outstanding achievement will be presented as well as the inaugural award for life membership for service to freelance writers. Indefatigable freelancer, teacher and author Margaret Webb will be the guest speaker.
* * *
Friday at noon, PWAC hosts the Writers Industry Awards Luncheon where the Editor of the Year is named as chosen by the freelancers who work for her or him and where the inaugural PWAC writers awards will be presented . The event, which is sponsored by the Reader's Digest Foundation, will feature speaker Cate Mortimer-Sandilands, Canada Research Chair, Sustainability & Culture, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. (The event is followed by the PWAC annual general meeting.)
* * * 
And starting at 5:30, the 33rd annual Canadian National Magazine Awards   -- always a great show -- will be held at the Carlu. Awards will be presented in 40 categories from more than 3,000 entries and the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Terry Sellwood, the general manager of Quarto Communications and an Olympic-class volunteer (including being president of the awards and chair of Magazines Canada). [Disclosure: I was a NMAF judge and my company is sponsoring one of the awards.]
* * *
As I say, quite a week, and that doesn't even enumerate the dozens of informative seminars and presentations that will happen from first thing Wednesday to Friday afternoon.  You can still register through Saturday or in some cases on the spot (though you risk finding some events sold out.)
(I can't resist plugging the panel I'm moderating Friday afternoon (12:15 - 2:00). Moving Forward: State of the Cultural Magazine Nation should be very interesting and a piece of cake for me, given the calibre of the panelists: Kim Jernigan of The New Quarterly; Stephen Osborne of Geist, John Shelling of Blackflash and Eithne McCredie of Abacus Circulation.)
See you there.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

12 finalists named for the inaugural PWAC
writing awards

The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) has announced 12 finalists for its inaugural writing awards competition -- stories published in 2009 in print or on the web.
In the features category (over 1,200 words), the finalists are:
  • Jenn Hardy for “Cleanup in Aisle One” (This Magazine)
  • Kim Gray for “Magic Hour” (Alberta Views)
  • Eve Lazarus for “The Parent Trap” (Enterprise)
  • Kimberley Noble for “Why Garth Drabinsky is No Ordinary Fraudster” (Toronto Star)
  • Kerianne Lauren Sproule for “Girls Interrupted” (Swerve Magazine)
  • Carolynn Semeniuk for “Christina’s World” (Swerve Magazine)
In the short articles category, finalists are:
  • Ann Chandler for “Royal Rewards” (More)
  • Ann Chandler for “Sage and Stewardship” (Canadian Cowboy Country)
  • Wendy Helfenbaum for “A Fine Romance” (Canadian Family)
  • Giancarlo La Giorgia for “Good Eats, At Your Convenience” (The Globe and Mail)
  • Philip Fine for “Her Tough Literary Voice and Frankness About Sex Masked a Fatal Vulnerability” (The Globe and Mail)
  • Susan Pinker for “Extra Credit” (Psychology Today)
Judges were Stephen Kimber, Elaine Kalman Naves, Bilbo Poynter, Maxine Ruvinsky, Eric Siblin and Jennifer Walker. 2010 is the first year that PWAC has presented the PWAC Short Articles Writing Award and the PWAC Features Writing Award. PWAC has as members some 600 freelance writers and journalists.

“Interest in the competition exceeded our expectations,” said PWAC president Tanya Gulliver. The winners and runners-up will be announced at the luncheon on Friday June 4 at the MagNet conference in Toronto. 


No comment

It's kinda nutty how good the new Maclean's looks.
-- Maclean's senior columnist Paul Wells in a tweet

Quote, unquote: The virtues of cheapness and flexibility

If our experience of the internet in the last ten years teaches one thing, it's that cheap and cheerful beats expensive and polished most days of the week. One of the core skills of magazine publishers is being able to develop formats that can be affordably repeated. Once you stray into moving pictures and copyright music, you're into a different model altogether. If there's anything my friends in TV envy about magazines, it's the medium's cheapness and flexibility. There's no point trading that in for a whole new set of problems, which is what we'll be doing if we start adopting TV's production values in our effort to make everything move. Instead of spending money on enhancements in the unproven belief that they will prove attractive to people who are currently getting along without us, we should be thinking how we can use this technology to provide better services for and thereby make more money out of our current user base.
-- David Hepworth, media commentator and former editorial director of Emap consumer magazines, writing in In Publishing magazine, cautioning magazine publishers about getting ahead of themselves in their embrace of new technologies like the iPad and expensive ventures such as video.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quote, unquote: on shedding the cloak of anonymity

"Websites have been encouraging cowardice. They allow users to hide behind virtual anonymity to make hasty, ill-researched and often intemperate comments regardless of any consideration for personal hurt or corporate damage....

"If you are speaking up, then speak up proudly and with responsibility. Embrace this opportunity to come out from the cloak of anonymity. That’s for the cowards for whom “freedom of speech” is something to rant about rather than an expression to live by. With all its obligations."
-- From a statement by Martin King, the online editor of The Independent newspaper in Britain, which is discontinuing anonymous commenting on its site.


Fire. Ready. Aim. Blogger gives the magazine industry some tough love, we think

Whatever the strategy, getting annoyed with the public for being indifferent to the printed word is the quickest way for a magazine to have its own funeral.
This was the way blogger Marc Weisblott (Mondoville) concluded his swingeing column  about magazines. It was hard to understand quite what he was getting at as he rummages through the history of five magazines to reach his dubious conclusion. He even seems to like magazines. I think.


Quote, unquote: the seeds of addiction

All the magazines that are actually surviving and are doing very well, they have the seeds of addiction built in them. When the Food Network Magazine first came out, I looked for what I call the seeds of addiction in that magazine, what will get you hooked so you will want more of the same. They had two major ingredients. They had food, which is, you know, everybody is addicted to eating. And then they had celebrities. And you combine the two together, and I felt, I mean they must have a winning formula.
-- Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) in a Mediabistro interview, commenting about what lures readers in and keeps them coming back.  

[Thanks to Kat Tancock for pointing this out.]


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"One price shopping" regardless of platform likely says The New Yorker editor

While magazines currently are in botherations about how to price digital editions to new customers or their existing customers, a reasonable bellwether of where we might be going is The New Yorker. According to a story by Nat Ives in Ad Age, The New Yorker is moving towards a model where one fee covers all platforms, rather than charging one price for a print edition, another for a digital app or still another for new devices like the iPad. 
Magazine publishers have been excited to sell iPad editions, seeing it as a promising way to finally wring circulation revenue from digital media -- revenue the web has not delivered for most titles. But subscribers would appreciate a way to access brands' content wherever it appears without feeling nickel and dimed. And the current digital pricing model in the magazine business punishes existing subscribers.
The New Yorker, for example, sells new print subscriptions for $39.95 a year, sells a Kindle edition for $2.99 a week, and, if the iPad edition expected this year follows current industry practice, will sell the iPad app for something close to the print cover price, $5.99 a week at The New Yorker. The idea likely to reach fruition "fairly soon," Mr. Remnick said, will offer the print edition for one fee and the magazine plus everything else for another fee.

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Quote, unquote: on building a new future
for magazines

The magazine publishing industry withstood these incidents like survivors of a nuclear holocaust in some far-fetched science fiction story, waiting for the fallout to dissipate and adapting to their surroundings to build a new future. The growing cinema industry caused so much interest that wasn't satisfied by simply watching that it actually spawned a selection of new magazines dealing with cinema, movies, film stars and production. Radio, while popular, was swamped with intrusive advertising and not visual enough to land a fatal blow on the publication industry. Television was popular too, but the mass appeal caused a renaissance in the publishing world: by introducing viewers to a whole host of culture, hobbies and interests, the demand for niche publications grew massively. The magazine publishing industry is notoriously cut-throat and transitional; will it really succumb to another similar cultural shift?
--  Lisa Maclean, in a post for the Guardian, entitled Are magazines really dying out?


Magazine world view:Digital Macy's; ads pick up; SI prototype II; Zoo in 3D

Rogers and Quebecor trying to put a broomstick in the spokes of Canwest sale

The saying "it's not over until it's over" would doubtless apply to the story in today's Vancouver Sun about Rogers Communications Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc. putting their heads together to stifle the $2 billion sale of Canwest television properties to Shaw Communications. No similar noises being made about the print properties, sold to a group of unsecured creditors headed by Paul Godfrey.

Totem helps NABS relaunch its communications

Totem, the custom media agency, has been named the advertising agency of record for the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS). Canada's only charitable organization providing assistance to professionals in the media industry (including magazines) is about to re-launch its communications; a new website has been redesigned and is unveiled today and there will be an accompanying targetted e-newsletter.

Newspaper web site visits surge in the U.S.

The paradox of popularity continues with newspaper web sites struggling with making money, all the while increasing in the number of visitors, according to figures released by the Newspaper National Network in the U.S.
A story in MediaDailyNews recounts that in the top 25 media markets newspapers reached 83.7 million unique visitors in April, up 15% from January. They represented more than 2 billion page views, up 24% from January. Newspaper web sites posted bigger percentage growth than competitors such as and Huffington Post.
Data from separate research by Nielsen seems to confirm the growth and reports that newspapers in the first quarter represented 37% of all U.S. internet users.


Friday, May 21, 2010

News International CEO Murdoch attacks British Library for developing digital newspaper archive

James Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia, one of the world's largest newspaper publishers, made a speech (reproduced by the Press Gazette) on Thursday in which he attacked the British Library for its plans to create a digital archive of 40 million historical newspaper pages in its holdings, to be available on a paid website. His reason? That the move will harm the market for paid search in his and other papers. Because publishers are and have been obliged to deposit copies of all they produce, Murdoch clearly sees this as unfair competition, or what he called an unfair balance.
Should it be controversial to suggest that public bodies are prevented from endlessly extending their remits, profiting from work they do not create, or dampening innovation and investment?
The British Library is partnering with publishing company Brightsolid to digitize the newspapers over the next 10 years and for the first time.
As well as out of copyright material (pre-1900) the library will also seek to digitise in-copyright newspapers with the permission of the owners. It is planned that access will then be made available for a fee online.
The British Library’s chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley called it “the most significant programme of newspaper digitisation this country has ever seen“
She said: "Historic newspapers are an invaluable resource for historians, researchers, genealogists, students and many others, bringing past events and people to life with great immediacy and in rich detail. Mass digitisation unlocks the riches of our newspaper collections by making them available online to users across the UK and around the world; by making these pages fully searchable we will transform a research process which previously relied on scrolling through page after page of microfilm or print.

Heritage minister to talk about money and copyright on CTV Question Period Sunday

James Moore, the minister for Canadian Heritage, is a guest on CTV Question Period on Sunday. He says his pre-taped topics include arts funding and copyright, among others. The program is aired at
  • 11 a.m. -- Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba
  • 12 noon -- Maritimes
  • 1 p.m. -- Newfoundland
  • Airtimes can vary in Western Canada:
    Check local listings for Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia

Will trade for space, says filling station

filling station, a spunky little literary magazine from Calgary that is closing in on its 50th issue , has come up with a creative idea for finding some space for events and for an office for the magazine; it has announced on its blog that it will trade a sponsorship package worth $1,500 (full page print ad, website banner, inclusion in an e-letter and events credit.
Unlike other literary magazines based in Calgary, we do not currently have university affiliation; as such, we often have more difficulty securing free, central community space. We have a crucial need for space for events such as literary workshops, our Blow Out Alternative Literary Festival, fundraisers, magazine launches, and, ideally, an office.
(In fact, the magazine mostly now operates out of the laptop and living room of managing editor Laurie Fuhr.)

Globe feature asks if Ken Whyte is man enough to "save" Chatelaine

The Globe has an early web release on its much-anticipated Saturday takeout by James Adams on Chatelaine's makeover under the firm hand of publisher Ken Whyte and his hand-picked editor Jane Francisco. And it asks a number of interesting questions both about Chatelaine and, in the process, Maclean's
Certainly, Whyte has shown little hesitation about wielding power – and quickly. Even, as one Rogers insider said, laughing, if it “may sometimes feel like change for the sake of change.” As Whyte himself said of his Chatelaine appointment in an interview last week: “Part of me has always wanted to play in the women’s magazine field because I don’t know much about it!”
Critics of Maclean’s say that, while the magazine is punchy, much of the content is long on sensationalism and “spin,” short on substance. So what will Whyte do to Chatelaine? Of course, one redesigned issue of a magazine does not a new direction indicate. As Suneel Khanna, director of communications for Rogers Publishing, notes, the Whyte-Francisco Chatelaine “is being rolled out as a work in progress.” Nevertheless, this isn’t going to stop some readers from poring over the June issue for intimations of what Bill Reynolds, a journalism professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University, jokingly suggested it might become – “a magazine all about shopping from a right-wing point of view.”

Magazine world view:single sales, not ads; mag readership stable; Guardian nixes registration

Quote, unquote: on coping with artificial demand

Journalists, by and large, had so little appreciation for their dependence on the larger engine of artificial demand that they were mostly blindsided when the Internet happened and they lost the benefits of that engine. A lot of them seemed to take it personally. They got insecure. Some started writing “trend” stories and giving over their column inches to celebrity newswires and sincerely talking about bylines (and politicians and everything else) as “brands.” They sold Time Warner to an absurdly overinflated dot-com. It’s not fair, of course, to blame only the journalists; there were mostly avowed capitalists in the corner offices of these places, and it is the fiduciary responsibility of capitalists to be as cowardly and uncreative as possible in times of fear and change. 
-- Maureen Tkacik in her Columbia Journalism Review cover story Look at Me!: A writer's search for journalism in an age of branding


Business-to-business titles hold their own as information source in an internet era

A study by STARCH Research, released by the Canadian Business Press shows that specialized business publications are maintaining their high overall ranking, second only to the internet, as a source of information for business decision-makers. 
Internet sources have shown a significant 23% gain since 2004 and trade shows have shown an 11% gain, tied with b2b publications. The influence of salespeople, however, has declined steadily since 1996, though it maintained its over all rating in 2010.
The study found that business publications are the original source of most inquiries and sales and are the main medium for creating brand awareness and where product benefits can be presented in detail. 


Brunico discontinues print edition of
Playback magazine

[This post has been updated.] Playback magazine, a fortnightly trade publication for Canada’s production, broadcasting & interactive media industries, is discontinuing its print edition and switching to a wholly online operation; it had previously had a companion website and a daily e-letter to subscribers as well as the print magazine. According to the publication's media kit, circulation of the print magazine was approximately 9,000. A subscription costs $129.95 a year. A full page print ad was $4,395.
(The company is also discontinuing its publication 'Boards, which served the international and commercial production community.)
The publisher, Toronto-based Brunico Communications Ltd. is a privately held publisher and producer, involved in a number of niche markets, including film and video products and services and sponsored conferences. Among the publications in its mix are Strategy magazine (which also publishes the website Media in Canada).
Russell Goldstein, the president and CEO of Brunico, told The Wire Report that Playback has been moving toward online-only since 2007 when its website went to paid access.

[Update: Marketing magazine reports that the announcements about the changes came shortly after the departure of executive vice-president Laas Turnbull. He was at one time the editor of shift magazine and later was editor of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine before moving over to the business side at Brunico in July 2006.

Masthead reports that a total of 18 jobs were lost in Brunico.]

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tidy, trendy and handy magazine rack

Thanks to Print Fetish for showing us that there are more ways of keeping magazines tidy and handy than stacking them by your chair. This example is one of weekly posts the quirky site makes about magazine racks of every size, shape and description.

Scratch and...meh

Magculture points out that if you're going to do something dramatic, as with the current issue of UK Wired magazine that has areas blanked out by grey scratch-off bars like you find on lottery tickets, you should be sure to have a payoff for the readers. In this case, the results are somewhat prosaic, and the opportunity missed.

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Charlottetown paper launches free monthly magazine called G!

Transcontinental Media's Charlottetown-based paper, The Guardian ("covers Prince Edward Island like the dew)", has launched a free, monthly magazine called G!. It is an "infotainment" that covers food, fashion, entertainment, fitness and technology with a roster of regular G! columnists and guest contributors. It is being distributed free in convenience stores, restaurants, shops and salons across P.E.I.
Leaving the 'regular' news to The Guardian, G! steps in to offer readers a slightly irreverent, entertaining take on the world.


New-look Chatelaine seems to have dispensed with substance altogether

I don't believe I'm alone in wondering how far the transformation of venerable magazine Chatelaine will go. The current (June) issue essentially contains no feature material at all. No profiles. No issues dealt with. Nothing that would qualify as a "good read".  The Chatelaine of old could deftly blend fluff and substance. Now, much of the substance appears to have been jettisoned. 

The magazine is, in print and in its web-exclusive content, a steady parade of recipes and food, sex and diet tips, fashion and cosmetics and so on. In other words, pretty much what any garden-variety women's magazine on the continent carries. Which is a shame, essentially dispensing with the content that had kept generations of Chatelaine readers loyal and engaged. It proclaims "Our fresh, new look". But looks aren't everything. 

Related posts:

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Magazine world view:Google hearts Flash; 10 chase Discover; watchdog says it has bite

Agreement will sustain boreal forest and protect endangered caribou

An agreement has been reached between 9 conservation groups and the 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association (FPAC) that may go a long way towards preservation of Canada's boreal forest and protecting the threatened woodland caribou. The agreement, which covers about 66% of commercial forests in Canada  in a band that stretches from coast to coast, will be of particular interest to publishers who pay close attention to the sourcing of the paper that they use to make their magazines.
According to a release about the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, FPAC member companies manage 2/3 of the certified forest lands in Canada. They have now agreed to suspend logging on nearly 29 million hectares of boreal forest (an area the size of Italy). In return, the conservation groups have agreed to suspend their "Do Not Buy" campaigns led by Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), Forest Ethics and Greenpeace.
The logging and paper-making companies have won assurances that they will continue to have sufficient fibre for their businesses, using a plan (to be worked out) of comprehensive forest management and harvesting practices.Talks are continuing with provincial government and first nations communities, recognizing their rights, particularly aboriginal and treaty rights; the progress achieved in implementing the agreement will be monitored by an agreed-upon independent auditor.
Canopy points out that this is but the first step in a multi-year program, requiring the translation of principled agreement into specific reality on the ground. The organization -- which has been instrumental in coaxing Canadian printers and  publishers to switch to sustainable or "green" paper -- gave credit to those partners' support in achieving the agreement:
By providing the market incentive for green products and engaging suppliers on issues of conservation concern over the past 5-10 years, many of Canopy’s publishing and print partners have been key in helping secure today’s agreement. As we move forward with implementing the initiative, these large corporate paper consumers will play a critical role in ensuring we secure the ambitious conservation goals and is ultimately rewarded in the marketplace.
The parties to the agreement gave credit to the Pew Environment Group and the Ivey Foundation for bringing the two sides together and facilitating negotiations. 
“For years we have helped bring opposing parties together to conserve this global treasure, Canada’s boreal forest,” said Steve Kallick, director of the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign. “We’re thrilled that this effort has led to the largest commercial forest conservation plan in history, which could not have happened without both sides looking beyond their differences. As important as today’s announcement is, our ultimate success will be measured by how we tackle the work ahead to put this plan into practice.”


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Page number "takeovers" latest trend in encroachment into edit space

 The creep of ads into previously well-defined editorial spaces of magazines continues; this time in the June issue of Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit, Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is running a series of page number “takeovers.” According to a story in Mediaweek, the fractional ads, which are labeled as such, appear in the corners of 10 pages.
“The goal was to communicate the message of alternative uses of cream cheese,” said [Ron] Steinberg, svp, director of print investment and activation at MediaVest. “Using the page numbers was a unique idea. For Condé Nast, I think it’s a big deal.”

Print ads are increasingly creeping into editorial space. Scholastic Parent & Child has been running ads on the corner of its covers and interrupting editorial content inside the magazine. Hearst’s Esquire recently ran a cover flap that opened to reveal an ad on one side.

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Pay if necessary, but don't necessarily pay

Recently it was announced that the New York Times was going to charge visitors for access to its website, starting next January. However, a story in MediaDailyNews reports that 
Executive Editor Bill Keller of The New York Times said most readers of the paper's site won't be charged with access, reports Media Matters. The newspaper's new pay model launches next January. "Those who mainly come to the Web site via search engines or links from blogs, and those who only come sporadically -- in short, the bulk of our traffic -- may never be asked to pay at all," Keller told MM. "People who have print subscriptions will get full website access without charge. So we do not anticipate a major impact on overall traffic, which is important to maintain advertising."


Monday, May 17, 2010

Can Facebook sell print subscriptions?

A system is being marketed now that would allow Facebook users to buy print magazine subscriptions without leaving the Facebook site or even its newsfeed. Alvenda, a company that builds e-commerce applications, is collaborating wtih Synapse, a division of Time Inc. that sells may of that company's magazines, according to a story from Crain's New York Business.
If you share a magazine article link with your Facebook friends, for example, their news feeds will allow them to expand the item into a full article with ads and an option to subscribe, said Wade Gerten, chief executive at Alvenda, which has developed e-commerce Facebook apps for companies including Hallmark and 1-800-Flowers. "It all happens within Facebook," Mr. Gerten said.

"Consumers don't want to leave where they are on the web, wherever they are," said Alix Hart, vice president for online marketing at Synapse. "Facebook is a place where we think that over the coming year there are going to be more and more opportunities to present magazine offers in a really relevant way to consumers, as they're starting to share magazine content in a much deeper way than ever before."
This all must raise the question of whether the pursuit of subscribers is so voracious that, as a friend says, it means we are marketing subs to people who find e-mail too text-heavy! While Facebook has 450 million users, it's not clear whether selling subs over the internet is all it's cracked up to be. For instance, says the story, Maghound, another Time Inc. initiative that allows readers to mix and match and swap in and out of subscriptions, hasn't generated expected sales after being in the field for 18 months.

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9th annual newsstand awards launched; early bird entries by June 18

This year's Canadian Newsstand Awards have been launched, with the early bird deadline for entry June 18. Now in its ninth year, the awards have one new category, more prizes, and more prize money. The competition is open to all English and French-language Canadian magazines and recognizes excellence in newsstand sales and cover execution by Canadian magazine publishers. Publishers, circulators, editors, designers and newsstand managers are encouraged to enter their best performers in newsstand sales and cover design for 2009.
Entrants compete in categories based on circulation size from small to extra-large, or the new Special Interest/New Launch category. The Newsstand Magazine Cover of the Year, is chosen as “best in show” and given special recognition. The awards also recognize an individual as the Newsstand Marketer of the Year, selected from mailed-in nominations.
Prizes include $18,500 worth of promotion credits for HDS Retail-owned stores (increased from last year), national promotion, and additional prizes .
New for 2010, the top three entries in each of the circulation categories will receive Gold, Silver, and Bronze designations for their respective finishes. Gold winners will also receive $3,500 each in credits while the winner in the Small Magazine Category will win $1,000 in credits, plus $500 cash. The prestigious Newsstand Marketer of the Year also receives $500 cash.

Last year’s winners include Châtelaine, Maclean’s, The Hockey News, The Beaver, and This Magazine. Mike Hughes, National Marketing Manager at Transcontinental Media was awarded recognition as the Newsstand Marketer of the Year.
Final entry deadline if Friday, July 9,with winners announced in the fall.
The Canadian Newsstand Awards are sponsored by: HDS Retail/ Great Canadian News/ Maison de la Presse, CMC (Circulation Management Association of Canada), ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations), Masthead. A gallery of past winners, information on contest rules,and online entry are available at

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Worldcolor to launch integrated
print-on-demand system

Worldcolor has announced a partnership with Kodak and Muller Martini to create a digital inkjet publishing system  that can produce up to 1,000 books an hour and could well become a print-on-demand solution for magazines and back issues. The FastBook digital system integrates and automates prepress, digital printing and finishing in-line to achieve a seamless files-in/books-out solution. While it is pitched at short-run book publishers, the system can also produce versioned and variable magazines, catalogs and high-end direct mail.
It seems that such digital solutions could be an answer to the perennial problem of printing and storing back issues of expensive-to-produce literary journals. For instance, a magazine which costs $10 to print a copy now could be keeping on hand hundreds of copies for back issue requests, presenting both a storage and a cash flow problem. Though there isn't information yet about the actual cost per copy, the company says in a release that runs of up to 3,500 copies are expected to be competitive with other print-on-demand systems.
"FastBook Digital reflects our continuing commitment to innovation, speed and efficiency as a way of helping our book publishing customers succeed," said Brian Freschi, President, Worldcolor North America. "FastBook Digital is also part of our 'Pressroom-of-the-Future' initiative that will be transformational in terms of how our book and other operations will better serve publishers and their changing needs in a digital world. The same systems approach also will deliver unique applications and benefits to our magazine, catalog and direct mail customers. "

The first FastBook Digital installation will be in Worldcolor's Dubuque, Iowa, facility and is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Magazines Canada seeks suggestions for response to digital economy consultation

Industry Canada has given very little notice, natch, for comments on a sweeping and major policy initiative concerning digital media --  and Magazines Canada is asking magazine people to share their ideas. The complete discussion paper lays out where government policy is expected to head and Canadians are being asked to say how they want to take part, not whether.
This is an enormous policy initiative that involves the Federal Industry, Heritage and Humans Resources departments. The time to respond is very short.
There could be major implications for magazine programs (Canada Periodical Fund and Canada Council). Magazine Canada will make a submission and is working with other sector associations on common themes.  
Magazines Canada is preparing a response and wants suggestions for inclusion before May 28, 2010 to course you can also send responses directly to Industry Canada as well. There are only 57 more days for direct comment.

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Small mag editor slams Mount Allison's honourary degree offer to Indigo boss Reisman

Amanda Jernigan, consulting editor to The New Quarterly, has come out swinging against the decision of Mount Allison University in Nova Scotiae New Brunswick to grant an honourary degree to Heather Reisman, the president and CEO of Indigo Books and Music. Jernigan, who also teaches part-time at Mount Allison, wrote an open letter to Dr Robert Campbell, Mount Allison's President and Vice-Chancellor (copied to  all sorts of people and published it in the TNQ blog.
She says that Reisman doesn't deserve such an honour from the small, but prestigious liberal arts university because Indigo Books and Music has decimated the independent bookstores of Canada and, with them, many independent publishers. She details the impact of the returns history of Indigo when dealing with boutique publishing house The Porcupines Quill, run by Tim and Elke Inkster. In 1998, Chapter-Indigo returned about 30% of the books it ordered; in 2005, returns are running at 68%.
I have huge respect for Tim and Elke Inkster, who have sustained their small press for 36 years against heartbreaking odds. I have huge respect for Ellen Pickle, Sackville’s own independent bookseller, who has sustained Tidewater Books in Mount Allison’s home community for 15 years, as many of her bookseller-counterparts have gone under. But I cannot respect a corporation like Chapters/Indigo that operates by bulldozing competitors, expanding unsustainably, and abdicating its responsibility to the communities of readers and writers it depends on.

Writers get their starts with small presses; small presses are sustained by independent booksellers who care enough to carry and hand-sell their books. The whole ecology of writing and reading at the grassroots level has thus been threatened by Chapters/Indigo, in a way that seems to me have frightening implications for the intellectual life of our country.

Masthead tally of magazine launches and closures shows net loss of 20 titles

Masthead Online has published its 2009 tally of magazine launches and closures, with a net loss of 20 titles last year. As expected, the data reflects the impact of the recent recession. 
Launches were down considerably (17, compared with 74 in 2008). Closures were up somewhat, with 37, compared with 2008's 29. However 7 of those continued online (for instance, Chart and unlimited).
The details of the tally can be found online. We should be grateful that Masthead, which itself exited the ranks of printed magazines, but carried on online, has maintained its annual tracking.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Canadian House & Home does a flip book to promote a line of cleaning products

Just what the heck is "sponsored editorial integration"? Apparently this is the description Canadian House & Home magazine uses for a "flip book" promotion whereby its back page  becomes an upside-down alternate cover for a multi-page special section promoting Procter & Gamble cleaning products. 
It's called Clean Style and features publisher Lynda Reeves prominently. This is complemented by a dedicated online micro-site that features a $20,000 contest where, to qualify, the reader is asked to drag various P&G products into the room of a cutaway house where they might be used. (Thanks to Media in Canada for the pic.)
This comes a couple of months after Canadian Living did a similar "flip book" fashion promotion in association with L'Oreal, the cosmetics giant.
It's probably not completely coincidental that the current industry ad:editorial guidelines are being re-examined in light of changing circumstances (including, for the first time, covering both business-to-business magazines as well as consumer titles). And not a moment too soon, given that the above-noted initiatives skate close to, or right over the edge of, the current guidelines. [Disclosure: I have been asked to sit on the committee reviewing the guidelines.]


L,'actualité named magazine of the year
in Québec awards

L’actualité won as magazine of the year at the annual awards event of the Quebec Association of Magazines (AQEM). The Jean Paré award for journalist of the year went to Noémi Mercier of Québec Science(who also won an award for reporting for her October 2010 article La recette de la victoire in the same magazine . The best new magazine writer award went to Valérie Levée.

Other awards and finalists