Monday, November 29, 2010

Publish once, read anywhere;Condé Nast's Rick Levine on the company's strategy

Magazines Canada has posted a video of the recent presentation in Toronto by Richard Levine VP Editorial Operations, Condé Nast. Click on this link

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Groupon, just discovered by Canadian publishers, said to be bought by Google

[This post has been updated]Just as magazine publishers in Canada have cottoned onto the joys of couponing, the company that provides the service, Groupon, has beenhas been reported to have been purchased by Google for a reported $2.5 billion.
Recently B. C. Business and This magazine both did one-day subscription offers, apparently very successfully, using the online couponing service's huge databases. Other magazine are following suit.[e.g. Ski Canada just did it today.]
There was a recent article on e-Media Vitals that examined some ways publishers are catching on to e-coupons as a tool for audience building.


Zoomer magazine publisher reports
first profitable quarter

[This post has been updated] ZoomerMedia has reported its first profitable quarter. In the three months ended September 30, the company -- which publishes Zoomer magazine --  had a profit of $ 2.33 million on revenues of $14.5 million. This compares with a loss of $561,142 in the comparable quarter a year ago.
The results are a sharp turnaround from its most recent complete year, during which the company had a net operating loss of $6.2 million on revenues of $10.3 million. Most of the turnaround is attributed to acquisitions the company made, including the Vision group of television channels and MZ Media radio stations. 
"We are pleased to report our first profitable quarter. The recent additions of television and radio to our existing Zoomer - oriented magazine and web assets, positions us perfectly to ride the surging demographic wave which is the Zoomer market." said Moses Znaimer, President and Chief Executive Officer of ZoomerMedia Limited in a release.
[Update: You may be amused by a commentary by Shelley Fralic in the Vancouver Sun about the appearance of Moses Znaimer at the Vancouver Convention Centre. 
In Zoomerville, you see, everyone is handsome and energetic and financially flush, with no mortgages and spit-polished grandchildren and a new-found love of opera.]

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New crop executives dominate big four U.S. magazine companies

The Sunday New York Times looked at the turnover in management at the four largest U.S. magazine companies, noting that it will be the first time in a  decade and a half that they will all have new leadership. It's a story well worth reading. 
...There is little doubt that the next generation of magazine company executives is confronting a media landscape in which the margin for error is far smaller, and uncertainty about whether readers and advertisers will remain loyal is more palpable than ever.
One of the themes in the article is that most of the executives are talking about "fair value", by which they mean perhaps there will be fewer buyers, but those will be willing to pay more for good, original journalism and other content. 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Rider-themed issue put out by Saskatchewan History magazine in time for Grey Cup

Timed to come out on the team's 100th anniversary and serendipitously on the eve of the team's appearance in the Grey Cup in Edmonton this Sunday, Saskatchewan History magazine has published an all-Saskatchewan Roughriders-themed issue.

According to a story in the Regina Leader-Post, the magazine  put 2,000 copies on sale at a price of $10 about two weeks ago, featuring photographs from the Saskatchewan government archives, which publishes the magazine. These include a picture of the 1934 Riders wearing leather helmets and some shots from the 1950s with quarterback Frank Tripuka demonstrating "correct football technique".
In their search for Rider content, magazine staff also unearthed recordings of the team's homecoming after the 1951 Grey Cup in Toronto.

"The team lost the Grey Cup (to Ottawa) that year, but they came back to this amazing reception from the people of Regina and Saskatchewan," said Charabin. "They wouldn't allow the players to leave the stadium until every single one of them got up to the mic and said something. Some of (the players) were feeling a little bit sheepish because they hadn't won, and yet they were being celebrated like this."

Fans can make arrangements to listen to the recordings at both the Saskatoon and Regina offices of the Saskatchewan Archives Board.

"To me, that's an amazing document to have," said [publication coordinator Nadine]Charabin, "and it speaks to the Rider tradition of people celebrating the team and being there thick or thin."

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Canadian Press is news cooperative no more; bought by three major media companies

Long a cooperative news agency, Canadian Press has now after 93 years been effectively turned into a for-profit business.
Torstar Corp., the Globe and Mail and the publishers of La Presse (Square Victoria Communications Group) have capitalized Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. which takes over the entire operations of the service. 
This is not a surprise, since the troubled institution announced a year ago that it was going to change it business model, a decision ratified by its membership. The principal problem for CP was a $35 million shortfall in meeting its pension obligations to employees and retirees. It required dispensation from the tax authorities to negotiate a way out of this shortfall. The co-op's problems were exacerbated by the exit of two of its biggest stakeholders -- CanWest Global Communications Corp. which started its own news service, Postmedia and Quebecor Media Inc's Sun Media -- and the consequent substantial loss of membership revenue. According to a story in the Globe and Mail
“CP is a very important national institution,” The Globe’s publisher and chief executive officer Phillip Crawley said Friday. “The government was right to recognize that this needed special support.
The co-operative’s board will now be replaced by a board consisting of two representatives for each of the new owners; including Mr. Crawley, Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank, and Guy Crevier, president of Gesca and president and publisher of La Presse. The new board will have its first meeting on Monday.
Working together as an ownership team guarantees that CP will be able to continue its tradition of delivering quality content across Canada in the years ahead,” Mr. Crevier said in a statement.
Canadian Press was established in 1917 to be a national exchange for news and information from and to its members who owned it. It was the principal conduit for news from south of the border, from Canadian Press's equivalent the Associated Press. In its early days, the service was subsidized by the government. It created a subsidiary called Broadcast News to deliver information, newscasts and audio to radio and television. And in 1951, it launched a French service. 
CP has one of the largest archives of, now historical, news pictures and was the arbiter of written "CP style" through its ubiquitous Stylebook and Caps and Spelling book.


Creators coalition takes out full-page ad demanding changes to C-32 copyright bill

In a last ditch attempt to influence the outcome of current discussions about C-32, amending Canada's copyright legislation, a coalition of organizations representing creators' groups have paid for a full-page ad in the first section of today's Globe and Mail.The open letter addressed to Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore is signed by dozens of Canadian writers and artists. 
The ad is underwritten by the Canadian Authors Association, the League of Canadian Poets, the Writers' Union of Canada, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Literary Translators Association of Canada and the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers.
It says the draft law expropriates income that sustains Canadian writers and artists and threatening to provoke years of expensive litigation.  (The coalition's is critical of the inclusion of "education" in the "fair use" provisions, which would effectively exempt educational institutions from copying books and articles, although that's not the only one of problems it identifies.)
The ad calls on supporters to e-mail and write the special Parliamentary commitee on C-32 demanding changes to the law and to go to Copyrightgetitright for further information. The central, boldfaced message of the ad is:
"The legislation is unacceptable. There's still a chance to do the right thing. There's still a chance to get copyright right. Don't do it for us. Do it for Canada."


Report says U.S.magazines' print growth 1% but digital advertising 8.5%

Consumer print magazine advertising in the U.S. is projected to increase by 1% this year, but the same magazines' digital advertising is estimated to increase 8.5% to nearly $1 billion, according to data compiled by   media economist Jack Myers. Combined growth for magazines publishers is therefore 1.4%. (The report from which the data is drawn is Media Vision 2020: Media, Advertising and Marketing Economic Health Report 2010-2020 and is only available to subscribers to; a basic subscription is (gulp) $12,000.)

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Founding editor of Design Edge Canada magazine leaves to join design firm

Ann Meredith Brown, the founding editor of Design Edge Canada magazine, is leaving to join the design firm Shikatani Lacroix as director of social media and public relations. Under Brown's leadership, the magazine (published by the same firm as publishes Mastheadonline) won the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) award for best magazine in the trade division for three years in a row. She also brought into being the Regional Design Awards.
Brown is being replaced, on an interim basis, by Nancy Clark, who previously was editor of Graphic Monthly Canada and ON Nature magazine (when it was called Seasons) and recently was at Musicworks magazine.


It's not all that hard to subscribe to magazines in Canada, really

A casual glance at a recent press release suggested that there was a new player among subscription services for Canadian readers. Turns out, however, that Acclaim Subscriptions Canada is simply a phone and web link to a U.S. company.  The release was merely a marketing initiative by the Brooklyn, New York-based Acclaim Subscriptions.
"Joyce Redding of Toronto is pleasantly overwhelmed by the convenience of ordering magazine subscriptions this year for her extensive family and friends," [says the release]. Ordering magazine subscriptions in Canada has been a challenge - sometimes it's hard to find magazines that ship to Canada; in the past she had to order Canadian magazines separately from publishers.
Funny, we weren't aware that subscription services for Canadians were such a challenge, what with the Rogers magazine service (marketing both Canadian and U.S. titles) and the Magazines Canada services for print magazines (including their current buy 2, get 1 free promotion), plus their digital newsstand project in collaboration with Zinio.

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Quote, unquote: Small web presence? How to make an advertiser take notice

"One of the most common things I hear particularly from magazines in Canada is "What do we do when we don't have traffic? We have a low circulation, a modest circulation, we can't compete with some of the big search engines, or we can't sell on CPM." But it really comes down to relevance. If I'm an advertiser and you can tell me you have a 1,000 people of a particular type that absolutely fits my category, irrespective of what else I do, I'm going to be interested. And it helps foster that conversation."
-- Marty White, Principal of Online Magazine Marketing,  in the webinar this week (one of a series presented by Magazines Canada) called The Path to Your Client's Sweet Spot.  (White is scheduled to teach a 7-week course  about online ad sales on the web at Ryerson's Chang School for Continuing Education starting January 13.)


Transcon's Larivière joins ABC Canada board

Natalie Larivière, the president of Transcontinental Media (which publishes all its consumer and trade magazines)has joined the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations' ABC Canada Board Committee.
She has been with Transcontinental since 2006, having previously been president and CEO of the Quebecor Media Book Group.

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Virgin to announce rival iPad paper to
Murdoch's The Daily

Richard Branson, an aggressive entrepreneur on several fronts, has announced that his company Virgin will unveil a custom-built iPad magazine in New York next week. According to a story in the Guardian, the new paper will be more entertainment and less current affairs than the impending launch of the similar iPad paper The Daily being hustled to market by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (in collaboration with Apple). That venture is said to be costing Murdoch $30 million to launch.
"By announcing further details of his iPad magazine in New York, Branson is making an explicit move of his tanks onto Murdoch's lawn," [the story said]
The new, as yet unnamed, magazine is being led by Branson's 29-year-old daughter Holly and is to be edited by Anthony Noguera, former editor of Arena, Zoo and FHM.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quebec Assembly sides with writers and demands major changes to proposed copyright bill

The National Assembly in Quebec has unanimously adopted a motion opposing key aspects of the federal proposal, Bill C-32, for the amendment of copyright, according to a release from the National Association of Book Publishers  of Quebec (ANEL). The text of the motion roughly reads (apologies for my translation):
"That the National Assembly recognizes the crucial role of content creators and the importance of IP [intellectual property] in the economic model of arts and culture in Quebec;
"It endorse the concerns of the arts, especially music and literary publishing, and asks the federal government to change the current Bill C-32 as it involves authors rights to assure Quebec creators of full recognition of their rights, adequate protection against illegal copying of their works, application of the principle of private copying, and therefore ensuring income to the value of their intellectual property. "
ANEL welcomed the motion, which aligns with its continuing criticism of the bill and its call for nothing less than major revisions before it is passed. If adopted as presented, it said, the bill would result in the loss of 3,000 jobs and $20 million in annual royalties to Quebec writers, thereby compromising their ability to create new works. 
This decision, with the Quebec assembly siding with the view of many writers may mean that the federal government will have no choice but to re-examine its options. 
[Thanks to Ken McGoogan]


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the investment firm Quadrangle closes

When they were riding high -- before the recession and before the problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Quadrangle Group was considered a world-beater when it came to buying and capitalizing on media properties. But, according to a story in MediaDailyNews, the company's acquisition of lad mags Maxim, Stuff and Blender from Dennis Publishing USA in August 2007 was the start of a long tumble.
By some estimates, Quadrangle peaked and began to decline after the acquisition of Alpha Media, publisher of lad mags Maxim, Stuff and Blender, from Dennis Publishing for $245 million. This highly leveraged transaction, coming not long before the global credit crunch, resulting from the subprime mortgage meltdown, soon went sour.
Stuff and Blender were closed amid steep declines in ad pages, Kent Brownridge resigned his post as publisher in August 2008, and in November 2008, creditors including Cerberus Capital Management and Credit Suisse revealed that Alpha had violated debt covenants. In July 2009, Alpha and its sole remaining title, Maxim, were handed off to Cerberus after Quadrangle couldn't make scheduled payments servicing a $100 million loan from Cerberus.


Two royal wedding commemoratives rushed out by Rogers Publishing

Depending on your degree of interest in the royals, you'll think it is good news or bad new that Rogers Publishing is hitting Canadians with a double-whammy of hefty newsstand issues about the forthcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Maclean's is putting a 132-page, perfect-bound commemorative issue on the newsstands today, priced at $6.95. It will be staff written with special guest writers including John Fraser, Leah McLaren and Karen von Hahn. The news release says
It's a romantic, good-news story, though not without the tragic undertones of Diana's fraught marriage and her untimely death under the glare of insatiable media attention. William's and Kate's marriage, scheduled for spring or summer next year, is Britain and the world's new hope for a happy ending.
  • The couple: How they met and the hearts they broke; The long eight-year courtship; The ring.
  • The families: The royals and the Middletons. The unpredictable brother, Harry; and Remembering Diana.
  • The wedding :Everything from bets on the dress to the music (and the colour of the Queen's hat on the big day). Plus, a sneak peak at the Canadians who are most likely to make the invitation short list.
  • The history: A10-page photo album of previous royal weddings. And the five Queen Catherines before Kate. (Not one of them had it easy.)
  • The future: The houses, the jewels and the glass coach for her wedding day (seriously) versus the job: the charity grind, the public appearances, the pressure to produce an heir and the endless scrutiny.
Hello! Canada has come out with a 132-page, perfect-bound special collector's edition, retailing for $9.95. Here's what's inside:
  • Prince William: We look back on the extraordinary life of the man who will rule with Kate by his side
  • Kate Middleton: With insights into Kate's childhood, we reveal how the outgoing girl from an unassuming background grew up to win the heart of a prince
  • William and Kate's love story: From the moment they met to becoming college sweethearts and then soulmates, we tell their epic tale of true love
  • Prince Charles and Diana: Remembering the last "wedding of the century"
  • Kenyan paradise: An exclusive peek inside the place where William proposed to Kate (and the note they wrote afterwards)
  • Royal love nests: Where the newlyweds will lay their heads
  • Bridal Jewels: a trove of historic gems that Kate may wear on her wedding day
  • Here comes the bride: Designers share sketches of the gowns the bride might choose for her big day
  • Kate's look: From casual chic to gala glamour, her style will be copied around the world 
Royalty junkies of the world, this is only the beginning...


Polar matters being discussed at SEJ pub night

The Society for Environmental Journalists is having one of its periodic pub nights next Tuesday December 7 in Toronto, with a guest presentation by Sheilagh Grant, author of Polar Imperative. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Harbord House Pub (upstairs) at 150 Harbord Street. The notice from Craig Saunders about the event explains
As climate change opens up the Northwest Passage and makes mineral and oil extraction a more viable option, the question of Arctic sovereignty is going to become more contentious. Prof. Grant's book is a delightfully accessible and detailed history of North American Arctic sovereignty issues, and will provide an excellent backbone for discussion and debate.
RSVP is requested to SEJpubnight[at]saunderseditor[dot]com or on Facebook


Aggregation magazine says its the first "wayfinding" magazine for the internet

Digital composite image from issue 1, by Gary Campbell
There is an allure in the unexpected; it is one of the reasons why one can invest hours following links and conversational threads online. And it is that proposition -- getting its readers caught up in a topic they didn't realize they were interested in that makes good magazines work so well. 
Yet when they go online, magazines seem to suffer from a creative inertia -- continuing to do what they have done and, as a result, not taking maximum advantage of what the web has to offer.
That's certainly the view of Gary Campbell, who has launched a monthly online magazine called Aggregation that is a sort of laboratory for what he thinks the ideal online magazine should be. There is a certain evangelistic quality to it. Campbell, as some of you will know, oversees the digital operations for Toronto Life magazine, Fashion magazine, Quill & Quire and Ottawa magazine. But Aggregation has nothing to do with his day job(s). It is entirely self-funded and not particularly concerned with making money right now (though it may, later). He has relied on the help of family and friends who are mentioned on the initial contents page.
"I'd like to see web magazines become a refinement in the way we view, catalogue and respond to the web," says Campbell. "Magazines of tomorrow won't have tightly controlled, fixed boundaries. They'll need to embrace the larger Internet and at the same time provide a more curated experience than Twitter or Google."
Every issue of what is characterized as "the first wayfinding magazine for the internet" has five contributors, each of them introducing five links on any topic they choose, resulting in that web of serendipitous connections I mentioned earlier. Campbell says it's optimized for the iPad but looks good on any desktop browser.
"The current crop of web magazines seem to just be trading paper for pixels," he said. "More often than not, it's just a print publication squeezed onto the iPad screen, with a couple of videos thrown in."
This "DVD extras" model isn't very innovative, he says and he clearly feels that there is a better way.
"One of my favourite pages in any magazine is the contributors' page. So I enlisted the help of of friends and acquaintances and tried to create something where the contributors page was the magazine, where you learn something about the personality of the people whose work you're reading. It's as much about the mix of people as it is about the mix of stories. An issue of Aggregation works if the mix leaves you feeling like you were at a great dinner party."
Campbell's views of what most online magazines are doing now are synchronous with recent criticisms that magazine publishers are too focussed on building apps that are much like their magazines, ignoring how people use mobile devices and the web generally. An article in Techdirt was entitled Why iPad magazines suck: They're defined by the past, not the future. It quoted Khoi Vin, until recently the design director of
"The fact of the matter is that the mode of reading that a magazine represents is a mode that people are decreasingly interested in, that is making less and less sense as we forge further into this century, and that makes almost no sense on a tablet. As usual, these publishers require users to dive into environments that only negligibly acknowledge the world outside of their brand, if at all -- a problem that's abetted and exacerbated by the full-screen, single-window posture of all iPad software. In a media world that looks increasingly like the busy downtown heart of a city -- with innumerable activities, events and alternative sources of distraction around you -- these apps demand that you confine yourself to a remote, suburban cul-de-sac."
Comments on this will, as always, be welcome. 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

New award to encourage students to
do science writing

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is launching the Emerging Science Journalism Award for students who want to write about science. It provides two students $2,500 in April 2011 to help finance research, reporting and crafting of an in-depth presentation about any of the nearly 7,000 research projects that CFI has funded across Canada.
"An independent judging panel will select the recipients based on a story proposal or “pitch” and an accompanying budget for travel costs and other reporting expenses," says the CFI in a release. "Stories may be told in print, broadcast, online or mixed media. The students retain up to $1,500 of the award as a stipend."
Since its inception in 1997, the Foundation has committed $5.3 billion to finance the infrastructure “tools” required for cutting-edge research at Canadian universities, hospitals and colleges. This has attracted enough additional funding to total more than $11 billion of new facilities and research equipment.
To apply for the award students must have prepared at least one piece of science communication of a journalistic nature aimed at the general public.
Deadline for applying for the award is February 1, 2011. Details are available at


Quarto's four magazines team up with biggest consumer show ever

This weekend the four magazines of Quarto Communications are combining to present what must surely be the largest magazine consumer show in the country. The Great Outdoors and DIY weekend is November 26 to 28 at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd. at Derry Rd. Toronto. While in the past the company's Cottage Life and Canadian Home Workshop have had their own shows, now there are concurrent shows for all four Quarto titles:
  • The Fall Cottage Life show (it also has a spring show)
  • Canadian Home Workshop show
  • Explore Adventure & Travel show
  • Outdoor Canada show
Each show is self-contained, but visitors pay one price ($15 for adults, $13 online) and get to go to them all.
While such shows are an excellent way for editors to meet their own readers face-to-face, it's going to be interesting to see the crossover between shows with the editors of each magazine meeting readers who may or may not be potential readers.


Remote and neglected Cree community spotlighted by Canadian Geographic team

Writer Linda Goyette, photographer Liam Sharp and Toronto-based filmmaker Peter Dreimanis have been combined to create a powerful cross-platform magazine package in the December issue of Canadian Geographic magazine. It's about something that would otherwise be out of sight and out of mind -- the fight for a decent elementary school in Attawapiskat, Ont., a remote Cree settlement on the western shore of James Bay. 
Goyette's writing and Sharp's photos are complemented by a documentary short by Dreimanis — with music by Dreimanis and Eamon McGrath. A slide show of Sharp’s pictures is accompanied by audio he recorded on site. 
Managing editor Dan Rubinstein tells us
The magazine article certainly stands on its own as a very compelling piece of journalism, shining a light on how the most vulnerable members of the Attawapiskat First Nation — young children — are caught in the the morass of federal bureaucracy. The film takes the story over the top.

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2 for Couples magazine launches iPad gift guide

That perennial magazine editorial trope and money-maker is the gift guide. And 2 For Life Media Inc, publishers of 2 for Couples magazine has now released a paid iPad app, available on iTunes. It costs $1.99 and is updated regularly. 101 Amazing Gifts features fashions, gadgetry and home-related items. It has products from major retailers such as Toys 'R Us and H&M and also from independent online retailers such as Etsy and Poppytalk. Users can just tap on an item and be taken to an in-app browser to find out more or buy a gift.


Friday, November 19, 2010

British online literary magazine Five Dials launches a push-button edition in Quebec

Julie Doucet illustration from the issue
The British online literary magazine Five Dials is launching an edition in Quebec tomorrow. A posting on The Walrus's blog about the event includes a Q & A with the editor, Craig Taylor, a Canadian. An archive of back issues of the magazine are freely available online.
“On the 20th of November we’ll be launching a special Quebec-themed edition of the magazine in Montreal," [Taylor told blogger Jeet Heer.] "We’ll have a laptop at the party and some lucky Quebecker will press the button and send the issue — which features Gil Courtemanche, Leonard Cohen, Julie Doucet, Maddie Thien, Rawi Hage, Oscar Wilde, Alain de Botton, Raymond Chandler, and a lot of translated Quebecois writing.”
The magazine is published by book publishers Hamish Hamilton and seems to come out whenever Taylor can manage it. It is sent as a free pdf to about 15,000 people who have signed up to its mailing list. 

If you're in Montreal, the launch is at la Maison des Ecrivains, 3492 Avenue Laval starting at 7 p.m. Maybe you can be the one to push the button.


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Rogers consumer publishing names Steve Maich as group publisher of business magazines

Steve Maich, heretofore editor in chief of Canadian Business at Rogers Publishing has been appointed immediately to a newly created role as group publisher of all consumer business magazines, including Canadian Business, MoneySense and Profit
 He will continue as editor in chief of Canadian Business but, according to a memo from Ken Whyte, executive vice-president, consumer publishing, will also direct efforts to develop new digital products across several new delivery platforms, including smartphones and tablet computers. Maich will continue to  report directly to Whyte.
Steve came to Rogers 6 years ago as national business columnist and over the next 5 years served as senior editor, deputy managing editor, and finally, as executive editor of Maclean’s. In July 2009, he moved to Canadian Business as editor, part of a new management team that enacted a very successful redesign and relaunch of the country’s oldest and best-selling business publication.
Also announced and also effective immediately, the deputy publisher of Maclean's, Julie Osborne, is adding the role of senior director, business planning, consumer publishing, responsible for specific (unnamed) project across all brands.
Julie came to Maclean’s in 2006 as Associate Publisher. In 2009 she added Canadian Business, Profit and MoneySense to her responsibilities. Under her leadership, we have seen the brands grow and I look forward to seeing her in action on a larger portfolio [said Whyte].
The administrative supports across consumer publishing is being beefed up with the appointment of Emily Nastasi as administrative associate, consumer publishing. Reporting to Chris Johnston (Whyte's assistant), Nastasi will work in administrative operations across consumer publishing.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don Baron made Country Guide
"a great farm magazine"

The funeral will be held Saturday for the noted farm writer and former editor of one of Canada's most prominent farm publications, Country Guide magazine, who has died at the age of 82. 
 Don Baron was a longtime author, editor and farm journalist and an outspoken critic of regulation in the grain industry of western Canada. He joined in 1952 as assistant editor, became editor in chief 10 years later and left the magazine in 1975 after a career spent documenting "the inevitable trend toward a market-based ag economy and away from government influence" said retired Guide editor Dave Wreford, as reported in a post on the Country Guide website.
Baron "made the Guide a great farm magazine and helped us all in our careers," Harold Dodds, former editor of the Guide's sister book Canadian Cattlemen, said in a separate email.
[He] was raised in Ottawa and graduated from the University of Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College in 1949, entering farm journalism first at Toronto-based Farmer's Magazine and then moving to Winnipeg in 1952 to become assistant editor of the Guide.
After leaving Country Guide, he took a job as the head of agriculture and resources TV with CBC Television in Toronto. According to a story at the Leader-Post in Regina, he lost no time in [airing]
a documentary based on the best-selling book Merchants of Grain, which gave Canadians an inside look at the little-known families, companies and government agencies that dominated the international grain trade. Another documentary, What Breadbasket?, attracted much controversy for aggressively arguing the "orderly marketing" of Prairie grain through the monopoly Canadian Wheat Board was bad for the Prairies' development and farmers, in particular.
He later moved back west to Regina to become executive director of the Palliser Wheat Growers Association, which later became the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. From 1983 to 1990 he was a speechwriter for then-premier Grant Devine and chief of staff to Joan Duncan, an MLA. 
Baron wrote four books, including Canada's Great Grain Robbery (1997), a study of grain politics on the Prairies, and Jailhouse Justice (2001), an account of Prairie farmers jailed following a series of border-hopping protests against the Canadian Wheat Board's export monopoly on Prairie wheat and barley.


Canada Periodical Fund aid to publishers grant applications due November 24

The Department of Canadian Heritage is reminding magazines that they have only until November 24 (that's next Wednesday) to apply for the Aid to Publishers component of the Canada Periodical Fund. The applicants' guide is available at the DCH website.

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Quote, unquote: memo to Maclean's promotion department; get on this

"I haven't seen a newspaper or magazine in a month. I miss my subscription to Macleans; it is a great Canadian magazine and kept me up to date on my own country."
-- former Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery, blogging from U.S. prison. [see previous posts]


The sucker rate and the New York Times

While magazine circulation directors worry all the time about price sensitivity of their subscribers (and track their data religiously to try and predict their likely response to, say, moving from $29 a year to $32)at least they think of them as sensible consumers.
There's been a flurry of comment in the U.S. about the inadvertent revelation by a New York Times executive that the paper raised its rates and no one apparently noticed. According to a story on Slate,
The assistant managing editor for new products and strategic initiatives at the New York Times made a minor strategic error last week. On Nov. 10, Gerald Marzorati blurted out at a Times panel discussion on digital media that the paper had "north of 800,000 subscribers paying north of $700 a year for home delivery" who "don't seem to know that." During the recession the paper raised the home-delivery rate 5 percent, Marzorati said, but only 0.01 percent canceled. "I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they're literally not understanding what they're paying," Marzorati said. "That's the beauty of the credit card." (He meant not the credit card itself but rather its use by the Times for automatic subscription renewals.)
The truth is that, with a little work (not unlike hunting down the best rate offered for hotel rooms or airline fares)those credulous souls could have the paper for half that. As Slate senior writer Timothy Noah says
"I feel a little bad sharing this information at a time when newspapers—even the mighty New York Times—are struggling to stay solvent. I am a lifelong Times reader and onetime Times employee. I love the product, as we longtime subscribers tend to.

But it doesn't sit easy with me that the Times' most loyal readers—the people who love the paper so much that they figure they'll pay whatever they have to—end up paying twice what they have to simply because it doesn't occur to them that the good Gray Lady is playing them for suckers."


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kids' title The Magazine celebrates 10 years

The Magazine, a Toronto-based title for young people 8 to 14 is celebrating its 10th anniversary that has seen it grow from 2,000 paid subscribers to over 20,000. According to a company release, the magazine's content is mostly reader-written or by co-op students working in a placement at the magazine.
"It's a win-win for everyone: readers appreciate relevant content written by their peers, and our co-op students get a taste of the exciting world of journalism," says Ed Conroy, Publisher,The Magazine.
The reason that the magazine's print subs have grown, says editor Karen Wong:
"You can't cut out stuff from the Internet or iPads and put it on your wall or locker. Our style is very visual and not so much based on breaking news, so we complement the Internet nicely.""
The magazine apparently has a television show in development and it will be putting out a special Santa Claus parade cover and games insert in its November edition, 50,000 copies of which will be handed out in goody bags during the November 21 parade in Toronto. The magazine's regular cover price is $4.75.


Prudery or prudence? Apple's app store rejects Esquire's sexy cover

One of the (alarming?) drawbacks of magazines selling their electronic versions through Apple's app store is that Apple calls the shots and editors and publishers are left to play the game "Guess what we're thinking?" And, yes, it almost always seems to be about sex.
That seems to be the case with the November issue of Esquire, which features a cover image of Minka Kelly, described as the "sexiest woman alive". Yet, according to a story on Mashable, four weeks after the magazine was on the newsstand, the iPad version has yet to appear on the Apple store site.
The problem? The issue is simply too risque for the App Store, one source familiar with the matter told Mashable.. The publication has submitted a revised version it expects to be approved in the next few days, around the time the December issue is slated to hit the App Store.
An executive at Hearst said that Apple has not, in fact, communicated at all to Esquire since the issue was submitted to the App Store, despite multiple entreaties — nor that the publication has submitted a revised version.
In a New York Times interview with Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, Phillip W. Schiller, he said that Apple has purged "an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content" that drew customer (mostly female) complaints, although mostly not from well-established, bigger titles such as Playboy or Sports Illustrated.

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Quote, unquote: the price of internet infamy

The bad news is that this is probably the final straw for Cooks Source. We have never been a great money-maker even with all the good we do for businesses. Having a black mark won't help...and now, our black mark will become our shroud.
-- part of a note on the website of Cooks Source magazine (quoted by, essentially announcing that the firestorm of criticism about its appropriation of a blogger's article has done the magazine in. (We won't go into detail about this; if you don't know the story by now, you're probably not that interested.)


Finalists -- 400 of them -- named for Folio: magazine's Eddie and Ozzie Awards

Each year, Folio: magazine holds a double-barreled U.S. competition for excellence in editorial (the Eddies) and design (the Ozzies). The finalists for 2010 have been announced (about 400 out of 2,000 entries). The nominations are for all sorts of magazines including consumer, b2b and association pubs in 101 editorial and 49 design categories. Winners will be announced at an awards luncheon in New York City on January 13, 2011.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Horror won't wait: Rue Morgue magazine launches digital version(s)

Rue Morgue, the singular Canadian publication that deals in the culture and entertainment of horror, says that it is the first such magazine to create a digital version through the Yudo digital newsstand. It has also launched an app for iPhone, iTouch and the iPad. It means that people who can't wait for their horror in print can get it a week prior to newsstands for $6.99 US/Can per issue or $49.99 for an 11-issue subscription.

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Great books can -- and often do -- grow from great magazine articles

Allan Casey (Canadian Press)
Many a great Canadian book gets its start, or its impetus, from being first published in a magazine.
Allan Casey of Saskatoon, took the non-fiction prize in the Governor General's Literary Awards for his first full-length book Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada (Greystone Books).
Two of the chapters originated as articles published by Canadian Geographic magazine in 2008 and 2006. (Casey has three times been a National Magazine Award finalist for work in Canadian Geographic and once in Western Living magazine.)
Casey continues his frequent contributions to the magazine, with a feature in the October issue on the threat to the South Saskatchewan river from climate change and water demand.

Interviewed by the CBC, Casey said that on his tour of lakes large and small, remote or otherwise he found that access to nature was rapidly becoming the preserve of the wealthy, with access tightly controlled.
"I take a strong position that what we're doing is excessive. Excessive materiality is out of place if our purpose is to enjoy the wilderness. Make no mistake, we need to do this. Human beings have a deep need to [be in nature]," he said.

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Taking off and getting airborne; three indy launches and how they happened

Three editors of startup indy magazines, one of them exclusively online, will tell how they got their books off the ground at the next Toronto mixer organized by the Canadian Society of Magazines Editors (CSME).
  • Beckie Fox, editor of Garden Making
  • Doug Wallace, editor of The Kit and
  • Tammy Thorne, editor of dandyhorse
The event is on Tuesday, November 23 at Bar Italia, 582 College Street, starting at 6 p.m. $15 for CSME members; $30 for non-members (which includes a drink and hors d'oeuvres). RSVP by Monday 22 to csmeadmin[at]canadianeditors[dot]com.


Reader's Digest Canada amalgamates print and online advertising sales teams

A major restucturing and amalgamation of print and online advertising sales teams is in the works at Reader's Digest Canada.

According to a release from the company, Nancy Bradshaw, previously associate publisher for Reader’s Digest and Sélection, is being promoted to the position of group director, sales and marketing solutions.
"In her new role, Nancy will be responsible for media sales of all brands in all platforms, for the marketing solutions group and for research and database," the release said.
Michelle Kellner, previously associate publisher, Best Health and Our Canada, has been promoted to the position of director, integrated marketing solutions, "responsible for managing the marketing services and ideation teams in developing creative and winning solutions for clients".

The restructuring and promotions are apparently a reflection of RD's concentration on multi-brand, multi-platform sales.

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Magazines "must buy" campaign launched by Magazines Canada

Magazines Canada is launching a three-pronged print advertising campaign aimed at advertisers, agencies and consumers, highlighting the engagement and effectiveness of magazines. Member magazines are being asked to carry the full-page ads.
“As today’s consumers and business leaders become harder to reach in meaningful ways, magazines more than ever have powerful stories to tell,” said Gary Garland, Executive Director of Advertising Services at Magazines Canada. “They engage, they connect communities and they sell. Member support of these new ad campaigns will remind the advertising community and industry influencers that magazines are not only open for business but a must-buy.”
The first of these campaigns, a “torn insert,” running in Marketing and Marketing QC, November 22 issue (street date November 15) is a die-cut insert that looks like a ripped page in a magazine, a reference to research showing a high percentage of consumers tear ads out of magazines for future reference.
The second consumer-based campaign features a series of whimsical ads that begin with “Dear Magazine Reader.” The ad then apologizes for magazine ads being so successful at prompting purchase. Each ad ends with, “We’re sorry we’re so engaging.” (Member magazines will also be able to create their own customizable version of the ad based on their own experiences.)
The third campaign (example shown), is geared specifically to business media titles, and promotes the power of b2b magazines in keeping business decision makers in the know—wherever they are.
In addition to the print ads, online ads will also be available for the consumer and business media campaigns and an overrun of inserts will be made available to members for use as bookmarks in magazine copies sent to advertisers as comps or proof of performance.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Daughter of Sassy may emerge from unlikely alliance of blogger and editor Jane Pratt

Tavi Gevinson
For the many fans that I know of who read this blog, there is word that Jane Pratt, the former editor of the late very popular magazine Sassy and of the eponymous Jane (which ceased in 2007, two years after she left it) is teaming up with young blogger Tavi Gevinson to launch a new (as yet unnamed) magazine. According to a post on The New York Observer
Sassy, which ran from 1988 until 1996, brought Pratt together with her teenage protege. Gevinson was born the year before Sassy ceased publication, but she became familiar with the magazine through back issues and blogged about the need for a similar title for her generation.
Pratt found out about Gevinson's admiration for Sassy and sent the young blogger an email. The pair eventually met in person and hashed out the idea for "a magazine for an audience of wallflowerly teenage girls."
According to Gevinson, the new project won't be an attempt to recreate either of Pratt's other glossies. 
"Of course, it won't be Sassy (or the rebirth of Sassy, or Sassy 2.0) and nor do we want it to be … The world has changed a bit in the past 15 or so years and that whole Internet thing happened, and this world calls for something different," Gevinson wrote.


Deb Trepanier named publisher of Where Toronto

[This post has been updated] Deborah Trepanier has been named the publisher of Where Toronto, the flagship title in the chain of visitor magazines across Canada owned by or franchised by St. Joseph Media. Trepanier was formerly group publisher at Transcontinental Media's home and garden group (Style at Home, Canadian Gardening, Canadian Home & Country and companion websites) and before that was general manager and associate publisher at Maclean' and an advertising director for Toronto, City & Country Home, Canadian Geographic, Maclean's and L'actualité.

[Update: Trepanier is filling a job that was vacated by the resignation of former publisher Andy Cook,who left St. Joseph Media to become group publisher at George Media, the Mississauga company that publishes a family of digital-only business magazines: The Canadian Business Journal, The International Resource Journal, The African Business Journal, The American Business Journal, and The Australian Business Journal.]


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Magazine guy by day, lounge singer by night; Terry Sellwood makes his debut

Terry Sellwood
Magazine people can be multi-talented (in fact they undoubtedly need to be) and nowhere is that more evident than the decision by Quarto Communications general manager Terry Sellwood to sign on for a regular Thursday night gig as a guitarist and singer at a north Toronto restaurant called BaKa
Terry manages a four-title magazine and media shop at Quarto (Cottage Life, Explore, Canadian Home Workshop, Outdoor Canada magazines) and associated consumer shows.
Bill Kaluski
BaKa itself is an expression of life after magazines and the fulfilment business for its owner Bill Kaluski, who many will remember as the boss of Indas, later rebranded CDS Global. Bill's retirement project after he left CDS Global in 2008 is now being the genial host of this intimate two-level restaurant. The second floor is a lounge bar and that's where Sellwood is going to hold forth, starting Thursday, November 18.
"Some of you will have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed Terry's skill with guitar and keyboard.  For those of you who have not you are in for a treat," says Kaluski. 
The restaurant is at 1959 Avenue Road. Contact information: or by phone at 416-483-9818. Reservations are recommended if you're going to combine dinner with seeing and hearing Terry at his night job.


Founding editor of Tamarack Review,
Ivon Owen, dies

A funeral service is being held today (Saturday) for one of the founding editors of one of Canada's most influential literary magazines, the Tamarack Review. Ivon Maclean Owen died November 10 in Toronto at the age of 87. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Tamarack was founded during lean times for literary journals but went on to publish the early work of many distinguished Canadian writers, including Alice Munro, Timothy Findley and Mordecai Richler.
According to an obituary in the Globe and Mail
From the late 1940s until the mid 1970s he worked at Oxford University Press, then one of the primary publishers of poetry, educational and non-fiction books in this country. During Owen's tenure as chief editor and manager, OUP published, among many other titles, Margaret Atwood's early volume of poetry, The Animals in That Country, as well as Modern Canadian Verse, ed. by A.J.M. Smith.
With Robert Weaver, an acquaintance from university days, and others, including Kildare Dobbs and William Toye, he founded The Tamarack Review in 1956. Until its demise in 1982, Tamarack was the pre-eminent literary periodical in Canada. It published early stories by Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler and Timothy Findley.
After retiring from OUP, Owen worked as a book reviewer and a freelance editor for magazines, newspapers and publishers including Saturday Night, The Financial Times and Hurtig. Predeceased by his former wife, Patricia Heighington and his son Trevor Owen, he is survived by his son, journalist Gerald Owen, his brother Trevor Owen and his extended family.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Joe's Tony Gagliano named printer of the year

St. Joseph Communications president Tony Gagliano has been named printer of the year by the magazine Graphic Monthly Canada, an award that will be presented Saturday, November 20 during the PrintWorld show at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. PrintWorld is a trade show owned and managed by North Island Publishing, which publishes Graphic Monthly, Masthead and Design Edge Canada.
Gagliano heads up what is one of the largest print and media companies in Canada and certainly one of the largest privately held ones. St. Joseph Communications publishes a range of consumer titles including  Toronto Life, Fashion, Canadian Family and Wedding Bells. 


Massey College to hold an informal gathering for journalists

Massey College at the University of Toronto, which has long associations with journalists as fellows and Quadrangle Society members, is holding a Press Club Night, the first of what it hopes will be a series of relaxed and informal evenings devoted to celebrating Toronto's community of journalists.
The evening all-comers event (no RSVP required) is being held in the Upper Library at Massey, 4 Devonshire Place in the University of Toronto, starting at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 17.
"The idea for the Press Club is simple and, admittedly, old-fashioned -- to provide a relaxed space for journalists and students to gather and chat. [says the announcement]"
Massey is presided over by its master, John Fraser, himself a journalist who was previously an editor of Saturday Night magazine. And the evening will feature Fraser in conversation with Globe and Mail writer Michael Valpy, a discussion keying off the 1989 assertion by writer Janet Malcom in her book The Journalist and the Murderer:
"Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Like the credulous widow who wakes up one day to find the charming young man and all her savings gone, so the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction learns -- when the article or book appears -- his hard lesson. Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and "the public's right to know"; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living."
 The talk and Q & A, will be followed by coffee, tea, cheese and a cash bar in the common room. 


Quote, unquote: Killing your print business
starves your brand

Its press release read like a suicide note.
Even when pages were not included in a buy, the U.S. News print platform gave the brand a unique and credible point of differentiation when up against Web-only properties. Now they are going head to head with sites that do online better than they do. It would be like a diner, located next door to a Five Guys, changing its menu to burgers only.
-- Ari Rosenberg, writing in Online Publishing Insider about the decision by U.S. News and World Report to suspend print publishing and go online only; the likely result, he says is devaluing of the brand.


Next Issue Media to Apple: "We're going with Android for now" (hint, hint)

The tight grip that Apple has on data about magazine customers served through its app store has been a constant irritant to publishers who want to sell digital subscriptions and control subscriber data. Apple's rules mean publishers can't even sell direct subscriptions to their readers if they sign onto the App Store. 
A shot has just been aimed across Apple's bow with the announcement that Next Issue Media -- a joint venture digital newsstand backed by big U.S. magazine players like Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc. -- will launch its online store on Google's Android Marketplace, early next year. According to a story on MediaMemo, Next Media says this is because Android is an important tabloid platform and gives them more control.
It’s not a technical issue, [NIM CEO Morgan] Guenther says, because “we’re ready to support Apple as well,” and he says he’s confident that will happen. But “Android is a very important tablet platform, and a very important platform for smartphones.” 
Guenther wouldn’t disclose other details about his launch, but you don’t have to squint to read between the lines here. The takeaway is that Google has been flexible on the business issues that are important to the publishers that own his company. And that Apple’s not there yet.
The key split, still: Publishers want the ability to sell their tablet magazines directly to consumers, or at least to be able to access the data that iTunes collects when it sells them.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Toronto Star story is not same as our story, Maclean's protests

For some reason, Maclean's magazine last night took the highly unusual step of issuing a press release headed "Maclean's issues clarification" and dissociating one of the articles in its universities ranking issue from a Toronto Star story about the article. Here is the press release, in full; make of it what you will:
TORONTO, Nov. 10 /CNW/ - The Toronto Star today published a story, in print and online, about an article that appears in Maclean's 20th anniversary university rankings issue (arriving on newsstands starting tomorrow). Online, the story appeared under the headline "Asian students being forced into university: Maclean's."

Without judgment of the validity of the Toronto Star's report, Maclean's would like to clarify that the subject of its own feature is not the same as the Star's. The Maclean's article discusses issues of racial balance at Ivy League schools and asks whether the same issues are relevant on Canadian campuses today. The subject of the Star's story is whether or not Asian parents are "pushing" their students into university.


Replica mags not the only way to go, publishers find; device-appropriate applications the thing

Publishers are developing app strategies that better suit both the nature of their audiences and the devices on which the apps are being delivered. As a result many are determining that the "flip book" or "replica" magazines may not be the way of the future. According to a story published by eMedia Vitals, while everyone is very low on the curve at the moment, they are starting to sort out what works best, where and how.
One thing they quickly figured out: Smartphones offer a much different user experience than larger-screen tablet devices. Smartphones are very much utility-driven, with users often looking for specific information to help them complete an activity. Early research on tablets points to a "lean-back reading experience" that equates more with traditional magazine reading than with the task-driven Web.
“We look at each product as native to each device we’re going to use,” said Jerry Steinbrink, vice president of publishing for Consumer’s Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, which recently released its new Mobile Shopper iPhone app and is developing additional apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android environments. “We work very hard not to deliver a magazine-like experience in something that isn’t a magazine.”
By using consumer research, publishers (mostly in the U.S.) are sounding out what readers expect of a new app. And the article gives examples of three different categories of "non-magazine" magazine apps, ranging in price from 99 cents to $9.99:
  • Utility -- standalone consumer experiences related to shopping, cooking, travelling and so on. Examples include Mobile Shopper (Consumer Reports), Gourmet Live (Conde Nast), Cosmo’s Sex Position of the Day (Hearst), Shape Flat Abs (Rodale), Golf Digest Tips (Conde Nast), Time Out New York.
  • Special issues -- usually based on extensive publisher archives of photos or articles. Examples include Life’s Wonders of the World Photography Book, Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, GQ’s Men of the Year, Golf Digest’s Hot List, Popular Science’s Tech Buyers’ Guide
  • Feeds -- apps that pull RSS feeds from websites and feature breaking news, video etc. They are generally free and examples include  Atlantic Wire, Sporting News, EW’s Must List,

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