Monday, January 31, 2011

iPad magazine success? Make it as little like a magazine as possible

Apparently the way for magazines to be successful in a world ruled by the iPad is to be as little like a magazine as possible, at least according to Eric Schonfeld at TechCrunch.
If I were creating an iPad mag it wouldn’t look like a magazine at all. It would look more like a media app, and there wouldn’t be any subscription or even distinct issues. New content would appear every time you opened it up, just like when you visit TechCrunch or launch Flipboard or the Pulse News Reader. In order to make it addictive, it would have to be realtime. But it would also be more selective than simply reading everything that anyone links to in your Twitter or Facebook streams.
Interestingly, commenters to his item disagreed profoundly. One said
I want my digital magazines to be a surprise. They should be dynamic and be able to be dynamic by virtue of there being much more content hidden within the magazine that isn't immediately apparent. All these idea of what dynamically can happen should of course be tailored to the kind of magazine I'm reading. A computer hardware magazine can be a lot flashier than the NYT. The NYT needs more grace and less flash but it still has to delight and the only way I can see that happening is with a more dynamic approach to page layout and article structure.

Oh, and absolutely no twitter, facebook or any other bs icons cluttering up articles. This should be a pure experience.
I suppose that this may be proof of the adage that free advice is worth what you pay for it. 


Postal workers union files for conciliation in negotiations with Canada Post

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has filed for conciliation in its negotiations with the government of Canada. According to a statement from Canada Post,
A conciliator, once appointed under the provisions of the Canada Labour Code, meets with both side and attempts to reconcile issues at the bargaining table. The conciliation process can take a maximum of 60 days, after which either party is in a legal position for strike or lockout, probably no later than the end of April.
Canada Post said
"This is an expected part of the negotiations process and does not mean that CUPW is in a legal strike position. Conciliation must be completed before Canada Post or CUPW acquire the right to lockout employees or strike."
CUPW said that filing was an effort to get CPC moving off its demands for rollbacks for current employees and inferior wages, benefits and pensions for new employees.


Hearst buys Lagardère international magazine portfolio for €651 million

February 2011
Hearst Corporation has made the deal. It has, after several months of heavy speculation, announced its purchase of  the international press and magazine business of the French company Lagardère SCA for €651 million (about $895 million). 
The binding cash deal includes 102 Lagardère titles in 15 countries plus some 50 websites and various tablet and mobile apps. (Lagardère is selling its international holdings to concentrate on the domestic French market, where its flagships  are Elle and Paris Match.)
With the deal comes the publishing rights to 15 editions of ELLE (including making it a new partner with Transcontinental Media in Canada in Elle Quebec and Elle Canada), 10 editions of Elle Decor plus ownership of  such perennial big newsstand sellers in Canada and the U.S.  such as Woman’s Day, Car and Driver, Road & Track and Cycle World.  It also includes Red in the U.K. and Holland and significant monthly and weekly titles in many major markets, the company said.
The international publishing portfolio earned  2010 revenues of  €774 million (a little over $1 billion) and earnings of €49.6 million ($68 million).

Hearst already owned more than 200 magazines, including
Esquire, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful,  Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar and O, The Oprah Magazine; 15 daily and 38 weekly newspapers, the largest being the  Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; 29 television stations and ownership in leading cable networks Lifetime, A&E, History and ESPN.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quote, unquote: Getting more eyeballs, but
losing your audience

The mainstream food press, funded by advertising, benefits from constantly broadening its market. You get more eyeballs by writing stuff that appeals to a wider audience. If putting in celebrities and dumbing down the features alienates a couple of crusty old foodies it gains hundreds with only a marginal interest. That’s why the enthusiasts are turning first to the internet and then to independent mags as they appear, to service their tiny specialist community.
Truth is, I’m not sure there will be a profitable business model in specialist magazine publishing ever again – if indeed there ever was – but with a natural concentration on profitability, mainstream magazines have lost, forever, their ability to appeal to that audience.
-- Tim Hayward of Fire & Knives, a British quarterly food  magazine, from a Q & A in the Stack magazines blog


Friday, January 28, 2011

U.S. fashion mags have mixed Q1 ad page results; some big winners and losers

Up 46.5%
First quarter ad sales for leading U.S fashion magazines -- just about to splash out their bellwether March issues -- has not been an unalloyed joy, according to a report in Women's Wear Daily, based on data from Media Industry Newsletter.  People StyleWatch was up a breathtaking 46.5%,Elle up 14.3%, Women's Health 11.7%, InStyle 10.9%  and Vogue up 10.6%. Decliners were Lucky (-14.3%), Self down 12.6%, Cosmopolitan down 12.5%, Harper's Bazaar down 11.6%.

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The Walrus's Shelley Ambrose to speak at TEDx conference in Kitchener

Shelley Ambrose — the executive director of The Walrus Foundation and co-publisher of The Walrus magazine has been announced as one of the 10 speakers at TEDxWaterloo on March 3 in the Centre in the Square, Kitchener from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
TEDx Waterloo is an independent offshoot (hence the x) of the well-known TED conferences (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which have been described as a "brain spa", with short speaker presentations. Here's TEDx's bio for her: 
Shelley worked as a reporter for the Globe and Mail and the Windsor Star before serving for more than a decade as a producer for CBC Radio’s Morningside and later for The Pamela Wallin Show. After three years in public affairs at the Canadian Consulate in New York, organizing media and events and building the Canadian brand, she returned to Canada in 2006. She has produced hundreds of events, including forums, lectures, festivals, book tours, Arctic tours, royal visits, and Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday celebrations in Toronto and New York.


Sending readers away from the magazine page; is it the right strategy?

Media blogger BoSacks raises an interesting question concerning the geo-tagging/augmented reality in the latest Esquire magazine which lets readers interract with its cover model Brooklyn Decker at Barnes and Noble stores by using a downloadable program on their GPS-enabled smartphones. And to search for the reworked Esquire logo at locations across the U.S. His question is whether a traditional print magazine should be sending its readers away with such initiatives.
At the end of the day a printed magazine should stand on its feet and proudly be what it is – a damn good read.  All the other stuff is bluster, smoke and mirrors.  If your magazine is a digital magazine, have at it and be all that you and the digital world can be.  If it is instead a traditional magazine, than you to should be all that you can be.  To me that would be accomplished by having the most addictive content possible.  Sending your readers away from the printed page seems to me to be counterproductive to the long term survival of the printed product.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A compressed and amusing view of how
a magazine is made

Here, (thanks to the magCulture blog), is a happily frenetic video portrayal of how an issue of the British magazine Little White Lies is made.
"We wanted to make a short film that captured some of the love, care and hand-crafted passion that goes into the making of an issue of LWLies. We produce six issues each year, and for the two month period that we're working on a particular issue, we totally immerse ourselves in the movie and in the production process. While we obviously embrace digital in all forms, first and foremost we're makers of honest, tangible and fine-smelling objects, and we hope that comes across in some way here.

We filmed this ourselves over the course of November/December 2010, and the film was edited for us by our friends at production company Archer's Mark.

Darren Aronofsky's musical collaborator Clint Mansell kindly offered us use of the track 'A Swan is Born' from his Black Swan soundtrack, and so we've called our short film 'A Magazine is Born'."
Little White Lies is published 6 times a year in London.

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Quote, unquote: the difference between readers' knowledge and intelligence

The classic error in journalism is to overestimate what the reader knows and underestimate the reader's intelligence.
-- Tim Radford, a Guardian columnist, from his "25 commandments for journalists". (H/T David Olive, Everybody's Business, Toronto Star)


South African magazine promises to be
a divorce-buster

Magazines may be able to do many things, but saving marriages? A woman called Felicia Buthelezi is launching a magazine in South Africa called I Do on Valentine's Day (February 14). She says she saw a gap in the market after spending three years researching marriage and its challenges. In a Q & A with the Sowetan, she said:
It looks as if there is part of "I do" that we don't understand. When you say the words you commit yourself to stay with a person forever . Marriage is sacred. It needs commitment from both partners.We need to adopt the old spirit of fighting for our families to function properly. If one is weak the other has to keep the home going....Most marriages today are driven by convenience, not by commitment. There is no longer the long-term commitment our parents had. Marriage is hard work and you have to make it work every day. You need a marriage plan like in business.It is important for couples to celebrate each and every milestone in their marriage - whether they have been married for one year or 10 years.


When isn't it plagiarism? When it's "promotion" for Men's Health, apparently

Dave Zinczenko, the editor of Men's Health, was accused of plagiarizing his own writers by the blog Gawker for cutting and pasting old Men's Health content, removing the bylines and putting the material in his Yahoo column "Eat This, Not That".  Zincezenko told Gawker 
We use this material to grow traffic and awareness for the Men's Health and Women's Health brands and a variety of Rodale products. Nowadays promoting the company's products on a blog is no different than going on TV and promoting the latest issue.
Gawker replied, acidly
Yes, it's normal for websites to republish articles from other sites—but it's certainly not normal for an editor to take articles written by other people and pass them off as if he wrote them himself.
What is more interesting were the following observations from an online article by the New York Observer media columnist Kat Stoeffel, headlined You can't plagiarize a brand
Multi-platform media brands are slowly chipping away at the monument of authorship through syndication and cross-promotion. It would be really crushing for egomaniacal writer-types—if anyone of them gave a damn about that kind of  high-fructose, servicey, SEO-bait content.
The reason why so many of the pieces "plagiarized" were unbylined is that no one wants to take credit for them .... We bet whoever wrote those slideshows was happy to get paid to do them, but is also more than happy to let Dave Zinczenko be the face for them. And when the syndication is simply promotional, in hopes of moving eye balls, not dollar bills, than what is there even worth fighting for?

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Harper's magazine unionized staff try online fundraising to head off layoffs

The recently founded union at Harper's magazine (see previous post) has put out a broad fundraising appeal with the apparent intention of holding publisher Rick MacArthur's feet to the fire. The union notes that the magazine lost five editors last year and, with parlous finances cited, is being asked to lose two more now, including Ben Metcalfe, who was pivotal in the union drive.
We have shown numerous means by which Harper’s Magazine might cut costs and increase revenue without laying off its most skilled and experienced editors, and in particular we have urged the magazine's foundation to raise funds from outside sources. This possibility has been rejected by the labor lawyers representing John R. “Rick” MacArthur, our publisher. They argue that fund-raising takes time, and that there is no time to be wasted in reducing our editorial staff by two union members.
We wish to counter this argument by showing Rick MacArthur how much money can be raised in just a few days via the extraordinarily useful medium of the Internet. Please pledge what you can and pass this on, with the assurance that all funds promised here will be offered, in friendship, to the Harper’s Magazine Foundation. If the pledges we garner are refused by the foundation, your generosity will cost you absolutely nothing; if accepted, they will help to sustain America’s oldest, and finest, monthly.

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Quote, unquote: We are the world, we are the Asians...

"There was recognition among students at UBC that this was a once in a generation opportunity to come together in solidarity over one of the defining issues of our time. This was our Woodstock."
-- UBC MFA creative writing student, Tetsuro Shigematsu, commenting in a Vancouver Sun story on how annoyed students responded to the controversial "Too Asian?" article in Maclean's magazine by creating a video cover of the classic '80s charity single, 'We Are the World'." Alternative link to the video


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Todd's excellent adventure; Water Canada publisher going to Antarctica

Todd Latham, the  owner of Actual Media publisher of Water Canada magazine (and ReNew Canada), will go to the ends of the earth to promote his interests in the environment and this time, that's meant literally. 
He is taking part in an educational mission called Water Antarctica and has started a website to promote the International Antarctic Expedition 2011 (IAE 2011) mission and chronicle the trip he'll be making with fellow Canadians Tyler and Michelle Barkhouse of Focus Environmental, Gavin Scott of Proeco as well as Jennifer Keller and Dayle Pett of Solstice Canada Corp. and organizer Robert Swan, OBE and his team from the 2041 Organization.
Latham has always wanted to go to Antarctica and had always told his wife Linda he'd go in 2015 as a 50th birthday present to himself. But then he met Swann, the first person to walk to both poles, unassisted.
 'When I heard Robert speak at a conference in Banff last October [Latham writes, in a blog post], I was transfixed.  He urged the audience to get involved in the preservation of the Antarctic and so, after his speech I sat with him, got a signed copy of his book and found myself nodding and saying, 'yeah, I’d love to go!!' I didn’t think anything was going to happen until, just before Christmas, I got an email that from a supporter who wanted me on the mission this March and would provide about 20% of the costs. But that initial financial kicker made the trip real."
The expedition jumps off from Ushuaia, Argentina on 3 March.


Today's Kids in Motion magazine serves kids with special needs

Here's a magazine I'd never been aware of before, though it's attractive and seems to hit its target audience exactly. Today's Kids in Motion publishes 3 times a year to serve kids and their parents who are dealing with special needs or serious medical conditions. It is published by the BCS Communications Limited, based in Toronto. The magazine calls itself "Canada's number 1 paediatric health publication".
The magazine's media kit says it has 10,000 print circulation plus digital edition downloads. Full page, 1x  ad rate is $3,041. The 24-page Winter 2010 digital edition (shown) is available online. Caroline Tapp-McDougall is the publisher.


Last call for magazine entrants in the Atlantic Journalism Awards

There are only a few days for Atlantic Canadian journalists to submit their best 2010 magazine pieces to the 30th Atlantic Journalism Awards. All entries must be submitted by Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, and must have been published or broadcast in an Atlantic Canadian media outlet in 2010.Finalists will be announced in early April, and the gold and silver awards will be presented at a gala dinner and awards show on Saturday, May 7, 2011, at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel in Halifax, NS. Professional development workshops will also be held during the day on May 7.


The Walrus's foundation launches amateur travel photo competition with Aeroplan

The Walrus Foundation, publishers of The Walrus magazine, have partnered with the loyalty program Aeroplan to launch an amateur travel photography contest. 
According to a release from the magazine, the contest will be judged by acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky, The Walrus magazine's art director Brian Morgan and, through online voting, the Canadian public. 
The winning photographer will receive 100,000 Aeroplan points and an invitation for two to the Walrus Foundation gala in January 2012. 
"This is a great opportunity for photography fans and travelers alike to get out and snap photos of their favourite destinations, unique landscapes and off the beaten path locations or even be creative in their own city," said David Klein, Vice President, Marketing, Aeroplan.  "For the last few years, through our partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, we've been trying to raise the profile of photography with the Grange Prize. Aeroplan is thrilled to be a part of this contest and to be working with The Walrus Foundation to encourage participation in this important art form." 
"The Walrus Foundation is a keen supporter of Canadian artists, both established and emerging," said The Walrus Foundation's executive director and co-publisher Shelley Ambrose. "We're delighted to be working with Aeroplan and Edward Burtynsky to showcase Canadian photographers and their unique perspectives on our world."
The contest is on now and closes May 31. Entrants must pay $25 for each entry and entries must be unpublished either in print or on the internet. "Travel photography is defined as photographic images taken during travel outside the photographer’s place (city or town) of residence," says the rules. 
A shortlist of 10 photos will be selected and using a "readers choice" format, readers will be asked for vote for their favourite. The winning photo will be selected August 27 an will be featured in the January/February 2012 issue of The Walrus. More information at


Final settlement in class action suit preferable to drawn out trial, says Heather Robertson

Heather Robertson, the apparently indefatigable lead in the long-running lawsuit Robertson vs Thomson et al says that the settlement was preferable to going to trial and that it would mean more money, sooner, for freelance writers. 
As readers of this blog and other reports will know, the struggle (see this and  related posts below) concerns the allegation that the various publishers posted articles of freelance authors online without permission, contrary to Canadian copyright laws. It was announced earlier this month that a settlement had been reached for about $5.475 million with Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., Rogers Publishing Limited, CEDROM-SNi Inc., ProQuest Information and Learning LLC. An earlier settlement was with Canwest in June and an even earlier settlement in May 2009 with The Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters Corporation), Thomson Reuters Canada Limited, Thomson Affiliated and Information Access Company (formerly The Gale Group Inc.) and CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. 
The settlements already made and the proposed settlement to be adjudicated in April total about $24 million. Writers will receiving an as-yet unspecified portion of this after legal fees from the suit are deducted. 
In a report that was published on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv (available only to subscribers), Robertson said in part:
As with any lawsuit, there are risks of going to trial and it is possible a judge would find that the defendants did not breach copyright laws or that class members are not entitled to as much compensation as this settlement provides. The defendants have raised a number of complex defences as justification for their conduct. Overcoming these defences may be difficult and costly. This action also presents unique challenges to success. It is based on a provision of the federal Copyright Act that provides “statutory damages” to compensate for a copyright infringement. No court has applied a claim for statutory damages under the Copyright Act on this scale in similar circumstances. It is thus extremely difficult to anticipate the outcome of a trial.
She also said a settlement was preferable because a trial, even if successful, would draw the process out even longer.
A trial in this action could still be years away and, even if we won, it is a near certainty that the defendants would pursue any and all appeals.
She also reports that, in light of an earlier settlement with Canwest, any funds from the possible sale of Postmedia shares would add more(unpredictable)funds to the amount available to freelancers.
Over the next several months we will be working hard with the lawyers in this case to prepare for the settlement approval hearing in April 2011 and to design the claims process for the distribution of settlement funds to freelance authors and other persons that qualify as class members. Our objective is to create an efficient system for the distribution of settlement funds.
Writers who are members of the class action can obtain all of the details about the settlement hearing in April from the website of the law firm that is handling it, Koskie Minsky LLP.
Related posts:

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ASME unveils augmented guidelines about magazine websites

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) has unveiled new guidelines about magazine websites, augmenting its longstanding print guidelines for publishers and editors. According to a story in Adweek, the new guidelines have the same spirit as print, but deal with specific areas of concern such as product placement, paid links and interruptive advertising. The revised print guidelines were released in October.
“The overriding principle is still the same—the user has to be able to distinguish ads from edit,” said Eric Schurenberg, editor in chief of the CBS Interactive Business Network, who consulted with editors and publishers in spearheading the new guidelines. “We don’t want to stand in the way of innovation, but [want to] make it clear who’s in charge.”
 The addition of the web guidelines to the print now offers a comprehensive list of best practices which will probably be observed by most, but sniffed at by some. The guidelines are voluntary and sanctions are stern warning letters and possible exclusion from the ASME-run National Magazine Awards.
The new guidelines say paid or sponsored links should be identified as such; Web sites should not promote products in exchange for advertising; and sponsored microsites should be visually distinct from the main Web site. A section on interruptive advertising says such ads should be subject to editorial approval. ASME wants such ads to have a prominent “close” or “skip” button and last no more than 10 seconds.

ASME also gets into the burgeoning area of social media. Marketing messages shouldn’t be integrated with editorial content, while bloggers should disclose commercial ties they have with an advertiser or marketer, reflecting new FTC rules aimed at the blogosphere, the organization says.
The new guidelines include a section on tablet versions of magazines, attempting to ensure that ads alook different from editorial pages to avoid confusing the two, since tablets' ads often aren’t displayed opposite editorial the way they are in print.
The Canadian magazine industry's advertising-editorial guidelines were recently revised, with the suggestion that similar guidelines would also soon be developed for web applications.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eddies and Ozzies awarded in New York

Folio: magazine's Eddie and Ozzie Awards were presented Tuesday in New York, honouring (respectively) editorial and design excellence. Click on the links for full Eddie and Ozzie award winners.


Quot, unquote: It was never boring

"His magazine was a perfect, noisy translation of his persona into print. Sometimes it was prophetic (the magazine’s criticism of the welfare system was followed by reform); sometimes it was quixotic (Peretz was a strident defender of the Nicaraguan contras); and sometimes it was irresponsible (a seriously inaccurate article helped destroy Bill Clinton’s health care bill). But it was rarely boring."
-- Stephen Rodrick writing in a New York Times a profile of the Martin Peretz, the iconoclastic owner and former editor-in-chief of The New Republic


Let the good times roll: Magazines Canada chair

Magazines Canada has issued a statement saying that, for Canadian magazines at least, the recession is over. 
“Canada’s magazines are back,” says Magazines Canada chair Terry Sellwood. “The economic downturn was very challenging for all publishers but we are seeing some good signs for the year ahead. With continued economic stability in Canada and supportive and predictable government periodical programs, Canada’s magazine media  will do its part in creating jobs and economic growth, and providing ever-increasing choice and convenience for Canadian consumers.”
The industry association says that federal government magazine policy and investment (for example, the Canada Periodical Fund, which represents approximately 3.8% of overall industry value) remains a key factor in the industry's success. It also said that its members have reported some pleasing trends:
  • Advertising revenue has been improving over the past two years
  • Consumer demand for magazines has remained steady in the past two years, despite the state of the economy; Canada's consumer magazines command over two-thirds of subscription sales in the country
  • Canada's magazines are now fully integrated digital media companies. "Readers will continue to rely on the delivery of their print magazines to their mailbox but, today, readers can also access Canadian magazine brands and content almost anytime, anywhere.

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Harper's magazine union drive burns up the man who writes the cheques

[This has been reposted due to formatting errors]
I've just caught up with a New York magazine article about the conflict at Harper's magazine between the (now) unionized staff and the publisher, Rick MacArthur. For many years, the venerable liberal magazine has depended on MacArthur's chequebook each year to balance the accounts and he seemed glad to do so.
The magazine had for many years been a reliable bellwether of liberal causes and channeler of the attitudes of the east coast liberal elite.
But in an ironic twist, MacArthur, who was a vocal champion of collective bargaining in general, is now struggling with the particulars of the imposition of a union in his shop. His staff signed up with the United Auto Workers local 1110 in October. And MacArthur is not happy about it.
The crisis, if it can be characterized that way, began a year ago when MacArthur fell out with longtime friend and the magazine's editor-in-chief Roger Hodge.
The staff became alarmed with the appointment of Ellen Rosenbush, the longtime managing editor, as acting editor -- a move they felt put in more pliant editor in charge (Rosenbush edited MacArthur's book You Can't Be President...and his monthly column in the Providence Journal). subsequently posted on Harper's' website, that bashed the Internet. "I never found e-mail exciting," he wrote. "My skepticism stemmed from the suspicion that the World Wide Web wasn't, in essence, much more than a gigantic, unthinking Xerox machine ...)
He tried to talk the staff out of following through on their union drive, saying that editors were management, but after the fact said, in a statement to New York:
“Employees have a right to unionize and I feel neutral towards the union,” MacArthur told me in a statement. “They haven't interfered with the measures we've taken to improve the magazine, and my relationship with them is cordial.”
Now, alarm is spreading as MacArthur is trying to lay off a number of staff, including Harper’s' literary editor, Ben Metcalf, who played a key role in the union drive. Pure retaliation, says the union. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why it's hard to find a good magazine newsstand

Readers are finding outlets for single magazine copies fewer and farther between in North America, according to a story in Advertising Age. Quoting data from the Magazine Information Network, the story says that 18,000 retail outlets for magazines disappeared in North America between December 2007 and now -- a decline of 11.3%. 
Although subscriptions comprise the vast majority of most magazines' circulation, newsstand sales are crucial for the impulse purchases that can lead to subscription commitments.
And single-copy sales have been experiencing a long swoon, falling 5.6% in the first half of 2010 from the first half a year earlier, 9.1% in the second half of 2009, 12.4% in the previous six months and 11.1% and 6.3% in the halves before that, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Part of the reason is that many convenience stores no longer sell "men's sophisticates" (trans. "skin mags). As a result, these very profitable titles have had a major impact on wholesalers' profitability.
Another reason is that big box stores such as Walmart have been driving smaller outlets and local drug stores out of business, even as some specialty stores such as Home Depot and Linens 'n Things have started stocking a limited range of related titles.

In Canada, larger cities still have a lot of magazine stores like Great Canadian News and Indigo Books & Music. But specialty neighbourhood magazine stores have been dropping away (Duthie's and the Magpie Magazine Gallery in Vancouver, This Ain't the Rosedale Library and Pages in Toronto, Halifax's Frog Hollow Books.)  

Often the only place to buy a magazine in many cities and towns are the racks in the Shoppers Drug Mart chain, but a lot of the traditional corner newsstands/cigar stores have disappeared. It's not unusual in a huge shopping mall, there will be only one or two outlets for magazines and perhaps only one that carries many Canadian titles.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Veteran Canadian trucking journalist part of joint venture with U.S. truck mag company

A deal has been struck whereby Rolf Lockwood, vice president-editorial and a founding partner of Newcom Business Media will,in addition to his Canadian duties, be joining the U.S. masthead of Newport Business Media, publisher of Heavy Duty Trucking, Heavy Duty Aftermarket Journal and He will be called "editor at large".
Newcom publishes Today's Trucking, HighwaySTAR and Transport Routier magazines out of Toronto and Montreal, and owns four major trade shows. Lockwood is editorial director of Today's Trucking.
A release from Newport, which is based in Irvine, California , says that Lockwood is recognized as one of North America's leading truck industry journalists and is going to focus on vehicles and related equipment. In partnership with Newcom, he will also be associating the Lockwood Product Watch newsletter with the NBM titles.
The arrangement is the result of restructuring of Newport's management team and the departure of Steve Sturgess, who served as executive editor for the past seven years. The U.S. magazines will continue to be led by editor in chief Deborah Lockridge.
Lockwood is a veteran of 31 years in the trucking industry and in 2003 he won the Canadian Business Press Association Harvey Southam Lifetime Editorial Achievement Award. He has also won several gold and silver Kenneth R. Wilson Memorial Awards for journalism excellence.


Rogers Publishing chose U.S. agency Built by the Factory to create iPad app

Does anyone else find it interesting that Rogers Publishing turned to a U.S. firm to develop its iPad app for Maclean's magazine, launched last month? We know this because of a release issued by the interactive agency, Built by the Factory. (There was no mention of the developers in the original Maclean's press release.)
“As soon as we got our hands on the iPad last spring, we knew we were looking at something important for the future of our magazine,” said Maclean’s executive editor* Steve Maich [in a Built by Factory release]. “Our close collaboration with Built by the Factory resulted in an app that is a beautiful rendering of the magazine and also takes full advantage of everything the iPad platform has to offer.”
Other successful projects for the BBTF included Ben Stiller's STILLERSTRONG.ORG, Los Angeles Times for Causecast and LeBron James with State Farm.
According to Dana Randall, Built by the Factory’s co-founder and CEO, “It is our extreme pleasure to assist Rogers Publishing with heralding in this new technology for their premier magazine, and the unique combination of usefulness to the end-user, a comfortable and intuitive interface, easy sharing options, and additional features like in-line video, at-a-glance page viewers and in-app purchasing truly embrace the capabilities of digital publishing while staying true to the readers.”
*Also group publisher of consumer business magazines. 

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Now, back to our usual lifestyle stories...article on goverment is a major departure for Saltscapes

It's highly unusual for a lifestyles magazine to delve into public affairs, but in its January/February issue the east coast magazine Saltscapes takes the plunge with a tub-thumping article about the unsustainable cost of governent in the three Maritime provinces.The publishers, Linda and Jim Gourlay, acknowledge the disconnect, but make a case for the departure, saying in part:
"We know. We know! We're not a serious "hard news" publication, or a business publication -- we're a lifestyle publication and you have already told us you don't want "bad news" from us, because you get enough of that already."
The article, flagged by the coverline "Are we overgoverned?", is by Quentin Casey and headlined rather dramatically "Are we sinking?". It  answers by quoting extensively from the words and works of author Peter Moreira and studies from the Fraser Institute. While I'm sceptical of Fraser Institute's ideologically driven agenda, the data is alarming -- an aging population and three of everything governing a relatively small region. 
There is a review of the history of the concept of maritime union, though the article's thrust is that major savings can be had without going that far, through rationalization of agencies and departments. 
The piece is written with some vigour, though countervailing views are not quite so well represented, making it more of a polemic than a balanced presentation.
Perhaps the fact that the publishers of Saltscapes felt compelled to go against type may be a signal of how alarmed thoughtful people like them are at the prospects.
To read the article, which is not available on the magazine's website, you'll have to buy the magazine at a newsstand or buy a digital single copy through the Magazines Canada/Zinio digital newsstand.


Pimping your blog

In just over a week -- February 2 -- the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) is hosting one of its periodical Toronto mixers, this time with a panel discussion called "Pimp Your Blog".
Okay, so, you're blogging for your magazine. Now what? If your blog traffic numbers aren't what you want them to be, come to the first CSME mixer of 2011 to learn some secrets from the pros. Join us for a lively presentation and discussion on how to improve your blog, increase your numbers and generate buzz.
Panelists include Dylan Reid (Senior Editor) and Matthew Blackett (Publisher and Creative Director), Spacing; Jennifer Villamere, Senior Web Editor, Canadian Living; and Gary Campbell, executive producer, digital for Toronto Life, FASHION, Where, Quill & Quire and Ottawa Magazine  , who also created Aggregation magazine.
It's at Bar Italia, 582 College St., starting  6 p.m. $30 at the door buys a drink and hors d'oeurves or it's  free with 2011 CSME membership ($100 for individuals; $450 for a magazine's entire masthead) Entrance includes a drink and hors d'oeuvres.


Quote, unquote: Complicated visual symbolism

"Yet the traditions of police funerals, for me, evoke images that have nothing to do with mourning and the genuine connections between people that such tragedies engender. These events, rather, are filled with profoundly complicated visual symbols — of invasion, of force, and of a conspicuously defensive sort of esprit de corps."
-- from a thoughtful and thought-provoking post by John Lorinc on the Spacing magazine blog about Sgt. Ryan Russell's over-the-top funeral in Toronto last week.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Sharp launching Russian edition in partnership

Sharp, the Canadian men's lifestyle magazine from Contempo Media is partnering with the Russian publishing house Smart Readers to produce a Russian edition with a circulation of 150,000. According to a story in Marketing, the magazine will look the same and will contain three-quarters of the magazine's editorial content.
According to Contempo, Sharp is the first Canadian magazine licensed to serve the international market. [editorial and creative director Michael] La Fave said that Sharp had been eager to license its brand and content to foreign markets since debuting in April 2008, but that the company was first approached by Smart Readers.
In a release, Dmitry Cherkasov, general director of Smart Readers, said that the men’s segment has been “insufficiently served” in Russia, prompting his company to begin seeking out a leading magazine capable of addressing the interests of the country’s male readers.
“We were off to the races pretty quickly,” said La Fave of the partnership, which took about three months to finalize.
Sharp's Canadian edition has a circulation of 146,000 distributed mostly through the Globe and Mail and claims a readership of over 382,000, according to a company release. Contempo is actively seeking other foreign markets, says LaFave.
“The benefit of being a relatively small company is that we like to move fast. I would say that over the next year we will be aggressively seeking opportunities like this one.”

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NYT said to be readying a charge of less than $20 a month for full online access

Though publishers continue to thrash around trying to determine what readers will put up with and pay up for content, there are some glimmers of a protocol emerging. This is illustrated by Bloomberg's report, quoting "a person familiar with the matter" that the New York Times will be charging readers less than $20 a month for access to its full web version. 
The price has been set at less than the $19.99 that customers pay for a New York Times subscription on Inc.’s Kindle reader, said the person, who declined to be identified because the price hasn’t been made public yet. Last month, Scott Heekin-Canedy, president of the New York Times, said the price would be comparable to the Kindle subscription.
Times Co. and other newspaper publishers are trying to determine how much of their online content should remain free, how much can be moved behind a paywall, and how much to charge for access. The companies are seeking new revenue sources as print advertising and circulation revenue decline amid competition from Internet publications.

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Google to launch rival service to Groupon couponing site favoured by Canadian magazines

Of late, several Canadian magazines have jumped on to using Groupon and its daily coupons to sell deep discount subs (Ski Canada, BC Business, Canadian Art, This magazine). While the return is small, it is a way of inexpensively reaching large pools of potential subscribers who can perhaps be converted to regular subscriptions.
Groupon was courted by Google last year and there was talk of a $6 billion deal, but ultimately Groupon turned it down in favour of pursuing its own public offering to raise $15 billion. Well now, according to an exclusive story on, Google is simply going to start a rival service called Google Offers. 
Google Offers looks and operates much like Groupon or LivingSocial. Users receive an e-mail with a local deal of the day. They then have the opportunity to buy that deal within a specific time limit (we assume 24 hours). Once enough people have made the purchase, the Google Offer is triggered and users get that all-too-familiar $10 for $20 deal for that Indian restaurant they’ve never tried.
From what we can tell, Google Offers will be powered by Google Checkout. It also includes Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Buzz and e-mail sharing options.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Magazine world view:Sugar hit; WikiLeaks...meh; elephant ears; survey power; paper route


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We took the clips, and so what? say Conservatives, citing "fair dealing"

The Conservative Party, whose minority government is doggedly pressing along on  reform of copyright law in this country, has shown its true colours in defence of recent television attack ads including clips lifted from the CBC. Its views should give pause even to those who think they're on the right track with proposed changes to copyright law. It probably sends a shudder through those who fear the outcome of those changes.
In the face of a letter from the CBC to all political parties saying it was wrong for anyone to use such material in political ads, the Conservative Party maintains that its use without permission, or even without asking, is "fair dealing" and cites the use of similar C-SPAN footage from the U.S. in its 2009 attack ads. The story was reported this afternoon on the CBC and is available on its website. 
“The American public affairs channel C-SPAN allowed fair use of a similar clip of Michael Ignatieff in a 2009 Conservative Party campaign,” a Tory spokesman said. “It determined that the clip at issue was freely available and in use, as is the CBC’s material....We take the position today that C-SPAN took in 2009: our ads fall within the fair dealing provisions in copyright law.”
In Canada, "fair dealing" as defined by the Copyright Act is more restrictive than the "fair use" provisions in the United States. For instance, in the U.S. if you using footage for educational purposes, you don't need to seek or receive permission; in Canada, public perfomance rights need to be obtained. And, to boot, C-SPAN gave permission, which the CBC wasn't even asked for.
The use of such footage for partisan political purposes can hardly be considered "fair dealing"; these guys aren't quoting a passage in a book review, for heavens sakes. They're appropriating footage from a public broadcaster in order to savage their opponents. That should concern all of us, in print, online, on TV or in any form of expression.


Canadian Poker Player to increase distribution with online version of magazine

HeadsUp Entertainment International Inc. publishers of Canadian Poker Player Magazine, owners of the Canadian Poker Tour (CPT) and the Canadian Poker Player Television Network, announced today that they have launched an online version of the magazine.
"Management believes that this additional offering will increase the number of readers of the magazine by over 800% thereby substantially increasing its value to sponsors and advertisers and exposing its marketing of CPT proprietary events and promotions to more players in Canada and internationally." [said a company release.] "Magazine revenues are expected to more than triple over the first 2 quarters of 2011 based on this expansion of the distribution model."
Canadian Poker Player Magazine is currently the exclusive magazine in 9 of the major poker rooms and casinos in Canada and the company says that number is anticipated to increase substantially through 2011.


We KNEW there was a use for it!: Montreal chef gives snow-cone recipe in Saveur

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In this month's Saveur magazine, chef Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal mentions putting snow into a paper cone and adding maple syrup cooked to 100 degrees Celsius (boiling point) and then topping it with lemon juice and zest.
Oh, and for adults only: Halfway through eating it, he drops a shot of vodka into the snow cone.
(And it bears noting -- you should use freshly fallen snow, and make sure there's been no sidewalk salting nearby).
(Trust someone from Wisconsin to issue the last caution, reminiscent of "don't eat the yellow snow".) Here's the link to the Saveur article about snowy treats.


Toronto Life names Maryam Sanati (ex-Chatelaine) as editorial director, special projects

Toronto Life has announced that Maryam Sanati, the much-admired former editor of Chatelaine, deputy editor at Report on Business magazine and of Shift, has been appointed to the newly created role of Editorial Director, Special Projects. (Sanati was dismissed by Chatelaine a little over a year ago after being appointed editor the previous year, piloting it through a redesign and its 80th anniversary. It was speculated at the time -- not convincingly -- that she was fired was because of the controversy over a single article about peanut bans in schools.)
Most recently, Sanati has been working with TorStar on developing a new digital venture. In her new role, which starts in March, she will primarily manage the development of Toronto Life’s annual publications: Wedding Guide, Eating & Drinking, Home Guide, and Style—a new title that will replace Shopping Guide in the fall of 2011. It's not entirely a coincidence that she began her career in magazines more than 15 years ago at Toronto Life


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gaffes dog former Hearst CEO in her new job as New York schools supremo

The appointment of Cathie Black, formerly CEO of Hearst Magazines, as the chancellor of the New York school system was met with some arched eyebrows and some puzzled expressions. Since taking on the job, she's been extremely visible and audible, according to the New York Observer, so much so that she's talked herself into trouble.
Asked by a parent about overcrowding, Black made a wisecrack: "Could we just have some birth control for a while? It could really help us all out a lot."
That kind of humor might prompt a chuckle or two in the slick magazine world, but in a meeting with public-school parents who have legitimate concerns about classroom overcrowding, Ms. Black would have been better served if she'd kept a lid on her boardroom wit.

If that weren't enough, she went on to compare the decisions she must make about classroom space to a series of "Sophie's Choices," a reference, of course, to the William Styron novel about a mother forced to choose which one of her children will live and which one will die in the Auschwitz concentration camp.


CSME names awards and promotions coordinators

Mastheadonline reports that the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) has made two additions to its board of directors, both bloggers on the Masthead site: Corinna VanGerwen joins CSME as awards coordinator and Kat Tancock as promotions coordinator.
VanGerwen is a freelance editor/writer/stylist as well as writer of Masthead's syndicated Dream Job TK blog. She has worked at magazines including Style at Home and Cottage Life. Tancock is the senior web editor for Reader's Digest, teaches Creating Website Editorial in the Magazine Publishing program at Ryerson University and writes the Masthead syndicated Magazines Online blog.

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Why WikiLeaks matters... or doesn't: live streamed panel from Silicon Valley

It's a bit off the magazine patch, but not really: The Real News Network is live streaming a discussion WikiLeaks: Why it matters. Why it doesn't on Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST (7 p.m. PST). It's being hosted by the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, California (in the heart of Silicon Valley. 
There's a great lineup of panelists, moderated by Paul Jay, the CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network including
  • Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official prosecuted for releasing the Pentagon Papers
  • Clay Shirky, independent internet professional; adjunct professor, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University
  • Neville Roy Singham, founder and chairman, ThoughtWorks
  • Peter Thiel, president, Clarium Capital; managing partner, Founder's Fund
  • Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and professor of computer science, Harvard University; co-founder, Berkman Center for Internet & Society 
"The purpose of this discussion [says a release from TRNN] is to take an objective look at the WikiLeaks controversy and its potential threats to the future of the free Internet. This issue reaches beyond the actions of one person or one website, so it is important to look past our various opinions of WIkiLeaks and Julian Assange which seem to be common pitfalls for thoughtful discourse. Precedents that will determine the very future of the Internet are being set as the world grapples with new social and information models. This is a serious issue worthy of serious discussion and debate."

Kids' history magazine Kayak has new editor

[This post has been updated] Canada’s History Magazine for Kids has a new editor. Nancy Payne has worked in broadcast and print journalism and most recently was editor of the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s publications WILD and Canadian Wildlife/Biosphère.Her appointment by the publishers, Canada's National History Society, is effective immediately and the first published issue under her hand will be in April, featuring Canada’s parks and historic sites.
Kayak is a quarterly magazine, in English as a paid print or digital subscription, and in French as a print supplement to the Quebec-based popular science children’s magazine Les Débrouillards.
[Update] According to a Winnipeg Free Press interview with publisher Deborah Morrison, the previous editor (since 2006), Jill Foran, has accepted an editorial position at Reader's Digest in Montreal. Like Foran, who edited Kayak from her home in Calgary, Payne will also edit the magazine at a distance, from her home in Peterborough. (Canada's History has been unusually open to such remote arrangements; its art director is based in Montreal.)
In addition to Kayak, the society publishes Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver) and administers Canada’s top history honours including the Governor General’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History and the Pierre Berton Award.


Canada Post names new president and CEO

Canada Post Corporation has announced the appointment of Deepak Chopra as its president and CEO at what it says is a critical time in the company's history. Chopra previously held a similar position with mailing machine giant Pitney Bowes Canada after serving in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions.
Board chair Mark Courtois (who made the announcement jointly with Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport) and Minister Responsible for Canada Post) said
He knows Canada Post, and he knows the postal business. He brings more than 15 years of global experience as a postal industry executive, and commands tremendous respect within the international postal community....Mr. Chopra is known for commercializing several ideas and creating new revenue streams. Creativity, ingenuity and innovation are exactly what Canada Post needs right now....[he] is a man of great accomplishment, but you won’t hear him promoting himself. He is a man of great humility who lives by the philosophy that institutions are bigger than individuals.
The position of president and CEO became vacant when Moya Green was headhunted by the Royal Mail in Britain, with the avowed aim of privatising many of its services.
Chopra is, of course, not the well-known meditation guru of the same name.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hearst purchase of Lagardère international titles said to be imminent

The betting in U.S. media circles is that this week or next will see the announcement of a deal whereby Hearst Magazines Inc. will buy Lagardère SCA's international magazine business including its U.S. distribution and publishing arm,  Hachette Filipacchi  Media.  It would thereby have control of such major front rack titles (including on Canadian newsstands) as Elle, Elle Decor, Woman’s Day and Elle’s 43 editions around the world. 
A report in the London Sunday Times (paywall in place) says that  the $873 million deal may be announced on Jan. 25, when Lagardere is scheduled to hold an investor day.The report said, without quoting a source, that the French company will retain ownership of its biggest title Elle which Hearst will publish at a cost of more than $13 million a year.(This seems to mean that Lagardère could retain licensing of Elle Canada and Elle Quebec with Transcontinental Media.)
Adweek reports that Hearst, which owns Cosmopolitan and Esquire, would emerge, at least temporarily, with the No. 2 position in market share, surpassing Condé Nast and coming just behind No. 1 Time Inc., per Publishers Information Bureau. However, if Hearst spins off the Lagardère automotive titles such as Car and Driver, it will settle back into third place.


Friday, January 14, 2011

The fashion magazine for style nerds: WORN gets the feature treatment

Upstart indie fashion magazine publisher Serah-Marie Mahon and her team at WORN Fashion Journal get a starring role this weekend in a Globe and Mail feature by Robert Everett-Green. Not bad for a twice-yearly, quirky and idiosyncratic title with a small, but impressive circulation.
“We were just unhappy with the prescriptive nature of most fashion magazines. We wanted to inspire people not just to go out and spend money, but to use what’s already around them in creative ways,” said G. Steglemann, the managing editor, who describes herself and the WORN family as "fashion nerds".
 The feature chronicles how WORN began in a vintage clothing store in Toronto's Kensington Market and, after moving to Montreal,  how Mahon decided the best way to change the discussion about fashion was to start her own magazine, even though she had no experience. Later, after a fine arts degree, she moved back to Toronto.
Eleven issues later, WORN has correspondents in a half-dozen cities, an increasingly polished look (the first art director came on board last year) and distribution in Chapters Indigo. Although it sells about 60 per cent of its print run abroad, it had to pass up a European distribution deal because it couldn’t afford to print the minimum 4,000 copies the distributor demanded. WORN’s dependence on magazine sales rather than ad revenue, however, turned out to be a blessing when the economy faltered.
“The recession only did good things for us,” says McMahon. “People were still willing to pay six dollars for a magazine that a lot of them find they want to hang on to, not throw away.”

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Warmer and fuzzier; writer Leanne Delap parses Canada's big 3 fashion mags for their character

"Fortunately, being a bitch is so last season."

 With that, former Fashion magazine editor-in-chief (2000 - 2003) and Globe and Mail fashion writer Leanne Delap has created a profile of the Canadian fashion magazine industry in the National Post, painting a picture of fashionistas who are warmer and fuzzier than their American cousins (think The Devil Wears Prada). 
Here's how she characterizes the largest Canadian fashion titles:
Flare: "Flare bills itself as “Canada’s fashion authority” and waves the flag highest. It also has a girl-next-door wholesomeness because while the fashion spreads are sophisticated, the pieces singled out in the shopping pages are more budget-conscious than in competing titles. This is the girl you invite to your dinner party knowing you will get a thank-you note the next day.
Fashion: "The title has editions in Montreal and Vancouver, and the online identity is much more service-oriented than the national publication. This is the aspirational title of the CanCon three. If she were a dinner party guest, [editor Bernadette]Morra’s Fashion would be seated to the right of the host."
Elle Canada:  "Elle is an international brand and there is less leeway to invent a new identity, but the Canadian Elle girl is a sassy and irreverent dinner party guest, comfortable discussing her sex life and veering to the more youthful fashions at any age."