Monday, April 30, 2012

Magazine world view: Loaded sold; Angry Birds and print; Sport goes abroad; not enough ads?

CAJ Investigative award goes to Selena Ross for Maisonneuve magazine cover story

Illustration by Anna Minzhulina
"One hard thing was sorting through the city documents. I only needed information about a few hundred contracts, but they were buried in thousands of pages of paperwork. It also took some time to get people in the industry to open up to me. I talked to most of them two or three times so that they would get to know me a little. It also took me awhile to understand how the whole administrative side works, like the bidding process for public contracts and how the boroughs are managed."
-- Selena Ross, quoted by OpenFile about challenges in her cover story "Getting Plowed" for Maisonneuve magazines's Winter 2011 issue, a story that just won her an investigative reporting award from the Canadian Association of Journalists. The story was about corruption and collusion in the Montreal snow-removal industry.
Related posts:

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Rogers Publishing acquired Canadian Health and Lifestyle magazine

Rogers Publishing has acquired Canadian Health and Lifestyle magazine and its companion website Healthand The super-digest quarterly consumer magazine, which was launched in 2004 and has a controlled distribution of 400,000 mainly through Rexall pharmacies, doctors offices and hospitals.
The five-person staff -- save for publisher Joe Viecili -- will now report to Angela Jones as publisher; she was most recently been associate publisher at Chatelaine and Châtelaine.
According to PMB, the magazines' 2 million readers are largely female (64%) and between the ages of 24 and 54.
Lorraine Hoefler, executive publisher at Rogers Publishing said in a release, “We know health is a strong and growing category that Canadian readers care about and on which advertisers are focused.”

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Quote, unquote: The Wildrose winners
who weren't

"This is exactly why the Wildrose Party will be winning the election."
"Everyone I have talked to is voting Wildrose, and these are all people who voted Conservative in the last election."
-- comments published in the Feedback section of Report On Business magazine's May issue (which slid out of the newspaper this morning.) For those who missed it, the Wildrose party came in well behind the long-entrenched Progressive Conservatives. Apparently these ROB readers were talking to the wrong people.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quebec MP questions whether mens' magazines are culture

Criticism is being levelled at grants from the Canada Periodical Fund to a Quebec men's magazine publisher. Summum and Summum Girl, published by Editions Genex, received a total of $141,000 in 2010/11 and $191,719 in 2011/12 under the Aid to Publishers portion of the fund. 
"It's unacceptable," said Bloc Quebecois MP Maria Mourani Wednesday. "You can't just subsidize magazines like this one willy-nilly - there needs to be some logic to it. It's supposed to be about supporting culture, well, we should ask: what is culture? Is it just anything?"
Patrice Demers, president of Editions Genex, told Montreal radio station 98.5 FM he shouldn't be singled out when the funds are available to all Canadian publications.
"It's helping all Canadian magazines survive," he said. "Why is it different for Summum?"

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Canada Wide Media names former EVP of RedPoint to be its president

Karen Foss
Canada Wide Media Limited has announced that Karen Foss is stepping back from the presidency of the company and is being replaced by Gary Davies, effective in July. Foss has been with the company for 33 years and has been president since 2008; she will continue to be a strategic advisor and will remain on the Canada Wide board.
Canada Wide is one of Canada's larger magazine publishers, a privately held company with revenues of more than $25 million annually. Among its magazines are BCBusiness, Westworld, BCHome & Garden, and the recently launched digital site BCLiving.
Gary Davies
"Canada Wide has been a significant part of my life for most of my career," says Foss in a release. "The decision to step down wasn't easy but I know the timing is right both personally and corporately. I have enjoyed working with the extraordinary people at Canada Wide and I have nothing but confidence in the opportunities going forward, and look forward to continuing to assist the organization in achieving them in any way that I can." 
Davies is the executive vice-president of RedPoint Media Group Inc. of Calgary, where he has worked for 16 years. Among other responsibilities at RedPoint, Davies was publisher of up! the inflight magazine of WestJet.

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Toronto Star and Globe and Mail form joint distribution partnership

The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail have announced a partnership to distribute their newspapers -- and other print publications -- in Ontario. The partnership will deliver both the Star and the Globe to homes, businesses and retail outlets and will also distribute other newspapers and 3rd party products. The two companies will continue to operate separately in all other aspects including editorial, advertising, sales and production.
"We are very happy with the new joint venture with The Globe and Mail," said John Cruickshank, Publisher of the Toronto Star and President of Star Media Group. "It will allow both the Star and The Globe to bring together our distribution operations, resulting in savings for both companies and better service for our readers and advertisers."

"This partnership allows The Globe and Mail to benefit from blended operational best practices while still maintaining a direct and independent relationship with our valued subscribers and readers," said Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail. "As our industry faces the reality of increasing distribution costs, this partnership model allows us to potentially expand our distribution footprint and implement consistent service standards across Ontario."
Both newspapers use adult independent contractors to deliver papers now. There will likely be the same sort of rationalization as took place in 2002 when major magazine wholesalers merged their truck delivery system into one fleet called ProLogix.
Interestingly, in 2006 a consortium of major magazine publishers commissioned a feasibility study testing the possibility of having their magazines delivered to subscribers in major urban areas (such as the GTA) via those same newspaper contractors. At the time, it was found to be too expensive. A year later, Rogers launched its own pilot project, but it was not ultimately successful. The partnership between rivals Globe and Star shows that times and circumstances can change, however. (Mentioned here before is the fact that I receive my copy of the Guardian Weekly delivered with my Globe and Mail every Thursday (better service than most GW subscribers get by mail).)
With the escalation of postal delivery costs, and this new partnership looking around for customers, some magazine publishers may consider anew how to get their issues into readers' hands in the most efficient and cost-effective way. 
The new partnership may also mean that some people who subscribe to both papers will only have one lout booming up their driveway at 4 a.m. and unnerringly throwing the bagged paper(s) against the garage door with the loudest possible bang.
Related posts:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Faux nudity vexes Canadian supermodel airbrushed by Elle Brazil

A Canadian supermodel, Coco Rocha, is seriously steamed about being made to appear nude or nearly so on the cover of Elle Brazil. The 23-year-old model wears a see-through dress, but says she was wearing a flesh-coloured body suit underneath, a garment which was airbrushed away to make her appear nude. This was done, she says, in direct violation of her contract which specifically bans airbrushing and nudity. 
As described by British fashion magazine Grazia's site
"Ooh! Take a look at Coco Rocha looking utterly ravishing on the cover of Elle Brazil's May issue. Her burgundy hair has been pulled into a tight centre parting, her cheekbones are looking sharper than ever and her ample assets are peeping through a blue sheer dress that could be mistaken for nothing but a fancy body tattoo."
 A Canadian Press story quotes Rocha saying 
"This was specifically against my expressed verbal and written direction to the entire team that they not do so," she writes. "I'm extremely disappointed that my wishes and contract was ignored.
"I strongly believe every model has a right to set rules for how she is portrayed and for me these rules were clearly circumvented."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Getting ready for your close-up topic of CSME luncheon

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) is holding one of its informative lunches this Friday, April 27. It is called "Ready for Your Close-up?" and deals with how to prep for interviews and represent your brand. The presenters are Susan Zuzinjak, owner of PR Agency Smitten Creative, and Chantel Guertin, author, editor-at-large at The Kit and beauty expert on The Marilyn Denis Show.
Its at Peridot, 81 Bloor St E (right at Yonge/Bloor subway station)in Toronto, noon to 2 pm. Event, with lunch, is (in advance/online) $22 for CSME members and $37 for non-members; at the door, $25 for members, $40 for non.


Film co-written by well-known freelancer to open Inside Out Film Festival

Margarita, a feature film co-written by Margaret Webb, well-known as a freelance magazine writer, author and writing teacher at Ryerson University, has been selected as the opening weekend film of Toronto's Inside Out Film Festival. It will be on Saturday, May 19 at 7:15 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre 

It will be the film's North American premier (having been chosen for the 2012 Audience Favourite Award at the International Women's Film Festival in France.) The play was co-directed by Laurie Colbert and Dominique Cardona; co-written by Margaret Webb and Laurie Colbert. The synopsis:
Margarita, an illegal Mexican nanny, has her hands full with a commitment-phobic girlfriend she can’t convince to marry her, a randy handyman in lust with her, a self-involved surly teenager, and cash-strapped yuppie employers she really has to babysit. When authorities move to deport Margarita, she resigns herself to starting a new life back home in Mexico. Until, that is, family and friends discover her situation and suddenly everyone wants to save Margarita.

Magazine awards programs will go
back-to-back this year

Two of the magazine industry's biggest annual events -- the National Magazine Awards and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards for the Canadian business press -- are being presented back-to-back this year at the Carlu in Toronto on Thursday evening, June 7 with a joint industry reception in between. The awards programs are cornerstones of the magazines week that includes the MagNet industry conference which runs from Tuesday June 5 to Friday June 8.  A release from the organizers, the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Canadian Business Press, says
"The NMAF, CBP and Magazines Canada believe it is advantageous to align the two events in order to benefit from increased networking between these two sectors of the Canadian magazine industry, as well as to maximize organizational synergies for a successful event that celebrates excellence in the content and creation of Canadian magazines."
At 4 p.m., doors will open for the KRW Awards, which will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Carlu's Round Room. There will then be a joint industry cocktail reception in the grand foyer from 6 until 7:30 at which point ticket holders for the NMA Gala will be invited into the Concert Hall for a served dinner and the presentation of the 35th annual National Magazine Awards. 
Various ticket options will be offered (to be posted on the NMAF and KRW websites by May 1 and May 3 respectively). In addition to choosing one or the other awards plus the reception or the "full meal deal" of both,  there will be a general admission option, which includes the industry reception, dessert and the opportunity to watch the National Magazine Awards ceremony on screen in the Round Room.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ad club speaker to talk about why
digital's future is print

The annual Magazine Day for the Advertising Club of Toronto is this Friday, April 27, 11:30  a.m. to 2 p.m. It features as its keynote speaker Andrew Davis, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Tippingpoint Labs of Newton, Mass. His topic is The Future of Digital is Print
The event is at the Arcadian Court, 401 Bay Street, Simpson Tower, 8th floor and tickets are $100 (a table of 10 is $900). Further information and tickets are available online.

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Magazine world view: CJR off campus; Guardian says who pays for travel writing; HuffPo Pulitzer

Quarto Communications renames itself
Cottage Life Media Inc.

Quarto Communications has quietly renamed itself Cottage Life Media Inc. to better reflect its increasing multi-media future. The new company name overarches the four print magazines -- Cottage Life, Explore, Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada -- and associated websites as well as the company's consumer shows.
The renaming is to take advantage of the strong Cottage Life brand, says general manager Terry Sellwood, and to emphasize that the company is into more than print, though that remains very important in terms of revenue and profit. At least for now, the new name has not changed the content or direction of the magazines and websites.
The new name may also be a reflection of the intentions and perspective of Cottage Life Media Inc.'s minority owner, Blue Ant Media, co-founded 18 months ago by Michael MacMillan, the former head of Alliance Atlantis. After a brief quiescent period, MacMillan is once again building a broadcast empire. According to a profile in Marketing magazine, the company wants to be in the business not only of distributing, but also owning, content.
“We want to be in the business of controlling content and of being able to present it to users,” says MacMillan....We want to be relatively indifferent as to how people use what we offer them, whether they do it on a tablet, in a magazine or on a small handheld device or a TV screen.”
Presumably an early example of this combination of owning and presenting is exemplified by Cottage Life TV, a half hour show that debuts April 30 on Travel & Escape Channel -- owned by Blue Ant.
Related posts:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Study commissioned by Spacing magazine says Toronto supports tax for transit

A study conducted by Environics for Spacing Magazine showed 74 per cent of the 1,436 people surveyed online support the idea of a regional tax to bolster transit, similar to what the Los Angeles region did in 2008. It was reported in John Lorinc's column on the Spacing Toronto blog.
The survey showed support higher for a transit tax outside of Toronto, with 75 per cent of York Region residents backing the idea.
The dramatic results suggest a significant number of GTA voters would back taxes that promise to relieve worsening vehicle congestion that now costs the region $6 billion a year in lost productivity, according to the Toronto Board of Trade. "The findings show public is primed and ready for a meaningful discussion about the future of transit in the GTA," says Darren Karasiuk, Environics' vice-president of corporate and public affairs.

The Walrus launches SoapBox, a public discussion forum

The Walrus Foundation, publishers of The Walrus magazine, has partnered with to create an online discussion forum called The Walrus SoapBox. Its inaugural topic is the relevance of art in public life.
"Traditionally, a soapbox was a way in which citizens could be heard through an impromptu or unofficial burst of public speaking," said a release. "The Walrus SoapBox at will enable users to post or evaluate (with a thumbs up or thumbs down) ideas, and connect with other users quickly, easily, and in real time. This modern form of the soapbox elevates the blog format to include the collective voice of its users.

"In addition to publishing The Walrus magazine, providing a high standard of content at,, and on; and producing national events, we're thrilled to be able to engage more Canadians in important conversations through this innovative and exciting new realm called The Walrus SoapBox," says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus magazine and executive director of the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Other Voices magazine of Edmonton, closing

Other Voices magazine of Edmonton has announced it is closing. The twice-yearly magazine was published by the Other Voices Publishing Society and described itself as "[bridging] the gap between fringe and mainstream, featuring fiction and non-fiction, poetry and artwork from Edmontonians, Canadians and contributors from around the world."
Managing editor Bobbi Beatty writes a farewell message on the magazine's website:
"Unfortunately, advances in technology, changes to arts funding, the transformation and evolution of the publishing industry and the state of today’s economy have contributed to the situation Other Voices now faces, where continuing to publish our journal of the literary and visual arts is no longer feasible [...]
It is time to put Other Voices to bed, and to pay homage to the honourable institution it has been. All good things must come to an end, and while this is a sad day, we leave behind us a wonderful legacy of giving a voice to those who may not have been heard had we not existed [...] "
A final celebration will be held on Sunday,  May 27 in Edmonton at the New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus, 8120 101 Street, from 4 to 11 p.m.  
(We were made aware of this by a post on the online newsletter of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA).)


Shambala Sun staffer is attacked
and killed in Halifax

The assistant circulation manager of Shambala Sun magazine in Halifax was the victim of a brutal murder overnight. Raymond Taavel was beaten to death in what was apparently a homophobic attack outside the gay bar Menz. Police soon arrested a man who was a patient out on unescorted leave from the Central Nova Correctional Facility.
Taavel was well known as an activist both for Pride Week and for Fair Vote Nova Scotia. For several years, until January 2011, he worked on production at the gay magazine Wayves. He was described by a friend as "probably the most harmless person I have ever met."
For further information and updates, see Open File's Halifax blog.  
Toronto Star story
Globe and Mail story

New neighbourhood bimonthlies launched in Toronto and Montreal

A company called Village Living Publishing is launching two, upscale community-based magazines, one in Toronto, one in Montreal. Village Living West Village will this month mail deliver to more than 14,000 homes, condos and businesses in Hillcrest Village, Wychwood Heights, Regal Heights, Forest Hill and Upper Village, a band of upmarket neighbourhoods.
Its Montreal equivalent, Village Living Westmount, will go in May to more than 10,000 addresses in the same manner. A 1x full page ad in either of the bimonthly Montreal or Toronto magazines is $1,650 (which would be a $55 CPM, based on 2 readers per copy.)
The content is a mix of food, health, wellness, fashion, home, real estate and finance.
Both editions and their companion websites are designed by K9 Design Co. of Toronto.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Universities and Access Copyright sign agreement governing use of printed and digital content

After years of acrimony and long negotiation, Access Copyright has signed a model license with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). It means Canadian universities can now reproduce copyright protected materials in both print and digital formats while fairly compensating publishers and creators for the works they are using. Previously, Access licenses had largely been related to photocopied and scanned material, but things had changed dramatically with the growth of digitization.
The agreement, which will be in place December 31 and will renew automatically for one-year terms, provides that over the next six months, a survey methodology will be designed to assess the type and volume of usage so that Access can distribute royalties fairly. According to a joint press release
The model licence will see universities pay Access Copyright a royalty of $26.00 per full-time equivalent student annually.  This royalty includes what used to be a separate 10 cents per page royalty for coursepack copying, so there will no longer be a separate royalty for such copying.  
Paul Davison, president of the AUCC said
“We believe that this negotiated agreement provides the best possible outcome for universities, their students and faculty. It provides long-term certainty on price, and access to a new range of digital materials. Most importantly, the agreement respects the principles of academic freedom and privacy that are important to universities, and ensures that the administrative burden on institutions is minimized.”
Maureen Cavan, the executive director of Access Copyright said
“The licence provides easy, legal access to copyright protected works for students, professors and staff, in a simple, fast and cost efficient manner.”
Access Copyright is a not-for-profit collective licensing organization that collects royalties for copying and use of intellectual property and disburses it to publishers and creators, both in Canada and on behalf of foreign rights holders. 
Access  had been in a frustrating and drawn-out dispute with universities and colleges over its wish to have an omnibus agreement covering both copying and digital use. Access was asking the Canadian Copyright Board to impose a tariff -- as much as $45 a student -- a blended fee that would replace a hodge-podge of flat fee and per-page royalties which had grown up over the years, ranging from $3.38 to over $200 per student. 
Universities were essentially arguing that the collective licensing was redundant and that there should be a pay-per-use model,  one in which schools or individual faculty members would be responsible for clearing rights themselves, something which Access said impossible to manage and a virtual invitation for wholesale copyright infringement. 

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Online service Peecho allows digital magazines to print hard copies

Most small- and medium-sized magazines publishers have at least explored services that turn pdf files of their print magazines into digital editions; and many of them already do so routinely. There are several well-known companies such as Texterity, Nxtbook Media and Issuu that provide such a service. Issuu, however, has announced that it is making it possible to reverse the flow, so to speak. 
Issuu has partnered with a free online service called Peecho that will arrange to create a print version of a digital publication. According to a story in MediaDailyNews, magazine publishers (not individual readers) using Peecho are connected to a global network of printers,finding the lowest price for producing a printed version. Peecho makes its money by taking a cut of sales of the printed copies.
Founded in Denmark, with offices in Copenhagen and New York City, Issuu claims that its 4 million original digital publications attract 52 million unique visitors and serve over 3.5 billion impressions per month. While still mostly a European platform, it is growing rapidly here, with 48% of its traffic coming from Europe and 24% from North America.
The Amsterdam-based Peecho isn’t limited to producing print versions of digital magazines. It can also be used by publishers and users of mobile apps, photo-sharing Web sites, social networks, or online games to produce photo books or canvas prints.
The Peecho service seems not to be that much different than such print-on-demand offerings as Lulu and CreateSpace, by which publishers can provide customers with hard copies of their digital books and, occasionally, magazines. The only drawback for magazines is the unit cost of a single copy POD, which can cost as much as $15 - $20.  It's not known whether Peecho's system is able to offer copies less expensively.On Issuu's website, Mik Stroyberg, director of consumer engagement says:
"Due to the diverse nature of Issuu's publications, transforming our pixels into high quality print is really complicated. Peecho does a great job by offering a service that used to be impossible. We are looking forward to generating a lot of revenue with their help".

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Ten years of earning respect: Maisonneuve celebrates with bumper issue

I wasn't able to attend the Toronto celebration of the 10th anniversary of Maisonneuve magazine, but I don't want to let this occasion pass without remarking on it.
As the magazine says, starting an English magazine in 2002 with a French name in Montreal was difficult. But 43 issues later, it has won -- and deserves-- a loyal following.
When founding editor Derek Webster started, it was largely using his own resources and his family's. The investment paid off in a stylish, quirky, eclectic and courageous publication that within 3 years of its launch was selected as Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards. 
The "special collector's edition" f0r the 10th anniversary , on newsstands now, has some provocative stuff, including (among many other things) Tim Falconer finding out why he can't sing, Christopher Szabla exploring why movement such as Occupy and the Arab Spring fail, new fiction by Giller Prize-winner Johanna Skibsrud and an interview with Fredericton-based poet Anita Lahey (who was, until 2011, the editor of ARC Poetry magazine.)


Friday, April 13, 2012

Muscle mag publisher Robert Kennedy dies

The eponymous founder of Robert Kennedy Publishing of Mississauga, which produces Oxygen and American Curves, has died of complications of skin cancer at the age of 74.
Kennedy, a lifelong bodybuilder, started in publishing by cutting-and-pasting  the first issue of Muscle Mag Inernational on his kitchen table in Brampton. It went on to become one of the premier bodybuilding magazines in the industry.
Kennedy launched a chain of fitness stores and a fitness clothing line, but eventually sold those to concentrate on book and magazine publishing. He then launched Oxygen, dedicated to women's fitness. Clean Eating, Reps! and American Curves.
Last month, Kennedy was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Arnold Classic in Ohio by former Califorian governor and famous bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. The award is one of bodybuilding's highest honours.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TC Media launches Fresh Juice in collaboration with Loblaw

TC Media has launched Fresh Juice, a multi-platform publication distributed in collaboration with Loblaw Companies Limited. The six-issue print magazine will be mailed to 325,000 of Loblaw's customers and the total print run is 425,000 copies; in addition, there is a digital edition, an online site, a weekly e-newsletter and presence on Facebook (Facebook/FreshJuiceCA), Twitter (twitter@FreshJuiceCA) and Pinterest.
The venture is intended to deliver health, food and fitness information, including recipes. 
"We are very excited to share Fresh Juice with consumers and our advertising partners," said Lynn Chambers, group publisher with TC Media. "We certainly appreciate how busy Canadian families are and Fresh Juice is about helping people make the right decisions quickly and easily....
"Our affiliation with Loblaw makes sense on so many levels. Loblaw has an opportunity to reward its customers and we have the invaluable opportunity to get this fabulous new brand into the hands of a highly targeted and engaged audience."
The magazine will be on major newsstands across Canada for a special introductory price of $2.99 (regular $3.99) and a full year subscription will be $19.95.
The new publication was announced in November, soon after Transcon (TC Media) announced the closure, after 45 years of publication, of Homemakers magazine.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Three ways to learn how to build better magazines, in print or online

The Magazine and Web Publishing program at Ryerson's Chang School has plenty to be proud of and this spring term it's offering three, excellent career-building examples, all of which start in a couple of weeks (so there's no time to waste registering):
  • Magazine Copy Editing (CDJN119) is taught by Bernadette Kuncevicius, senior editor at CA magazine and one of the best in the business. The course runs Monday and Wednesday evenings starting April 30 for seven weeks. This valuable skill-building course  is useful to anyone who will be working with copy, in print or online. It's not only for those who want to be copy editors; it will also make better writers and better editors by understanding how to obtain the finer things in publishing like clarity and accuracy.
  • Magazine Marketing and Circulation (CDJN202) is taught by Darlene Storey, the vice-president of consumer marketing for St. Joseph Media. This course is only offered once a year, but it's worth waiting for. Circulation offers more potential for revenue growth and more career opportunities than any other area of magazine publishing. It's where we get our readers from whether it's for print or online. The course starts Wednesday, May 2  [note: the course now starts a week later, on Wednesday, May 9] and runs for 7 weeks.
  • Magazine Production (CDJN205) is about making magazines, but not just putting ink on paper. As Kim Latreille, the national director, production for St. Joseph Media (who teaches the course) makes clear. It's about the fundamentals of print production, but also repurposing text and pictures for the web as well as a range of other formats and platforms.The 14-week course starts Tuesday evenings, beginning May 1.
[Disclosure: I teach in the program and am its coordinator.]


Better branding through blogging

Mags BC is offering an interesting series of professional development courses this spring and the first one is called Blogging Your Brand: Building your presence online. It's on Tuesday, April 24 at Project Space, 222 East Georgia St. in Vancouver from 6 to 8 p.m. and features 
  • Lisa Manfield, online editor of BC Living
  • Tara Schmidt, business development manager and assistant online editor of Vancouver and Western Living
  • Remy Scalza, blogger at Inside Vancouver
  • Rebecca Bollwitt, editor in chief of and author of Blogging to Drive Business
Mags BC members get in for $15; all others $25. 

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Magazine world view: Soap Opera ends; Time Out daily deals; tablet-first mag mag

Saskatoon gets a mention in comic cover of The New Yorker

For Canadian-born illustrator Bruce McCall, the cover he was doing for the April 16 issue of The New Yorker needed a visual joke. Aside from lampooning people stuffing a ludicrous thing like a car in an overhead bin, there was a bag on the floor labelled for a duty-free shop in Saskatoon, according to a Canadian Press story.
McCall said he could have picked other Canadian cities, but chose Saskatoon because of its "charming, musical-sounding name."
"I always want to tweak the Yanks. Saskatoon seemed like the unlikeliest place in the world to have a duty-free shop," McCall said in an interview.
(The vaunted fact checkers at The New Yorker confirmed that there was, indeed, a small duty-free shop in the the Prairie city.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Canada Post announces revised specs for business reply cards

After extensive consultation with the magazine industry and other mail users, and tests of various samples, Canada Post has released new recommendations for the weight and dimension of business reply cards (BRCs; bind-in, blow-in). Its original announcement in July 2011 caused some consternation when it required heavier weight stock but has now been amended to say that
After substantial testing and analysis, we would like to advise that Business Reply Mail customers may continue using paper with a weight lower than 160 gms but not less than 111 gms. In such cases, customers must realize that a small portion of their returned cards may be subject to longer processing times. To improve performance, we recommend using: optimal card size of 108 mm x 165 mm (4.3 in x 6.5 in); and grain direction long.
According to a memorandum from Magazines Canada, the problem Canada Post was (is) trying to avoid is that, in order to reduce mailing weights, some publishers were printing BRCs on so light a stock they were fragile and were either damaged or destroyed in the mail sorting process or they are jamming equipment.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Former French Vogue editor to launch all-spread magazine come September

The former editor of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, is to launch a biannual English language fashion magazine branded with her own initials, and that is all spreads, no front-of-the-book and only longer-form articles.
 “I hope people will want to keep it —trendy and timeless at the same time,” she said of CR, which is the name that will be scrawled in handwritten form across the cover. 
The slightly oversized magazine will  have an initial press run of 50,000, half of which will be in Europe, the rest in North America and Asia. The first 288-page issue, due out in September, is projected to have more than 100 pages of advertising and to carry a cover price of $9.95. Its headquarters will be in New York. Roitfeld left French Vogue in January 2011 under strained circumstances. A story in WWD said
She brushed off suggestions that the launch of CR represents a form of revenge, given that her exit from Condé Nast was cloaked in intrigue.

Vogue is a very beautiful magazine, an institution, and I learned so much working there,” she said. “You can’t put yourself into competition with a magazine like Vogue; you have to create something new, something different.

“The page has been turned,” she continued. “It’s time to find something new, something fresh — for me and for the readers.”


Quote, unquote: How did magazine editors get
so old?

There’s a great deal to be said for experience. But there also used to be a lot to be said for inexperience, for freshness, for the youthful desire to throw everything up in the air and start again. It’s just that nobody appears to be saying it anymore.
-- David Hepworth, editorial director of Development Hell, British publishers of the Word and Mixmag, writing the cover story of InPublishing, about the aging process among magazine editors.


Friday, April 06, 2012

NFL ends short-lived contract publishing arrangement with Dauphin Media Group

[This post has been updated] After only four issues. the National Football League is ending its business relationship with the Dauphin Media Group, according to a story from Ad Age, (which credited Sports Business Journal with breaking the news.)
Subscriptions and ad support weren't the problem, according to spokesman [for the NFL], who said the league might revisit a magazine of its own in the future. "The magazine was well received by fans," he said. "It was clear to us that it was a viable product."
Dauphin did not respond to an email inquiry on deadline. A voicemail box at its main number was not accepting messages.
The league said it might do a magazine of its own in the future.
As readers of this blog will know, this is not the first time Dauphin has had a rocky relationship with partners (see Related posts, below). An item in the New York Post reports that  Dauphin's New York office has closed and that CEO Mike Dunphy, after protesting that everything was fine, is no longer returning phone calls.
Related posts:


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Emerging art critics encouraged by C magazine writing competition

Wasn't it the composer Sibelius who said that nobody ever puts up a statue to a critic? However, the next best thing may be to win the New Critics Competition from C Magazine. The competition is designed to help develop emerging art critics. Writers must submit a review of an exhibition, performance, or site-specific intervention, between 800 and 1,000 words in length, by Friday April 20, 2012. 
The winner will receive $500, a two-year subscription to C and have their review edited and published.  
The jury for the award includes Dan Adler, Assistant Professor of Modern Art at York University in Toronto, and a regular contributor to Artforum, Border Crossings, and Frieze; Michelle Kasprzak, writer and Curator at V2_Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam and co-curator of the upcoming ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose, California; and Amish Morrell, editor of C Magazine.
 To be eligible, writers must have published no more than two exhibition reviews or one article in a magazine or journal. Writers are not disqualified for having written for personal blogs or student publications.
Last year's winner was Kari Cwynar for her review of Models for Taking Part at the Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver; it was published in the Autimn 2011 issue. C Magazine is published quarterly by C The Visual Arts Foundation.


The Walrus launches book imprint with limited edition short story by Margaret Atwood

The Walrus magazine is launching a book imprint with an original short story by author Margaret Atwood. The 32-page book is printed by Coach House Press and is available only to subscribers of The Walrus magazine in its print, digital or tablet iterations. The cost of the book plus a 10- issue annual subscription is $35.
I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth is designed by Brian Morgan, art director of The Walrus, with a cover pattern by Marian Bantjes. (The story will later appear in the summer reading issue of the magazine.) 
The first 100 copies of the limited 2,000 print run will be signed and numbered by Atwood  and the book features Zenia, one of Atwood's memorable characters from her best-seller The Robber Bride.
"We're thrilled to launch The Walrus Books with a short story by Margaret Atwood, who is not only generous and supportive of the work of the Walrus Foundation but is also having herself a great time in this short story," says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus and executive director of the Walrus Foundation. "Whether or not you have read The Robber Bride, you'll love this crafty, twisty, turny tale of Zenia, the character who Atwood has always said she identifies with the most."

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Quote, unquote: National Geographic moving to digital as fast as it can

WSJ: Will the print magazine cease to exist at some point?

Mr. Fahey: "Yes. When will that day come? I'm not certain. It's hard for me to even imagine that it's 10 years from now. We're going to try to move people to digital from print as fast as we can, because we think there's a certain inevitability that will happen."
-- National Geographic magazine CEO John Fahey telling the Wall Street Journal that the distinctive 124-year-old magazine will move from a month to month print product to a multi-media product that is "alive and organic on a day-to-day basis". The magazine at the moment has 5 million English language print subscribers, about half of what it had in the 1980s, and has added 2.5 million in other languages. It has 181,000 subscribers on all its digital platforms including the iPad, Kindle, Nook, Web and digital newsstands like Zinio.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Ryerson Review summer issue looks (among other things) at influence of ads on fashion pubs

The summer issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism (RRJ) is being officially launched on Thursday 5 starting at 5:30 at the the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto (1214 Queen Street West). Editor Sara Harowitz wrote a reflection for about the experience, which she described as being "team cheerleader and chief worrier" -- not a bad description.
"For me, the moment came during one of our many display-writing meetings. I was sitting at the head of the table, pen in hand, staring at the white board along with the rest of the Ryerson Review of Journalism Summer 2012 team. Our display consultant, Steven Trumper, sat at the other end of the table, shooting ideas at us (he’s a genius, that man). As I sat there, sprawled across a series of chairs, I couldn’t help but think to myself: This is it. This is the stuff. And by “the stuff,” I mean: What I want to do for the rest of my life. It was a cheesy, nerdy, rather embarrassing internal moment, but it sticks with me.
When I was in third year I remember arguing with myself over whether I should take part in the student-run Review or if I should find an internship. (In Ryerson’s journalism program, fourth-year students must choose one or the other.) In the end I came to the conclusion that the Review was where I should be, and I’m so thankful that I did."
When emeritus professor and inveterate editor Don Obe, who created the magazine stream at Ryerson, founded the Review in 1984 he was said to envision "a watchdog on the watchdogs"  and that's what the twice-a-year magazine, produced by final-year students, consistently delivers.  For instance, the summer issue has Stephanie Fereiro exploring the influence of advertising on fashion publications, and Daniel Viola looking at the implications of staged news segments. There are also profiles of Amanda Lang from the CBC and Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker. The issue is now or will shortly be on fine newsstands near you. Encourage watch-doggedness by buying a copy.
[Disclosure: I teach part-time in the Chang School for Continuing Education at Ryerson, though this has nothing to do with the Review or the journalism school.]


No women nominated for non-fiction writing in U.S. magazine awards

[This post has been updated} There are no female nominees in the major non-fiction writing categories of the U.S. National Magazine Awards, according to an article by Alexander Nazaryan in the New York Daily News. There are no female nominees among the 25 in reporting, feature writing, profile writing, essays/criticism and columns/commentary.  The winners in each category will be announced in New York on May 3.The list of nominees have just been announced by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Lady Journos blog has compiled a breakdown.
A quick scan seems to indicate that we're unlikely to see a similar anomaly in the National Magazine Awards in Canada  (nominees due to be announced next month) -- women have been strongly represented in all categories. There is a substantial difference between the ASME awards (which reward magazines, rather than individual creators) and the NMAs.
[Update: Sid Holt, the chief executive of ASME, rather brusquely dismissed criticism saying that the controversy was "kind of silly" and citing a number of women writers nominated in the past few years.
“There’s no men’s category — that’s not the way the magazine business works, as a trip to any newsstand will show," he said.]
[Thanks to posts on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv from Moira Farr and Deborah Birkett for alerting me to this information.]

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Experimental "Netflix for magazines" would deliver digital mags to tablets for a flat fee

Like cities building sidewalks where people  wear a rut, magazine publishers are apparently responding to readers' actual behaviour with something that could be called Netflix for Magazines.
An interesting column by Peter Kafka at All Things Digital discussed how Next Issue Media, the large digital magazine consortium (which has not been making very big waves in the business so far) have come up with a plan to deliver all the magazines people want to their tablets for a flat fee of $10 or $15. It's early days and it's experimental, but so far this is what it looks like: 
It would require an app that would only work with Android tablets running Honeycomb; only 32 titles from four, admittedly big, publishers are so far signed on; and if you want both print and digital, there is no such bundling.
The idea is that publishers would share revenue based on the time that consumers spend with each magazine but, like NIM's current business model, mostly it will be paid for by advertising. As Kafka points out, faced with a rather tepid uptake of tablet magazines by consumers (less than 1% of circulation)  the idea makes a key concession by not requiring them to commit to any particular title and to mix and swap out magazines at will.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Magazines Canada magazine shows off boggling print solutions

Why go halfway when you can go all the way? At least that's what Magazines Canada seems to be saying. The spring issue of the twice-a-year Canadan Magazines Canadiens(CMC) showcase publication, to be officially released Wednesday (you can see it online now). It sets out to prove that the form of a printed page is only limited by your imagination -- or your budget. The cover focus is on what are called "splurge-worthy" print solutions, and the 72-page issue incorporates not one, not two but three of them:
  • An exploding page: a four-page insert that, when opened, unfolds and expands to almost twice its size It costs anywhere from $0.35 to $2.00 apiece depending on the size of the press run;
  • Webkeys: customizable and trackable paper-based USB webkey. These involve a small chip, layered between two pieces of paper that, when inserted into a PC or MAC USB port, automatically launches a web browser leading to a microsite or game;
  • The Snapper™, a folded page that snaps out on a cover (in this case) or interior page into a double page spread. (MC proudly says this marks the first use of this innovation on a magazine cover.) For a cover, it costs anywhere from $1.25 to $2.00 a unit depending on press run, inside page, slightly less.
The bells and whistles are provided through a collaboration with of designer and manufacturer Information Packaging, custom publisher Spafax (which produces CMC on behalf of Magazines Canada) and Dollco Integrated Print Solutions.


Monday, April 02, 2012

Controversial L'actualité cover story questioned on basis of poll sample

A public affairs magazine such as L'actualité should stir things up, shouldn't it? Well, it certainly has. There has been a major kerfuffle in the province of Quebec about a cover story in the latest issue which -- based on a CROP poll --says that anglophones, particularly in Montreal, are indifferent verging on hostile to the future of French language. The coverlines say “French Montreal? It’s over! say 77 per cent of young anglos,” and “Unilingual English bosses? Get used to it! say 74 per cent of young anglos.”
However, Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon says  she is not so sure the foundation of the story (written by Jean-François Lisée, an adviser to most PQ leaders, including the current one, Pauline Marois) is that solid. As she points out, the sample of the poll was only 560 people, "unusually small" and that the "young anglos" subset represents 129 of those.
"Nowhere in L’actualité’s issue on “the future of French” is there a word about the main reason of the (relative) decline of French in Montreal: the fact that the French-speaking middle class is leaving the city in droves to settle in the nearby suburbs," she says.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fool's gold: Margaret Atwood reported to be starting a SF magazine. Yeah, right.

My favourite magazine-related April Fool's gag this year was the report that novelist Margaret Atwood is to launch a new science fiction magazine called Loquacious Cephalopod. It was reported with a straight face by the apparently legitimate website Locus Online, based in California.
There were clues that this wasn't for real -- not least being the name of the author, L. Ron Creepweans and the fact that the item was tagged with the category "April 1st". Plus the name of the magazine was a giveaway, as was the suggestion that the Canada Council for the Arts and the Scotiabank Giller Prize were helping to underwrite the title. 
Atwood is quoted saying
“I’ve always been gratified by the unconditional love I’ve received from the science fiction community for works such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, and Loquacious Cephalopod is a way to return that love"

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