Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Condé Nast brings Gourmet magazine partway back with newsstand-only print specials

When Gourmet magazine was closed down last fall by its parent company Condé Nast, that seemed the end for the venerable print title. Yes, in June, the company announced it would be launching Gourmet Live, a digital product. 
But now it has been announced, according to a story on Folio:, that the brand will be brought back -- in print -- with a series of three, newsstand-only titles, the first of which will be called Gourmet Quick Kitchen
At more than 120 pages, Gourmet Quick Kitchen will feature classic recipes from the magazine as well as new content like photographs, kitchen tips and eight full menus with wine pairings.
A spokesperson declined to say what Gourmet Quick Kitchen’s exact distribution will be but says the model is “based on efficiency and a smaller print run.” The issue will carry a $10.99 cover price.
Related posts:

Magazines and arts colleagues to campaign on Parliament Hill November 4

The Canadian Arts Coalition -- of which Magazines Canada is a member -- is planning a pre-budget briefing to the standing committee of finance in Ottawa on November 4. This is part of a "Day on the Hill"that will be focussed around two principal recommendations to the government (which may be of particular interest to smaller literary and cultural magazines):
  • To increase the base budget of the Canada Council for the Arts by an additional $30 million per year for each of the next four years; this would bring the base to $300 million by 2015 and
  •  To invest $25 million in strategic international market access and development initiatives.
Meetings are expected between teams from the coalition and MPs, staff and departmental officials. That is, unless there is an election.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

A good night out: Tune up your writing and publishing skills

If you're in the Greater Toronto area and are looking for a course that will help you tune up your writing skills, I can recommend David Hayes's Advanced Feature Writing night school course at Ryerson University. It's not intended for beginners, but for people with some writing experience and such feature writing builds skills for corporate work, work on the web and in magazines and newspapers. It starts 16 September, but it's a good idea to register by September 7.
The course emphasizes what is called literary journalism, which combines journalism's concern for solid reporting and factual accuracy with many of the dramatic techniques of fiction. At its best, this kind of feature writing holds readers' interest, entertaining them while simultaneously providing the depth and context necessary to understand complex issues and events or capture the essence of a profile subject. There will be short writing assignments as well as one longer feature, which must contain some or all of the elements of the course: evidence of on-the-scene reporting, a narrative arc consisting of a well-crafted beginning-middle-end, character development, the use of dialogue instead of (or in addition to) traditional quotation, the use of symbol to support theme, etc. Students are expected to come to the first class prepared to discuss story ideas and move on quickly to writing a query letter.
 If you're new to magazine and web writing, consider instead Margaret Webb's course Writing for Magazines and the Web, which begins September 15.  Many students take Margaret's course and then David's.
[This is a self-interested promotional message since David and Margaret are colleagues and I, too, teach at Ryerson as part of the same night school program; my is course called Magazine and Website Publishing (starting September 13) which is an overview dealing with the business aspects of making magazines on paper and online.]


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ian Brown named writer-in-residence at
Stratford Chefs School

Ian Brown, a well-known and award-winning magazine writer and author, has been chosen writer-in-residence at the renowned Stratford Chefs School. According to a story from Canadian Press, the program is named for the late Joseph Hoare, former food editor of Toronto Life magazine who died in 1997.
Brown recently swept three awards for his book "The Boy in the Moon," including the Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction. He has been a prolific magazine writer, having won 7 gold and 5 silver National Magazine Awards and been a nominee 27 times.
This summer, he has written a series of articles for the Globe and Mail documenting his gastronomic tour of Canada, entitled Ian Brown Eats Canada.
According to the story, he will spend two weeks at the chefs school during 2010-11 and will lead small seminars and workshops and work one-on-one with novice writers on the intricacies of gastronomic writing.

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Transcontinental Media's affaires plus magazine redesigned to become a+

Transcontinental Media's affaires plus magazine has undergone a transformation, with a new design and a rebranding as a+, effective with the issue just now on the newsstands in Quebec.
The monthly magazine was a line extension to the the publication Les Affaires.  While it continued to be aimed at a business audience, affaires plus two years ago shifted its editorial positioning to distinguish itself from the parent publication and put more emphasis on lifestyle subjects and make the magazine more interesting to read, said Daniel Germain, the editor-in-chief . 
Now, by adding fashion, cooking and wine coverage and rebranding, the magazine also hopes to reach a wider readership and to become more attractive to advertisers in the retail, clothing, beauty and automotive sectors.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Former Lush EIC launches fashion magazine whose name is Müdd

The former editor-in-chief of Lush magazine, Mahfud Ibrahim, has launched a new, online fashion title called Müdd. It is positioning itself as the first Canadian fashion magazine published exclusively for iPads and iPhones. Ibraham is the creative director and editor-in-chief. The app for the magazine is free from iTunes.
In a message to readers, he says:
I have missed you all so much, and with Müdd we can adore all things fashionable and glamorous together. Müdd Magazine's premiere issue exemplifies all that we represent, it is a platform for our core values: sophistication, style and culture. We are not afraid to publish articles about Somalia's government alongside high-fashion couture photo shoots. We believe that a modern audience is as interested in the world's issues as well as committed to celebrating the beautiful, creative and opulent.
Represented by Dodd Media Group, the magazine for the time being offers only static on-page ads, though it is promising interactive opportunities in future. A full page ad is $9,000, according to the media kit. There is no information available about actual or expected readership and there seems not to be any plans for a print version.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quote, unquote: The ad:edit wall has
become permeable

"We've certainly seen a number of experiments that are going on that are clearly trying to preserve the journalistic values while at the same time doing the necessary innovation," Mr. Smith said. "The boundaries of what's permissible and not permissible are going to be explored."
-- Douglas Smith, executive director of the Punch Sulzberger Executive News Media Leadership Program at Columbia University, quoted in an article by Nat Ives in AdAge headed: The Ad/Edit Wall Worn Down to a Warning Track. Ives says that the question for print has become less about whether to cross the boundary between editorial and sales and more about how best to do it.


TIME magazine gets serious

In its best traditions, the Onion has posted a spoof news report that Time magazine is coming out with a more sober and serious version of itself "for those old enough to drive". I particularly like the street interviews with kids.



[This post has been updated]The cover at left is one of the finalists in the lifestyle category in the ASME/Amazon Best Cover contest (see previous post). The one on the right is a recent issue of Le Figaro magazine sent to me by a friend and frequent reader of this blog. Noted that the book is in English and the barcode has been removed.
[UPDATE  If this is a case of stockphoto-itis, it is worth looking at a post from a year ago by freelance visual artist and instructor Charles Apple about the use of stock photos on the covers of the most mainstream magazines. In the case of the image on the TIME magazine cover shown, the photographer says he got $30.] 


2 for Couples magazine rolls out free app

2 for Couples magazine, has rolled out a free app of the magazine for the iPad, which will serve up monthly digital editions beginning with September and daily features such as the newsfeed 2Wire: Couples in the Know, with links to stories on celebrity couples, new studies and research on coupledom, relationship and sex info, as well as viral video content of interest to couples. Readers can also us 2Life—a section that allows couples to create profiles and store important relationship dates, sizes, household projects and gift wish lists. 

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Heeb, the irreverent Jewish magazine, suspends print publication

For Canadian subscribers and admirers, heck for all its subscribers and admirers, it is too bad to hear that the irreverent Heeb magazine is suspending its print edition; it is continuing online. Publisher Joshua Neman said:
Heeb Magazine has never been about making Jewish “cool.” What we are big believers in, however, is making Jewish fun. We believe that in a world in which Jewish periodicals outdo themselves in attempting to highlight just how endangered Jews are, there should be one Jewish media outlet that actually makes its readers smile. So whether online, or in print, we like to think that we can all still have a little fun—and don’t worry, Ahmadinejad will still be waiting when we’re done.

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U.S. finalists named for 2010 ASME/Amazon Best Cover Contest

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) has released its list of finalists for the 2010 Best Cover contest. As before, the winners will be picked by readers going to the Amazon.com site, starting September 1. (The Fortune cover shown is a finalist in News and Business; Martha Stewart Living is in the House & Home category.)
Magazine covers were eligible if they appeared on issues dated from June 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010. Beginning September 1, the 72 finalists will be posted on Amazon.com for 30 days. Customers will vote for their favorites in 12 categories, then choose the Cover of the Year from the 12 winners. The winners will be announced on October 3 in Chicago at the American Magazine Conference, the premier meeting for industry leaders hosted by MPA and ASME.
Among magazines with multiple nominations: New York (6), The New York Times Magazine (5), The New Yorker (5), GQ (4), Harper’s Bazaar (4), Rolling Stone (3), Sports Illustrated (3), Vanity Fair (3), The Advocate (2), Departures (2), Entertainment Weekly (2) and Martha Stewart Living (2). 


Quote, unquote: Appealing trumps importance

My experience is that the most appealing story badly presented will outsell the dullest story displayed dynamically. In this respect, content is indeed king. I’m not sure if these ratios hold for service magazines, but for business or news magazines, the best cover subject will outsell your worst by a factor of 4-5—even more if you have the flexibility to increase draw when you know for sure you have a once-in-a-decade winner. Variations of two to one are not uncommon in a typical year. In this regard, the biggest mistake editors make is putting the most important, rather than the most appealing, stories on their covers.
-- former Maclean's and Canadian Business publisher Paul Jones, as part of an interesting Q & A with circulation consultant Scott Bullock on his CoversSell.com blog.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

U.S.mailers' group (including magazines) swell their ranks for the rate fight

The Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of U.S. mailers banding together to fight major postal rate hikes now has 1,000 members. According to a post by Audience Development, that includes about 75 individual magazine publishers plus the Magazine Publishers Association and American Business Media.
"It's an unprecedented coalition of the entire mailing industry,"  James Cregan, MPA's executive vice president/government affairs, tells AD. "In the past, a lot of rate change cases have been matters of different types of mailers and classes of mail fighting each other over who's going to pay what, but this is really the first time in history that everybody has joined together and supported one united effort."
Related post:


Well-known Canadian magazine writer
David Lees has died

[This post has been updated] Well-known Canadian magazine writer David Lees died Tuesday, according to a post on Masthead. He was 63 and had long struggled against cancer.
Since 1977, Lees has won eight medals, two gold and six silver and been nominated 10 times at the National Magazine Awards for stories in magazines including Toronto Life, Cottage Life and Canadian Geographic, according to a close friend. Some of his more recent features were “Eels on Wheels” for The Walrus and “A Fish in the City” in On Nature.

Lees is survived by his wife and sons. Memorial visitation is Tuesday, August 31 from 1-2 p.m. at the Mount Pleasant Visitation Centre, 375 Mount Pleasant Bld., Toronto. In lieu of flowers donations can be given to the Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, 5 Shoram Drive, Downsview, Ontario M3N 1S4.
[UPDATE: Here is a list of the two gold and six silver National Magazine Awards Lees won.] 


Police magazine publisher distances himself from long gun "straw poll" on magazine forum

The publisher of Blue Line, the national law enforcement magazine, is trying to put some distance between himself and a "straw poll" that was carried out on one of the magazine's private online forums, according to a post on a CBC news blog.
This week an Edmonton police officer, Randy Kuntz, revealed that 92% of the 2,631 respondents to his straw poll voted in favour of scrapping the national long gun registry. This is in direct opposition to the position taken by a coalition of police chiefs across the country -- something that opponents of the long gun registry weren't slow to point out.
Morley Lymburner says he doesn't support getting rid of the entire registry and makes it clear he's supporting the chiefs' position. However, he says he wants some kind of protocol to determine when dispatchers, not front-line officers, can consult the registry and pass on information.
An officer on a stolen bicycle call "has no business checking the gun registry," he says, and insists the "worst thing" is to have officers told there are no guns registered to an individual or household because they could "let their guard down."

Totem lands contract to publish 2x a year magazine for U.S. insurer Geico

Totem Communications Group, the Toronto-based custom publisher (formerly Redwood), has been chosen to launch a twice-a-year magazine called GEICO Direct on behalf of the U.S. auto insurance company. The magazine and companion website will reach more than 7.5 million GEICO policyholders.
Totem was responsible for tweaking the design and editorial of the spring/summer issue of the magazine and now takes over responsibility for it. According to a release on the Totem website:
Readers will be entertained by a look at the drive-in movie theatre, a summer stalwart that's making a comeback as a magical family entertainment option. The magazine also helps readers find the best summer road-trip burgers, the country's biggest gathering of twins, and hidden treasures with just a GPS device and a little sense of adventure.

"We welcome this exceptional new partnership and the opportunity to build on the heritage of both the GEICO Direct program and the GEICO brand," says Totem SVP Business Development Joseph Barbieri.


CV2 magazine seeks verses that contain 35 -- lines, numbers, words, stanzas -- you name it

The Winnipeg-based poetry magazine CV2 celebrates 35 years in publishing this year and is holding a writing contest with a twist.
The catch is that each poem must incorporate “35” somehow or somewhere in the submission. It could be that a poem is 35 lines or 35 stanzas or it could be that literally the number “35” is used or written out, or included in the title. All we ask is that if the use of “35” is not immediately obvious, for example each line is thirty-five words in length, that you include a note in the entry explaining how you have used the requisite number. Although we will award no extra points for being tricky, we are definitely open to innovation.
Entries are $24 each, which includes a one-year subscription. First prize is $500 plus paid publication.  The deadline is November 1.

CV2 is also in the middle of a coast-to-coast reading tour. This week it was in Toronto and is due in Halifax Sunday, September 5 and Vancouver October 16. There will also be a Winnipeg reading, not yet confirmed.


Printers' association hopes to change Heritage's mind about allowing printing outside of Canada

The president of the Canadian Printing Industries Association says he hopes to convince the Department of Canadian Heritage to change the Canada Periodical Fund to prevent public money from being spent to print magazines outside of Canada.
Bob Elliott says in a story on the PrintCan website that he is disappointed publishers are no longer required to print their magazines or newspapers in Canada to be eligible for the Canada Periodical Fund; he also said it was difficult to judge the impact of the relaxed regulation:
“Ultimately if there are tax dollars being used to support the printing of publications those Canadian tax dollars should be spent in Canada. This opens the door for that not to happen, for those dollars to be spent outside of Canada.”


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's a reader worth a year?
That's a metric worth tracking

The average revenue per user (ARPU) is a metric that more and more publishers are, or should be, using to analyze their  plans for online publishing and to determine how much money they need to make a profit from readership, according to a post in paidContent.  Matt Shanahan of Scout Analytics says his clients are aiming at a target figure of $10 a year. Revenue becomes as important (or more important) as audience.
However, Shanahan freely admits that ARPU can vary wildly: for example, the comparison of People magazine making $409 revenue/visitor/year in 2009 and Demand Media getting only $1.60.

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Going to the dogs a perennial favourite on magazine covers

Grids, Robert Newman's design website, has an amusing take on magazines' penchant for putting pictures of dogs on their covers. There is a collection of 20 dog covers available.(The one above was from Time issue of August 16).

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Magazine world view:Penthouse grows; black liquor; kids today; fewer freepaper closures

Magazine Publishers of America names three senior execs to serve changing needs of members

The Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) has named three executive vice-presidents in what appears to be a major reorganization to reflect the challenges and opportunities facing its members in such things as digital publishing.  Francis R. Costello was named executive vice president and general manager, Andrew Jung was named EVP and CMO, and Christopher Kevorkian was appointed EVP of digital. In a release on its website, the association said
“The additions are intended to more effectively serve the changing needs of its members as well as help them capitalize on advances in technology that have presented new opportunities for magazine media companies.”
Just last year, battered by the recession, MPA laid off 14% of its staff. It's not known how many, if any, layoffs are associated with this consolidation of senior executive positions.


Quote, unquote: So it's not on paper? Get over it

The industry we knew and loved will not turn around, nor rejuvenate. It has fundamentally and irreversibly changed. Our hope and the salvation of our revenue stream is in creatively adapting and joining the future of information distribution, instead of, at best, jousting at paper windmills. The new magazine business will do just fine with or without the romantic semantics of what constitutes a magazine.
-- Consultant Bo Sacks,writing in Print CEO about the recurring debate about magazine apps on iPad and similar, and what constitutes a magazine. Recently, Samir "Mr. Magazine" Husni said it wasn't a magazine if it wasn't printed on paper. Sacks has long been an exponent of the following criteria for being a magazine: "paginated, edited, designed, periodic, permanent and date stamped" and he seems to feel that those rules continue to apply in the digital present and future.


LouLou magazine offers readers memberships in online fashion shopping site

Rogers Publishings's LouLou, the shopping magazine and its online site louloumagazine.com  have struck a deal whereby their readers can become members of the online shopping site Beyond the Rack, gaining access to exclusive, online private sales of designer fashions. The partnership is said to be the first of its kind in Canada, though following the lead of some American publishing brands.
Beyond the Rack is a shopping club that offers designer apparel, accessories beauty, housewares and home decor items at up to 70% off retail prices; the products are sold in as many as eight branded, first-come-first-served events a day.The privately held company has more than 1.5 million North American members.
"Private sales are a natural complement to LOULOU's digital service," says Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, for Rogers Media [in a press release]. "Private sales are about convenience, and the excitement of acquiring high-end designer brand apparel merchandise at real deals. We are excited to bring the Beyond the Rack shopping experience to our online audiences."

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Chalk one up for back issues of magazines not crumbling away

The law of unintended, but pleasantly surprising, consequences applies apparently in the way magazine paper is increasingly being made in Europe and North America, according to a post on Magstastic Blogsplosion, a website authored by Andrew Losowsky. 
The substitution of calcium carbonate (essentially, chalk) for the more expensive imported china clay in the coating of magazine paper means that, inadvertently, the coating tends to neutralize the acids that are created/part of the paper-manufacturing process. 
This may ensure that it may be a longer while before print magazines crumble in our hands. (I expect comments from the "print is dead" crowd that this is all moot since we'll all be reading on iPads and the like. But for the rest of us, this is good news.)


Maclean's article digs down into the "flim-flam" surrounding Vancouver's safe injection site

A really very thorough report by John Geddes in Maclean's magazine (highlighted by columnist Paul Wells) demonstrates the depth of corruption and intrigue that has afflicted Canada's national policy force (and the federal Conservative government) when it comes to Vancouver's Insite safe injection site.
As Wells puts it:
"What’s at stake is not a simple matter of opinion about whether injection sites are a good idea. It is (1) an exhaustively-documented attempt by elements in Canada’s national police force to create a bogus “academic” argument against Insite. Then (2) an attempt by senior RCMP officers to reverse course and atone for that burst of academic vandalism. And finally, (3) a decision from the RCMP’s highest echelons — or from someone in government outside the RCMP — to stifle the belated atonement, instead letting the sham record stand. The first part of that story has been told before. The rest is new, and devastating."


Senior media managers submit their own problems as case studies to high-end education program

An intensive three-day program launched last year for senior magazine media managers is being enhanced this year with the addition of high profile guest panellists and the opportunity for participants to submit their own magazines' information as living case studies. 
The Media Management Executive Educations Program (MMEEP) is jointly produced by the Canadian Journalism Foundation and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. It is said to be the  first program of its kind in Canada. The event costs $3,500 and will take place October 15 - 17, with a registration deadline of September 30. 
This year, it has been announced that guest faculty and experts-in-residence will include Richard Siklos, a Los Angeles-based columnist, reporter and former editor-at-large at Fortune magazine; Chrystia Freeland, the global editor-at-large at Thomson Reuters; and Jonathan Goodman, a senior partner of the Monitor Group business consulting firm. Additional guest speakers will be announced in coming weeks.
(MMEEP was launched after John Macfarlane, editor of The Walrus and chair of the CJF’s board of directors, approached the Rotman School, observing that journalists are often promoted to managerial positions without substantial business training and education.)


Edmontonians magazine brought back from the dead by controversial publisher

In a curious turn of events, Edmontonians magazine is being brought back after its closure was announced in June. The resurrection is being done by Moe Najmeddine of Cedar Publishing Corporation, who says in a press release that after a three-month hiatus the magazine will resume publishing as of October 2010, with editor Barb Deters resuming her role and regular contributors continuing.
The once oversized monthly will now be a quarterly in a standard magazine format.
Edmontonians was founded in 1989 by former publisher Sharon MacLean and her late husband Dick, who died in 1993. Sharon Maclean was quoted in the release saying:
“I had an exciting and fulfilling 21 years… now I am thrilled to see another generation take on the challenge and continue a legacy of excellence.”
Najmeddine was named one of Sizzling Twenty under 30 in 2003 and his release said the magazine would be carrying on the annual feature.
Cedar currently says it publishes 15 magazines including Neighbourhood Watch Newsmagazine, Alberta Paramedics Newsmagazine, Food Bank Network Newsmagazine, Safe Parent Association Newsmagazine, Alberta Arab Directory and Alberta Seniors Directory. All are connected in one way or another with specific causes, professions and community initiatives. with distribution locally, provincially and nationally as appropriate.
In an earlier post on this blog, we reported that Cedar was being sued by the City of Edmonton on behalf of the local Crime Stoppers organization, claiming that Cedar's Edmonton Firefighters Magazine was being passed off as being officially connected to Edmonton Fire Rescue.
This is not the first time that Cedar Publishing and its owner, Mohamad Najmeddine has clashed with the authorities. In June 2008, the Crime Stoppers Organization filed a claim against the company for using their logo, making it hard for the independent organization to raise money. Apparently Cedar and Crimestoppers had agreed in 2004 to publish a magazine in partnership, but the arrangement was terminated in February 2007.

Crime Stoppers is asking for $500,00 for loss of donations and goodwill and $250,000 in punitive damages. Najmeddine, in his statement of defence, argues that Crime Stoppers reneged on its contract and appropriated his clients by starting their own magazine called "Crime Stoppers and you...Making a difference."
Najmeddine said he plans to expand Edmontonians' support for charity and not-for-profit groups, saying that Cedar Publishing has donated more than $300,000 to charities and supports numerous fundraising events.
Najmeddine is president of the Canadian Mental Health Association-Edmonton, treasurer of the Progressive Conservative Association-Edmonton Decore, vice-president of the Canadian Arab Professional & Business Club, sports director of the Evansdale Community League, and a director of the Canadian Arab Friendship Association.


What fact-checking means now

Virginia Heffernan writes an interesting piece in the New York Times that compares and contrasts the fact checking of so-called "legacy media" and today's online competitors. She demonstrates the distance we've come from using red and no. 2 pencils and printed reference sources to what happens today.
"Only fact-checkers from legacy media probably miss the quaint old procedures. But if the Web has changed what qualifies as fact checking, has it also changed what qualifies as a fact? I suspect that facts on the Web are now more rhetorical devices than identifiable objects. But I can’t verify that."


Metroland exec moved up to the president of Postmedia business ventures arm

The Postmedia Network (the rebranded  Canwest Global Communiciations) is likely to become much more aggressive in the areas of consumer marketing, digital media and publishing with the announced appointment of Alvin Brouwer as president, business ventures. He was most recently  vice president, advertising and product development at Metroland Media.
“Alvin brings an impressive background in digital media, online marketing and publishing,” said Paul Godfrey, president and CEO, Postmedia Network. “He’s an innovator in consumer marketing with a long list of credits to his name.”Reporting directly to Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Brouwer assumes the role on September 7.


Drawing on Hirschfeld's inspiration, illustrators continue to chronicle theatre

Nice piece in the New York Times about the heirs apparent to the late Al Hirschfeld, the illustrator of hundreds of Broadway shows and plays in newspapers, magazines and on posters. This thumbnail is by Justin Robertson, who says: "Theater and caricature are a culmination of everything I like."


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Turning your post-vacation e-mail mountain into a manageable molehill

I have heard from more than one magazine person that they hate coming back from summer holidays to find a small mountain of e-mail messages; kinda spoils the bliss and reinstates the stress that you took a holiday from.
Canadian Fundraising & Philanthropy's online e-letter has published some tips gleaned from Fast Company magazine columnist Gina Trapani, the author of Upgrade Your Life,  for blasting through hundreds of unread messages and retaining your post-summer holiday mood.
  • Just because it was sent, doesn't mean you have to read it
  • If it's old and hasn't been added to or followed up, it probably doesn't matter anymore 
  • So, how to sort through the pile and save only what's necessary? 
    • Sort your messages by sender, use shift-click to select batches and press delete.
  •  And how do you deal with what's left? 
    • There are only two categories: things you can handle in two minutes or less; and the rest. For the former, sort your messages by date with the oldest first (that is, in ascending order). Start reading. If you can deal with it in two minutes or less, do so with a reply of no more than two lines. For the latter, set yourself a deadline  and reply to the person with a brief message such as "I'll get back to you about this by next Tuesday". Then put the item on a to-do list.


Prairie Dog magazine encourages and rewards readers who hunt down typos

{This post has been updated]Here's a nifty idea: reward your readers for spotting typos, as does Prairie Dog, the Regina arts, news and entertainment magazine. The reader chosen wins $10 and a T-shirt. 
Now, some might say it would be better to proofread before publishing, but most magaziners out there will admit that, despite doing that, mistakes creep in. And it's a good promotional idea to find a humorous way to build reader involvement, a way like Typo Weiner. 
[UPDATE: Taddle Creek magazine points out that last May the magazine started rewarding error-spotters a two year subscription to the magazine.] 

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quote, unquote: Sucking and blowing: BC arts cuts

“[They’re] sucking the oxygen out of the one room and filling up some bright balloons in another. And the room they’re sucking the oxygen out of is the ongoing arts groups that have supported the development of all kinds of arts and cultural activities in the province for many years, and they’re dedicating money to this three-year program that perpetuates the feelings that were generated in the Cultural Olympiad. Well, in our view, you get more culturally and artistically if you support the kinds of ongoing activities that foster the arts in a more broad sense than that. The priorities aren’t quite right.”
-- Federation of B.C. Writers' president, Craig Spence, quoted in the Georgia Straight commenting on the sweeping arts funding cuts. The federation sees its grant cut by 80% while some $3 million is being pumped into "Spirit Festivals".


Peter Gzowski biography peels back and reveals a flawed and troubled man

A biography of the late Peter Gzowski (magazine writer and editor, renowned broadcaster and champion of literacy) is out now from Dundurn Press. And the hefty book is a warts-and-all story, according to a review in the Winnipeg Free Press. The writer, Rae Fleming, is a frequent writer of historical books and articles, including for Canada's History magazine and for the Canadian Encyclopedia.
If ever a cherished Canadian public figure had feet of clay, it was Peter Gzowski [says the review by Terry McLeod, who is the co-host of CBC Winnipeg's Information Radio and who was a producer for Gzowski's Morningside program from 1988 to 1993.]
Many of us knew the late great broadcaster and author as a massive talent. And, no surprise, biographer R.B. (Rae) Fleming charts chapter and verse the story of Gzowski's path to that success in this thorough and revealing effort.
What is surprising, however, is Fleming's revelation of Gzowski's flaws and the price that he, and those around him, paid for them.
For many people who have been around magazines for some years, Gzowski is still well-remembered as an editor (Star Weekly, Maclean's) and prolific writer. For many more people, he is better remembered for his stellar radio career (This Country in the Morning, Morningside).
The book deals with not only Gzowski's fame but also his dark side including alcoholism and his failures as a husband and father, including an all-but-unacknowledged child he sired in 1960 in an affair with an editorial researcher. 
Fleming says that, while there was an outpouring of grief for Gzowski on his death in 2002, millions of English speaking Canadians and most French speakers never listened to him.
"Peter's Canada of small town and essentially good-hearted white people had long ago been replaced by a cosmopolitan, polyglot urban nation," he writes.
"What Peter represented was nostalgia for a self-confident decent and compassionate Canada that had all but vanished except in the memory of his listeners."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Magazine world view:Shelter checkup; app think tank; print and mobile; web death & hype

Alison Eastwood promoted to EIC of Hello! Canada

Hello! Canada magazine has promoted from within and appointed Alison Eastwood from deputy editor to editor-in-chief, replacing the departing Ciara Hunt. According to a release from Rogers Publishing, Eastwood takes over the job helming the celebrity weekly officially on August 25. 
Eastwood has been with the magazine since its joint venture launch in 2006, as the Canadian franchise in a worldwide network of 14 editions. The magazine debuted in Spain in 1944 as Hola! and now claims more than 8 million readers.

The Canadian edition's weekly circulation has increased about 11% in the first half of 2010, according to ABC data and is now 120,000, of which 74,000 are single copy sales. According to the spring results from the Print Measurement Bureau, the magazine has 637,000 readers (which is significantly fewer than the magazine claimed in 2009 (based on a commissioned survey) that it had more than a million readers a week.)
Related posts:


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photographers tell People magazine "When you put our photos on an iPad, you have to pay"

In a tussle that may have implications for Canadian magazine publishers and their freelance contributors, Time Inc.'s People magazine has apparently had to postpone the launch of its iPad app because photographers want additional payments for use of their images.
According to a front page story in the Hollywood Reporter, more than a dozen agencies representing photographers are balking at the reuse of celebrity shots.
While the standoff centers on one publication for now, just about any other brand that makes photos of the rich and famous their stock in trade is watching nervously from the sidelines. Whatever deal they strike could set the terms of trade for the industry going forward.
Negotiations are scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) in New York.
"I do think it's an important moment as far as the photo-agency business model," said Jill Stempel, New York bureau chief for World Entertainment News Network, which on Tuesday was considering joining the agency alliance. "We need to take a stand."

A People spokeswoman refused to comment beyond offering the following statement: "The People iPad application launch date has absolutely nothing to do with photo agencies."
Photo agencies see the tablet market as a game-changer, the story said.
"They realized that in most cases People.com was not making ad revenue or subscription money off extended use of their photos," said Brandy Navarre, vp at X17, a photo agency that plans to negotiate separately from its unified front of competitors. "But when you're talking about paid apps supplemented by advertisements, that's something different altogether."
People wants free use of photos, saying the app (which costs consumers $4.99) essentially replicates the print magazine. It is also arguing that photo use is covered by a clause in overall licensing agreements that allows for promotional repurposing.

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Quote, unquote: On not being afraid of your shovel

The fear that traditional media is so shrouded in about digital media is misplaced. It is absolutely ridiculous. To me, it's like a farmer being afraid of his shovel. It's a tool. The Internet is an amazingly powerful piece of equipment for creative people to use. As long as traditional publishers are afraid of it, their lunch is going to be continuously eaten by younger, more creative people. I'm not younger, but I'm creative. Believe me, I can create a very powerful print company -- and augment and expand it digitally. But you have to do more than just replicate your print pages.
The opportunity also exists for people who do purely Internet media, without the need to do a print component. Digital doesn't need print. Print needs digital in the same way that once color was available, publishers had to use it.
--  Bob Guccione Jr., in an interview about the new restaurant magazine called Viaggio (published by super chef Mario Batali and his business partner Joe Bastianich) [from MediaDailyNews]


Canadian Business editor Steve Maich slams government decision on prison farms

Canadian Business editor Steve Maich has written a brave and bracing column in the magazine's issue dated September 13 in commenting on the closing of prison farms and the ending of the mandatory census. He notes that casual dishonesty in defence of such actions is a staple in government:
"But in order for this tradition of mendacity to be tolerable, the deception has got to be at least somewhat plausible. Instead, too often, Stephen Harper's government starts with an ideology that most Canadians do not share and works backward — mixing in spin, argument and transparent justification to arrive at a-wink-and-a-nudge public policy."
As Maich puts it, the spectacle of industry minister Tony Clement trying to square a circle is "cringe-inducing".
"Clement isn't a halfwit, but he's sometimes required to play one on TV."
As for the prison farms, Maich tears a large hole in the argument that the farms lose money and that inmates who work on them don't get out and go into farm work.
"This is like saying the army is worthless as job training because so few go on to paramilitary work after their discharge.The point is about the experience acquired, not the industry in which it's used. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of farm work can tell you it involves a wide range of useful skills, from welding and metalwork to logistics and computer skills. More important, the prison farms taught work and social skills to people who were often woefully unprepared to hold down any sort of job — things like teamwork, personal responsibility and reliability."
(In a recent posting on Twitter, Maich points out that the column will probably get him "branded as a moron by the Sun's editorial board".)

PROFIT unveils new look, new content in website

New look PROFITguide.com
Rogers Publishing has re-launched a wholly renovated PROFITguide.com, Canada's Online Guide to Small Business Success. As a companion to the small business magazine PROFIT, the site is intended to provide authoritative analysis and advice for the small and mid-sized business sector.
Contributors include digital media guru and Twist Image CEO Mitch Joel; B2B marketing expert Lisa Shepherd of Mezzanine Consulting, a two-time member of the PROFIT 100 ranking of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies; Brian Scudamore, founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?; College Pro Painters founder and growth-company mentor Greig Clark; and Rick Spence, writing about entrepreneurship (president of Canadian Entrepreneurship Communications and a former publisher of PROFIT).
"PROFIT has always highlighted the voices of entrepreneurs who've overcome common management challenges and achieved business success, because nothing resonates more with business owners and managers than the experiences of their peers," says Ian Portsmouth, Editor and Associate Publisher. "Through its blogs, videos, podcasts and resources, PROFITguide.com provides a timely and accessible source of peer-tested knowledge for anyone who manages, owns or wants to start an entrepreneurial business."
The site also features the complete PROFIT 100, HOT 50 and W100 rankings and the content of PROFIT Magazine.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At last, Stevie Cameron's book on Pickton case published, as an e-book for now

Stevie Cameron's book On the Farm about the horrific case of Robert Pickton, is now available as an e-book from Random House Canada (the hardcover will be out August 31). Both paper and e-book copies cost $35. Though her rep for the past number of years has been as an investigative reporter and author, it is worth remembering that Cameron once edited Elm Street magazine and was a prolific freelance magazine writer. As editor of Elm Street, in 1998, she commissioned writer Daniel Wood to do an article about the missing prostitutes of Vancouver, about whom few seemed to care. The article sparked public interest and a more vigorous police investigation which in turn led to the arrest of Pickton.

Cameron, who started out in journalism as a food writer for the Toronto Star and later wrote for the Globe and Mail and Saturday Night magazine, won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award for The Last Amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the Anatomy of a Scandal and had a bestseller with On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years. 
Though the book has been ready for some time, it has had to wait until a court publication ban was lifted.


Demand for interactive/digital editions worth $3 billion in U.S. by 2014. That's the good news

The demand for interactive/digital periodicals has the potential for $3 billion in revenue for the U.S. magazine and newspaper industry by 2014, according to a survey conducted for Next Issue Media. According to a story in Folio:, the survey, conducted by the international consulting firm Oliver Wyman, the net incremental revenue would be about $1.3 billion. Which means that publishers should expect to see "potential cannibalization" (nice term, that) of print subscriptions of about $1.7 billion.
Wyman came to its conclusion by interviewing 1,800 U.S. consumers. It did not assess the impact on advertising, single copy sales, e-commerce and other revenue streams from the interactive periodicals, Next Issue Media said.
Interestingly, the survey found that many subscribers perceive print and interactive formats to be complementary: 30% of renewing subscribers chose a print and interactive bundle at a premium of 33%. And automatic renewals would reduce churn by 20%.
To realize the revenue potential, Next Issue Media recommends that publishers “create new interactive products; offer a large library of cross-sold interactive titles; develop innovative subscription packages; find mutually beneficial partnerships with leading OEMs; carefully define future advertising standards and metrics; and fundamentally rethink internal workflows, capabilities and organization.”
There is a downloadable PDF of the full text of the white paper from Oliver Wyman.