Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amber Dawn wins $4,000 prize

Amber Dawn, a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist based in Vancouver, has won the $4,000 Dayne Ogilvie Prize from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. 
The prize was established in 2007 in memory of Dayne Ogilvie, managing editor of Xtra magazine and is given annually to an emerging gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender writer who demonstrates great literary promise.


Quote, unquote: Good fences make good copyright

"I think of copyright law as a fence – a pretty, nicely constructed, non-threatening fence. And a fence is a structure designed to define property. A fence is not, in fact, a series of holes through which folks can figure out ways to trespass on property. By concentrating too much on the holes, and how one might use them to trespass, C-11 risks making the pretty fence of copyright completely irrelevant."
-- John Degen, testifying Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce about Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, recently passed by the House of Commons. Degen, a writer, poet, novelist and outspoken copyright activist, is also literature officer of the Ontario Arts Council (though he was careful to say he was speaking only for himself). He was formerly executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).


Magazine world view: ABM+PPA; Imagine launches into space; mag festival in Edinburgh


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zinio digital magazine provider said up for sale

[This post has been updated] Zinio, the digital magazine provider is apparently seeking a buyer, according to a story published by Fortune magazine.
The San Francisco-based company has hired investment bank Montgomery & Co. to manage the process, with one source saying that the company is seeking between $50 million and $100 million. No idea yet if there is buy-side interest at that price.

Zinio raised venture capital in the early part of the aughts, from brand-name firms like Apax Partners, New Enterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners and Commonwealth Capital Ventures. But those firms all sold their stakes (for very little) more than five years ago to a real estate and hotel magnate named David Gilmour, who currently serves as the company's executive chairman.
Among its ventures, Zinio Canada partners with Magazines Canada in its Digital Newsstand, whereby dozens of member magazines make digital replica editions available, both by subscription and single copy.

[Update:  Folio: reports that Zinio put out a statement saying, indeed, that it has retained a merchant bank to "facilitate capital raising strategies and discussions."
"While the company has been engaged in similar discussions in the past," [it said] "Zinio has never had a stronger vision, strategy and roadmap to engage the right set of potential partners."]

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Montreal loses both its English alt weeklies in
close succession

Quebecor Media's decision last week to shut down the Montreal Mirror leaves the city without an English-language alternative weekly (though it always seemed odd to have an alt weekly owned by one of the largest newspaper publishers in the province.) 
The French-language Voir continues. 
A month ago, Hour, the only other English alt weekly, was also shut down. In both cases, the publisher said it was because of an increasingly difficult ad market -- critical to such controlled circulation publications. 
A story in the Montreal Gazette  by Richard Burnett said that the death of the Mirror was essentially inevitable with the closure of its fierce competitor Hour. The Mirror in effect won the war and lost its reason to live. 
Last week also saw a major consolidation of the Montreal newspaper scene, as Transcontinental announced that it was assuming sole ownership of the weekday daily Metro Montreal (previously co-owned with Gesca).


Friday, June 22, 2012

Student award being established in memory of Ryerson teacher, journalist and editor
Charles Oberdorf

Family, friends and colleagues of the late Charles Oberdorf are creating an award in his name at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.  Oberdorf, the coordinator of the Magazine and Web Publishing program, died in September. (See earlier post)
Fundraising is underway now for the award, which will be housed at Ryerson.  His family has made the first contribution.
It is intended that an annual prize of $1,000 will be given to a student about to complete the Magazine and Web Publishing certificate. Students would be nominated by faculty. From among them the winner each year will be chosen based on over all excellence and deemed potential for making the same kind of difference in the magazine and web publishing world in future as Charles made during his long career.
Charles was a highly respected, indeed loved, colleague and friend as a writer, editor and teacher. To know more about him, here is the obituary written by Michael Posner that was published in the Globe and Mail
The hope is to raise more than $25,000 so that an annual award may be ensured, essentially forever.  If more money is raised, more awards will be given. Contributions to the fund are charitable and donors will receive a tax receipt issued by Ryerson University.
Contributions may be made online at * Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award
For those who would prefer to send a cheque, it should be mailed to:
Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award
c/o Maureen Sheridan, Associate Director of Development
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street, CED 613
Toronto, Ontario  M5B 2K3
416 979-5184
[If you have difficulty with the online link* above, the following can be typed into your browser:

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

World's Biggest Bookstore -- and magazine rack -- likely to close next year

It's not only the self-proclaimed World's Biggest Bookstore, but it is also one of -- if not the -- largest magazine store in Canada and word that it may close will be shaking up the industry. On the other hand, it may be merely a lease negotiating ploy by Indigo Books and Music.
A story on Quill & Quire, quoting the Toronto website Yonge Street, says the lease on the 25-year-old, 64,000-square-foot bookstore which goes back to the days of Jack Cole and Cole Books will not be renewed and the Cole family is looking for a single retail tenant to take over the space, possibly a "big box" store.
"Indigo Books & Music, which owns the bookstore, had been seeking a “significant” reduction in rent from the store’s owners, citing a downturn in business. And while the lease on the iconic property near Yonge and Dundas Sts. doesn’t expire until December 2013, the property is already in play," said a story in The Toronto Star.
It says a condo developer is reported to have already offered $38 million for the site.
“The decision to not renew the lease at the end of 2013 was based on a thorough review of every facet of our World’s Biggest Bookstore business,” Indigo spokeswoman Janet Eger said in emails to the Star.
“In the meantime, we’ll be working towards a seamless transition for our valued customers and employees, the details of which are being finalized.”

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Dow Jones closes Smart Money print version in favour of digital

Smart Money magazine is doing away with its print edition effective with the August issue and putting all of its energy and investment into building According to a story in minonline, the publication will expand its digital team to 15 people. Twenty-five print magazine staffers will lose their jobs (though they can apply for the new digital positions).
Smart Money is wholly owned by Dow Jones & Co., publishers of the Wall Street Journal. It originally was a joint venture started in 1992 between Dow Jones and Hearst Corporation ( current Hearst president David Carey was the first publisher.) The magazine has been losing print ads and 2012 so far is down 9.3%.
In a statement regarding the decision to fold the magazine, Dow Jones & Co. editor-in-chief Robert Thomson said in a statement: “It’s clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the Web.”

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Magazine world view: Baltimore facelift; digital reporting; no-print day; 40% prefer print

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eighteen Bridges named best new
western magazine

Eighteen Bridges, an Alberta-based literary magazine that came out of the gate with a fresh take on a traditional form, was named as best new magazine at the Western Magazine Awards, presented Saturday in Vancouver. It was also named magazine of the year for Alberta/NWT.
Vancouver magazine was named magazine of the year for all of western Canada (also for BC/Yukon), which is ironic in light of the recent departure of the editor, Gary Ross. Other notable winners
  • Sean Rossiter was named winner of the Lifetime Achievement award (see earlier post)
  • Trade magazine of the year was Alberta Oil, published by Venture Publishing of Edmonton. Alberta Oil was recently named magazine of the year in the Kenneth R. Wilson awards for business-to-business publications. 
  • Best online magazine was The Tyee.
  • Magazine of the year for Manitoba was Geez.
  • Magazine of the year for Saskatchewan was Grain.
  •  Gold awards for writing:
    • Alberta/NWT, Eighteen Bridges, Chris Turner, "Bearing Witness"
    • BC/Yukon. Vancouver Magazine, Timothy Taylor, "Blood Brothers
    • Manitoba, Western Living, Shel Zolkewich, "Hooked" 
    • Saskatchewan, The Crow, Kent Morrison, "The La Loche Project"
For other winners, go to the Western Magazine Awards site.


"Does Your Mother Know?" Vancouver neighbourhood indy mag store to close

[This post has been updated]Yet another indy magazine store is going out of business. Does Your Mother Know? of Vancouver is closing after 13 years in business.According to a story in, owner Kent McKenzie has notified customers that the Kitsilano neighbourhood store at 2139 West 4th Avenue will close down on Sunday 24th. 
According to McKenzie, declining sales and the cost of rent are prompting the closure of the business. He noted clientele is “totally different” today than it was when the store opened.
“The only people buying magazines are in their 40s and 50s,” McKenzie said. “If it’s young and hip, the magazine itself, the young and hip are buying them. And there’s niche titles too.”
The store's distinctive name came about because  city hall had rejected his proposed names for the store; McKenzie submitted a name lifted from the bill of a shop in San Francisco and it was approved. (It's also a song title and lyric from ABBA.)

[Update: A story in the Vancouver Sun notes that many magazine retailers have had to diversify, selling other goods and obtaining things like Canada Post franchises. Kent McKenzie made the following observation about the customers:
Meanwhile, consumer mentality has also changed. “In the old days, people would rip a page out of a magazine and steal it,” McKenzie said. Today, “they’ll take an iPhone picture and not think of it as stealing. I’ve said ‘No, you can’t take a picture.’ and they’ll say “Yes you can, I have it here. It turned out fine!’”]

[photo: Noa G.]

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Lisa Tant out as EIC of Flare; now publisher of Hello Canada magazine

[This post has been updated] Lisa Tant has been named the publisher of Hello Canada magazine, effective immediately. She is being replaced as editor-in-chief of Flare magazine by Miranda Purves of Elle [U.S].

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Quote, unquote: Consumers will decide

"Traditional ideas about what is opinion and what is news, what is advertising and what is editorial, and the separation between content makers and consumers, are evaporating each day. Those consumers will decide where the line is drawn, not those of us who are vested by belief or self-interest in the old order.
-- New York Times media columnist David Carr, writing about the launch of Huffington, the online magazine spun out of website Huffington Post.


Willingness to pay for apps is diminishing,
study shows

Tablet owners and users are keen on apps, but not so much on paying for them. A study commissioned by the odnline Publishers Association -- detailes reported by AdAge -- found that 54% of respondents to a survey prefer free, ad-supported apps, up from 40% just a year ago. Only 19% said they'd pay to have ad-free apps, down from 30% a year ago.
The study found that 54% of respondents have bought content online have done so as the result of seeing a tablet ad, compared with 38% who haven't paid for any content.
 "The numbers show that these audiences have an appetite for advertising," said Pam Horan, president of the OPA. "Now it's time to take advantage of it with the capabilities the platform offers, not just transferring print ads to the tablet."

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Marketing tablet version comes in for some criticism for execution

The launch onto the Apple Newsstand of a tablet edition of Marketing, Canada's trade publication for the advertising and marketing industry, comes in for some criticism from the U.S. blog Talking New Media, which calls it "sloppy". 
The app itself has promise, but the work here is less than first rate. If I were the publisher of Marketing I would be irate. But then again I always was a stickler for proper editing and design work [says Douglas Hebbard].
 Left: The single-sponsor ad from Metro pops up as the first page of the latest edition; Middle: the editor's column was, it seems, poorly edited – the text abruptly ends mid-sentence, something I have seen in other tablet editions lately; Right: the page looks like a replica edition with its first word hyphenated (1) until one sees the swiping navigation at the top (2). But the page layout philosophy is definitely replica as the picture is sliced in half (3) and the reader needs to move to the next page to see the rest of the layout.


Quote, unquote: Digital subscribers and
"new blood for publishers"

"We know 85% of people who buy a Zinio digital magazine subscription have never had a subscription to that magazine in the print world. So these subscribers are all new blood for publishers. The content-discovery model seems to be very interesting to our consumers and driving a tremendous amount of our commerce. We also know that more than 20% of the Zinio audience, tens of millions of people, are actually accessing the same magazine on three different platforms—meaning a smartphone, a PC or Mac, and a tablet."
--  Jeanniey Mullen, Global Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Zinio, speaking to eMarketer.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Huffington. is launched as a paid weekly
iPad magazine

The premier issue of Huffington., the new weekly tablet magazine from Huffington Post, has been released. And, somehow, between when it was first suggested and today, it has morphed from a free weekly drawn from the HuffPo's daily content into a paid magazine with original content.
"We thought long and hard about it, and in our view, we felt that this is a highly stylized, curated experience," said Huffington Post executive editor Tim O'Brien, who gave several reporters a preview on Tuesday afternoon. "We feel it's a premium product and it deserves to carry a price with it in order to access all the value we're giving people."
The magazine will be free for the first month and then will cost $0.99 an issue, $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year.  HuffPo struck a deal with Apple in April to sell the publication on Apple's iNewsstand.
According to a story in Capital, a New York website, the magazine has a full-time, in-house staff of two dozen, including designers who've worked at Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune and Men's Health, and editors who previously worked for Huffington Post.
O'Brien described the publication -- which offers a typical front-middle-back magazine structure and has a feature well with longer form articles -- it as "a nice, long meal that you can sit with and digest over the course of the weekend." The publication will be coming out Fridays, but with a Sunday dateline.


Literary Press Group gets reprieve; Heritage Minister James Moore overturns funding denial

The minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore, has overturned a decision that had cancelled $235,000 in funding this year for the Literary Press Group. A short statement from LPG says
The Literary Press Group of Canada has been given verbal notification that James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, has overturned the decision to end funding for its sales force, which serves 47 Canadian owned and controlled literary book publishers from seven provinces.
At this time we are awaiting more formal confirmation, but this is the news we needed to move forward and bring the 200 Canadian-authored books entrusted to us this fall to readers across the country.
We remain grateful for the support that the Department of Canadian Heritage has provided for this endeavour since 1992. This government’s commitment to the arts rings through best when everyday Canadians are prepared to step forward and demonstrate how much they mean.
We are grateful for the overwhelming public support we received from Canadian readers, writers, publishers, and industry colleagues. We look forward to bringing you the best of Canadian literary writing for years to come.


U.S. business editors and writers hold investigative reporting workshop in Toronto July 19

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) is hosting an investigative reporting workshop in Toronto on July 19 at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. 
Jesse Eisinger
The opening keynote will be by Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica. Eisinger who, with partner Jake Bernstein, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for a series of stories about Wall Street machinations that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
The workshop is part of a series being held by SABEW (others are in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Tampa, Florida and San Francisco, California) and is an outreach to Canadian journalists; it is financed, in part, through a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, which is based in Oklahoma City. (SABEW is based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona.)
Read more »


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Teasing interest from new readers with Public

The idea of providing a "sneak peek" about an issue is one worth considering by many magazines. So, for instance, the twice-yearly interdisciplinary arts journal Public provides a 40-page preview of the forthcoming 240-page issue of the magazine (it comes out June 25). If you weren't familiar with Public, it certainly gives you enough of a feel to consider going out and buying it or subscribing.
The current issue is a very interesting thematic exploration of large-scale public events such as Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Paris and Halifax.
"The recent success of Nuit Blanche, for instance, breeds a paradox: in one night, the number of visitors often surpasses the attendance at major art institutions for an entire year.
Read more »


OMDC Magazine Fund to reward emphasis on innovation and measurability

The rules and focus of the magazine fund of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) have been changed and will be in effect come the fund's September 12 deadline. The tweaks to the fund, which provides funding of up to $75,000 to Canadian-owned and controlled, Ontario-based magazines, were announced last week during MagNet and will be further explained at the information sessions scheduled for July 11.
Digital magazines will now be eligible for their share of fund; a limited number of digital magazines will be supported in what the OMDC refers to as a "pilot". And "innovation" will receive greater emphasis and will have greater weight in assessing applications*. The agency is also paying much closer attention to specific, measurable results. So it is better to deliver concrete data about return on investment and jobs created and retained in the province. 
Read more »

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Canadian entertainment and media market to outpace U.S., says PwC

The consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers says that the Canadian entertainment and media market will gow at a 6.5% compound annual growth rate between now and 2016. Its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012-2016 predicts that internet advertising will continue to grow significantly, led by mobile and that it will outpace the U.S. where compound growth will be about 5.2%.
“Mobile advertising is still a small market but it’s soaring in North America. Between 2010 and 2011 the segment grew by almost 149% in the U.S. and 109% in Canada,” says Michael Paterson, a partner in PwC’s Canadian Entertainment & Media practice. “Given the amount of time consumers are spending on their devices outside of making phone calls, it’s glaringly apparent how much of an opportunity this advertising medium is.” 
The report says that, in 2011, entertainment and media spending in North America grew by 3.3%; in Canada, it grew 5.7% due to higher spending on internet advertising (22.8%) and internet access (17.5%). It suggests there are several "tipping points" for Canada, including
  • Internet ads beat out TV ads by 2014: Canadian spending on internet advertising will overtake TV advertising by 2014 and be 23% larger by 2016.
  • Video games overtake consumer books: spending on video games will overtake spending on consumer and educational books in Canada this year, to be almost 20% larger by 2016.
  • Music: Canadian spending on music rose 2% in 2011, the first gain in many years, thanks to the growth in the concert and music festival market and a slower decline in recorded music spending. As a result, and due to increased spending on digital music, overall spending will increase from now through to 2016 at 4.1% CAGR.
The report was released with data for 13 segments of worldwide E&M markets in 48 countries.

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Former Quad Graphics president named GM of Reader's Digest Canada

Reader's Digest Canada has appointed Philippe Cloutier as its new General Manager, based in the company’s Montreal office. He will run operations in Canada, including provision of services to Reader’s Digest Magazines Ltd., the publisher of Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Our Canada and More of Our Canada, as well as for books, music and video products. According to a company release, he will take a lead role in expediting the transition to digital products. 
Cloutier was President of Quad Graphics' Canadian division, and spent 12 years with Quad (formerly Quebecor World) in both Canada and the U.S.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Adbusters, which helped start it, now says Occupy movement is "burned out"

The latest pronouncement from Adbusters magazine may be hard to swallow for supporters of the Occupy movement; the magazine is now saying that Occupy has stalled and needs to be replaced by something called "flash encampments". Having basked in the glory of initiating the movement, Adbusters' blog post seems to be playing right into the hands of its opponents, and letting Occupy supporters down with a thud. 
"Burned out, out of money, out of ideas… seduced by salaries, comfy offices, book deals, old lefty cash and minor celebrity status, some of the most prominent early heroes of our leaderless uprising are losing the edge that catalyzed last year’s one thousand encampments. Bit by bit, Occupy’s first generation is succumbing to an insidious institutionalization and ossification that could be fatal to our young spiritual insurrection unless we leap over it right now. Putting our movement back on track will take nothing short of a revolution within Occupy."
To be fair, here's the alternative the editorial proposes:
"In its own sweet way, our movement is now moving beyond the Zuccotti model and developing a tactical imperative of its own: Small groups of fired up second generation occupiers acting independently, swiftly and tenaciously pulling off myriad visceral local actions, disrupting capitalist business-as-usual across the globe."

Mobile game from Condé Nast lets players indulge runway fantasies

Condé Nast is launching a mobile game called  Fashion Hazard, debuting next month on the iPhone and iPad, with Android devices to follow. It is a product of the Interactive Product Group (IPG), which creates smaller digital products not tied to CN's individual magazine titles.  
Aimed at teens and young women, Fashion Hazard allows players to live out a runway model fantasy,  choosing one of four different model names and identities, then embarking on a career that takes them through New York, Milan, Paris and London. The game will be available for an as-yet-unannounced fee.
"Advancing through your model career means walking hazardous runways while dodging objects thrown by hostile crowds and playing touch-screen wackamole during “photo ops” as the paparazzi attack," says the Ad Age report.
"In each city, your model avatar (three female models and one male are available) faces unique challenges, all aimed at capturing those escapist model fantasies.
“It’s fun and sassy,” said Juliana Stock, senior director marketing and product development at Condé Nast.

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Quote, unquote: On innate savagery

"Make no mistake, we're savages at heart. Tens of thousands cheered as Christians were thrown to the lions for sport in ancient Rome, and families travelled miles by wagon in the 1800s to watch public hangings. Now we can satisfy that natural morbid curiosity from the comfort of our homes."
-- Dave Alexander, editor-in-chief of Rue Morgue magazine, commenting on the recent gruesome murder, cannabilism and mailing of body parts hither and yon.


AZ Awards honour architecture and design

Last Thursday was a heckuva night, with awards programs blooming everywhere in Toronto  (National Magazine Awards, KRWs, CAJs) and it would be shame if one of them got short shrift, particularly if it's an excellent line extension for a successful Canadian magazine.
The AZ Awards is an international competition for architecture, interior and product design, presented by Azure magazine and this year hosted by CBC's Diana Swain.
Sixty finalists were selected from over 600 submissions and all will be featured in the awards issue of Azure, on newsstands June 18.The cover lettering of that issue was conceived by well-regarded type designer Paul Sych. In each category, there are jury-selected and "People's Choice" winners.
Entrants attended the event from far and wide, including finalists from India, a large contingent from Mexico, as well as from all over the States and Canada. George Brown College School of Design sponsored the A+ Award, a $5,000 prize for the best student project.

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Matrix magazine contest looking for
"incredible writing"

Matrix,a literary magazine based in Montreal has created an unusual competition called  Litpop; it's done in collaboration with Pop Montreal. 
The winners of the contest get free travel to Montreal, a VIP pass to the Pop Montreal festival September 19-23, 2012 plus accommodation at a bed and breakfast and, not least, fall publication in the magazine (with full honorarium). 
The deadline for submissions is July 1. Each entry is $25.
 "We are looking for writing that makes ears ring and throats hoarse. So if you can bring the rock heat with poetry and/or short fiction, it’s time to break some hearts and/or scare some parents."
The judges are Ken Babstock for poetry and Melanie Little for fiction.  Full contest rules and regulations can be found at and


Friday, June 08, 2012

Media (including magazines) ad losses blamed for Transcontinental impairment charge

Despite revenue increasing 6% to C$529.4 million, Transcontinental Inc. posted a quarterly loss of C$106.2 million in the most recent quarter, compared with a net income of C$32 million in the same quarter a year ago, effectively a reversal of C$139. As a result, says a Reuters report,  the company took a non-cash, non-operational impairment charge of $180 million. The loss is attributed to a broad slump in advertising spending in the TC Media unit, which publishes daily and community newspapers and magazines and French-language educational resources.

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Multi-platform publishing event to be
hosted by MagsBC

Once again, MagsBC is hosting one of its periodic networking events called ReMix -- a magazine-focused gathering of publishing and media professionals sharing their expertise about multi-platform publishing. It's June 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at W2, 111 Hasting Street, Vancouver. Entry is $15 for MagsBC members; $25 for non-members.
High quality print magazines are still a key part of the publishing business, but it is not the only one. The Internet has made every publisher a possible television producer, radio broadcaster, blogger and website developer. Users now also demand that publishers provide them with the content they want, in the format they want, at anytime of day.
Panellists include: Sean Cranbury, a publishing and communications expert; Nick Jones, a digital strategy consultant; Nikolay Malyarov, vice-president of NewspaperDirect; Kate Reid, head writer at The Thinking Ape; and Christine Pilkington, CEO of Crisp Media.


Canadian Living BBQ cookbook updated; sold 33,000 copies last time around

As a measure of the effectiveness of brand extensions, a Canadian Press story by Judy Creighton says that the last edition of the barbecue cookbook created by the staff of the Canadian Living magazine test kitchen sold more than 33,000 copies. They have (um) beefed up the current edition with 100 new recipes and some of these are suitable for vegans. The Barbecue Collection (Transcontinental/Random House Canada) sells for $32.95 in paperback


Awards night in Toronto went smoothly and sweetly

In a Twittered world, it is impossible to be first with the news,but it's probably important to summarize the important outcomes of events such as last night's National Magazine Awards and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, this year happening back-to-back. However I am going to provide two links where you can read the excellent releases out of both events, giving detailed information on the winners in every category.
I'll restrict myself to making some highlights and observations:
  • Congratulations to the Magazines of the Year in each awards program: Maisonneuve was a surprise winner in the NMAs, and Alberta Oil the unsurprising winner in the KRWs.
  • Holding the two events in one evening was not a problem; in fact, it went seamlessly well, with the KRWs emptying out into the reception that then preceded the NMAs. Kudos to the organizers who clearly anticipated what could be done. 
  • Whether this will happen this way next year is an open question. Every KRW program came with a questionnaire about the event and its future direction. If enough people fill them out and send them back, the Canadian Business Press and Magazines Canada will know better what works and what doesn't for the business-to-business crowd. Some of the possibilities can be read between the lines of the questionnaire, including the possibility of once again holding the KRWs at a separate venue (the Old Mill was mentioned). I suppose it will not be a question of programming or autonomy, but of money.
  • The controversy (if that's not too strong a word) about the perceived treatment of b2b mags as second fiddles was met head-on by the emcee, Tom Gierasimczuk (editor of Marketing) and defused with humour. The crowd was smaller than in previous years, but it's not clear whether this was a result of the economy or a boycott.
  • The emcee of the National Magazine Awards, Ralph Benmergui, seemed strangely detached, even querulous. Or was it just me? 
  • The NMAs are notoriously a noisy event, with people drifting about and talking more loudly as the evening wears on, something that no emcee is able to manage. However it was interesting that you could have heard a pin drop as Heather Robertson, the recipient of the outstanding achievement award, stood and simply told a story about her university days, eliciting a good deal of warmth from people in the room who may not be very familiar with the outstanding achievement of the so-called "Robertson case". Yet by not talking about the 13-year odyssey, instead about her introduction to journalism (and a long career as a freelancer, editor, author and advocate), she held the crowd in the palm of her hand. (Nice introduction, by the way, by freelancer David Hayes.)
  • Perhaps we need to have a small workshop on acceptance speeches. It's acceptable for people to say just "thanks" and even to be nervous,  but it's not very gracious to say "I suck at this". Saying thank you is a learnable skill. 
  • This year's NMAs had nominees who are brand new on the scene. Not surprisingly, The Grid won multiple times (and hooted its approval at every mention). The new Rogers's Sportsnet not quite so much, but I'll bet that's not the case next year when it has a full year's issues under its belt.
  • Could we somehow manage not to hold the CAJ Journalism Awards on the same night as the NMAs and KRWs? Or, for that matter, the Griffin poetry prize. Coordinate your calendars, people.
  • How did the change to a Thursday night work out for you? From my perspective, it took away the festive feel of a typical Friday evening. 
  • I suppose as a media sponsor I shouldn't say this, but there are not enough other sponsors of individual prizes in either awards program. The Globe and Mail and Reader's Digest notable exceptions. We need to step up and do a better job of supporting our own events.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Literary Press Group suddenly loses
federal funding

The Literary Press Group, which represents many small book publishers and markets their lines through small magazines, has confirmed that it is losing this year's funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. Last year, the organization received $235,000. According to a story in Quill & Quire,the federal decision was communicated on Monday and executive director Jack Illingworth called the likely consequences "devastating".
“We believe that this decision is seriously misguided and has the potential to irreparably damage literary publishing in Canada. It just isn’t good public policy to fund the production of books and attack their connection to readers in the most destructive way possible.”


Nina Link, president of U.S. magazine trade association MPA, resigns

Nina Link, the president of the MPA -- the Association of Magazine Media (formerly the Magazine Publishers of America) has announced her resignation and that by the end of the year she will leave the U.S. magazine trade association she has led for 12 years . She has been MPA president longer than any in the organization's 93-year history, according to a story in Folio:.An executive recruiting firm has been retained to find her sucessor.


BPA loosens its rules to allow for multiple web analytics tags

One of the most familiar circulation auditing authorities in Canada, BPA Worldwide, has changed its rules to allow its members to use web analytic tags other than its proprietary tag powered by Nielsen. According to a story in Audience Development
“The change was prompted by the member feedback,” says Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide. “We had hit close to 700 sites and we have nearly 2,000 members. The question to the other 1,300 was what’s preventing you from doing this? Some had said they were using other analytics providers. The two that were named more often than not was Google Analytics and Omniture.”
So, beginning July 1, BPA will allow use of other web analytic tags: Omniture SiteCatalyst and/or Google Analytics. The decision came after comparative analysis of test results.

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There's only room for one Tatler, and it isn't you, says Conde Nast

A very big British publishing company has come down hard on a very small restaurant owner in Queenstown, New Zealand for having the same name as Tatler, one of its high-end society titles.
Conde Nast Publications Ltd is demanding Tatler Restaurant owner Mark Jessop change his business name and website address, according to a published story. It’s also demanding Jessop remove his magazine-style menu entitled Tatler Restaurant & Bar, and hand over profits from selling copies of it. Jessop bought the name with the restaurant when he took it over in 2004.
“We’re not in the magazine business, we don’t want to be in the magazine business,” said Jessop, who says he only put a cover price on the menu to stop customers pinching copies; although he has no record of anyone buying one recently, Conde Nast said that, undercover, it was able to buy one on May 6 for $15.

CMC ACE Awards announced

This year's CMC ACE Awards for Circulation were announced on Wednesday at a luncheon hosted by the Circulation Marketing Association of Canada (CMC). The event was held as part of the MagNet industry conference.
  • Audience Development Effort
    • Zoomer - "Sponsored Subscriptions" (Marisa Latini)
  • Consumer - Online
    • The Hockey News - "Email Renewal Series" (Doris Chan, Yen Duong and Jason Patterson)
  • Consumer - Offline Promotion
    • Canadian Geographic - "Direct Mail" (Nathalie Cuerrier, Canadian Geographic,Darlene Storey, St.Joseph Media,Rui Costa, St. Joseph Media, Laura Heward, St.Joseph Media, Marlene Yaworski, MGY Design)
  • Caren King Award 
    • Olena Dingeldein, Rogers Publishing Limited
  • The 2011 Marketer of the Year award
    •  Jason Patterson, TC Media
  • Terri DeRose Scholarship (announced earlier this year)
    • Kamila Priehodova 


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Spacing magazine and Outdoor Canada win big at CSME Editors' Choice awards

Matt Blackett of Spacing, Susan Antonacci of Canadian Living, Patrick Walsh of Outdoor Canada, Graham F. Scott (former editor) and Lauren McKeon (current editor), This Magazine.

Spacing was one of the big winners of the 2012 Editors' Choice Award of The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) announced Wednesday evening during the MagNet conference in Toronto. It won for Best Web Editorial of the Year (more than 150,000 unique visitors), Best Blog of the Year and Best Front of Book.
Patrick Walsh of Outdoor Canadawas named Editor of the Year for the second year running and his magazine also for the second year took home the award for Best Medium-Size Consumer Magazine of the Year.

This Magazine took top honours in the small-circulation category for the third year in a row, while Canadian Living won in the large-circulation category. Today’s Trucking got the nod as the Trade Magazine of the Year. The award for Best Web Editorial (fewer than 150,000 unique visitors) went to Canadian Art and this year’s honour for the Jim Cormier Award for Display Writing was taken by Explore

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Quote, unquote; Overcoming the lumping together of magazines with other "analog media"

"Magazines are considered "print," and many media planners/buyers want nothing to do with analog media. Many clients feel the same way. I often hear, "I want my target consumers to start a dialogue with my brand." That's fine, but the best way to achieve this is to create a compelling idea and reach customers on multiple platforms -- magazines, tablets, TV, social media, mobile, PC, events, etc." 
-- Mark Brownstein, writing in a column for Ad Age about the 82% of U.S. population reading one or more magazines a month, a loyal, not-to-be-ignored loyal readership.


Monday, June 04, 2012

GOOD magazine turns out to be not-so

GOOD, a Los Angeles based business magazine that has been well-regarded by magazine mavens, has apparently imploded, with most of the staff summarily laid off. According to a story on, the magazine held a launch party for its latest issue on Thursday and then, on Friday, let go its executive editor, managing editor, senior editor, lifestyle editor, business editor and associate editor.
GOOD appears to be exploring a community-based publishing system with a public beta site described as “a platform for 21st century citizenship” that includes aggregation (GOOD Finder) and a tool for mobilizing locally (GOOD Maker).
GOOD was launched in 2006 by Ben Goldhirsh, the scion of Inc. magazine founder Bernie Goldhirsh and developed a much-talked about graphical style along with an unconventional approach to covering business.

Quote, unquote: On how hard it is to let go of the cowboy

"I think there’s fear out there that Calgary is rich, successful and sophisticated, and Toronto doesn’t want us to be the hotbed of culture that we are. They deal with it by slapping the old cowboy hat on us."
-- Aretha Van Herk, reacting in Swerve to the cover story about Calgary in the current issue of The Walrus.  Apparently, Toronto-centrics can't resist the cowboy icon. (Van Herk will be a member of a forthcoming Walrus Glenbow debate June 7 at 6:30 at the Max Bell Theatre about Calgary’s cowboy culture.)


YorkU wins gold as best university magazine

York University’s YorkU Magazine won the gold award for best university magazine at the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education’s annual Prix d’Excellence ceremony held yesterday in Toronto. The University of Toronto’s U of T Magazine earned the silver and the University of British Columbia’s Trek Magazine won the bronze.
The McGill News Alumni Magazine won gold for best English writing for a feature story about the 100th anniversary of the McGill Daily student newspaper. The Université du Québec à Montréal’s Inter- won the gold award for French writing for a story about UQAM graduates who have done celebrated work as web site developers.


Magazines Week kicks off tomorrow

Over the years, Magazines Week has evolved to encompass many of the biggest Canadian magazine industry events. The MagNet conference runs June 5 - 8, presented collaboratively by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Circulation Management Association of Canada, Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, Magazines Canada, National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Professional Writers Association of Canada.
The conference-- which presents four dozen seminars on all aspects of magazine publishing, marketing and production -- starts officially tomorrow (Tuesday 5th) with the kickoff event called MagNet Marquee, always a sellout, this time a presentation by the editor of Bloomberg Business Week, Richard Turley.  Other highlights:
  • The Birth of a Typeface: Changing a Modern Classic, and Understanding Type Design for Magazines with Christian Schwartz, Partner, Commercial Type
  • What It Really Takes to Get Paid for Digital Content with Kevin McKean, Vice President and Editorial Director, Consumer Reports
  •  Multi-Platform Publishing: Breaking Down the Print Paradigm, and Talking in Code: 10 Lessons from the iPad -- James B. Meigs, Editor-in-Chief, Popular Mechanics
  • Engaging the Influential: Creating an "Ideas Community" -- Nick Blunden, Global Managing Director and Publisher, the Economist Online
  • Tumblr: The Hot New Social Media Tool for Magazines -- Mark Coatney, Media Evangelist, Tumblr
  • Building Brand the Bonnier Way --Gregg Hano, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales and Technology Group, Bonnier Corporation
  • Inside Data Intelligence: How Canadians are Reading Online -- Brent Lowe-Bernie, President, Media Metrix Canada, Comscore
Among the events and celebrations that are offered throughout the week:
All events are held at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel  at Yonge and College in Toronto -- except for the National Magazine Awards and KRWs, which are held nearby at the Carlu. (Online registration is closed but registration in person at the conference is still offered.)

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Book City Danforth named magazine retailer of the year by Magazines Canada

Book City Toronto's Danforth branch and its magazine manager June Shoji has been named 2011 Retailer of the year by Magazines Canada. The award will be presented this week at a luncheon being held as part of the MagNet conference.
Book City is a mini chain, owned and run by Frans Donker, and carries a comprehensive collection of magazines from a diversity of distributors.
The Danforth store, managed by Patricia Magosse, is the quintessential Book City: great books, great remainders and, in a small, efficient space, a spectacular selection of magazines. Somehow in this ever-changing retail landscape, Book City has found the right combination of factors to survive. Obviously this includes having a great location, a hands-on, knowledgeable staff and carrying a good selection of Canadian magazines.
What has evolved into Magazines Week in Canada begins tomorrow, with the first event in the four-day MagNet conference in Toronto, managed by a consortium of industry associations.

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

"Loose association" of little mag publishers aims to work around "trial and error"

Here's a nifty idea; a collaboration of little magazine makers brought together to network, share resources and so on. (It's in a way what the Independent Publishers Association (IPA) used to do before it imploded.) Hope springs again although the organization hasn't yet held its first meeting (still to be announced). As reported on MagCulture:
Ralph [Emerson McGinnis] from Put A Egg On It,[a New York-based food zine he publishes with Sara Forbes Keogh] the man behind the The Little Magazine Coalition, explains,
‘It’s going to be a loose association, but with the hope of creating a professional organization that can teach and assist about things most of us have to figure out through trial and error. Even people experienced as magazine employees are often lost when figuring out how to distribute, sell ads and promote. Our first meeting is going to be a discussion about who are the best distributors for small magazines; our methods of online sales and tracking of subscribers. Practical stuff.’

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Writer Mark Witten wins medal for Homemakers article on new approach in personalized medicine

Freelance writer Mark Witten has been awarded the Sanofi Pasteur Medal For Excellence In Health Research Journalism,by the organization Canadians for Health Research (CHR). It was for an article called "Drugs Made to Measure" published in the April 2011 issue of the late Homemakers magazine (closed at the end of last year). In addition to a plaque, Witten will receive a $2,500 bursary, presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Science Writers' Association, held in Windsor. Witten has twice before won the medal.
Writer Mark Witten offered a survey of the latest developments in this field [said a release], which is employing genetic tests to determine how doctors deal with breast cancer, how they prescribe drugs for heart disease or mental illness, and how blood transfusions are performed. His detailed and engaging account, “Drugs Made to Measure”, draws on the cases of patients who have been helped by this new approach....
“Personalized medicine is often discussed in abstract terms, which might lead people to expect too much or too little,” says CHR president, Patricia Guyda. “Witten has provided a significant public service by explaining it in clear, practical terms, so readers can understand what is actually a very exciting dimension of medical treatment.”
CHR, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting the stability and quality of Canadian health research,  launched the Sanofi Pasteur Medal in 1995, and administers the selection process. The award is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Ltd., Canada’s premier vaccine company, a division of the global pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis Group.
(The winning article has also been nominated in the Service: Health and Family category of the National Magazine Awards, to be presented Thursday. Witten has previously won two gold and one silver medals from the NMAs and had written health features for a wide range of consumer magazines, including Toronto Life, Homemakers, More, Reader's Digest, The Walrus, Canadian Living and Today's Parent.)


Friday, June 01, 2012

Quote, unquote: How the perfect audience reads a magazine while working out

“The idea of getting the magazine on the iPhone is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, because our readers are a perfect audience: They’re traveling, they’re at the gym. This is a great way for them to dip into the magazine content to reference a workout at the gym, for example."
-- interactive design director Sean Bumgarner referring to using an app to put the whole content of Rodale's Men's Health on Apple's iPhone using Adobe's Content Viewer. Today, it's a replica, but soon with interactive features.


Quebec publishers to fight curbside recycling bill that "makes their hair stand on end"

[This post has been updated] The magazine publishers of Quebec are intent on fighting back against a new bill of $5 million a year for the "blue-boxing" of their publications. They are going to challenge a new Quebec bill in court for the inequitable way it intends to finance curbside recycling.
According to a column in La Presse by Hélène Baril, the publishers argue that, as structured, the new bill may kill an industry that's not exactly flourishing.
"Since the adoption of Law 88 on waste in June 2011, the editors have taken the time to calculate the amount of the bill they will pay, retroactive to 2010. And it makes their hair stand on end," she said.
Robert Goyette, editor of Reader's Digest and president of the Quebec Association of Magazine Publishers says the attributed share of the magazines in the recycling bins is "unfair and disproportionate." He also points out that this is 7 or 8 times more than an equivalent Ontario publisher.
The new bill 88 has fundamentally changed the way curbside recycling is paid for. Previously, half was the responsibility of municipalities, half of industry. Now it will be borne 100% by the industries involved and the share expected of magazines is huge. The tariff is divided by the percentage of paper found in a green bin: 60% for cans and bottles; 30% for magazines and flyers; 10% for newspapers.
Félix Maltais, Publications BLD, which publishes  Débrouillards and Explorers, said contributions required by the government of magazines is too high."The idea is not to avoid paying," he says. All we ask is to be treated fairly." He said the $40,000 or $50,000 bill for his magazines each year would wipe out the already thin margins of the publications.
The TVA group, the largest magazine publisher in Quebec, must pay a $3.4 milllion contribution for 2010, 2011 and 2012. President Pierre Dion says these additional costs threaten "serious viability and financial stability of the industry" which is why the company is going to court to challenge the law; the other Quebec magazine publishers association is considering becoming part of the lawsuit.[Update: four major publishing groups have joined the suit including TC Media, Rogers and Readers Digest.]
To add insult to injury, magazine publishers are steamed that daily and weekly newspapers are not only assessed only 10% of the Blue Box burden, but are allowed to pay their bill partly by giving advertising space. So, for 2013, their contribution is $6.5 million, only $3 million of which is cash, while magazine publishers will have to pay their entire $5 million bill in cash.
[photo: Patrick Woodbury, LeDroit]

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