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The ODD Man IN Glow's Cameron Williamson Removing The Shackles Charitable Foundations for Financial Stability The Long March Moving Towards Sustainable Publishing mag w o r l d | 1

Spring 2010

Now Accepting Donations By Michael Raine Charity as an alternative funding model

Green Leaders By Catherine Labelle Eco-solutions for the publishing industry

The New Guy at Glow By Pam Bal A profile of Glow’s Cameron Williamson




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Not So Popular Science By Sangeeta Patel

The answer to the lack of Canadian science magazines


For the Love of Words By Kyle Hall

Canada’s beloved literary journals struggle for survival


The Influential

By Emmanuel Samoglou

The Economist continues to make its mark on the world, 167 years and counting

Letter from the Editor / Masthead 2 | m a g w o r l



Web-cognition | Brigitte Truong The National Magazine Awards hit the web

The Mad Men of Print | Dan Blackwell Attracting advertising dollars in an evolving industry

Branding the Cash Cow | Melissa Greer The impact of magazine branding

Rules are Meant to be Broken | Gillian Galinsky Moving towards standardized advertising guidelines

More Flexibility, Less Accessability | Phil Heidenreich The double edge sword of the Canada Periodical Fund

FREElance | Jonathon Brodie Freelancers take aim at Transcontinental

It’s a Blog Eat Blog World | Romi Levine Using blogs to attract the web savvy magazine reader

Boarding into the Age of New Media | Heather Alford SBC Media makes the move to online

The State of the (Gay) Nation | Andrew Sutherland GLBT Publications search for relevance outside the village

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On the Road Again | Remy Greer The Driver accelerates towards a national audience

Death of the Photo | Maegan McGregor Can photojournalists regain their once-glamourous role?

Looking Good | Robert Sykes Canadian men find their voices in homegrown publications

Hello! Success | Arda Zakarian Meet Canada’s top-selling English magazine

Made to Order | Noel Grzetic A look inside the world of custom publishing

The Medium Goes Mobile | Patrick Faller Putting magazines in the palm of your hand

Lessons Learned | Shaun Bernstein Training the industry leaders of tomorrow

The End of the One Trick Pony | Andrew Ardizzi Adapting to the demands of today’s job markets mag w o r l d | 3

mag world Spring 2010

Editor in Chief

Emmanuel Samoglou

Executive Editor Romi Levine

Managing Editors

Editor’s Note

Dan Blackwell Sangeeta Patel Noel Grzetic

Assistant Managing Editors Melissa Greer Michael Raine Patrick Faller

Copy Chief Pam Bal

Section Editors

Catherine Labelle Jonathon Brodie Robert Sykes Shaun Bernstein Kyle Hall Andrew Ardizzi

Research Chief

Phil Heidenreich

Art Direction

Gillian Galinsky Brigitte Truong


Maegan McGregor

Online Content Managers Heather Alford Remy Greer Andrew Sutherland Mike Thomas Arda Zakarian

Faculty Advisers Terri Arnott Lara King Anne Zbitnew


“WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT” The date was May 1844. And these were the words that composed the first official message sent across the wire laid by Samuel Morse, connecting Washington DC to Baltimore. The second message: “HAVE YOU ANY NEWS?” These messages were reprinted in late 2009, when The Economist published an article titled “Network Effects.” The London-based publication was examining how the advent of the telegraph had affected journalism, and some of the concerns that many had at the time. What The Economist was trying to do though, was draw connections between then and now. Fast forward to 2010, and Morse’ initial message describes the sentiments currently felt by many. Mirroring much of the paranoia that was prevalent in the mid 19th century, a lot has been written about the current state of journalism and how it is adapting to the digital age. Technological innovation, dwindling advertising dollars, declining readership … the odds seem stacked. The magazine industry may be punch drunk, but it’s versatile. This profession is adept at dodging knockout blows. In this 2010 edition of MagWorld, we have focused on the magazine industry’s counter attack. In “Now Accepting Donations”, Michael Raine writes about the efforts of some magazines to create recession-proof businesses by adapting the non-profit model. On the environment front, Catherine Labelle discusses the push for sustainability in publishing, focusing on the industry’s slow embrace of paper composed of agricultural residues and post-consumer materials. And Kyle Hall’s “For the Love of Words” tells the story of the struggles facing Canada’s Literary Journals, and their response to 21st century challenges. The advances in publishing technology have allowed this edition of MagWorld to reach readers in a wide number of ways. You may be reading these words in front of a computer as you flip through the pages of the virtual magazine, navigating through, thumbing through the website on a mobile device, or you may have even purchased a paper edition through MagCloud. Regardless of how you may have come across MagWorld 2010, I hope you enjoy our magazine – the collaborative effort of 24 post-graduate students at Humber College who are fearlessly entering the ring to bring stories to the next generation of media consumers.

William Hanna Humber College of Technology & Advanced Learning School of Media Studies & Information Technology 205 Humber College Boulevard Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L7 416.675.6622 ext 4518 4 | m a g w o r l

Emmanuel Samoglou | Editor in Chief

Web-cognition The National Magazine Awards prepare to hand out seven new web-based awards at this year’s gala

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fter 33 years, the National Magazine Awards (NMA) has decided to honour web-based content with seven new categories, proving online publications may finally be getting some long overdue recognition. “We’re quite excited to finally extend to the new-media realm,” says president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation, Patrick Walsh. “It’s important because magazines more and more have to consider themselves to survive and to grow as brands, not just print products.” This year’s web-based content applicants may be eligible for: Best Community Feature, Best Cross-Platform Package, Best Visual Design, Best Repurposed or Adapted Content, Best Web-Only Content, Outstanding Use of Digital Technologies and Website of the Year. “It was just a matter of time,” says Walsh. “We had to do our due diligence. We had a task force to investigate right down to what constitutes an online magazine. Who would this be open to? What are the categories? What constitutes good work in such a category? That kind of thing.” Penny Caldwell, second-year chair of the NMA judging committee and editor of Cottage Life, believes web-based content is becoming increasingly essential for magazines. “There’s a huge audience that gets its information online. It is also a way that magazines can enhance content by updating it or providing more interactive material that they can’t do in magazines,” she says. “We can now post additional photos, we can post links and other bells and whistles

on a website we can’t do in a magazine in a more immediate way.” Gary Campbell, executive producer of Toronto Life’s digital medium, was one of the members on the NMA advisory board who helped determine the categories for the online content awards. Although he’s uncertain of what the future holds for the publishing world, Campbell encourages the recognition of web-based content. “Really they are starting to view online properties as something that can stand on its own, independent of the magazine,” he says. “We view the Toronto Life brand as the trunk of the tree of which the website and the magazine are individual branches,” he says. “We really focus our efforts on creating the website as a unique independent destination with lots of up-to-theminute original content.” Some, like Kelie Jensen from Alberta Views Magazine, applaud the acknowledgment of webbased content, even though her publication’s priority remains print. “I think it’s great. I think there’s definitely a market out there and it’s a new product emerging so I think it’s good to be recognizing that.” Alberta Views Magazine has a comprehensive website, but found substantial success in print, where it won 14 NMAs as well as the Magazine of the Year Award in 2009. “There is definitely a place for web-based magazines but I think it is a different product. It isn’t where we are headed,” says Jensen. “Our publisher is personally really committed to publishing a print magazine and I think she really believes in providing readers with something tangible that they can hold in their hands and keep on their coffee table to refer back to. I think the readers


we have really still value that.” Canadian urban landscape magazine Spacing is confident in its 2010 NMA web-based submissions and excited online content is finally being recognized, though managing editor Todd Harrison says the judging criteria may be less than concrete. “I think they have to figure out how to legitimize the category because there is not a tremendous amount of genuine blogging, so how do you judge these things? Do you give people credit for sincerity?” he says. Campbell says web-based content goes beyond what magazines typically offer. “I think we are in a new and evolving space in the media world where we create these new properties, but I don’t know if they are magazines,” says Campbell. “I think they’re really online destinations. As we get into the new iPad, the things we end up creating for it will be something that’s not exactly a magazine, not exactly a website, so it’s an interesting transitional period we’re in right now.” Walsh likewise emphasized changes are taking place in the magazine world. “I think it’s all only just begun. We are in the early days,” he says. “Is the iPad an answer to publications wanting to have a more innovative interactive platform for their product? Or is the iPad going to drive us to do more of that kind of stuff? That remains to be seen.” With seven additional NMAs acknowledging this new web-based era, online content may no longer be the way of the future, but instead the reality of today. The only question is, where do we take it from here? u With notes from Romi Levine

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MADMEN of Print How magazines are staying afloat in a post-recession market B y D a n B l ac k w e l l


he best-kept secret in the print industry may be how to sell to advertisers in times of financial crisis. While the ad bucks may be harder to come by postrecession, some publications are thriving and fortunately for us they aren’t holding back. The print industry’s best mad men (and women) are finding new ways to squeeze the almighty dollar from their ad revenue and some are saying magazines may well be the white knight of the written world. Enter Gary Garland. As executive director of advertising services for Magazines Canada, Garland has seen his share of ups and downs in the print industry and the recession doesn’t scare him. “We are seeing a turnaround,” says Garland. “Canada is way ahead of the States. They’re two very different markets.” Advertising, the heart of any magazine’s financial success, is Garland’s specialty. Unlike the doomsayers out there, he sees the recent economic decline a little differently. “If you take a look at advertising revenue performance over the last 24 months or so, it’s very much driven by those advertisers in Canada that are U.S. based. What they’re doing is cutting back on spending quite directly. As a result, Canadian magazines and all media were sideswiped by this,” Garland says. “The good news in all of this is that readers haven’t gone anywhere. Circulation continues to increase and the number of magazines being launched continues at a healthy rate.” The stats back up these claims. A 3.8 per cent drop in Canadian ad revenue performance in 2008 was countered by a rising number of new magazines that same year. With such a disconnect between readership and ad revenue, what will industry leaders do to squeeze a little more out of 2010? For Nancy Bradshaw, associate publisher at Reader’s Digest Canada, it’s all about finding and packaging new forms of ad space for one of North America’s highest circulating magazines. “It’s not just Reader’s Digest magazine,” she

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says. “I don’t say I’m selling Reader’s Digest magazine, I’m selling Reader’s Digest brand.” Bradshaw points out that although times are tight, selling to advertisers across multiple platforms can be a lucrative way to generate additional ad revenue. “The dollars have certainly been challenged in this recession,” says Bradshaw. “In the meantime though, we are evolving into being able to provide products to our advertisers and consumers that are different than our traditional magazine,” she says. Bradshaw emphasizes Reader’s Digest’s large database of customers, across print and online, as a means of catering to advertisers who are looking for specific segments of consumers. “We have a big direct mail market,” Bradshaw says. “A customer of Reader’s Digest can be a customer through the magazine, or we have customers who only buy our books…so we have this database of customers and that’s what we can go out and offer to our advertisers.” The joining of these different platforms is what Bradshaw describes as 360 degree marketing which will provide advertising revenue in the future for magazines. “We know we have these readers in our magazine, we know we have these people visiting us online, so how can we build a 360 degree solution that touches on print, online and even to the point of sampling programs?” she adds. Bradshaw says the benefit to having sellable ad space across multiple mediums is the bargain it offers to advertisers looking to get the most bang for their buck. Ultimately, she says, it’s about “understanding what a client’s needs are and how they want to touch their customers.” Back at Magazines Canada, Garland echoed this sentiment. “It’s a whole family of other products that a consumer can use. This single-minded positioning in people’s minds allows you to market all these different media touch points quite easily,” he says. Spreading content across online, print and new media like eReaders and iPad apps opens a whole new universe of potential advertising real estate for publishers to sell, Garland says. “What

you’re going to see are magazine salespeople going to advertisers with a whole menu.” South of the border, where many magazines are still recovering from a near brush with financial collapse, another strategy is underway. Fitness publisher and vice president Lee Slattery spoke confidently of her magazine’s plan for precise, tightly constructed editorial content, and rightfully so. Last year Fitness increased its ad revenue by14.9 per cent over 2008 and was one of a handful of U.S. magazines to show signs of a full ad revenue recovery, despite a dwindling consumergoods market. “The tone of our magazine was just really targeted,” says Slattery. “Women, regardless of the economy, won’t abandon their workout regime, or if they’re going to have a baby they’re going to have to lose that baby weight. It’s a very targeted audience,” she says. Focusing on home cooking and eating out less, walking and home exercise activities that don’t cost money, along with other forms of recession-proof content are what helps Fitness retain readers and ad dollars, Slattery says. “The editorial is relatable to what’s going on right now. We increased our beauty editorial as it pertained to active women and that has really paid off. We increased our beauty advertising by 32 per cent in 2009 and it’s already up 92 per cent in the first issues of 2010.” It’s this precise content selection and catering to their customers’ immediate needs, as well as what their advertisers want to sell, Slattery says, that’s pushing Fitness through the recession. “Our newsstand numbers are not doing terribly well, but newsstand is not correlating to our advertising this year. People are buying fewer magazines than they were two and three years ago, but this year we were just dead on with editorial content,” she says. Garland also stresses the unique opportunity for a magazine’s targeted editorial content. “Magazines own content. We’re not the same as TV or radio, which really are pipelines through which someone else’s content goes,” he says. “Once you have content you can repurpose that anyway you want. You’ve probably heard the term ‘content is king’, well it’s true here. A very well positioned

magazine with good content and a smart business plan should succeed and should find strong advertising support.” One of the most profitable publications to put this ‘content is king’ motto to practice is the news and opinion magazine The Week. It gained 9.5 per cent of its annual ad revenue in 2009 and created a unique business model all its own. Magazine president Steven Kotok says The Week owes its advertising prosperity to successful and independent editorial content, and a careful selection of advertisers. “We really designed the magazine with a focus more on the reader and the subscriber,” he says. “A lot of magazines launch to target a certain kind of ad market and they want to gain that advertising and they try to build an editorial product around it; we did the opposite.” Kotok says the positive metrics on independent editorial content, combined with an increased reliance on subscription prices, means advertisers cater to The Week, and not the other way around. “More than half our revenue comes from subscribers and readers,” he says. “Because we’re so reader driven in our mindset and revenue, we’ve been able to kind of draw a very firm line.” In a round-about way, Kotok says this decreased reliance on advertisers leads to an increased readership, while allowing The Week to choose from the cream of the advertising crop. Among The Week’s most prominent advertisers are Shell, IBM, BMW and Exxon Mobil. “We draw a lot of advertisers who are really looking to more influence a mindset than a purchase,” he says. “Perhaps because smarter companies have a healthy business, they always want to be affecting their brand image, whereas they’re not looking to drive a sale at Christmas or something.”

Print wil stil be the dominant access point for readers by far - Gary Garland The one universal sentiment shared among these mad men and women of print is not the doom and gloom many have predicted, but instead a sense of financial opportunity that publishers and advertisers simply have to capitalize on. When asked if online ad revenue will ultimately crush the monetary returns from print, Gary Garland scoffs at the idea. “They say magazine dollars, online dimes,” he says. “Print will still be the dominant access point for readers by far.” Steven Kotok similarly places his faith firmly in print. “We have a website that’s very successful, but we kind of assume that what we do will work in a lot of different media,” he says. “Because our core business is successful, we don’t feel a huge urgency.” For Nancy Bradshaw, print revenue will never be overshadowed, no matter how big online gets. “I think people will always want the magazine as a form of entertainment, a form of relaxation. It’s all their private time and private space and what better time for advertisers to reach that person?” she says. “We’re content rich, so it’s going to be up to us to figure out how am I going to get that content out there.” u PHOTO AND ILLUSTRATION: mag MAEGAN w o r l dMCGREGOR | 7


Not So Popular Science The answer to the lack of Canadian science magazines B y S a n g e e ta P at e l


rom CSI to Bones to Mythbusters and everything in between, science-based content is becoming more appealing to the general public. If you open any current magazine, you’ll find articles on everything from health issues to nature to the physics of tobogganing; features that are increasingly popular with readers and win awards for content and creativity. Yet there is no Canadian English-language science magazine in print. Selling this kind of magazine to a Canadian audience is one of the hardest factors, says Tim

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Lougheed, freelance science journalist and former president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. “The problem is when you use the words ‘science’ or ‘technology’, there’s this knee-jerk reaction that kicks in,” says Lougheed. “So while people may be fascinated with technology, they’re also leery of it to the extent that they won’t think it’s for them.” There’s also the problem of balancing audience appeal and relevant content: how does a science magazine engage and entertain its audience, while still providing pertinent and accurate information? “There’s the science journalism that’s good for you: the ‘eat your peas’ kind,” says Lougheed.

“Science is often hailed as something that is good to know and necessary to know. Well, this is offputting to people – they don’t want to be told, ‘You need to know about colonoscopies because it’s good for you’. They may worry about whether they should have a colonoscopy and they may worry about the equipment used in colonoscopies.” Some magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics take a ‘gee whiz’ approach to their content, Lougheed says. “‘Gee whiz’ has a tendency to disconnect from what’s actually being done in many fields. In other words, it’s too much junk food and not enough peas and vegetables,” he adds.

“Somewhere in between is what we would like – a civilized publication that appeals and educates and informs and entertains all at once – but that’s a really, really tricky package to put together,” says Lougheed. “You can do it if you just don’t bother telling people they are reading a science story, and this works like a charm every time. It’s kind of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” International publications are often able to overcome these types of expectations, but new Canadian publications might run into problems when attempting to sell themselves to the national market.

Your market isn’t that narrow. Poor people love science, uneducated people love science, we all love science - Tim Lougheed “I think it’s a numbers game,” says Peter Calamai, science writer and associate professor at Carleton University. “For years, the National Academy of Science founded a survey about how many readers are science attentive. The figure always ran about 20 per cent in the U.S., which is about 70 million people. If you reached only one in ten, that is still an audience of seven million people. If you reached one in 100, that’s still 700,000. You can’t do that in Canada – you just can’t get the numbers.” Calamai says even if a magazine can get the same 20 per cent, you assume that you are going to lose the French-speaking populations in Quebec and your readership is going to be smaller. With a readership that is about one-tenth of that in the U.S., publishing a general-interest magazine becomes about advertising in the right manner, as targeting a specific readership can often be tough. “You’ll see things like high-end cars, like BMWs and Mercedes and Seiko watches and things like that, and you’re going, ‘Oh wow, are only the rich people interested in science?’” says Lougheed. “Your market isn’t that narrow. Poor people love science, uneducated people love science, we all love science. We know science is interesting and important. And to say that this is the market the advertisers are after, doesn’t do justice to it,” he adds. “It’s a question that you can marry the right audience to the right content, in a way that provides you with a business model. It really is that hard nosed … If you cannot connect those in a way that’s feasible, the publication will simply fail and publications do fail,” says Lougheed. A number of science magazines including Discover and Scientific American, had to be rescued or bought out to survive, he says. Calamai explains the success of foreign magazines by virtue of the fact that they already serve another market. The publication has the quality of content and the effort put into its initial creation, he says. “There doesn’t need to be any distinctly Canadian coverage to justify its existence. There is no

per-unit cost for its articles,” he says. When they are printing them off, they can let an extra run go through and they are basically covering the market in Canada, he adds. What Canada does have is a unique francophone population interested in science. The only adult-oriented general interest science magazine that exists in Canada is Quebec Science, an exclusively French-language publication, which tends to focus on Quebecois content. “Science is a part of the expression of a different culture in Quebec, and is valued more in many ways than it is in the rest of the country,” says Calamai. Quebec Science is successful as a general interest magazine because it caters to a niche audience and isn’t under the same pressures and expectations that a magazine with a larger readership would be. Another successful science-based magazine that serves a niche market is SkyNews, Canada’s only magazine about astronomy and star-gazing. SkyNews has a readership that is interested in specific content, the Canadian angle, says Calamai. Calamai says SkyNews also has an advertising base full of readers who make expensive equipment purchases, like telescopes and computer software, and are willing to spend money on the magazine, which will assist them in their hobby. Therefore, many advertisers linked to the industry are willing to buy ads in SkyNews. “These are both important in why the magazine has been successful for so long,” he adds. Greg Keilty, SkyNews’ publisher, attributes the magazine’s success to two important factors: the quality of Terence Dickinson’s writing and the role the Canada Science and Technology Museum played in its founding. Initially, the magazine was conceived as a partnership between Dickinson and the museum, which provided the critical production support and editorial funding the magazine needed to sur-

There is of course a limit to the extent that both Quebec Science and SkyNews can grow. In English Canada, a parallel magazine to Quebec Science wouldn’t be able to achieve similar success because of the competition from American publications, says Lougheed. With advertising too hard to sell, potential readership too small and the publication costs too large, some feel that the future for science magazines is online. “There’s enough interest in Canada in science for a science feature entity to be viable, but the question of whether it’s a print magazine or not is moot. I don’t think people care how they consume it, they just want the information,” says Peter McMahon, vice president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. “Is a magazine-style website viable? Or a magazine style digital-entity viable? Yes,” he says. For success, McMahon argues there needs to be a shift in content. Online material cannot be exactly the same as what would go into the print version of a magazine. It needs to be something that would appeal to an ever-shifting online audience. “There are more ... science entities online. There’s a problem with marketing and getting enough visibility for them,” McMahon continues. “There are lesser quality things in there, as there are with any medium, but there is good science information and interesting science communication and popularization out there, but no one knows about them because they’re so buried by other voices and other content.” Lougheed agrees, “The audience is out there and there’s tons and tons of science content out there. The difficulty becomes finding out what those people want in the form of science news.” If both the audience and the content exist, why isn’t there an online general interest science magazine now? “It must be a problem of critical mass,” says Calamai. “We don’t have a lot of scientists con-

Someone stil has to come up with a business model to do this. Even Facebook isn’t making money for God’s sake - Peter Calamai vive. But they had to part ways after the museum came under pressure to publish a French-language equivalent magazine. Luckily for SkyNews, the amateur astronomy movement in Canada had started to grow larger and the magazine had amassed a large enough subscriber base to continue publishing. With a readership of over 23,000 subscribers, Keilty admits the business model is quite unique because a niche magazine for another subject would never have generated enough advertising revenue to survive. Keilty says the only way a general-interest science magazine would persevere in today’s market would be through the support of a government grant and a key subscriber base. But he also notes there is very strong competition coming from the American market, not just for SkyNews, but other English-language publications as well.

centrated in geographic locations. The same thing applies, I suspect, in why there isn’t yet a virtual general interest science magazine. There isn’t a place yet where there is a place for people to do it, with all the resources to do all this and someone still has to come up with a business model to do this. Even Facebook isn’t making money for God’s sake,” he says. The problem again becomes finding the right funding model. “Better to find a benefactor … to get you off the ground,” Calamai proposes, “then rely on governmental grants.” There is a captive Canadian audience just waiting to be tapped, but the monolithic publishing industry will have to change its business model before there will be an English-language general interest science magazine for adults in either a virtual or physical form. We can only hope they see the potential rather than the drawbacks. u

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the Cash Cow How magazines are achieving brand status and capitalizing on the lifestyle they represent


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t’s a lifestyle. No longer just a bound stack of glossy pages – a magazine is a persona all its own. The ideal magazine will infuse itself into the readers’ lifestyle, offering tips and ideas of interest for daily life, becoming a bible for how they want to live. A magazine is a brand, carefully crafted by a team of writers, editors, and publishers, whose mission is to serve the interests of its readers. “Nirvana for a magazine is to become part of your life and lifestyle as a reader,” says Martin Brochstein, senior vice-president of Industry Relations and Information for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA). That’s the dream, but how does a magazine achieve brand status? “I think you want to think of the brand almost as a person – what is that person’s lifestyle, what’s her behaviour and what’s the esthetic of that brand,” says Glen Ellen Brown, vice-president of brand development for Hearst magazines. Hearst Corporation knows a thing or two about brands as it has been working on brand development for more than 20 years. Successful magazine brands in the chain include Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Esquire, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, and Town & Country, to name a few. A veteran marketing executive, Brown is responsible for expanding Hearst magazine brand franchises across multiple product categories and distribution channels. “The most important thing is to stay true to the persona of that brand and be consistent with it,” Brown says. Al Zikovitz, creator and publisher of Cottage Life, agrees. “For us the mandate of Cottage Life is to enhance and yet preserve the quality of cottage living,” he says. “Everything we do has to do that, it has to have the same image so that when people go from one medium to another, they know that this is Cottage Life.” Creating a brand wasn’t the first thing on MAEGAN MCGREGOR

Zikovitz’s mind when the first issue of Cottage Life hit newsstands in 1988, but he soon found that a print magazine alone wouldn’t reach the number of consumers he wanted it to reach. “When I launched Cottage Life magazine, I wanted to create a magazine that every cottager would need, and yet, there were a lot who didn’t buy the magazine so I started to realize that not everybody reads, not everybody’s a magazine reader,” he says. “And if you want to reach them all, you have to use more than one medium.” The marketing strategy to reach a wider audience largely emphasizes the importance of a magazine to be a recognized and trusted brand that can offer more to its consumers through multiple platforms. These platforms include technology and online media, corporate partnerships, licensing and merchandise. “Consumers very much want to uniquely personalize their experience with the brand, and the way they do that most effectively is to be able to take home a product that is designed in the persona of that brand,” says Brown. Licensing is a great way to expand the scope of sales under a magazine brand. LIMA offers its members the chance to expand their business into other categories and develop partnerships that will complement the brand they are trying to enhance. “Licensing is about renting the emotion that is tied up with a brand,” says Brochstein. “A brand is all about emotion – it evokes trust, identification, and let’s be really blunt, I’m renting that emotion in order to sell more stuff,” he says. By licensing a magazine’s brand name to manufacturers, a partnership is created to produce consumer goods that are of interest to the reader of that magazine. The manufacturer produces a product under the magazine’s brand, ensuring it meets the standards of the brand and is compatible with what its readers are looking for, says Brochstein. The first industry example of product licensing that Brochstein refers to is Hearst-published Cosmopolitan magazine. “They, over time, have built up a rather

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extensive product licensing operation which goes into apparel and eyewear, and various accessory categories, and again extends further into the lifestyle than just being something to read,” he says. As the woman behind Hearst’s brand development, Brown agrees that licensing is both another platform to reach consumers from and a possible revenue path. “No magazine is just a printed piece, it’s a sort of 360 – they’re in print, they’re online, they create events that the consumer can experience, there’s an experiential quality to that,” she says. When asked which Hearst magazine has been most successful in expanding its brand, Brown couldn’t say. “I think that’s like saying which kid do you like the best,” she says. Licensing a magazine’s brand is not the only way to expand into other sectors of consumer needs. Group publisher for Canadian Living and Homemakers, Lynn Chambers, says creating partnerships with other media outlets is important for brand expansion. Canadian Living has partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on a daytime cooking show called Best Recipes Ever. Chambers says the Canadian Living brand was able to bring an immediate audience recognition to the CBC daytime programming, resulting in a win-win for both partners. “We were looking for a way to extend the reach of the magazine on more of a daily basis so we’re really building our brand and strength with our consumers by giving them more of what they love in a different medium,” says Chambers. Prevention magazine’s communication director, Bethridge Toovell says, “[Prevention’s] editors are very much on the national media circuit.” The Rodale published health magazine has formed partnerships with media giants, and the television show, The Doctors. Each month Prevention’s editor-in-chief appears on The Doctors to discuss Prevention’s topics and offer tips on how to achieve better health, says Toovell. Television is just one medium of many that magazines such as Canadian Living and Prevention have used to reach consumers. “[Canadian Living’s] audience has grown exponentially from having a website, having a mobile application, having a TV show, because you’re able to serve people and have people connect with your brand the way they want to receive the information,” says Chambers. “As a brand, by extending your audience beyond one platform, you’re extending the power of

your reach to work with marketers and advertisers who are looking to work with brands who have that loyal, engaged, mass audience,” says Chambers. The team behind Prevention knows the value of being able to integrate into its readers’ lives. Prevention has been in publication for nearly 60 years and is the number one health and lifestyle magazine in the U.S. “Last year over 50 million Prevention products were sold,” says Toovell. “That includes copies of magazines, books, DVDs and special interest publications.” Prevention began publishing books in the 1970s as soft-branded and hard-branded. Hardbranded books have the Prevention brand on the cover, while soft-branded books are “compilations that certainly are in cohesion with the Prevention message, but they are their own entities,” says Toovell. Chatelaine’s marketing director, Marnie Peters, says magazines are always seeking to reach more readers and in different ways. Chatelaine recently released Earn, Spend, Save, a financial book targeted specifically to women. “It’s expanding the scope of how we reach readers in areas of content where we know they’re looking to us for more information,” says Peters. “And certainly the areas we expand into are things that are complementary products to our brand.” Consistency is one of the most important aspects in brand expansion, says Chambers. Consistency in the brand’s voice, consistency in the brand’s personality and consistency in the brand’s mission. “Canadian Living started with a magazine, but we really analyzed what people love about the magazine and make sure that’s what we’re delivering and stay true to,” says Chambers. In an effort to maintain consistency in the Cottage Life brand, Zikovitz says it was necessary to move from being an exhibitor with a booth in a cottage show, to producing a Cottage Life consumer show. The annual consumer show has been a huge success due to the way it reflects the magazine, becoming the largest three-day consumer show of its kind in Canada for the past ten years. “The best compliment we ever had, someone wrote to us and said, ‘I was at your show, it was fantastic, it was like walking through the pages of the magazine.’ That quote was exactly what we wanted,” says Zikovitz. The team at Cottage Life experienced a similar situation when they began a television show produced by an outside company. After two years, Cottage Life pulled the show and began producing it themselves because the company didn’t un-

derstand who Cottage Life was and what it was trying to achieve. “It’s not difficult to learn how to produce television shows … It’s more difficult for others to learn our culture – the culture of cottaging as we see it,” says Zikovitz. Despite the positives of brand expansion, licensing can create some issues, says Brochstien. Magazines generate most of their revenue from advertising, and licensing can be problematic to this relationship if the product a brand markets is in competition with a product of their advertisers. Brochstein says, “That’s where the publisher has to make a decision or in some way talk to their advertisers in those particular categories and make them understand that maybe they’re going for a different target audience or a different distribution.” The products a magazine brand may distribute do not always have an overlap though and can be a lucrative way to enhance the consumer’s experience with the brand. “As a business, it’s important to come up with a smart way to generate revenue but also fulfill consumer need,” says Toovell. “Prevention has access to top medical and nutrition experts, so if we can supply that need and generate revenue, then that’s the perfect fit.” When a magazine brand successfully expands into other mediums for distribution, it can become more self-sufficient and lessen the dependence on advertising revenue. “For Cottage Life, advertising is very important for us, but only 30 per cent of our total revenue comes from advertising, and the other 70 per cent comes from subscriptions, newsstands, consumer shows, books and other media,” says Zikovitz. As of result of Cottage Life’s multidisciplinary nature, unstable economic times do not affect its revenue as much as magazines that rely 100 per cent on advertising to survive. From the success of these multidimensional magazines, it is clear that magazines aren’t going anywhere and that their staying power is largely due to the brand each has established. “Any magazine that does not look at brand extension and other medium, I think is going to run into problems in the future. They have to go beyond being a magazine,” says Zikovitz. His advice for expanding that brand: “Take control of it yourself. Take control of it and make sure it is a true reflection of the magazine. Don’t get your messages crossed up where people aren’t sure what the hell you are anymore. You have to control it.” u


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Rules are meant to be New advertising techniques are pushing boundaries. What are magazines doing about it? By Gillian Galinsky


n March 2009, Canadian House and Home published a new form of advertisement-editorial crossover that received a combination of celebration and criticism from the magazine industry. It received praise for the advertising that took up less space, cost less to print, and yet, was actually more successful than traditional magazine ads. Others condemned the ad, arguing it had crossed the boundaries set by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors in regards to advertisements and editorials. Flipping through the pages of a magazine, it becomes obvious that advertisements are just as integral to the publication as the editorial themselves. Readers depend on ads to keep them up to date and informed. Lately, traditional advertisements just aren’t cutting it. Advertisers are constantly trying new and innovative techniques and are finding that the most effective magazine ads are the ones that speak to readers directly. And what is the fastest, easiest, most effective way to speak to the magazine audience? Through editorial. Magazines are feeling economic pressure to give in to the desires of advertisers. The question is should the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors adapt its guidelines to adjust itself to a rapidly changing industry? The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) was formed in 1992, and one of its first orders of business was to devise a set of advertising and editorial guidelines, says Patrick Walsh, the current chair of the committee responsible for revising the guidelines. “They had no teeth and just relied on the moral suasion of their membership,” Walsh says, leaning back in his chair. We are sitting in the boardroom of a building shared by Walsh’s publication, Outdoor Canada, and its sister magazine, Cottage Life. Coincidentally, the magazines’ editors are both active members of the advertising/editorial guideline committee. “They pushed within their respective publishing companies to uphold the guidelines,” Walsh recalls. Flash forward to 2009, where changing technologies and ideologies influenced adherence to the rules. But Walsh says this isn’t the first time that’s happened. “The guidelines were reasonable in terms of the tenor of our times,” he explains, saying they


match the guidelines set out by the American Society of Magazine Editors. “Over time, however, member magazines of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors and other magazines started to stray from these guidelines.” In the past, adherence to the guidelines was necessary in order to be a member of Magazines Canada. Now, that rule has been extended to include being a member of the CSME, as well as receiving nominations for the National Magazine Awards. “In 2005, I noticed when we were reviewing existing members that several magazines were indeed not following the guidelines,” Walsh says. “So we came to a point where, how could we say no to new members for not following the guidelines, but keep existing members who weren’t following the guidelines? That’s where we decided to revisit the guidelines.” Walsh pauses for a moment to collect his thoughts. “And it wasn’t a matter of just going to member magazines that weren’t following the guidelines and saying, ‘Hey, you’re not follow-

Advertisers are looking for more innovative and creative ways to engage with the reader - Patrick Walsh ing the guidelines. You’d better fall in line!’ It was more a matter of trying to figure out why they weren’t.” A great example of the willingness of the CSME to adjust its rules based on changing techniques, while keeping the integrity of the publication, came in 2005 – when Kenneth Whyte became editor of Maclean’s. Under his direction, the magazine ran a series of articles sponsored by Cadillac, a notable no-no at the time. “So since I opened my big mouth and pointed out this conundrum where we had member magazines not following the guidelines … we decided to strike a task force and I was made chair.” Walsh chuckles, as if his opening his big mouth is not an entirely new or rare phenomenon. “We put together a blue-ribbon panel with Penny Caldwell, editor of Cottage Life, John MacFarlane, then editor of Toronto Life, some industry consultants, sales execs from Rogers and from Transcontinental – so we had both sides of the fence on the panel. What we did was we blew up the guidelines and drafted new ones.”

The gap between the first and the revised set of guidelines was 13 years. The gap between the revised guidelines and the problems they are currently having is a mere four years. Certainly it cannot be possible to revise the guidelines every time they run into some trouble or resistance. “They weren’t entirely revolutionary in that we abandoned our old principles, but we did allow for some flexibility,” Walsh says. “This was done with the realization that advertisers are looking for more innovative and creative ways to engage with the reader, rather than just having an ad on the page. They want to be more involved in the magazine community.” There is no doubt that advertisers have always wanted to be more involved in the magazine community, according to Cottage Life editor, Penny Caldwell. The guidelines were put in place to limit just how involved they are. “Traditionally in magazines there’s always been a push-pull between editorial and advertising,” Caldwell explains. “Advertisers want more engagement with readers.” Caldwell continues to explain that magazines are in the business of renting their readers to advertisers. They need to exercise caution concerning how involved the publication allows the advertisers to be with the readers. “There’s a perception by readers that if the advertisers are too involved, the editorial isn’t credible because we don’t know how much of it is true and how much of it has been bought and paid for as an advertising message from the sponsor.” From the advertiser’s perspective, magazines do not always make their criteria clear, explains Michael Rosen, program co-ordinator for creative advertising at Humber College. In advertising, there are some ethical criteria that are mandated by law, such as not to promote hatred or violence. But advertisers don’t need to be aware of the guidelines of individual organizations. “Advertisers try all the time to mix ads with editorial content,” Rosen says. “You have to be careful not to be deceptive in that way – not to make the audience think that the writers of the magazine support the advertised product. But in the end, it’s up to the magazine to accept or reject an ad, it’s not the advertiser’s problem.” Walsh says the line can be drawn on an individual basis. “If the reader can’t tell if the editorial content is sponsored or not, that’s where a problem arises. As long as there is a clear distinction, I don’t see why new advertising techniques can’t fit with the advertising-editorial guidelines.” u

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Now Accepting...

D NATIONS When advertising dollars disappear, should magazines turn non-profit? By Michael Raine


dvertisers are running for the exits while magazines’ bottom lines are diving into the red. Publishers are left in a desperate situation. They don’t know who or what to turn to when their traditional funding model has failed them. For the select few magazines who qualify, an old funding model has emerged to provide some hope. Charitable foundations, a revenue source that has been used in the magazine industry for decades, are re-emerging as a lifeline in hard times. The foundation model may be the way of the future. “Readership in this country has never been stronger,” says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus magazine and executive director of The Walrus Foundation. “But, no advertising, no magazine. It’s that simple. That’s the model we’ve always operated on and that model has to change because some of that advertising is never coming back.” The Walrus is one of Canada’s best examples of the foundation model. Its foundation is a nonprofit charity whose mandate is to “promote public discourse on issues vital to Canadians,” and it achieves this primarily through the publication of the magazine. The foundation gained charitable status in 2005 and has been one of the main sources of funding for the magazine. Its success is due, in large part, to the efforts of Ambrose and her exceptional fundraising abilities. Setting up a foundation is only half the battle, when Ambrose arrived at The Walrus in 2006,

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there was no fundraising plan in place for the foundation. “The board of directors – once charitable status arrived in 2005 – should have run right out in the streets and started to fundraise, but they didn’t,” she says. “It’s not simple to get a plan together – it’s hard.” Ambrose says it took about a year and half from the time she arrived to get organized enough “to take other people’s money.” While many of their competitors suffered financially in 2009, largely due to decreases in advertising and sales, The Walrus had its best year to date. Of course, financial success is relative when talking about a young non-profit magazine. Success doesn’t equate to large profits, but merely avoiding debt. Ambrose says it took a lot of time to get a foundation board of directors, a fundraising plan and a budget together. “I would suggest that last year – 2008 we started with events around the country and some other things – but last year was really the first time the board, the committees, the events, the individual donors, the grant applications, all kind of came together. It was a big year.” The Walrus broke even in 2009 for the first time despite a half million dollar loss of advertising revenue compared to the previous year. The Walrus’ success amid a financial crisis wasn’t an anomaly among non-profit Canadian magazines. Canadian Art, a project of the Canadian Art Foundation, raised $200,000 last year through the foundation’s Futures Fund that will go toward editorial investment over the next five years. Even more impressive, Canadian Art had a three per cent increase in ad revenue over 2008 while most magazines saw their ad revenues

Magazines such asThis Magazine,The Walrus, and Canadian plunge. “Financially, we’ve been affected less by the recession than most magazines because we’re niche and have a core, very loyal, audience,” says Melony Ward, current publisher of Canadian Art, and executive director of the foundation from 2000 until 2008. For the first seven years of the magazine’s existence, there was no Canadian Art Foundation. It relied, as most commercial magazines do, on advertising and circulation revenues. The owners were looking for a financially viable way to keep the magazine running, so the foundation was created in 1990. As Ward explains, “they realized it was not a profit-oriented business and that Canadian visual artists were better served by a magazine owned by a not-for-profit organization.” After all, she says, for a visual art magazine, or any cultural magazine, the bottom line can’t be the most important thing. “What might be most attractive for financial reasons might not be the most desirable from the point of view of the visual arts.” The charitable foundation model isn’t a viable alternative for all magazines. Magazines must fulfill certain criteria to be granted charitable status by the Canadian Revenue Agency. Primarily, the magazine must have an educational mandate. This automatically disqualifies the majority of sports, fashion and entertainment magazines from pursuing charity as an alternative to advertisement and circulation revenue. But the focus of such magazines can be adjusted. “I can imagine a fit-

Art are projects of charitable foundations that collect donations to fund the publication ness magazine may be able to make a good case as a charity if it’s about fitness for kids and general well-being,” says Ward. And, she says lack of charitable status doesn’t mean a magazine can’t collect donations, it only prevents it from giving charitable tax receipts. “It’s about content. You’re never going to have donors, charitable status or not, if you don’t have a loyal readership. If people are passionate about the content, they might cut a cheque for $40. They don’t need the charitable tax receipt. I think people give because it feels good to give to something they care about.” Steve Katz, the publisher of Mother Jones and expert on the foundation model in the United States, agrees that non-profit magazines need a strong relationship with readers to survive. “The key is that the magazine has to have identified and served – through smart editorial – a community of readers who are passionate about it and who really care about it,” he explains. “It has something to do with how they see themselves in the world and how useful they feel what we deliver to them is. If you have that relationship with your readers, then you have the opportunity to go to them and have a conversation about how to support this kind of independent journalism,” says Katz. “I really think that’s the key decision point for anyone thinking about the non-profit approach; do you have a community that really cares about what you’re doing and is willing to step up?” Most non-profit magazines dream of the day a


large endowment will reduce the burden of fundraising. However, the recent troubles at Harper’s magazine have shown that poor financial management can throw a publication into disarray if it relies on a single source of revenue. The MacArthur Foundation, the sole source of funding for Harper’s, has seen its assets drop from $34.3 million in 2001 to $12.1 million in 2008, according to The New York Times. Ambrose of The Walrus insists that the financial troubles at Harper’s are not an indictment of the funding model, but a case of inept financial planning. This isn’t a surprising viewpoint from someone who calls endowments “a gift from God.” “You would hope that the person who is investing that amount of money is not a control freak, although that seems historically to be the case,” Ambrose points out. She appears to be thinking specifically of Rick MacArthur. Recently MacArthur – president, publisher and chief benefactor at Harper’s – suddenly fired the magazine’s very popular chief editor, Roger D. Hodge. Since then, The New York Times has reported that editors have been worried about MacArthur’s ever-extending reach into the editorial side of the magazine. To avoid Harper’s type of benefactor control, Ambrose, Ward, and Katz agree that non-profit magazines should collect money from as many different sources as possible. “The minute you take other people’s money, you’re not in control anymore,” says Ambrose. “That’s what happened

[at Harper.] I would like an endowment, but I would like it to be made up of the broadest base of support as humanly possible.” Drawing from a very broad base of support requires some exceptional fundraising and sales skills. “I would hate to say that anybody would be better off with this model,” Ambrose warns. “Fundraising is really hard. I mean, we’re not Africa, we’re not AIDS, we’re not Haiti, we’re not children, the lung association, or diabetes research. It’s a tough sell.” “Different donors respond to different things. If you talk to fundraisers, you know that certain people respond to an institutional appeal. They’d rather give money to a university. Some people respond to a program that helps a thousand students in Toronto high schools. So different people respond to different types of requests,” Ward says. “You have to tailor it to your audience.” Aside from the demands of constant fundraising, publishers suffer from other potential headaches. Katz points out even supportive external foundations may not have experience working with journalistic institutions. “Some might tend to treat an independent media operation as an extension of their communication strategy and not respect the arm’s-length relationship that makes journalism work,” he says. According to Katz, the main disadvantage of the foundation model – at least in the United States – is that some private investors are not familiar or comfortable with financial models that are partially dependent on philanthropy for revenue. “This makes it difficult for a non-profit to get access to lines of credit or other kinds of working capital and longer-term investmentMAEGAN MCGREGOR funds.” Despite these concerns, the foundation model is gaining attention in the industry as a possible post-recession financial fix. Lisa Whittington-Hill, publisher of the nonprofit activist publication, This Magazine, says it is definitely a funding model that smaller magazines could look to as advertising becomes increasingly difficult to obtain. “It works for us but we’re a magazine that could never be reliant on advertising because of our perspective and what we cover. We sort of have to look other places.” Katz comments on the increased interest in supporting magazines through charitable foundations. “It’s the ‘last man standing’ kind of problem. As the traditional models have collapsed in on themselves, people have looked around to see what the alternatives would be and one of them has been this non-profit model.” “The old ways fell apart, the new ways are not yet visible,” he says. “So in the interim, both organizations and individuals who are looking for ways to do journalism, and foundations and donors who are looking for ways to support it have seen this as an opportunity.” That’s precisely what the foundation model is; an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for the newcomer and the little guy to survive in an industry dominated by large, well-financed publications. It’s an opportunity for publishers who want to contribute to society to challenge, inform and educate without having to beg corporations for advertising dollars. It’s an opportunity for longform investigative journalism to reach readers. It’s an opportunity, but only time will tell if it’s the model of the future. u

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More Flexibility, Less Accessibility The double-edged sword of the Canada Periodical Fund


By Phil Heidenreich 1 6 | m a g w o r


magine yourself as the publisher of a Canadian magazine. You’ve been told that the two federal funding programs are being streamlined into one, making it easier to deal with. You are now going to have total control over how you use your funding. Even better, you learn that despite some rocky times for the Canadian economy, the total amount of federal funding will remain as is. Where is the bad news? This is the strange story of the controversial Canada Periodical Fund. Since 1999, many Canadian magazines and non-daily newspapers have received federal support via the Canada Magazine Fund, which provided general subsidies, and through the Publications Assistance Program, which subsidized mailing and distribution costs through Canada Post. In 2006, Canada Post announced it would be withdrawing its $15 million annual contribution. The government requested that Canada Post extend its funding until 2009 while the government developed new funding guidelines in the form of the Canada Periodical Fund. “There’s two chief changes,” says Scott Shortliffe, the new program’s director. “One is who gets funding, but the other is how you can use that funding … in the new program it’s one cheque up front to cover the year and you can use it for any kind of distribution, editorial, any kind of business development and you can use it for your website. So we’re providing much greater flexibility to the titles we’ll be funding.” You’ll hear no complaints about the new flexibility from Andris Taskans, editor of the literary magazine Prairie Fire. It’s who gets the funding that concerns him. “I dislike it because it punishes the small literary and arts magazines,” says Taskans. “It precisely excludes them.” The new funding guidelines, which took effect in April 2010, require magazines to have sold 5,000 copies over the previous fiscal year to receive any subsidy at all. This puts smaller arts and literary magazines at considerable risk. Larger magazines like Maclean’s or Chatelaine will see their funding capped at $1.5 million. This will result in a loss of nearly 50 per cent of their federal subsidy, while agricultural magazines will be exempt from funding caps. Although larger magazines will need to make adjustments for their funding decrease, it isn’t likely they’ll face a dramatic toll as some of the smaller publications might. “While we’re disappointed that there is a cap, we did have over a year’s advance notice of the proposed cap,” says Michael Fox, senior vice-president of circulation and development at Rogers Publishing, which publishes Maclean’s and Chatelaine. “The important thing is that the government made a commitment to maintaining support for magazines.” The changes appear to make the smallest and largest of Canadian magazines strange bedfellows in their dislike for the policy. Shortliffe is aware of how the new policy has received some negative attention, but is candid and direct in addressing why the new rules were developed. “We had an evaluation several years ago,” he explains. “It noted we were spending a lot of administrative money to provide funding to extremely small titles. We had people who were getting $61 per year and yet there is considerable

processing with that. The mandate of the new program is to support Canadians and their reading choices and we ultimately came to the determination that selling 5,000 copies per year was the appropriate level.” Aboriginal publications and publications serving official-language minority communities are exempt from the sales minimum. Taskans says he realized changes were coming because of Canada Post’s exit from the funding scheme and the rumored administrative burden. However, he says the fact that agricultural magazines benefit from the new program bothers him. “This is about bureaucrats’ desire to eliminate some paperwork coupled with the government’s desire to reward its base. There’s something about the redistribution of wealth to the Conservative base … at least that’s what it looks like from here.” Shortliffe explains that the exemption for farm publications exists because they face unique challenges. According to Shortliffe, because they serve rural audiences, they end up paying a much higher cost for distribution. He also notes their competition with American markets is very intense. Above all, the postal subsidy is where farming magazines have the greatest need, says John Morriss, associate publisher and editorial director of Canadian Cattlemen. He also cites an increasingly competitive search for advertising dollars. “We’ve got a shrinking subscriber base,” he says. “Small towns aren’t what they used to be. The farming population continues to decline, which is a challenge for us.” Morriss also questions whether the cap exemption for magazines like his will even pertain to most farming magazines. He says he believes Western Producer was for a time the only farming publication large enough to benefit from the cap. While magazines nationwide were consulted in the CPF’s formulation process over the last year, the consultation’s effectiveness is also seen differently by the various stakeholders. Taskans questions how much the concerns of smaller pub-


AndrisTaskans, editor of Prairie Fire, says he’s concerned for the future of arts and literary magazines

lications were heard while Morriss says clearly his peers in farming-related publications were. Charlie Angus, the federal NDP heritage critic, says he finds the exemption for farming magazines bizarre. He argues the CPF isn’t clear enough on defining what these magazines are and questions whether other rural publications shouldn’t also be exempt from the cap. Angus thinks the CPF is a continuation of a flawed approach to funding the arts in Canada. He says the way the Conservative government made changes to subsidizing the Canadian recording industry is now also happening in magazine and newspaper publishing.

I dislike it because it punishes the small literary and arts magazines. It precisely excludes them - Andris Taskans “How the Conservatives have approached the arts is they work on what they claim is the principle of supporting commercial success and rewarding commercial success,” he notes. “But I think they misfired on a number of fronts. The small publications really are incubators of new ideas.” Angus, a former magazine publisher himself, adds that ideas and articles presented in smaller magazines are often precursors for what’s to come in commercial magazines. Since Taskans was interviewed, he has discovered Prairie Fire sold enough magazines in order to qualify for funding though he stands by his defence of Canadian literary magazines. It is unclear how the CPF will affect various magazines down the road. The CPF now includes a business innovation fund, which among other things, seeks to fund magazines wishing to develop their electronic presence. At $1.5 million, it’s a small portion of the program’s budget, which Shortliffe says reflects the changing Canadian magazine landscape’s evolution as opposed to revolution. With online media changing how magazines develop their business models, it is entirely possible there may be new winners and losers from the CPF’s guidelines. It’s possible that even magazines facing a funding cap may still benefit overall from the greater flexibility in how they spend their subsidy. For the small magazines that will no longer qualify for funding, however, greater flexibility will be little consolation when they no longer receive a subsidy. While the next year will be a pivotal one for Canadian magazines in their adjustment to the CPF, the anxiety many publishers face may be nothing compared to the following fiscal year. Charlie Angus says regardless of questions about the new funding guidelines themselves, the Conservatives may have put the long-term future of subsidizing Canadian magazines in the balance. “They’ve classified it [the CPF] as stimulus funding under the present budget and stimulus funding is set to wrap up at the beginning of the year. Is the government making a long-term commitment?” u

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For the LOVE of Examining the Current State of Canada’s Literary Journals By Kyle Hall


’m gonna fasten my seatbelt and hang on because it’s gonna be an interesting next couple of years.” Strong language from a magazine editor, but Andris Taskans, editor of Prairie Fire, a Winnipeg-based literary journal, doesn’t think he’s overstating the case. “I think we are on the crux of a big change. It could be for the better or for the worse or a bit of both or a lot of both,” Taskans tells MagWorld. Canadian literary journals are an invaluable resource for Canada’s emerging writers, but it’s tough times for these labour-of-love publications. The CanLit magazine industry is mired by shifting trends, funding cuts and little to no advertising revenue. The readership isn’t growing, but the workload is, especially when it comes to providing online content, and if it weren’t for a legion of volunteer editors fueled by a passion for great literature, it’s impossible to imagine how Canada’s literary journals would continue to exist into the future. Like many of Canada’s literary journals, Prairie Fire is published quarterly. It features poetry, short fiction, essays, artwork, and looks more like a book than a traditional magazine. Also like many Canadian literary journals, Prairie Fire is a not-for-profit organization and relies heavily on external funding to stay afloat. “We’re constantly raising funds. As a charity we’re soliciting donations. We’re doing fundraising events. We apply to all three levels of governments,” says Taskans. The Publications Assistance Program and the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF) were terminated as of March 31. Prairie Fire has relied on the CMF for around 10 per cent of its total funding. The Antigonish Review, a literary journal affiliated with St. Francis Xavier University, will celebrate its 40th birthday this year, and has relied on the CMF for about one-quarter of its total funding. “

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“The Harper government is not very arts friendly. It’s not a good time for small magazines,” says Jeanette Lynes, co-editor of the The Antigonish Review. The CMF has been an important resource for dozens, if not all, Canadian literary magazines and journals. The Canada Periodical Fund is supposed to replace the CMF, but the burning question is: To what extent? Who will qualify for funding and who will see their funding cut? The highly anticipated answers to these questions will arrive over the following months. Funding is just one challenge confronting Canada’s literary magazines. The Internet is another. The Internet means a lot more work, but the work doesn’t necessarily translate to more money or more readers. The New Quarterly, a literary journal published out of Waterloo, Ontario, has recently launched its first fully-digital issue, available for download at for a price of eight dollars. Magazines Canada has created a digital newsstand where its member magazines can offer digital issues at no cost to the magazine. “Something like a digital edition is quite important in this day and age,” says Laurie Alpern, communications director at Magazines Canada. “It’s something quite expensive to experiment with when we don’t know what the reaction will be from their readers. It’s a way for our members to test the waters.” Rosalynn Tyo is the managing editor of TNQ and says not one issue has been purchased from the digital newsstand. On top of Rosalynn’s edito-

I’m not really a writer myself, but I love being a part of the conversation of literature - Kim Jernigan

rial responsibilities, she’s also expected to write a blog, maintain a Facebook account and keep the website up to date. That’s a lot of additional work for a magazine that only has one full-time paid employee. “It [the Internet] doubles our workload. We used to just have to publish a magazine. Now we have a magazine, a website, a blog, a Facebook page and we’re about to get Twitter,” says Tyo from the University of Waterloo, which generously provides office space for The New Quarterly at no charge. It’s not like times weren’t tough in the past. The bottom line is there’s a very limited readership for Canada’s literary magazines, says Taskans. Short fiction, poetry and essays about contemporary Canadian literature just don’t appeal to a large audience. “We’ve done direct mail marketing. We give away free books and issues to conferences. We do as much marketing and promotion as we can. What we’re offering people is going to be of interest for college age and up, and if people by that age haven’t discovered the beauty of reading there’s not a hell of a lot we can do to change their minds or influence them,” says Taskans. Generating funds by selling advertising space is also a challenge for literary magazines. “Print ads in our magazine aren’t really a hot commodity because we print so few issues and they go out all over Canada,” says Tyo of The New Quarterly. “So it’s like a small audience that’s really scattered.” Apart from being entertaining, culturally enlightening and beautifully bound, Canada’s literary magazines provide an invaluable service to Canada’s aspiring writers of fiction and poetry. There are very few options for amateur writers to get published outside of literary magazines, and they’re an important resource for publishing houses and literary agents in assessing Canada’s literary talent pool. “We’re like the minor hockey league in relation to the NHL,” says Tyo. “An agent won’t look at you, or a publishing house won’t look at you,

unless you’ve published in venues like ours first.” David Bergen is a renowned Canadian novelist. His novels have won numerous awards nationally and internationally, including the prestigious Giller Prize for his 2005 novel, The Time In Between. Bergen’s ascent to literary stardom closely parallels Tyo’s hockey analogy: “David Bergen was first published in a few Mennonite publications and then he started publishing his stories in Prairie Fire,” explains Taskans. “His first book came out from Turnstone Press in Winnipeg, but soon after that he was published in Random House.” Miriam Toews is another award-winning Canadian novelist who started out getting published in Prairie Fire. It’s apparent that literary magazines play an integral part in helping Canadian authors establish themselves, and must surely be a source of pride for those volunteer editors who dedicate their time based on their love for literature. Tyo will turn 30 this year and has been with The New Quarterly for eight years. Kim Jernigan is the editor of TNQ, and Tyo says without Jerni-

gan, she’s not sure TNQ would exist. “Our editor volunteers her time. Full time. For almost 30 years. And that’s pretty common.” It was about 30 years ago as a grad student at the University of Waterloo that Jernigan wandered into the office of Harold Horwood, the University’s writer in residence. Horwood was in the early stages of putting together a magazine composed of short stories and poetry written by Canadians. Jernigan volunteered to help out with the magazine and was “given the usual volunteer stuff; some proof reading and busy work.” “At one point he sort of tried me out at some editorial task. He gave me some stories and asked ‘which ones do you like best?’ But I’m convinced what really convinced him I’d be the one to step up after he moved off was that I hand collated 500 copies when I was nine months pregnant.” Jernigan attributes her commitment and work ethic more than her “literary acumen” for landing and maintaining her role as editor of TNQ for 28 years. “I think this is true of a lot of magazines that

have had one editor who has said, ‘This is something I can do and this is gratifying to me in some way,’ like Andris Taskans at Prairie Fire and John Barton for many years at Arch (Arch Poetry Magazine) and now Malahat (The Malahat Review).” These sentiments are echoed by Jeanette Lynes: “There are two editors at TAR and they’re essentially volunteer positions. We do it because we care about it and it matters; we enjoy it and it’s gratifying.” Canada’s literary magazines heavily rely on volunteers like Jernigan and Lynes simply to exist. “Volunteers are huge… I don’t think it’s true of just literary magazines. I think in many arts organizations, the last ones to get paid are the artists themselves, the editors and the artistic directors. The assumption is the artists will do it for love, and in many cases it’s true,” says Jernigan. “I’m not really a writer myself, but I love being a part of the conversation of literature. And this little magazine has given me an opportunity in some small way to be part of that conversation— to hold on to the hem of the thing that I love.” u


With a small reader base and little revenue, literary magazines have been forced to rely on dedicated volunteers in order to stay in business mag w o r l d | 1 9

The Influential For 167 years, The Economist has been a source of indispensible information for the most powerful and influential decision-makers in the world B y E mm a n u e l S a m o g l o u


f you took The Economist’s 891,000 subscribers and multiplied that number by the average reader’s income of $175,000, collectively, they would have a combined net worth of over $1.5 trillion. To put that figure into perspective, if The Economist subscribers were a nation in themselves, they would have the eighth largest economy in the entire world, higher than the gross domestic product of Spain and Switzerland, combined. Dubbed by The Los Angeles Times as “The most successful magazine global brand in the world, on and off the web,” The Economist’s relentless pursuit for enlightening discussion has been continuing for nearly 167 years, making it one of the oldest magazines available on the newsstand. And with its parent company, The Economist Group, earning over $482 million in the previous fiscal year, the numbers indicate that the success of The Economist and the savvy opulence of its readers clearly rub off on each other, making it a deeply influential publication. But what is it that makes The Economist so influential? And what makes this magazine so successful in the turbulent world of print media? For that matter, is The Economist even a magazine? “We call it a newspaper,” says Daniel Franklin, executive editor and editor of, speaking after a busy Friday from his office in London. “That’s partly because we’re very much moved by the rhythm of the news.” “There isn’t a tradition of news magazines in

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the same way in Britain as there is in America … so to call us a magazine doesn’t quite capture what we do,” he says. What Franklin and his colleagues at The Economist are doing is creating a publication which positions itself as a source of indispensible information for bright minds and society’s movers and shakers. By completing this task alone, the magazine becomes an extremely influential publication, informing the individuals who make the decisions that affect us. Who is this influential person that reads The Economist? To get an accurate idea, a starting point could be the magazine’s “Executive Focus” section. There, advertisements are found for lucrative job postings with some of the world’s largest corporations, national governments and prominent academic institutions. For example, if there were an opening at the World Bank for Chief Executive Officer, chances are the competition would be advertised there, as has been done in the past. Indeed, these readers are highly influential people, shaping the society that we live in, and are continually looking to The Economist for its take on current events, intermingled with stories about people, culture and science. “We have a product which has stuck to what it does and continues to believe in itself,” says Franklin. The executive editor says the magazine has consistently appealed to what is actually a growing number of people who “have a high degree of curiosity and interest in the affairs of the world and are interested in the ideas that shape what’s going on.” The Economist was conceived by James Wil-

son, a hat maker from Scotland. According to Ruth Dudley Edwards, an Irish historian who wrote The Pursuit of Reason, a 900-page plus historical autobiography of the magazine, Wilson founded it “to campaign for free trade, laissez-faire and individual responsibility through the medium of rational analysis applied to facts.” Not restricted to the promotion of free trade, Wilson was also motivated to publish through his moral beliefs. He was against slavery and was moved by the effects of the Corn Laws – tariffs introduced in 1815 by the British House of Commons to protect domestic corn growers. With the Corn Laws driving up the price of bread, causing starvation and a thirst for sober discussion, The Economist launched its premier issue on September 2, 1843 with its stated mission to take part in a “severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” The Corn Laws would be repealed three years later. “It really speaks to the idea of taking the power of knowledge and arguing it with conviction, with a belief in progress” Franklin says as he explains the mission of The Economist in a 21st century context. “If you shed light and rational discussion onto that issue (the Corn Laws), which had a lot of forces aligned against it, it would help the forces of progress pressing forward against un-enlightened views that were not thoroughly thought through,” says Franklin. “That’s the kind of severe contest The Economist likes to see it’s continually being engaged in.” Participating in fierce debate may have relegated Socrates to a destitute lifestyle, but for The Economist’s parent company, The Economist Group, it has proven to be a lucrative business. In the previous fiscal year, The Economist Group saw its operating profit increase by 26 per cent. And circulation figures, which have consistently been on the rise for the past decade, are currently over 1.4 million worldwide, showing no effects from the economic downturn. Complementing the magazine’s financial strength, Franklin says additional success emanates from the production of quality content created and filtered by editors who are given the freedom to publish with liberty. “The one crucial point I think is the editorial independence that we do enjoy and that is supported by the constitution of The Economist which guarantees the editors independence,” says Franklin. The Economist’s unique shareholding structure is coupled with a board of trustees, who are the only people who can actually fire an editor. This, Franklin says, avoids the common arrangement of having an editor who is beholden to tyrannical owners. “That sets the tone, or helps support the tone of very fierce editorial independence and free thinking that pervades the journalism here and something that is very palpable if you’ve ever attended an editorial meeting.” Often debated outside of the magazine’s London offices is the magazine’s tradition of excluding bylines on its articles, at the expense of a writer’s individual recognition. Franklin says this enables The Economist to present itself as a unified voice, the result of plenty of discussion as editors play political tug-o-war.

“Anonymity serves us well in a way that it means that it’s a truly collaborative enterprise to produce The Economist,” Franklin explains. “There’s an awful lot of editing, debate and argument behind the articles that we produce, and end up with something that we stand behind collectively in the name of The Economist.” But not everyone agrees with Franklin’s explanation for excluding bylines, something he says was standard in the earlier days of magazine publishing. In The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, defines The Economist as a “magazine which hides the names of the journalists who write its articles in order to create the illusion that they dispense disinterested truth rather than opinion.” As the editor and columnist of the Financial Post and an ideological ally of The Economist with regards to free trade, Terence Corcoran doesn’t take issue with the absence of bylines. “It doesn’t bother me,” he says during an early morning chat. “The important thing is the information.” “In magazines, you put the person’s name in because that person has some stature as a journalist on his or her own, like Gay Talese, or all the writers in the New Yorker.” For journalists and others in the know, Corcoran says The Economist doesn’t deliver the level

Never in the history of journalism has so much been read for so long by so few - Geoffrey Crowther


of detail that they would expect, but he can see how the magazine would appeal to the corporate jet-set executive. “If you’re not in the business of news, if you’re a lawyer or a CEO and you’re flying around all over the world, and you aren’t reading papers the way journalists are, picking up The Economist is a great synopsis of what’s going on,” he says. “It’s got a strong reputation, and deservedly so. If you’re looking for an intelligent summary of economics, politics and business affairs around the world, and you wanted a nice compact form, you certainly can’t do any better than read The Economist. From an editorial perspective though, seeing eye-to-eye on free trade may be where their ideological similarities end. Corcoran disagrees with The Economist’s take on global warming (The Economist embraces the science of man-made climate change) and also criticizes its editorial stance on corporate issues. “They’ve been a little shaky on the corporate governance issues and have become more part of the mainstream thinking about what’s wrong with corporations.” But what really seems to set Corcoran off was a piece that appeared in the magazine after Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended parliament in December, 2009. “They had just a terrible, terrible piece about Ottawa and Canada when Harper prorogued parliament. It was just an awful piece of, God, how would I describe it?” – he pauses – “I hate to use

these labels, but a liberal-lefty perspective on what was happening that I thought was just awful.” On the other hand, Enzo Di Matteo the associate news editor of Toronto’s independent weekly Now Magazine says, “I have always been impressed when they’ve covered Canadian issues.” “They seem to nail it pretty well mostly, whereas other publications, who are mostly U.S. based don’t necessarily do that all the time.” Di Matteo says. “Their tentacles reach far and wide. They have quite a cadre of writers. Many of them are not actual writers by profession, but happen to be people in the diplomatic corps or people in the intelligence gathering community,” Di Matteo says. While Franklin doesn’t get into the specifics of the men and women who form The Economist’s brain trust, he describes them as a diverse bunch, fanned out across the globe. “You can’t really describe an average contributor, we have all sorts, many different types from different parts of the world, different ages. So it’s a very varied group.” Doug Bennet, publisher of Masthead, the magazine about magazines, has no qualms about what type of publication The Economist is. “I really think it is fair to call it the bible of capitalism,” he says. “It’s capitalism with a conscience.” Bennet sees the pragmatism of the views put forth by The Economist, such as its fierce capitalist beliefs coupled with its strong criticism of corporations of late, as a sign of strong acumen and journalistic maturity. “It’s not stupid, it’s a very intelligent publication. Even if it doesn’t support one particular side of an argument, it would understand the other side of an argument,” says Bennet. “It delivers a unique package, in a unique voice, that together has served to make it quite successful. It’s also going to a well-heeled demographic,” he says. It’s no coincidence that the big decision makers are catching up on current events through the pages of The Economist, Bennet says. “They are clearly trying to get the movers and shakers of society to read their magazine.” “There’s cachet to saying you’re an Economist reader.” “Never in the history of journalism has so much been read for so long by so few,” said the late Geoffrey Crowther, editor-in-chief of The Economist who reigned over the magazine during the Second World War. “It’s part of their identity, and part of the brand. It’s the Economist. It’s the voice. It’s kind of a unified, informed, intelligent, British, private school voice that they foster in everything from the most serious leaders to the sort-of cheeky cutlines on the photographs,” Bennet says after mentioning Geoffrey Crowther’s quote, indicating a familiarity with the magazine’s sporadic outbursts of sly humour among its sometimes austere content. Nevertheless, the paradoxical nature of Crowther’s words only seems to amplify every week as subsequent issues of The Economist roll off the press. Decades of uninterrupted publishing have passed, new columns have been added, and circulation numbers have multiplied. Forget that The Economist is named after the dismal science. This newspaper will be playing a role in shaping the world we live in for a long time. u

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GREEN Leaders Building the publishing industry’s eco-side B y C at h e r i n e L a b e l l e


warm breeze gently bends the trilliums blanketing the forest floor and rustles the leaves overhead. Dozens of chickadees hop from branch to branch as caribou peacefully graze nearby. But, less than a kilometre away, a different reality exists. The roar of chainsaws is deafening and clouds of raw sawdust fill the air. Large trucks thunder through a maze of dirt roads as old giants fall. In 2008, more than five million tonnes of trees were harvested in Canada and turned into printing and writing products. Historically, this would have meant clear-cutting entire forests. Today, however, a growing number of eco-friendly alternatives exist. In fact, Canada is the world leader in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests. This certification ensures trees are harvested responsibly, with loggers steering clear of old-growth forests and operating in a manner that spares waterways and leaves wildlife with a home. Neva Murtha from Canopy, an environmental non-profit group, says this shift towards more sustainable practices is crucial. “The forests are the lungs of the planet. They are the cornerstone of the carbon balance, and if we destroy our forests, the world is less able to provide us with the air that we need to breathe.” Her organization works behind the scenes to help publishers, printers, paper producers and consumers exercise more green practices. The Canadian magazine branch of Canopy works with more than 100 clients to develop eco-friendly paper purchasing policies. It helps them make sense

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of the evolving forest certifications. Canopy also assists with sourcing papers containing high recycled content, alternative fibres and wood pulp from sustainable forests. Murtha says she also leads publishers to co-ops where they can expect to pay less for their choice of paper. “It is short sighted to cut down original forests, those that remain around the world, and turn them into pulp or paper or lumber. What we need to do is find low carbon alternatives for the health of us and the planet.” She tells publishers, “If you can’t use 100 per cent recycled paper or 100 per cent agricultural residue paper, both of which don’t use new trees, then support the market for FSC certification. Publishers who are encouraging their paper suppliers to get an FSC certification are encouraging the most rigorous, on the ground, forest certification.” She’s seen a huge shift in the number of FSC certified forest tenders because of support from the publishing sector. The Forest Stewardship Council Canada indicates since 2005, the area of FSC certified forest in the country has grown from less than five million hectares to over 35 million hectares. This area would cover over half the province of Manitoba. Innovative leaders, like Murtha, are doing their part to help the magazine industry protect the old growth and large intact forest systems. Modest, she is quick to give credit to others. “I think some publishers have had a lot of vision, and whether they have been public with what they have done,

I think some publishers have had a lot of vision and whether they have been public with what they have done, or just moved the industry quietly in the background, they have had a big impact - Neva Murtha


Neva Murtha is helping the magazine industry protect old growth and intact forest systems.

or just moved the industry quietly in the background, they have had a big impact.” She describes these publishers as being truly committed, wielding their purchasing power to increase the variety and volume of eco-papers available on the market. In fact, the selection of printing and writing grade eco-papers or environmentally friendly papers produced in North America more than doubled, from 97 to 228 over the past 18 months, according to a February news release from Canopy. The number of magazines strutting their environmental leadership is also growing. Among them is Canadian Geographic, the first magazine in the country to publish an issue on wheat sheet. Composed of 20 per cent wheat straw and 40 per cent recycled fibre content, this particular paper reduces the strain on forests, providing promise for the future. According to Mike Elston, the magazine’s production manager, Canadian Geographic took on this project with Canopy and successfully published the June 2008 issue on wheat sheet paper. The reason, Elston says, was to prove, particularly to hesitant paper manufacturers, that it could be done and done right. Wade Chutes from Alberta Innovates, a provincial government agency that funds environmental solutions, is the researcher who helped make publishing on wheat sheet a reality. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, Chutes went to work in the pulp and paper industry, starting the world’s first zero effluent or zero discharge pulp mill. Chutes says his inspiration for working on wheat sheet came from knowing people are going to consume paper, and trying to figure out how to minimize the footprint placed on the world by making paper while at the same time supporting rural vitality. Chutes says the research on wheat sheet is essentially complete. In his view it is now time for an industrial partner to apply the research to a commercial-scale operation. Chutes envisions a mill currently producing 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes

of wood pulp per day adding on another 100 to 200 tonnes per day of cereal straw line that will be used to make wheat sheet. He acknowledges however, with the current economic situation combined with the present state of the forestry sector, money for new investment is scarce. He sees plenty of promise in wheat sheet. “There is an opportunity for us to take North America’s best environmental practices, which are actually pretty darn good, and adapt them for the wheat straw in order to produce a global ecofriendly market pulp product,” says Chutes. Murtha says Canopy is currently working with publishers to quantify market support for paper made from agricultural residue, such as wheat sheet. She says her organization is determined to create a solid business case to encourage companies to invest in these types of pulping technologies. Quarto Communications is a leader when it comes to producing sustainable magazines. According to Jodi Brooks, the company’s production manager, Canopy approached them in 2005, encouraging them to move their magazines onto a more environmentally friendly paper. Brooks describes the decision initially as a difficult one as the options would have meant a 15 to 30 per cent increase in the cost of their paper stock. “It was quite a jump considering it does not look any better.” Then a 100 per cent recycled German paper that was only eight per cent more expensive became available, she says, and Quarto was convinced to make the move. Brooks points out that even back then, the paper far exceeded the 30 and 50 per cent recycled content that is generally available today. Using this paper, Quarto’s Explore became the first glossy mainstream magazine in Canada to publish on Ancient Forest Friendly (AFF), FSC, 100 per cent recycled paper. Brooks says the magazine continued printing on the German stock, and in 2006, won the prestigious Aveda award that recognizes environmental leadership and achievement in the magazine industry. A year after Explore’s success, Quarto’s magazine, Cottage Life, was changed over to the same 100 per cent recycled paper and was also recognized with an Aveda award. At the end of 2009, the company acquired two other magazines – Outdoor Canada and Canadian Home Workshop. Looking to the future, Brooks says, “They are not on recycled paper as of yet, but we are working toward it.” In the past, people in the magazine world have been hesitant to switch to recycled paper fearing either a loss in quality or problems running new paper stocks through existing printing presses. Brooks, however, notes the main challenges her company faced were limited to different rates of ink absorption and shipping delays, both of which

have long been overcome. If anything, she describes only positive support for the company’s change. “Our readers are environmentalists. They love the outdoors and they are conscious of their output.” Brooks enthuses that the company’s advertisers also stood behind the initiative. Published on a smaller scale, Alternatives Journal, the oldest environmental policy magazine in Canada, is a sustainability role model. Marcia Ruby, production co-ordinator of the non-profit magazine, says they have always operated on a shoestring budget. She recalls years ago submitting an application for a grant for the sole purpose of being able to print on paper with recycled content. Ruby says the magazine, successful in its quest, was fortunate to be among the first to print on recycled paper at a time when such paper was prohibitively expensive and far removed from the mainstream market. More recently, Ruby says Alternatives Journal was the first of its printer’s clients to publish on FSC paper. “They worked with us to get a cost that we could manage.” She says the magazine is currently testing a new paper stock that would move them from 30 per cent up to 50 per cent recycled material. Ruby describes the paper as a hybrid between coated and uncoated paper stock. In an ideal world she says, “I should be able to have 100 per cent postconsumer content paper that is coated so I can have good sharp images. That should be broadly accessible.” Nicola Ross, editor of Alternatives Journal, has thoughts on where the industry is heading. She says, when you take into account the sheer volume of paper being consumed, along with forestry problems, and “add that to peak oil and the cost of shipping magazines, newsprint, books and what not, man, I do not know if we can keep producing.” Ross ponders whether magazines in their current form will disappear completely. In her view, magazines that offer timeless information, perhaps pertaining to crafts or interesting occupations, will live on for years to come. Ross says people love to collect these types of magazines. Ross otherwise envisions a more e-future for magazines, one which leapfrogs the current technology and allows readers to be comfortable reading on screen for longer stretches at a time. She cautions that as a “throw away society,” we have potential to accumulate vast amounts of e-waste. In other words, we would be trading one environmental problem for another. For now, with strong leaders in the magazine industry, there is the promise of a greener road ahead. Murtha offers parting thoughts for those who face barriers to sustainability: “Solutions are out there. With passion, commitment and willpower, you can move mountains.” u

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“Solutions are out there. With passion, commitment and willpower, you can move MOUNTAINS” - Neva Murtha 24 | m a gLABELLE w o r PHOTOT: CATHERINE

FREElance Freelance writers say they are being ripped off by Transcontinental


B y J o n at h o n B ro d i e


emanding,” “rights grabbing” and “they haven’t changed in 20 years” are some of the nicer things said about Transcontinental’s freelance contracts. “We do not have any intention, for the moment and for the coming future, to re-evaluate or come back to another kind of contract,” is Transcontinental’s response. Transcontinental began circulating a new contract, called the “Master Author Agreement,” last summer that the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) claimed was “muddying the copyright waters.” So what is the problem with this befuddling contract? The master author agreement assigns copyright to the author with one hand while snatching it back by retaining “the ongoing non-exclusive right to produce and reproduce, translate, develop ancillary products, perform in public, adapt and communicate the work, in any form or medium.” In fact, it even gives the publishers the right to authorize others to do so under certain circumstances. Confused? “One of the things that’s really unfortunate about the contract is that it’s written in a really kind of vague type of legalese,” says Craig Silverman of the PWAC board of directors. “There’s an unfortunate lack of clarity with it,” he says. President of the Canadian Freelancer Union, Michael O’Reilly, did his best to break the contract down. “You can relicense a piece in various forms and different ways to a whole bunch of different publications and now that they have one

owner, they just want to republish the same piece in 12 of their different publications and they don’t think they need to pay anything more because they are big and we are small.” “The contract that is built today is for one title,” says Sylvain Morissette, vice-president of corporate communications for Transcontinental. “If you agree that your text can be eventually used in other titles, you can have an agreement with us on that.” He admits though, “If you use it for Canadian Living, that text will be used for Canadian Living on many platforms.” That includes in any form or medium. “They know that we’re coming into a world of iPads and people are going to be consuming this type of material in a number of different formats,” says Derek Finkle, who launched a literary agency, Canadian Writers Group (CWG), that negotiates freelance writer fees and rights. “The publishers don’t really want to pay for the various formats. They want to pay the same thing they paid in 1988 for print only, but now they want to have podcasts, e-readers, radio programs on satellite and stuff on TV. They want everything,” he says. When signed, the contract is permanent and covers all future work for Transcontinental. Transcontinental can then publish the article as many times as it wants without paying writers more than once. “I think that’s a very aggressive move right now,” says Finkle. “We’re in the middle of what’s probably the biggest transformation in the publishing industry and to try to ask a writer to hold to something today, when the whole industry could be completely different in two years, is a bit of an aggressive gesture.”

Silverman says a study done by PWAC several years ago discovered that the average income for a freelance writer was about $24,000 a year. “It seems to me there’s a lack of understanding within the corporate structure of Transcontinental that freelance writers are actually running a business,” says Finkle. “If a contract like this becomes the norm in the industry, it will make it very, very, very difficult for people in Canada to make a living as a freelance writer.” In a stand against Transcontinental, more than a dozen writer organizations joined together calling on freelancers to not submit any work to Transcontinental Media. “Things have been pretty bad for a long time and I think they just got to the point where it was silly,” says Finkle. “This Transcontinental contract is basically insulting. I think writers have been taking quite a bit of, I don’t know if abuse is too strong of a word, but they have taken the short end of the stick, that’s for sure.” O’Reilly thinks that freelancer poverty could make defeating Transcontinental difficult. “These coalitions have come and gone over the last 15 years,” he says. “I can sadly say that we’ve not been very effective because it’s hard to maintain cohesion among freelancers for the long term.” So is there any end in site for freelancer abuse? Despite little being done by Transcontinental to change its contract, Silverman still holds out hope. “There are certainly lots of options that the coalition has considered and is considering,” says Silverman. “I think over the next six months if Transcontinental continues to lock down and refuse to speak with anyone then you’ll probably still see additional action taken. What’s that going to be? I can’t say at that point.” u

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It’s a blog eat blog world Posted by Romi Levine May 1, 2010. 8:00 a.m. From content fillers to conversation starters,it’s a new decade in magazine blogs


logs are portals into a magazine’s identity. They aren’t meant to sit and collect dust. Rather, they are community-based forums for multiple generations of savvy consumers. Those who fail to see the value in quality blogs will fall behind – it’s digitized adaptation, or death by technology. “I think in many ways magazines are trying to jam a square peg into a round hole by using the same techniques and editorial approaches they use within the magazine on the blog. And blogs are different creatures,” says Mark Evans, a Toronto based social media strategist. Evans runs a successful consulting business helping organizations build a strong social media profile. He’s also an avid technology blogger. And as essential as blogging is for Evans, he recognizes that it’s far from a walk in the park. “The medium is different from magazines and newspapers. It’s very dynamic, very fluid,” says Evans. When magazines attempt to produce blogs, the true nature of the beast is often forgotten. If a blog can’t be tamed and shaped around the magazine’s persona, it may ward off the web-savvy readership. Denying the ability of the web to make or break a publication’s brand identity is foolish, Evans says. “The reality is that we’re increasingly consuming information online. Magazines need to find different ways to reach out to their audiences. Those magazines that are doing it and doing it well are doing themselves a huge favour. Those that aren’t doing it are probably making themselves less relevant,” says Evans. Toronto’s Spacing magazine has seen success on and offline. In fact, the urban magazine’s online community is so strong that it was nominated for a Canadian Online Publishing Award for best blog, and has expanded to include different localized blogs for cities across Canada. For Todd Harrison, managing editor for Spacing, producing a blog was a natural progression of sorts. There was a need to communicate with readers beyond the three times Spacing gets printed annually, he says. “That’s sort of where the motivation of starting the blog came from, especially because there were these very issues that are most likely to engage people who will want to comment on them and will likely come and go by the time a new issue comes out.” Beyond the intent to create a quality blog, there needs to be a commitment to creating an online pres-

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ence. Hailey Biback, general manager for the Today’s Parent website which hosts 13 blogs, says a print magazine can achieve online success when a publication recognizes the value of having different editors for print and online. “We never ever see ourselves as a second tier to the magazine. Because of that, we give our website and our blogs the attention that you would give an online-only property,” she says. Biback saw the blogs as an opportunity to add a timely and communicative element to the magazine. “The way that we can react to everything now in a fast and efficient way is through our blogs,” she says. From a business perspective, Biback sees the direct benefit of blogging. “People spend more time online and that generates page views and you have to generate page views in order to sell advertising, which is how we fund all this great content. So it increases traffic for us,” she says. Within the Today’s Parent blog network, advertising is done uniquely to suit the personality of each blog, says Biback. “There are sponsorship opportunities for certain blogs,” she says. The sponsorship option attracts a wide variety of brands wanting to put their name to a blog. One of the blogs on the site is written by a hockey mom. Scotiabank jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the blog, and Today’s Parent accepted. “It’s a very nice marriage,” says Biback. More often, however, sponsorship is not fitting, she says. Although advertising is necessary to gain revenue for online content, Biback says sponsorship is sometimes inappropriate. There was one blog on the site about a woman trying to conceive, she says. Advertisers came out of the woodwork offering to pay for their company name to be attached to what the woman was writing about. The problem was, these companies were for products like fertility treatments and pregnancy tests, and this, Biback says, crossed the line. “It felt wrong to use that as a revenue generating opportunity,” she says. “Content always trumps.” When a new product is being created, the marketing goal is always to fill a gap in a consumer’s needs and wants. It’s the same with blogging. Spacing and To-

day’s Parent created a product out of a demand for more information and interactivity; other magazines can do the same to fill different gaps. Providing value means customer satisfaction, and blogs provide a cost-effective way to do so. The first step to creating meaningful content is deciding who it is for, says Harrison. “You have to target the right people within your audience that are most likely to grow a blog audience,” he says. “Many people aren’t readers of the magazine at all but they’ll read our blogs. The blog is more likely to be picked up by readers that are outside of our geographic area. We are able to reach further than we would as a magazine.” Lisa van de Geyn, online editor for Today’s Parent, runs Baby Babble, a blog on along with her husband Peter about raising their toddler, Addyson. The blog has won a Folio award, and like Spacing, was nominated for an Online Publishing Award for best blog. Van de Geyn attributes the success of the blog to knowing for whom she is writing. “You have to share as much as your readers will want to hear. It’s all about talking to your audience,” she says. What makes van de Geyn’s blog so popular is how relatable it is to the women who read Today’s Parent.

ing to make a connection, but the bond can only be solidified with good content. Choosing content involves finding topics of interest to the audience of the blog in relation to the mission, theme and ideas set forth by the magazine. Though content should be similar, remember that a blog and a print magazine are two different modes of communication. “A magazine blog is not always about the magazine itself, its writers and the stories within the magazine. Magazine blogs can often be a discussion about what’s happening in relation to some of the stories and topics that are being written about,” says Evans. Readers expect the content to be linked to other sites, says Harrison, something some magazines may not be comfortable with since it drives people away (albeit temporarily) from the online publication. Spacing magazine’s urban niche lends itself nicely to the blogging world since readers can connect via specific city issues. “We are able to start conversations about what kinds of things we should do to make the city a better place or the kinds of people that are shaping the urban landscape. So the blog provides an ideal forum for that and a great way for people to register their own thoughts,” says Harrison. Conversation is what makes a blog what it is. It adds another dimension not fully achieved in print.

I think in many ways magazines are trying to jam a square peg into a round hole by using the same techniques and editorial approaches they use within the magazine on the blog - Mark Evans From discussing pregnancy complications to tips on how to raise a toddler, the subject matter she covers relates to a common experience shared by all mothers, says van de Geyn. Her blog and the others on are attracting not just readers of the print magazine, but also some online-only followers. Biback says, there’s a 50 per cent crossover, between the people who read the magazine and the people who come to the site. Evans sees the acquisition of an online community as a process of trial and error. “A lot of what you do when you tailor a great product is try to get feedback, to see whether what you’re doing is working and working well,” he says. “It’s a way for a magazine to demonstrate that they offer value in different ways.” To reach intended audiences, a blog has to have the right voice. A blogger is the bridge between magazine and individual, a spokesperson for the publication on and offline. Evans provides criteria for the model blogger. “You need someone who’s engaged within the community, enthusiastic about blogs as a medium, a person who reads a lot of blogs and has a real appreciation for what makes for good blog posts,” he says. “You really have to have someone who is drinking the Kool-Aid,” he adds. The audience is chosen, righteous bloggers are look-

“They have to recognize that a blog is a two-way conversation,” says Harrison. “Your average blog entry should be fairly well linked to other sites and resources. It shouldn’t just be a blog of text. A good blogger should either directly or implicitly solicit comments. There’s ways to implicitly encourage people to do that. This blog entry is the start of the conversation, not the end.” Harrison employs an organic sincerity in his blogging approach, and so do the contributors to the Spacing series of blogs. He considers it a true labour of love. “We at Spacing come from a place of writing about these things not just because we think our readers will be into it and therefore visit our blog and frequent our sponsor’s website, we really care about this stuff.” It’s hard to throw a staff member into the fire and expect them to produce a blog with the same passion as Spacing contributors, but it’s imperative that the intent of the blog and the blogger is to captivate their audience and promote dialogue. “Caring is a big part of it,” says Harrison. “People can spot phoniness now faster than ever. That’s especially true online. It’s so easy to see through a blog that isn’t coming from a true place.” u

120 Comments | Leave a comment Tags: Blogs, Blogging, Spacing, Today’s Parent, Magworld, Value, Social media, Canada

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Boarding into the Age of New Media








Action sport magazine publisher SBC Media has slowly expanded their brand to the Internet - with great success B y H e at h e r A l f o r d


ou’d think a magazine with a lock on the Internet generation would jump at the chance to spread its content online. Yet, SBC Media magazines were relatively late in the game to go online with full force. But since they have, they’ve experienced nothing but success. Their magazines, covering action sports such as snowboarding, surfing and kiteboarding, have become dominant in their respective niche markets. Now, that success has transferred effortlessly to the web. How did they do it? SBC does not merely produce magazines, it creates various media content and distributes it across different platforms. They’re more than magazines, they’re a brand. Though SBC created a website for its flagship magazine, Snowboard Canada, in 2003, essentially it was just to have web presence. It wasn’t until 2006 that the company gave a real push to

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its websites. “We’ve always had sustained growth. We never try to grow too fast,” says Scott Birke, editor of Snowboard Canada. 2006 seems late in the Internet world but according to Steve Jarrett, SBC Media founder and group publisher, the delay in going online was not entirely by choice. It was partly due to the lack of interest from advertisers in online advertising. Companies are “really good with print creative,” says Jarrett, “but most of the [online] ads we get from the industry aren’t really all that exciting.” No website can offer an advertising spot as large as one or two pages of a magazine which means companies can’t be as artistic or aesthetic. “Ultimately, advertising is what greases the wheels for magazines, video and online and those wheels are still pretty dry,” says Jarrett. “They could use a lot more grease for the online part of things.” Online advertising proved to be more problematic because computers can’t portray action

sports photography the way the pages of a magazine can. “The magazines and the sports are very photo focused and you can’t showcase photography online yet and I don’t know if we ever will,” says Jarrett. “In the magazine, the kids read the ads just as much as they do the editorial content and sometimes you can’t tell the difference between the two.” This photography dilemma has worked out to SBC’s advantage. Birke says, “still photography is always going to look better on the pages of a magazine as opposed to a computer screen, so in that way we know that people are always going to want a physical copy.” Since 2006, online traffic to has grown prompting a total overhaul in December 2009. “We wanted to make sure we could do it right and we wanted to make sure we had the right people in place so we could get a product out there

that was solid and that could really compete with our other media competitors,” says Birke. “We didn’t want to put out something that was careless or subpar.” With the re-launch of, the site has seen the most traffic in its history and has more than doubled the number of visitors and page views. And that was in the first month. “Our magazine sales are still incredibly strong and increasing and all we’ve done is increased growth on our web,” says Birke. “The magazines that are doing well tend to be the ones that offer something that is quite specialist,” says online media guru and UBC journalism professor Alfred Hermida. “Something that appeals to a certain audience and they have established themselves as leaders in that field.” And that is exactly what SBC Media has achieved in print and now online. The industry is in flux and SBC Media has found the winning approach that works perfectly for its brand, its magazines and its websites. “One of the big differences between the web and the magazine is the web is a dynamic platform,” says Hermida. “It needs to be regularly updated, it has to have new material and you need to keep people coming back two or three times a week.” SBC Media and its magazines have figured out what works online and what doesn’t. “I’d say the biggest change in the last few years, has been taking all the time-sensitive content out of the magazine and replacing it with content that is really lasting,” says Birke. “We’ve moved all the timesensitive content to the web.” Snowboard Canada, for example, has moved all the newsy content and contest related information to the web, leaving the pages of the magazine free for longer editorial content and great still photography. “Our magazine positioning probably has consolidated a little bit more towards being a coffee table magazine, like a real photo book,” says Jarrett. “That’s partly because of the nature of the sport and the nature of the art direction of the magazine. It’s always been very design focused, having incredible photography.” Other SBC magazines have also adopted this method. John Bryja, who has been with SBC Media since 1997, is the founding editor of SBC Kiteboard, which was established in 1999. He says he loves the space online has freed up for the magazine. “The Internet has actually helped liberate the magazine,” he says. “It lets us focus more on what we do best which is generating really good content with the pro riders and the professional photographers. So there’s definitely not the pressure to put together product information, or shop directories, which used to eat up a surprising amount of editorial pages. Now information like that can be spread much more virally.” Having another outlet, like a website, allows information to be disseminated through different, more appropriate mediums. “There’s no pressure on us to deliver things like a list of upcoming events which, 10 or 15 years ago, was something that we needed to put

It’s a new era and you have to work with the times, and most importantly, take creative solutions to problems that maybe you didn’t before - Scott Birke together because it was the only way for people to spread the word.” For a magazine whose publishing cycle follows the snowboarding season, having a dynamic website allows the company to keep its brand out there, even while the magazine isn’t. Snowboard Canada has a seasonal publishing cycle. Though this cycle is quarterly, it follows the snowboarding season and hits the newsstands in August, October, December and February, at the end of the season. For the rest of the year, though the magazines are lasting, is the face of the brand. “Music videos came out and it’s going to kill all the radio right? These are all different channels of consuming content,” says Jarrett. It’s this awareness and unrestricted attitude that make the magazine, the website and the SBC brand, leaders in the action sports industry. Snowboard Canada has jump lines, or mouse icons to the website where the reader can find the video posted online to go along with a story in the magazine. On there are throws to Snowboard Canada where readers can find the accompanying photos from a blog that has been posted by a pro snowboarder while on a road trip, for example. “The web allows a different level of engagement with readers, different ways of doing stories and different ways of approaching it,” says Hermida. “What we’ve done this year with assigning our stories is we’ve asked those feature writers and photographers to take other supplemental content so we’ll be able to have aggregate content that goes online to complement the physical magazine. We can create congruence between the magazine and the website.” Engaging a reader, or piquing their interest enough to push them from one place to the other, is a strategy SBC Media has had success with. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to turn all these people into paying subscribers but they’ll be able to extend their reach beyond their core audience,” says Hermida. Bryja has taken a similar approach with SBC Kiteboard and has already seen the benefits of this type of cross promotion. “On the circulation front, I think we’ve done a really good job at reinforcing the brand in people’s minds. When they’re researching kiteboarding as a sport, they’re coming across our magazine online,” he says. “It’s driving them to the magazine. I think it’s helping reinforce us as a trusted source for information.” When people are looking for information, many search the Internet first. “I think people are actually actively seeking out the magazine after being exposed to it online,” says Bryja. “I think it’s actually been really good for the brand overall.” SBC’s websites work in conjunction with their

magazines. “They’re both really involved in making each other stronger, rather than competing with each other,” says Snowboard’s Birke. SBC Media is a relatively small group, with only 35 full-time staff, and therefore doesn’t have the same resources as a larger company. This means that with the push to amp up their websites, SBC editors have had to adjust to regularly updating the online content. Jarrett says some of his print editors struggled with the adjustment of writing content for the magazine and then putting the same piece online. “You need to get information online 15 minutes after you do the interview. There’s no time for copy editing, fact-checking, you have to wing it,” he says. “It’s not going to sit around on the coffee table for two months and be scrutinized. It’s going to be online and somebody’s going to read it and then never read it again. So it’s a completely different approach to media and our traditional print journalist guys, most of them had trouble adapting.” SBC’s websites have a blog style and feel, like many online magazine sites. The writing is more casual than traditional editorial content. But this wasn’t the only change. Because SBC is a small company, a department devoted to the website just isn’t in the books. So who has had to step up? The editors. “We’re doing sometimes around four posts throughout the day, sometimes more,” says Birke. “And my job has changed in that my workload has almost doubled at certain times of the year.” Bryja has also seen an increase in responsibilities. “Keeping on top of the day to day news stories is a part that’s seen more in the job. Before it was something that one needed to do just to keep on top of the industry,” he says. “Now I need to do it to keep both our social media sites, and our website up to date with the day to day happenings.” Since going online, the SBC crew has taken all these changes in stride. “It’s a new era and you have to work with the times and most importantly, take creative solutions to problems that maybe you didn’t have before. You’ve got to not be as rigid,” says Birke. The editors have revamped their game plan and are prepared for whatever comes next. “Print isn’t dead and magazines aren’t dead. It’s in transition for sure. They’re having to adapt and change,” says Jarrett. The fact is, the Internet is not going to overwhelm SBC magazines because they’ve learned to tackle whatever curveball is thrown at them. They firmly believe in the quality of their print magazines and the loyalty of their readers. As Bryja says, “The enjoyment factor you get when you’re flipping through a really well designed magazine, there’s really nothing that compares online.” u

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The State of the (Gay) Nation How GLBT magazines are adapting to new media and still fighting for gay rights By Andrew Sutherland


efore the Internet, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) publications were the only place to go for information about the gay scene, events and for social networking. Each city had its unique set of GLBT publications, catering to the needs of the community. Now these publications have competition from social media like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube. “There’s a huge social media movement and there are other options and opportunities,” says Matt Mills editorial director for Pink Triangle Media, which runs Xtra! Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver editions as well as Fab Magazine. Though most Canadian GLBT publications have managed to stay competitive, in some major U.S. cities, the new media has driven many GLBT publications out of business. “In most U.S. cities, the days of going to the gay bar, walking down the street in the gay village and picking up a copy of your favorite gay and lesbian magazine or newspaper from that neighborhood that reflects that community seem to be numbered, says Mills. “We’re seeing a huge decline in the number of viable gay and lesbian publications in the United States,” he says. There was once a greater incentive to cluster together in very tiny geographic communities. “Now gay and lesbian people live in southwestern Ontario from Windsor all the way to Ottawa,” says Mills. Centralized gay villages, offered by urban Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal, are now not the only places gays and lesbians comfortably live. “It’s a great big huge area and it’s a great big huge area to cover journalistically.”

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“If you’re going to put out a magazine the easiest most cost effective way to do it is know who your audience is, and if they’re within walking distance of the place that you take delivery of the finished copies, it makes it much easier to distribute the publications,” says Mills. Yet in some Canadian cities like Calgary, the idea of open acceptance for gays and lesbians is an attitude not necessarily shared by all. “Every time I talk to someone in Toronto, they’re always surprised at the stories I tell,” says Steve Polyak, founder of Gay Calgary Magazine. “We have had major problems with distribution in the Calgary market, mainly because we are living in a redneck city, which is generally why our online readership is so high,” said Polyak. Even in the year 2010, GLBT publications across the country still face discrimination and combined with the increased competition from new media, they have been forced to adapt in order to survive. Over the years, it’s something they have become very good at. “There’s a need for anyone in the magazine publishing industry to have as many avenues as are possible,” says Brett Taylor, publisher of Outlooks. In 1997, Outlooks premiered as a GLBT lifestyle publication for Canadians. Now Taylor says Outlooks is “the only truly national GLBT magazine in Canada.” Until recently, the Outlooks website was little more than a launching pad for the print version of the magazine. As of April 1, Taylor made improvements to the Outlooks site to make it more web-friendly. Like most magazines, Outlooks has a Facebook and Twitter account to reach as large an audience as possible. “A person also has to be taking advantage of all the social media,” says Taylor. Even though Taylor is increasing his web pres-

ence, he still wants to focus on the print side of the publication. “We still want to grow the print side of it, we’re not going less on the print side to go after the online, they need to balance one another,” says Taylor. “If we are going to be the national publication, if we are going to be positioning ourselves as the premier vehicle, then you have to deliver a quality product.” To that end, last June, Taylor took Outlooks to a glossy magazine format, and as of March 1, Outlooks became a pay/subscription based sales model, a rarity in a genre where most publications are free. A year’s subscription to Outlooks is now $20, which also gives subscribers access to the online version of the magazine. Single copy sales are now $5.50, and there are 10 issues printed a year. “Regardless of what the genre is, the recession has not been an easy time to live exclusively off advertising, and so I think every publication is looking for other ways to generate revenues,” says Taylor. Another reason Taylor went to a cover price, was so Outlooks could become available in smaller parts of the Canadian market that don’t necessarily have an outlet for distribution. “Our free distribution has always been centered on GLBT establishments. Not all communities have such businesses, so it was tough to reach some of the mid- and smaller-sized communities,” says Taylor. “Moving to include a retail option has now also allowed us into communities and areas that we have had trouble servicing.” At Pink Triangle, Matt Mills says the advent of social media has changed the way organizations do their reporting. “Most of this is undiscovered country— new media,” says Mills. “Particularly how you undertake journalistic exercises in new media.”


Xtra! in Ottawa recently announced that its office would switch to a virtual office, closing the Ottawa bureau and having employees work remotely. “We’ve abandoned the traditional office format,” says Brandon Matheson, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Pink Triangle publications Fab and the various Xtra! editions. Pink Triangle is one of the most well known GLBT publishers in Canada and derives its name from the badge gays were forced to wear as identification in Nazi concentration camps. The new structuring is in response to financial strain on the Ottawa edition of Xtra!, which has never posted a profit in its 16-year history, says Marcus McCann, associate publisher and managing editor. Pink Triangle, a non-profit company, runs two business ventures – hook-up services Cruiseline and, which supplement its publications. But readers are migrating to the web, and publishers have yet to find a profitable or break-even model for online news. Two staff members will work from home in Ottawa – one sales rep and what Matheson says is the first ever “mobile journalist”, a new editorial position and direction for the Ottawa edition of Xtra! and Pink Triangle Press. The model will focus on generating content that will be used in both the paper and the web. “This is, of course, directly connected with how the Internet is affecting print publishing and how news organizations are responding.” Matheson says it’s important to recognize that there is an entirely new online audience and that magazines need to be able to cater to them. Steven Polyak, the founder of Gay Calgary Magazine has taken a different approach to the Internet. He was at the forefront of online pub-

lishing before there was even an ‘online’ to go to. In 1992, he started a bulletin board chat service called Men for Men BBS, where gay men, pre-Internet would dial up to a computer he had set up in his home. They could chat with each other, download pictures and share info about events and the community. “This was pre-Internet, pre-Facebook, pre-all-that-stuff,” says Polyak. In 1998, after the Internet became commercialized, he launched, adapting the stuff that was already on the chat board for the newly emerging Internet. In 2003, Polyak started Gay Calgary Magazine. “With the web, we just figured the magazine would be the next step,” says Polyak. As its name would suggest, Gay Calgary originated in Calgary, but has since expanded its market and now includes Edmonton, as well as selected locations throughout Canada. “Our readership online though has skyrocketed,” says Polyak. He offers two versions of the magazine on the website, a downloadable pdf as well as a flash version, making it much more accessible, which is one of the reasons Gay Calgary’s online readership is so high. “When we do it in these two different formats, computer mediums change constantly, so at least this way if one all of a sudden becomes dead, the other one still exists,” says Polyak. “With our pdf downloads we’re averaging over 125,000 downloads a month. It’s because of the way we’ve integrated pdf download capabilities in the other services.” Polyak says that in order to stay competitive with social networking, publications have to step up their game. “You have to be dynamic. We actually run our magazine out of our home, with

past.” Unfortunately, like many GLBT publications, discrimination is the other reason Gay Calgary has such a strong online presence. “Calgary is also a very closeted community, so we do see a lot more people reading us online just because they don’t want to go out and out themselves by picking up a copy somewhere,” says Polyak. “We’ve had issues in the past where magazines have actually been stolen from the racks. Outlooks as well as the copies of Xtra! would be pulled right off the racks and thrown into dumpsters by some crazed religious fanatics.” According to Polyak there were close to 10 Calgary locations where this was happening over several months. “We basically had to restock magazines twice a week to try to keep up with the amount that was being thrown out,” says Polyak. This isn’t the only type of discrimination Polyak has experienced. Gay Calgary was a member of Tourism Calgary for two years, at a cost of $850 a year to be a member. Part of the membership was that the magazine would be made publicly available at the Calgary International Airport. “There was a number of times we were at the airport and noticed the magazine wasn’t there,” says Polyak. “The administration staff would tell us that the magazine is doing extremely well at the airport, that they need lots of magazines and that was probably the reason why we didn’t see it,” says Polyak. Before two years were over with Tourism Calgary, Polyak got a phone call from a former employee letting him know that the magazines were never put on the shelves. “They would keep them in the back and would keep it as laughing material,” Polyak was told. Polyak even had Global TV to do an undercover investigation to find out why the magazines

Mainstream media is including more gay and lesbian pieces in their maintsream news media, but not to the degree that would void a reason to have GLBT-specific publications - Brett Taylor eight servers and satellite high-speed Internet.” Gay Calgary has upwards of 30,000 photos online according to Polyak and that’s just a drop in the bucket. “The problem that we have – yes we can be all leading edge – the problem is we have so much material to go online still that we get behind,” says Polyak. Polyak has also archived every copy of the magazine since its debut in 2003. “We’ve done whatever we can to make sure that what we put online is exactly what we put in print,” says Polyak. “This way when those copies, a year later are unavailable … people can go back and say, ‘I want to read this article about Jann Arden, or read this article about what happened during the Out Games,’” says Polyak. “People like to see what has happened in the

weren’t being put out. Pink Triangle’s Mills, can relate to the discrimination Polyak has experienced. “Increasingly over the last decade, private corporations are getting these huge levels of responsibility in how people access information,” says Mills, “how information is disseminated and which information is censored.” Flagship Pink Triangle publications Xtra! and Fab Magazine, both have taken to the Internet to reach a larger audience, and both have YouTube and Facebook accounts to direct traffic to their own websites. However, their accounts have been suspended more than once. One time because the cover image from Xtra! was apparently outside of the bounds of Facebook’s standards at the time.

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The NEW GUY at

He’s the first male editor-in-chief of glow magazine, and after almost 10 years in the magazine industry, Cameron Williamson is confident this step is the right move for him By Pam Bal


ou’d be hard-pressed to find any clutter in Cameron Williamson’s office. His cubicle on the eighth floor of the Rogers Communications building has a minimalist feel to it. Shelves hung on the wall behind his chair hold some file folders, his desk is bare and few items are stuck to the wall. Williamson pulls up the day’s schedule on his computer. He has five meetings today, which he says is fairly typical for him. He’ll also attend a photo shoot. It’s nothing he can’t handle. The 35-year-old editor-in-chief of Glow magazine says 50 per cent of being an editor is organization. The other 50 per cent “is keeping the ball rolling.” The first half of Williamson’s day is spent between three back-to-back meetings. At 10 a.m., he heads down the hall to meet with the acting advertising sales director of Glow; after that there’s a lineup meeting; then another meeting to discuss the summer issue.

Whether listening to people’s ideas, brainstorming or offering suggestions, Williamson appears to gel well with the all-female editorial team. At one point he has everyone in the lineup meeting smiling when he mentions a past phone conversation with Kim Cattrall from his time at Chatelaine. He’s also game for talk about chocolate milk fingernails (an upcoming fall trend) and even suggests an article on PMS. Before arriving at Glow, Williamson spoke to a mainly female audience as art director at Chatelaine – a post he held for three years. The experience prepared him well because he says, “Chatelaine was as woman as you could go.” Williamson has held various positions in the magazine industry. He started as an intern at Saturday Night then became the fashion editor there. He later moved to the National Post as fashion editor, then to TORO as creative director and then to Chatelaine as art director. In December 2009, after almost 10 years in the publishing industry, Williamson was appointed editor-in-chief of Glow. He’s the first male to hold this title and although most of the magazine’s

947,000 readers are women, Williamson was confident this next step was the right move for him. He says he used the time before it was announced that he got the job to plan out his first steps at Glow. “I really went in with guns-a-blazing.” Williamson says when the Glow team first heard about him, they were probably wondering if he could handle the job. “I’m hoping that I made them less nervous now because they can see that I definitely have an editorial vision and I have experience in editing too.” Throughout his career, Williamson says, “I always had my hand in the editorial. I was always very focused on the stories. I wasn’t just reading them thinking about how to art it, I was also thinking about what would make it a better story, so moving over to this side kind of made sense.” Jackie Shipley, the art director of Glow says, “I think it was a surprise because we didn’t know who any of the candidates were. We never even considered a male editor-in-chief. I think everybody’s on board; I just think they were surprised.”

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“I don’t think it’s gonna be any more difficult, him being a man,” she says. “I think the challenge is we’re taking the magazine in a different direction. We want to change the magazine; we want to sort of refine it and do a redesign. That’s a big challenge for anybody; it’s a huge amount of work. I think he’ll do just as good a job, if not better because he has an art background, than anybody who steps into that role.” One thing people may be wondering is whether he can relate to a female audience as editor-inchief. Williamson believes he can. “Growing up I had an older sister that was a big influence on me and a dynamic mother, so there are all these things that I kind of had an awareness of. I’ve been a magazine junkie my whole life. Even as a teenager I was reading GQ, but I was also reading Vogue, so I kind of get what would be in a woman’s magazine.” While Glow caters mainly to women, Williamson says a male magazine like TORO may not be so different. “We still want to read about relationships, regardless if you’re a man or a woman, you still want to read about nutrition, in a health magazine you want to see workouts. Aside from maybe the language that you’re using – because obviously there’s a tone that you want that’s different for a female audience and a male one – you’re still covering the same kinds of topics.” When Williamson started at Glow, the team was already working on the February/March issue. For April he became a bit more involved, but still, most of the stories had been commissioned. “The May issue is the first issue that I’m overseeing the entire editorial content and also the look and feel of the magazine. That’s our relaunch issue,” says Williamson. When he stepped into his new role, he made some changes right off the bat. He says since Glow is a custom publication for Shoppers Drug Mart, the magazine has to cover the topics and the areas that Shoppers sells. “The tagline of Glow is Canada’s Beauty and Health Experts. That to me made perfect sense to just have a beauty section and a health section. In May ... we basically just almost wiped the slate clean and went back to basics. We’ve reconceived every single section of the magazine, every single page of the magazine.” It’s 12:30 p.m. Williamson throws on his black winter coat with a fur-lined hood. He hops into a cab. He’s heading to a photo shoot. Once he arrives at the loft-turned photo studio, he meets Glow staffers already on location. The photographer is busy taking pictures of a woman in workout gear, posing for what will be Glow’s fitness page. Between shots, Williamson looks over the photos and offers his insight. He makes sure each exercise move will be easy for readers to do. During a short pause for lunch, Williamson eats a salad and looks over page layouts at the same time. After a brief discussion with a co-worker about the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, it’s back to work. Miguel Jacob, a fashion photographer who has worked with Williamson over the last five years says, “Your standards have to be set very high when you’re working with someone like Cameron.” Jacob has worked with Williamson for several big projects, including Chatelaine’s cover shot of

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I really went in with guns-a-blazing - Cameron Williamson Michael Bublé. Jacob says Williamson “knows what he wants” and is “meticulous, but also flexible.” Perhaps the flexibility comes with being used to change. Williamson, a Brantford, Ontario native, moved around a lot as a kid. It prepared him for the fluidity required in the magazine industry. Having lived in places like Ancaster, Ontario, Richmond and White Rock, British Columbia, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver, Williamson knows a thing or two about adaptability. When he was 18, he moved from Regina to Vancouver and enrolled in psychology at the University of British Columbia. Half way through the program, he left to study fashion design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in B.C. He then decided to finish up his psychology degree and planned on specializing in forensic psychology. Following the advice of his friend who had interned at Saturday Night magazine and had told him he’d be good in publishing, he applied to Saturday Night and got the internship. Two weeks later, he moved to Toronto. As he says, he “left Vancouver and didn’t look back.” Looking back now, Williamson says, “It was a bit of a crap shoot. An internship does not promise you a job afterwards. I didn’t know if I was going to be good at it.” He says the first day on the job, he made a point of asking the editors if he could go to a style meeting. “For my very first meeting, I contributed. I immediately felt empowered in the publishing environment and then I realized I could do it.” Williamson’s editor at Saturday Night was Dianna Symonds. She’s now a managing editor at Maclean’s. In a conversation with Symonds, I mention that Williamson says she had a big influence on him. In a flattered tone, Symonds laughs and says, “He sort of came fully-formed. I don’t know that I had that much of an impact on him.” When they worked together at Saturday Night, Symonds says it had re-launched as a weekly. “We had to do fashion in order to bring in a new kind of advertiser, and right from the beginning, Cameron was all over it.” Symonds was impressed by how responsible Williamson was at fashion shoots. “When he was involved in any capacity, even though he was the most junior person, he sort of had an uncanny sense of how he would proceed. Many of us editors didn’t know a lot about fashion. He just knew. He had a very strong sense of what needed to be done.” Another former co-worker of Williamson’s says photo shoots can be challenging. Derek Finkle, principal of the Canadian Writers Group, had worked with Williamson at Saturday Night and TORO. The two have known each other for 10 years. “Pulling together fashion shoots is basically

like co-ordinating a small movie set. If you could pull that off every month, I think you could probably do just about anything,” says Finkle. On the issue of Williamson’s new job at Glow, Finkle says, “I think he has a good handle on the material. He’s sat through enough editorial meetings in his time that I’m sure that he’s more than capable of being able to navigate what they want to do with a magazine like Glow. He’s just soaked up a lot,” says Finkle. When Williamson reflects on the early days of his career he says, “The first five years were definitely just figuring everything out and just being a sponge. “At 25 to 30, I was reading every single thing and making clippings constantly. The more you’re in the business, the more you start trusting your own instincts, which is nice when you don’t have to read every other publication to decide what’s in your own,” says Williamson. It’s 2:30 p.m. Back at Glow headquarters, Williamson looks over notes in his office before a meeting at 3 p.m. Shipley, whose office is directly across from his, steps in and the two discuss visual aspects of the magazine. “I think to be a really good editor you need to think visually just as well as you think with words. You need to understand how a picture and a block of text go together,” he says. At 3 p.m., Williamson heads to the board room to meet with the beauty team, Shipley, and an assistant beauty editor. They look through bags full of cosmetics from various companies and discuss how to display them on a page. “Even though we’re a custom publication, there are still people that will read us like any other normal magazine, so we still have to offer the innovative information, the latest products. It can’t just be a catalogue of products, it has to be more than that,” says Williamson. “I think sometimes in a custom publication, in a magazine like Glow, there’s the thinking that you can kind of be a little more lax with editing because it’s not out there in the same way that Chatelaine is; it’s not being judged in the same way a magazine like Toronto Life is, in terms of the words and the quality of writing. My biggest challenge was to step that up and how to do that. That meant moving around some responsibility, having outlines made for the stories before they’re written, having outlines approved, then the story comes in, things like that.” It’s nearing 4 p.m. The editorial team makes its way into the board room for the last meeting of the day. As team members come up with subheads and slugs for articles, they laugh at the suggestion of Eat It. Someone says it sounds like Michael Jackson’s Beat It. Each member at the meeting is an open contributor, including Williamson. And while they spare a moment for laughter, they quickly get back on track. Williamson says you really have to work at being a manager. He also believes in being a coach to his team. “You have to set aside time every week to meet with your team. You have to have those formal meetings in place too. When I met with each member of Glow, I asked them to describe their role currently then I asked them to say what they want next. I’m very realistic. In this industry you move around. That’s the only way to move up.” u

On the


Again Toronto-based Driver magazine looks to become a national authority in automotive journalism

By Remy Greer


he Driver’s route from a free publication to hitting the newsstands is certainly the road less travelled in the magazine industry. While publishers are abandoning the print model and seeking refuge in the online magazine, The Driver is expanding its scope as a consumer automotive print magazine for the Canadian driving enthusiast. Navigating The Driver from a small Ontario magazine to a national authority in automotive journalism will be an improbable venture for publisher Sam Adewale, but it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. In 2003, Adewale created The Driver, a free publication available in Ontario only, focusing on the auto industry for the person behind the wheel. “Sam wanted to create a magazine that people could go to for advice, for people thinking of buying a used car, having car trouble, all the different features for the car and auto lover,” says marketing director David Miller. The Driver was readily available at driving schools, the Ministry of Transportation and Canadian Tire locations, but the magazine was only being picked up by readers from specific segments of society. “Being a free publication for so many years, it gets kind of stale in the sense that you can’t really elevate the product,” says Miller. In order to attain widespread appeal and become relevant, The Driver needed to reach newsstands, he says. Adewale says he saw an opportunity for the successful expansion of the magazine, citing the lack of a dominant car and auto magazine in Canada. “Canadians desire automotive periodicals on the newsstands and that Canadian driving en-

thusiasts desire advice,” says Adewale, from The Driver’s office in Toronto. The decision was made to expand The Driver Magazine from an Ontario magazine to one available nationwide and to implement a $5.99 cover price. Masthead Online publisher Doug Bennet says seldom do free periodicals successfully transition to the newsstands. “It’s extremely rare,” says Bennet. “A few examples come to mind, the best being Homemakers. The publishers decided to convert the free-circulation model to the paid-circulation model and they did it in baby steps.” Many publications are in survival mode in the first few years of existence, as magazines struggle desperately to attract readership and advertising revenue. Citing Masthead’s tally of launches and closures, Bennet says 59 per cent of magazines that shut down are five years of age or younger, adding that 18 per cent of all magazines that die each year were in their first year of publication. As a re-launched magazine, the next couple years will be crucial to the health of The Driver. The first rebranded issue of The Driver Magazine was released in January 2010. “The changeover started in 2009. The old version looked a lot different, with smaller newspaper-style pages in the middle section, and now it’s expanded, it’s glossy,” says Miller. The Driver is now a bimonthly publication that will produce six issues a year. The magazine has also increased from 40 to 64 pages per issue. As a means to fully transform the magazine, managing editor Brian Soroka was added to the team, as well as art director Brad Black and several contributing columnists. Adewale says he is especially excited with the addition of Canadian race car driver Alex Tagliani, of the Fazzt Race Team in the IZOD IndyCar Series, as a regular columnist. Tagliani is a celebrity among Canadian sport fans and on the racing circuit. His column will offer readers an insider’s view of the racing world. Adewale says Tagliani

will broaden the appeal of The Driver. “Of course having Alex with The Driver will have a big impact on the magazine,” says Adewale. “For us to have that name will give us credibility and it will certainly attract advertisers.” The May issue will be centred on Columbian racing star Juan Pablo Montoya. Miller says Montoya will be the ideal interview because of his experience driving in every major professional circuit, including Formula One, CART, Indy and NASCAR. As a magazine only recently available coast to coast, The Driver will have to earn the loyalty of consumers nationwide. Adewale says he expects a grace period for The Driver to prove itself as essential reading for Canadian driving enthusiasts. Columnist Scott Marshall has been with the magazine since 2008. He says The Driver is unique among the array of car and auto publications. “It relates to the everyday driver, regardless of their experience,” says Marshall, the director of training for Young Drivers of Canada. “A lot of other publications are vehicle specific and I believe for this reason, The Driver can relate more to the over 18 million drivers we have in Canada.” Bennet says it will be onerous for The Driver to carve out a niche in the Canadian market. The Driver will have to contend with Canadian titles under the Formula Media Group umbrella, such as Carguide Magazine and World of Wheels as well as U.K. and U.S. publications. “It’s pretty difficult for the consumer automotive magazine because you have two kinds of competition,” says Bennet. “You have the national and even international automotive magazines that might be doing a review of a particular make or model and eight or nine times out of ten, those models exist here in Canada, so the content is relevant to you as a Canadian reader.” “They have budgets for big print runs and bigger, glossy magazines, so for your $4.95 at the

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newsstand you might be getting more from a U.S. title, like Car and Driver versus a smaller Canadian publication,” says Bennet. Creating original content for the driving fanatic is of fundamental importance for The Driver, due to the options available to consumers. “Your other competition is the newspapers, which have pretty aggressive local automotive journalism with the local flavour and local retail advertising,” says Bennet, who predicts it will be a tough road ahead for The Driver. “How do you as a national Canadian car publication find your niche in between those two extremes?” Finding their place in the crowded automotive journalism market should prove arduous for The Driver. Rebranding The Driver from a regional to a national publication has brought its share of challenges, one of them being attracting national auto industry advertising, says Miller. “It’s a little tricky at the start because they don’t really know who you are, you have to earn a reputation, really for what The Driver is.” Miller says major advertisers do not jump onboard without first doing their homework. “Advertisers will not just invest in a fly-by night operation, we are going to have to prove ourselves in the first few issues,” says Adewale.

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There’s definitely been an increase in awareness. They know we’re there and they’re watching us - David Mil er The Driver has been in contact with many of the major manufacturers in Canada in a marketing capacity, which has raised the profile of the magazine. Miller says, “There’s definitely been an increase in awareness. They know we’re there and they’re watching us.” Despite the exposure, Miller concedes he had fewer advertisers sign on for the March issue than expected. The Driver has teamed up with Target Audience Management Inc., a Beeton, Ontario circulation management firm, as its subscription marketer. Miller says subscription numbers have risen steadily since the relaunch. Disticor Magazine Subscription Services, the largest national distributor of newsstand publications in Canada, has been enlisted by The Driver to ensure that as many Canadians as possible have access to the magazine on newsstands. As of December 2009, The Driver Magazine had a circulation of roughly 13,000. Adewale says though he realizes it will take time for the magazine to become popular nationwide, he still has lofty expectations for its growth. “Our goal is to

attract as much circulation possible. We want to have a readership of 100,000,” says Adewale. Bennet cautions that expectations for The Driver should be tempered due to the limited scope of the magazine. “Trying to get a circulation of 100,000, that’s very ambitious in the Canadian market. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but that’s a pretty ambitious goal for a special-interest consumer magazine,” says Bennet. “If he’s trying to get a readership of 100,000 with say a circulation of 25,000 and four readers per copy, that seems more reasonable to me.” The emphasis is on the marketing department to develop The Driver into a recognizable name, especially outside of Ontario. Miller, whose responsibilities include strategic branding and positioning, says they are sending out press releases, free magazines and setting up promotional events across the country. One of the key dates each year for The Driver is the Honda Toronto Indy, which is held in July. Having a profile at such large-scale events is essential to building brand recognition, says Miller. The magazine is also planning on having subscriptions available at dealerships and repair shops. “Being involved with every segment of the auto industry will help us create awareness,” says Miller. u


Death of

the Photo

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Photojournalists have been sacrificed in the name of fiscal responsibility; can a once glamorous profession survive in the age of cheap news? By Maegan McGregor

Photojournalism is dead.


ell, sort of. Her faint pulse can barely be heard through the walls of this desolate empty office space, once buzzing with the sound of working magazine photographers. She lies there, naked, stripped of the glamour of her youth, barely surviving. The murder weapon is the swift axe of an evolving magazine industry, where the bottom line is of heavy importance and the weight of a camera is too much to bear. With video pushing still photos out of vogue, with the increasing use of citizen journalism, and with blogging becoming a legitimate way for people to get news, photojournalism is at a crossroads where photographers need to adapt or perish. Dirck Halstead, editor and publisher of The Digital Journalist and record holder for most TIME covers – 54, says he remembers when photographers were given unlimited creative reign and a steady pay cheque to boot.

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“In the LIFE days, photographers were the stars. Their constantly recurring credits set the tone for the most successful magazine in history. Some of the greatest writers who worked for the magazine such as John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway, found themselves lugging camera bags for legends of the lens,” says Halstead. Today photojournalists are rarely in longterm positions with magazines and press agencies as Halstead once was, working for United Press International for more than 15 years, and then TIME for 29. Brett Gundlock is a photojournalist of this generation who works for the National Post, mainly shooting in Toronto. He says he rarely works outside of Toronto and mostly takes business portraits and staged photographs. Like many new-age photojournalists, Gundlock does personal documentary work on his time off, and has to pay for his own travel expenses in hopes of selling the photographs to news outlets and magazines. The essence of the question, ‘what is photojournalism?’ is best answered by a couple of iconic examples. Such as the Times Square kiss, marking the end of World War II. Armed with a camera and nothing more, Nick Ut shocked the world in 1972 with his photograph of a little girl running

down a road in Vietnam, naked and burned by a napalm attack. Photojournalism was once the crowning glory of a news magazine. In terms of layout, photographs were the first thing people noticed about an article, even before headlines. After the initial impact of photographs in print subsided, new publications appeared, focusing specifically on photojournalism. Halstead says magazines such as LIFE and Look raised important issues in society almost exclusively through the art of still images and image captions. Halstead says the importance of photojournalism is apparent in the photographs of the September 11th attacks. “Photographers distinguished themselves in those canyons of death and debris. TIME published a special edition made up almost entirely of photographs that will probably be remembered as one of the best in its history,” says Halstead. However, Halstead, who moved on from TIME after 29 years of contract work, says he has never seen such small issues being released. He credits this not only to the death of photojournalism, but to current struggles in print journalism. According to Halstead, photo assignments are down 75 per cent when compared to 10 years

ago. Budgets have been slashed. For any photographer who proposes a major story that involves travel, phone calls are not returned. Editors are unwilling to pay for these expenses because Halstead believes the majority of North Americans, as well as editors and publishers, don’t care about the outside world. Since the birth of the Internet, publications have been testing the market, giving away content for free, but with expectations that same content would be paid for in print. Naturally, with the drastic shift toward online news, photojournalism must also adapt. This is exemplified in the personal projects of Halstead and Keith Morison, the former publisher of the print publication C-ing Magazine. C-ing magazine, a Canadian photojournalism publication, lasted a mere three issues. Unable to attract advertising from large clients, Morison couldn’t finance the printing and distribution of the magazine. “It was just bad timing. Just after we stopped printing, the Canadian government came out with a grant for new magazines, but we already released issues we didn’t qualify for it,” says Morison. “But for that short period of time, C-ing relit my passion for what photojournalism could and should be.” Morison, who worked for news outlets for the majority of his career, was looking to put out a niche magazine that exemplified the incredible work of photojournalists in an effort to revitalize the industry. Contrast this with The Digital Journalist, an

online publication created and edited by Halstead that has been in publication for 12 years. The online photojournalism site showcases the work of a plethora of photographers as well as articles about the industry. Originally financed by Hewlett Packard, then by Canon, The Digital Journalist recently lost its funding, but is being supported by individual readers. Halstead says he is looking for a philanthropist to help the website continue. “We are frantically trying to find some rich person who loves photography to keep us going. These camera manufacturers can’t do it anymore, they don’t have any money,” says Halstead. Print was never an option for Halstead, as he says it would cost too much money. As it stands, his online publication costs $60,000 a year, which also provides a salary for him and a few contributors. Halstead and Morison blame the flux in the

Some of the greatest writers who worked for the magazine, such as John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway, found themselves lugging camera bags for legends of the lens - Dirck Halstead

photojournalism industry on the lack of money in the magazine business. When money was tight, magazines pushed their staff photographers out the door and began working with freelancers and citizen photographers. Publications rarely pay private citizens for their photos, and subscribing to a stock photography website, such as Getty images, is much more economical than paying photographers for their work – as buying one image is much cheaper than paying for a photographer to travel. Halstead says he pins his hope on Steve Jobs and the creation of the iPad to reinvent journalism and hopefully photojournalism, as print publications (well no longer print, but of print) will again soar. Applications offered on the iPad will have people purchasing the TIME app or the Sports Illustrated app and magazines will make money similar to that of subscriptions and newsstand sales. Halstead says, “80 per cent of costs go toward printing and distributing, so when you take it online, it is 100 per cent profit. And when this happens, magazines will pay for photographers to take pictures.” In the meantime, Morison advises: “Create your own website, try to get traffic to that site, and your photography will be noticed and accredited.” “Photojournalism should be what you love,” says Morison, “not for money, and that’s where C-ing went wrong. I had to choose between making money and doing what I loved.” u

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Looking Good


Men’s Magazines That Are in Tip Top Shape

B y R o b e rt S y k e s


ll over the country Canadian men are coming home to Canadian magazines. In what was long thought as a losing battle, domestic publications are now giving Canadian guys a reason to put down American magazines— such as GQ, Esquire and Details. Canadian men’s magazines including Sharp, Urban Male Magazine, Chill, Maxim Canada and TORO are all striving to bring men exactly what the big American publications provide and more. The truth is, men from Canada aren’t much different from their brothers south of the border. They want magazines that focus on style, sports, pop culture, women, health, and living – not necessarily in that order – but they also want Canadian content. William Morassutti, editor-in-chief for online men’s magazine TORO, describes this desire for a little local flavour. “I think Canadian content resonates with Canadians, because we have such immediate unlimited access to American culture. And I think that’s great, but it’s nice to have a Canadian sensibility. I think it resonates on a different level with readers,” he says. Canadian men’s magazines may offer a little more to the Canadian reader, but many have faced the same recent sales and advertising challenges as their American competitors. “Every publication has felt the pinch. Anyone who has told you different was probably lying,” says Cameron Wood, editor of Chill.

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None of the Canadian men’s magazines avoided that pinch, but each found a unique way to keep their heads above water. One of Canada’s oldest men’s magazines Urban Male Magazine (UMM) took a tried and true strategy of ‘stay the course’ and successfully weathered the storm. Published quarterly, UMM never saw a decline in

Sharp never had the luxury of being able to lose money - Jeremy Freed subscriptions or newsstand sales. Director of operations Nashir Gangji says that UMM just wanted to let the product speak for itself. “If you’re looking at what you can do in Canada, you’re not going to get that from any other magazine. We do festivals and sporting events, and it’s local but also national,” he says. “We just had to stay strong with our readership and show that we could survive, and then just let the advertisers know that when the budgets come back, we’ll still be around.” For Sharp, Canada’s newest men’s magazine, it was different story altogether. Launched in the spring of 2008 and headquartered in offices overlooking downtown Toronto’s lakeshore, Sharp is published six times a year for Canada’s affluent, style-minded men. Distributed primarily through

a partnership with The Globe and Mail and Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, Sharp has an average readership of more than 382,000. As for its recession strategy, cutting costs has always been the Sharp approach. “When we started two years ago, it was probably the worst time to start a print magazine,” says Jeremy Freed, Sharp’s managing editor. “Sharp never had the luxury of being able to lose money.” The business model of keeping spending down while relying on its distribution partnerships is keeping Sharp in the game. “We definitely are getting the ads we want,” says Freed, “but the strategy of the company beyond that is to diversify and to start putting out more custom content to more people. Magazines and print media may die, but there is always going to be a need for content, and that’s how we’re positioning ourselves.” Unlike Sharp, Maxim Canada relies almost solely on newsstand sales. The Canadian split-run – where the content is American but ads are Canadian – sells 80 per cent of its copies at the newsstand. Marty Tully, Canadian director of Maxim and president of Canadian Media Connection, says stats show nearly eight sets of eyes will read a single copy of every Maxim Canada, giving it over 1,000,000 readers each month. “There was maybe an 18 to 20 month lead in the U.S. and then I and a couple partners went down to New York and said, ‘Hey, you guys have got a really good book, it looks like it’s taking off, I think we can do something in Canada for you,’” says Tully. Maxim is the most widely-read men’s magazine in Canada, and is read in 27 different countries.


From Urban Male Magazine to Sharp, Canadian men’s magazines are being picked up and read by men all across the country “The brand is enormous for sales. That’s what people buy,” says Tully. “The brand has allowed Maxim Canada to keep a high number of men, between 18 to 34, buying the magazine. From the get-go it was well-accepted and well-liked, and we’ve made some great long-term partners like Coors.” While a popular brand like Maxim has helped magazines fly off the rack, Chill has proven that branding can help a magazine survive in a recession by not selling a single copy. Born in 2002, Chill is a free custom publication that is distributed seven times annually at The Beer Store locations across Ontario, as well as a few select Chapters and Indigo stores in Toronto. Chill’s lifestyle philosophy is based on ‘after 5 p.m. and on weekends’, and thrives with readers in the 25-plus demographic. “At the end of the day, a lot of people aren’t going to read a publication cover to cover,” says editor Cameron Wood. “With Chill we like to put information into their hands in a quick, easy, simple way that’s presented the way we believe our demographic likes, and it’s proven to work for us.” Wood and his team are definitely onto something. Chill is distributed in over 440 Beer Store locations across Ontario and read by more than 850,000. “With us, our strength is in the number of people we reach, so we’ve had to rely on that to reinforce the message with our clients and advertisers to know that while things might be tough out there, you’re still building your own brand identity to these people,” says Wood. Although strong readership numbers have al-

lowed Chill to retain its advertising partners, a brand-loyal demographic also helps. “Beer Store consumers have already proven that they’re extremely brand loyal in their own beverage consumption. It’s not this week Labatt, next week Molson. So reaching into a market that has already demonstrated a commitment to brands they believe in, and brands they trust, is a strong argument,” explains Wood. For another Canadian men’s magazine, free has proven to be the key word. TORO was a print publication from 2003 to 2007, and now lives online at After stopping print due to high production costs and declining ad revenues, TORO transferred to a web-only magazine in the spring of 2007 and has since taken off under editor-in-chief William Morassutti’s digital media company, Black Angus Media. Morassutti says online advertising growth is proving promising for TORO, especially coming out of the recession, but it’s the online editorial content that’s really got him excited. “The content changes daily, it’s always good, fresh, original content. We don’t borrow content; we have our own writers, videographers, and photographers,” he says. TORO is working on a large-scale marketing push this year, and has acquired the help of public relations firm NKPR in spreading the TORO brand. “One of our big challenges is to reach out beyond people who would know us already because they’re interested in the media and pay attention to the media. I think we need to push out to a bigger, mass audience. And that’s one of the things

we’re hoping to do through NKPR and through our own initiatives too,” says Morassutti. Though there isn’t a publication in the magazine industry that hasn’t felt the recession’s pinch, the strong lineup of Canadian men’s magazines has adapted. Some have persevered through branding, others through distribution partnerships, and others handed out their publication for free. These men’s magazines may not all have the same outlook on how to survive a wintery economic downturn, but all agree that satisfying the Canadian man’s need for high-quality editorial work is probably the best place to start. u

The History 1999

UMM begins publication MAXIM comes to Canada



CHILL starts free distribution

2008 SHARP is founded


2008 TORO goes online

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With a million readers, Hello! Canada is enjoying its success as the top selling English magazine on Canadian newsstands B y A r da Z a k a r i a n


hey are striking, sensational and sometimes unusual. They are overexposed, affluent and even scandalous. When grabbing a coffee, walking the dog or spending time with children makes headlines, it’s celebrity territory. Celebrity culture is on the rise and anyone who jumps on that train is going to profit, if it’s done right. Hello! Canada founded in 2006, already has a circulation of 110,000 copies and is the top-selling English magazine on Canadian newsstands. The biggest success of all is the magazine’s readership—a million per issue. Ciara Hunt, the Irish editor-in-chief of Hello! Canada, came to the magazine three years ago after working in London on Tatler, InStyle, Nova and World of Interiors. She says people read Hello! Canada because it’s an escape. “They want to catch up on celebrity news, they want to read what’s going on in the world, and … it’s beautiful.” Publishing 46 issues a year, Hello! is set apart by the intimate photographs celebrities let them take, Hunt says. “[Celebrities] very much trust us. They invite us into their homes, they celebrate with us their marriages, their births, they love to celebrate with Hello!,” says Hunt. “Readers know what we are giving them is a glorious package of beautiful pictures, celebrity news and also that access that they wouldn’t get in other magazines.” The growth of Hello! Canada happened quite rapidly. Masthead magazine’s statistics noted a surge in sales from 2007 to 2008, giving Hello! Canada the biggest year-over-year revenue growth among all Canadian magazines. Total sales for 2008 were almost $13 million. Tracey McKinley, executive publisher and vice-president of consumer marketing research for Hello! Canada, says building newsstand sales was key. “We had a very successful program to get the magazine at checkouts around the country. We have an amazing team of retail marketers who were able to get us good presence at the newsstand.” According to McKinley, revenue grew by 50 per cent from 2008 to 2009 and continues to grow. Part of Hello! Canada’s program to help secure a spot at major retail checkouts, like WalMart and Shoppers Drug Mart, is its promotional budget. McKinley says, “The key thing for the retailers is not just the promotional budget involved, but really the projected sales Hello! is going to achieve.” Masthead editor Val Maloney reported that subscriptions for the publication increased by 65.9 per cent from June to December 2009. McKinley said that of all the copies in circulation, roughly 40,000 of them are by subscription. “We’ve seen really good growth from channels

such as the insert cards in the magazine, the website, some of our other initiatives such as selling to the Rogers customer base,” says McKinley. At over $100 per year, Hello! Canada is one of the most expensive subscriptions in the country and subscribers are willing to pay. The U.K. edition of Hello! established a readership and reputation beginning in 1988. The British version was a spinoff of a Spanish magazine, ¡Hola!. Editions are now found in India, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, Thailand and Serbia. Although Hello! Canada has garnered the benefits of the magazine’s well-known base, according to Masthead, the U.K. edition faired poorly with a Canadian audience with a circulation of only 6,000. David Hamilton, publisher for Hello! says when Rogers Publishing first wanted to start a Canadian edition of Hello!, it turned to the owners of Hello! in Madrid, and secured a licensing deal. McKinley says for a period of a year in the beginning, the editorial director was in Madrid and was assisting the team in Toronto with the direction of the Canadian edition and how to execute Hello!. “It was important for the owners in Spain to make sure the Canadian edition complied with their vision of the brand and its brand identity,” says Hamilton. “In the beginning we picked up a lot more [stories internationally] and there was a lot more editorial input and control.” Now, the majority of content in Hello! Canada comes from the Canadian team, which includes a staff of 23 people, 18 of which are editorial, and it’s printed in Canada. “The look and feel is similar around the world but each country determines its own mix of what’s on the cover,” says McKinley. Rogers Publications invested in and supported the launch of the magazine and continues its support today although the magazine is doing very well financially. “We got great support in running radio ads, on radio stations, television ads and promotional support through our sister companies within Rogers media,” says McKinley. Reporting on celebrities is certainly not a new thing. Richard Ouzounian, theatre critic for the Toronto Star, who regularly interviews celebrities, says: “I think there has been a tendency throughout history for people to look up to people who are in a position of more privilege and authority than them and talk about them. “They still buy the magazines and that’s what I find amazing. With all the technology in the world and all the Internet stuff, people still want the magazine. They believe it when it’s in print.” Ouzounian is not surprised to hear how well the magazine is doing. He says Hello! Canada is filling a very real need here. Hunt says that when she thinks of the competition for Hello! Canada she thinks of People magazine in the United States in the way that they portray celebrities. “We are very respectful of celebrities and how we present them. We won’t show a celebrity fall-

ing out of a nightclub or bringing out their trash. That’s where we differ from any other magazine.” And perhaps more important, says Hunt, is the truth. “One of our strong points that I feel very strongly about is the fact that we don’t make up stories. “It’s really fascinating when you meet people who read Hello!”, says Hunt, “because people start the conversation with, ‘I love that magazine.’ People love reading Hello! They don’t feel embarrassed reading it. You know you see people on the subway in their doctor’s scrubs. It’s become a part of life in the sense that it’s there.” Indeed, Judith Mairs, 32 an epidemiologist, is not ashamed to purchase the magazine. She has even joined the Hello! Canada fan page on Facebook. “I was on my way to Europe and my sister gave me a copy. I fell in love with it.” Originally from Toronto, Mairs currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey. She misses Toronto and appreciates the Canadian content. “It takes me home when I get my copy in the mail,” says Mairs. “I look forward to that.” For each issue, Hunt makes sure to include what she describes as the magazine’s five pillars: international, Canadian and royal content, news and A-list star coverage. “It’s really fascinating how much Canadians do love the Royals … Every time we do royal specials … the feedback that we get from the readers, they just love it. They always will.” Canadian content celebrates the Canadians in Hollywood, Canadian artists, events and now Olympians. One of the core things that separates Hello! Canada from other English Canadian magazines is that it is one of the small bunch of weekly magazines. Hunt says that Canada does not have a weekly celebrity magazine that has stayed long enough. “Why the success? You know, I think it’s the weekly fix. People love their weekly fix and they haven’t had it before.” With all that Hello! Canada has accomplished, it did not suffer much during the recession. According to Masthead’s Maloney, there were a couple of layoffs and restructuring, but overall the magazine kept growing. In the last couple of issues of 2009, the magazine had to increase its pages as advertisements increased. The magazine has a stringent policy of 30/70 per cent advertising/ editorial ratio. Hunt says the issues leading up to Christmas were getting so much advertising that they had to keep increasing the pages. “At one point we had our biggest issue ever of 164 pages, which is huge, phenomenal.” The last issue of the year sold 150,000 copies on newsstands alone, which was their biggest seller ever. Hunt sees a very bright future for the magazine and she sets her sights high. “I want to be the biggest selling magazine in Canada…I want to sell more than them all. We will. I know we will. I think there is a huge, huge love for Hello!” u

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Selling a brand through custom publications is becoming big business By Noel Grzetic

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editor of a golf magazine, but has recently moved on to become co-founder of Expressions Custom Publications. She explains the philosophy driving the push for increased spending in custom media. “If you educate on something, you create an alliance, you become the expert to your consumer, and then they trust you more, then they buy from you more,” says Aitken. “It’s subliminal and people don’t seem to mind.” With increased advertising revenue going to custom publications, traditional magazines, which are often heavily reliant on third-party advertisers to drive revenue, may be at risk of losing advertisers. Schneider says the money for custom magazines often comes from the same budget as magazine advertising. “If brands are finding a more efficient and targeted way of talking to their consumers on a direct basis and owning the relationship, rather than leveraging the relationship the reader has to another media property, you can see how it would cannibalize.” A scary thought for traditional magazines that need revenue from advertisers.   Although, Schneider says he believes companies will continue to advertise in both forms as long as consumer magazines are targeting a specific audience.    He says advertisers value custom magazines because they



f CEO Eric Schneider has any say, magazine writers will soon be called marketing journalists. It’s a new term that his company, Totem, formerly known as Redwood Custom Communications, is using frequently and confidently. He says marketing journalism is the collaboration of journalistic principles, such as appropriate sourcing and storytelling, with a business objective to sell a brand. Marketing and journalism have never had much in common until recently, when custom magazines began to straddle both worlds. It all began in the 1890s, when Deere & Company published a magazine about tractors, specifically, John Deere tractors. The Furrow, which carries its name to this day, is believed to be North America’s first custom publication, but not the last. North American companies now produce nearly 116,000 custom publications annually. Today Canadian custom houses are big players. Air Canada’s inflight publication enRoute, for example, received the Pearl Award for best custom magazine in 2009, presented by the North American Custom Content Council. There is no doubt that custom magazines are making waves

in the publishing industry, and industry insiders should take note: this may very well be the future of the field. Lori Rosen, executive director of the Custom Content Council, defines a custom magazine as one that “marries the marketing ambitions of a company with the information needs of its target audience.” Schneider says a custom magazine is designed to create loyalty between a company and their customers, in order to increase customer acquisition and sales. Totem publishes magazines for several prominent companies, including the Canadian Automobile Association and Aeroplan. Schneider says there are “some clear marketing and brand objectives behind [custom magazines], but at the same time [they are] designed to recognize the value that’s required by a customer to opt into a conversation.” Custom magazines are growing as companies allocate more money for custom publishing. Rosen points to two studies that have been conducted in the United States, which reveal that within the average company budget for advertising, marketing and communication, 32 per cent of funds are allocated to custom media. This is the greatest proportion in history. She says the trend among Canadian companies is similar. Laura Aitken began her journalism career as

can speak to a specific, loyal customer base, but will look to consumer magazines to target readers that are not necessarily customers.   Still, custom magazines don’t face the same pressures for advertising revenue, and Schneider says this allows them to be more transparent with their readers. He says it is clear that traditional magazines operate in an environment where increasing pressure to draw advertisers is affecting editorial decisions about content. “I would be blown over if any newsstand publication that regarded Kraft as an important

The feedback she receives from her clients is that the custom pieces with real editorial content work best. Of course, as with any industry, there is a spectrum, but Aitken believes that quality custom publications are not much different in the way they get their content. “When I have to use sources, I use them the same way I would for any other magazines,” Aitken says. Custom publication houses have editors, outsource to freelance writers and function much in the same way as traditional publishing houses.

We don’t want readers to be turned off, thinking that this is just a big fluff piece, because that doesn’t serve anyone - Laura Aitken advertiser would ever run a piece about how Kraft in particular is producing products that lead to childhood obesity,” says Schneider. Custom magazines tend to carry the company’s name or logo on the cover, or content pages of their magazines, to alert readers to the magazine’s sponsorship. “We give clear guidance on where the content is coming from, so readers are really well-informed that this is a point of view from a brand that has a vested interest.” So how does that affect the editorial content of custom magazines? Those in the business say not very much. “Take the cover of Vanity Fair off, take the cover of a Four Seasons Magazine off, and you’ll get profiles of interesting people. You’ll get articles on interesting places to travel, resources, etc.,” says Rosen. She says custom media works because its readers are finding the content useful and educational. “It’s the same with a traditional magazine; it’s entertainment, it’s helpful, informative.” For Rosen, if a publisher is doing his or her job right, there should be no distinction in quality between a traditional and a custom magazine. However, Schneider points out an important distinction: custom publishers are not providing critical journalism, which readers don’t expect anyways. Aitken agrees. “You’re not going to write critically.” Despite this strong distinction, Schneider says custom magazines still have a place in the publishing world. “Legitimacy to me is in the eyes of the reader, and I can tell you that in all the research that we do, readers overwhelmingly indicate high value.” The content is not driven solely by marketing objectives. “It’s a mix of both worlds,” says Schneider. “We have to cover the requirements of the clients, which is not atypical of traditional advertising. That said and done, we also recognize that we have to provide value for the reader to engage.” Aitken works with a variety of clients who she says are not looking for overt self-promotion in their magazines, but rather to educate and entertain customers. “We don’t want readers to be turned off, thinking that this is just a big fluff piece because that doesn’t serve anyone,” says Aitken.

In an industry that prides itself on accuracy, Aitken says quality custom magazines are upholding this journalistic standard. She says that companies “have a reputation on the line, and it’s embarrassing for them to have an incorrect fact go out. The mindset is not any different than making that kind of mistake in journalism.” As freelance journalists are sought to provide the content for custom publications, jobs are opening up for freelance writers. Personnel cutbacks at traditional media outlets have made custom publications a financial haven for journalists looking to make a living. Sandy Crawley, executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, says writing for custom magazines is one way many writers supplement their income. His impression is that custom magazines are paying around a dollar per word, which is better than the 50 or 75 cents per word most writers get from consumer magazines. “I don’t think there’s a real stigma attached to it from a writers point of view”, says Crawley. He says the work is also not as demanding. “It doesn’t take that long, especially if you are provided the research materials and you’re hired to say things in a way people will enjoy them,” says Crawley. Aitken says the custom magazine industry is attracting more journalistic talent as it grows. “You are getting some really top people working in custom media that were not before, so it’s gaining a little bit of legitimacy in that way.” She predicts that as this trend continues, standards for content and the custom magazines in general, will be driven even higher. In the end, the growth of custom magazines is likely a reflection of what is happening in the publishing world. “It’s a big shake out between a consumers’ view of content that they’ll pay for and content they won’t pay for,” says Schneider. “I think custom publishing and traditional publishing are split manifestations of that exact challenge.” As the industry holds its breath, waiting to see on what side this coin will drop, custom publishers seem positive they will ultimately come out on top. u

continued from page 31 “They censored the cover of our publication after we had printed up 45,000 copies and distributed it all over the city of Toronto. It was fine in that case, but when it came to having a picture of the cover of the publication on Facebook, it was too naughty,” says Mills Similarly both publications have twice had their YouTube accounts suspended in the last year. In both cases, it was for videos that were taken on Church Street, in the middle of the very public Church Street Fetish Fair. “The videos were shot in public, literally surrounded by tens of thousands of people, and somebody complained about them on YouTube and they were suspended for being too dirty,” says Mills. “There’s a huge political cost to anybody, including journalists, who have something to say if one of the organizations that controls the pipeline of information decides that they don’t like your content for whatever reason.” Brett Taylor of Outlooks says he thinks the mainstream media choose particularly stereotypical GLBT issues like pride parades or hate and violence issues to cover. “Mainstream media is including more gay and lesbian pieces in their mainstream news media, but not to the degree that would void a reason to have GLBT-specific publications,” says Brett Taylor. “They cover just the tip of the iceberg. They would talk about it if there’s been a major gay bashing, or fire at a bath house, if there are deaths involved,” says Taylor. Some of the issues Taylor says are being kept out of mainstream media are things like the discrimination of gays by organizations like Canadian Blood Services. “Gays aren’t allowed to give blood. Those types of situations, they wouldn’t cover that,” says Taylor. “There’s still definitely the need for gay and lesbian publications.” Social media have changed the way people consume information. But since the new media pipeline can be controlled, censored and biased depending on the standards set up by its parent company, it is more important than ever for GLBT publications to be available. GLBT publications still provide a place for people to openly discuss the issues that are affecting the gay community, in a forum free of discrimination and censorship. “After gay marriage, as things are changing, this sort of ‘mainstream-ization’ of gay culture, the sexual outlaws and political radicals who really were the archetypes for the gay and lesbian movement, those that really stood up and said enough is enough are really left behind in this process,” says Matt Mills. “The expectation of respectability, which is totally illusory even in straight culture – that includes wife and a dog and a car and two and a half kids, if they don’t apply to you, or rather you know in your heart you wouldn’t be happy in that life, you still have some very real problems,” says Mills. So do GLBT exclusive publications still have work to do? “Is it necessary anymore?” asks Mills. “The answer is yes, absolutely.” u

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The Medium Goes Mobile Issuu brings its digital publishing approach to smartphones B y P at r i c k F a l l e r


t’s 8 a.m. and Toronto’s Queen Street streetcar is overflowing with morning commuters. Despite the crowded space, many are looking at their mobile devices. It’s how many get their news for the day, or how they’ll find that trendy new place for lunch or get that great recipe for dinner. It’s also where you may find the future of magazines. Canadian research firm Nielson estimates that approximately five million Canadians will access online content on their mobile phone in 2010. This is where mobile magazine publishing comes in. It’s your magazine on your readers’ phones, and it means wherever they go, your magazine goes with them. This handheld future was something the founders of Issuu Media recognized early. Established in 2007, Issuu provides magazine publishers with the opportunity to format and display their print publication online, for free. Offering worldwide service from offices in Copenhagen, New York, London and Mumbai, the user-friendly format mimics the experience of reading a print magazine, complete with proper dimensions and page turning animation. “We are a digital publishing platform and service provider. We want to put your magazine on every format available so you can reach everyone,” says Astrid Sandoval, chief commercial officer for Issuu. Sandoval says Issuu’s service allows publishers

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to bring their magazines to readers who would normally avoid newsstands. It’s an idea that has caught on. More than one million magazines now use Issuu’s service to package and distribute their print magazines online. Issuu’s key to success has been its ability to target digitally-minded consumers, and Sandoval is banking on cell phones as the next big market.

zines to be viewed on mobile phones, Issuu has developed its own viewing software that promises to give readers a more authentic magazine experience. Using a technology called EasyRead, readers can view magazine articles and artwork clearly on the small screen of their mobile. This allows magazines to retain the look of their print publication without sacrificing readability. Issuu says this

We are a digital publishing platform and service provider. We want to put your magazine on every format available so you can reach everyone - Astrid Sandoval “Mobile is a great venue to reach people on. It is also a great way to access new types of readers,” says Sandoval. Sandoval has seen how quickly Issuu’s services have caught on. She says since she began at the company last year, she’s seen the company grow by approximately 20 per cent each month. Now Issuu’s mobile service, launched last December, is attracting more publishers and readers than ever. “We released Issuu Mobile for android phones such as the HTC touch and the Google Nexus One. It is a downloadable application and in the first month we had 100,000 downloads. Now we are on the iPhone as well. It is getting publishers excited,” says Sandoval. Unlike other applications that allow maga-

provides a smoother browsing experience than the simple zoom technology employed by most mobile document readers. “Our technology allows the text to pop up when you are reading so you don’t get lost in the article. That happens a lot when you try to view a magazine using a zoom function. You can lose your perspective in the magazine and it is not a good experience,” says Sandoval. In addition to the added authenticity, EasyRead allows users to interact with each magazine on their mobile phone. This includes things such as sharing excerpts or entire articles over social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, a task that can be very cumbersome for other magazine apps due to limited compatibility.

Sandoval says she’s aware some publishers have their own applications to view their magazines online, but encourages them to upload onto Issuu anyway. “It is just like displaying your magazine on multiple newsstands. You want to distribute your publication through as many venues as possible and that includes our service.” Editor-in-chief William Morassutti welcomed the opportunity to expand his distribution to a new audience when his magazine, TORO, switched to being a fully online publication in 2007. “I felt the way to go was to get into digital media,” he says, talking about the magazine’s decision to stop publishing a print edition. “We are focused on getting our brand out there to a larger audience. We still produce original, premium content, but we now have a different readership online.” A site redesign last year optimized TORO for mobile phones to attract these new, tech-minded readers.

scriptions by going digital. It doesn’t discourage any existing readers.” Matthew Gray is the production editor and website administrator for The Toronto Globalist, a global affairs magazine supported by the University of Toronto and Yale University’s Global21 agency. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of Urbane Magazine, a Toronto-based publication dedicated to culture, design, fashion and politics. Both print magazines can be found on Issuu’s mobile application. “A well-rounded online presence is necessary for a publication to survive,” says Gray. “Issuu is a very effective tool. This digital content is integral to having a magazine that can make a difference and that people know about.” Gray says Issuu has helped his publications, especially Urbane Magazine, which just released its first issue earlier this year. “I posted Urbane on Issuu and we had 1,000 hits in just a few days. It is surprising and shows the potential of this technology,” he says. While Gray is happy that both The Toronto

We have only seen print publishers gain subscriptions by going digital. It doesn’t discourage any existing readers - Astrid Sandoval “Mobile content is an exciting place to go and we are heading in that direction. It is something we have to pay attention to.” Issuu’s Sandoval says her company exists to help publications like TORO position their content for that digital reader. “It is smaller publishers who have come on board. We are a free service and offer an international platform and publishing tools, such as our mobile services, which can really build a magazine’s online profile.” Sandoval recommends editors give her service a try since they are producing full editions of their magazine anyway. “We have only seen print publishers gain sub-

Globalist and Urbane are available on Issuu Mobile, he says he worries about his magazines being accessible on a global scale. “It is frightening because we have to think about how to be of sufficient quality and market to a worldwide audience,” he says, adding that he hopes one day to be able to fully utilize Issuu’s mobile tools. “It does give me a lot of room to expand to something broader with a larger, more tech-savvy audience in the future.” Chris Lumsdon is an Edinburgh-based web designer, magazine publisher and developer of online marketing strategies. His past clients include the City of Vancouver and Toronto Tour-

ism, for which he created a print and online magazine for using Issuu. Lumsdon says it is important for companies and publishers to have an online strategy, something he has focused on in his projects. “When you have a digital presence you get so many more eyes on your product and they are engaged rather than passive readers,” says Lumsdon, adding that publishing online content costs a fraction of the price of printing and distributing a magazine. “You can pour digital advertising into a publication on Issuu for low prices. Imagine how it is going to develop over the next few years with the invention of things such as the iPad.” Lumsdon’s current project is creating a web presence for Edinburgh Festivals, the organizing body and main ticket seller for festivals in the Scottish capital. He says by working in digital content and using tools such as Issuu, he can focus more on design and create a more appealing experience for the reader. “Magazines are by nature beautiful, visual items. This should encourage publishers and designers to use all this immersive technology to create a positive user experience and make the brand more effective.” Issuu’s success in the publishing world is due primarily to its ability to create that positive experience for the readers of the magazine. “The magazine experience has always been about the end user. It is about giving the reader what they want from your publication. Our job is to find a digital format that recreates that feeling for the reader because, if you can’t do that, no technology will matter,” says Sandoval. With positive feedback coming from both publishers and readers alike, the company will no doubt find the same success in the mobile world as it has on standard browsers. The recent release of the iPad has presented a channel for mobile magazine publishing that could take it to the big publishers who have been slower to embrace digital technology. “The industry is aware that things are changing,” says Sandoval. “We will continue to innovate and strive to be on every mobile device available.” u


Over one mil ion publications use Issuu, and CCO Astrid Sandoval says the company has grown about twenty per cent a month over the past year mag w o r l d | 4 7

Lessons Learned Canadian students are learning a lot from publishing their own magazines, and the industry is reaping the benefits B y S h au n B e r n s t e i n


att Blackett knows the magazine industry inside and out. A graduate of Humber’s journalism program, he’s also taught magazine production at the college, and is the publisher of Spacing magazine, which is in the process of going coastto-coast. “Working at a daily newspaper scared the shit out of me, the pressure and the deadlines of it all,” says Blackett. Students producing magazines are learning lessons, such as deadline challenges, all-nighters, and financial struggles that are almost identical to those they’ll see in the workforce. And, it seems the industry is better off for their experience. Lynn Cunningham has been in the magazine business for close to 40 years, and has taught magazines at Ryerson University for more than 25. She learned the magazine world hands-on through an entry-level position at Toronto Life, although she jokes that “now you virtually have to have 14 internships and a journalism degree to get in the door.” Cunningham has been working with the Ryerson Review of Journalism with her students since its second issue in 1985, although she won’t be with the magazine after this year. Cunningham says one of the most valuable

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aspects of producing a student magazine isn’t one particular facet of magazine publication, but learning the overview of the publication process and just how much it entails. It’s not just about writing, checking and copy editing for Cunningham, it’s about “creating front-of-the-book items, and creating back-of-the book items, and discovering how hard those things are to create.” Students publishing their own magazines cycle through a multitude of editorial tasks, experiences Cunningham agrees are beneficial. She also points out that in publishing magazines early, students learn how to find a voice that isn’t their own. “That trick of mind of putting yourself into a perspective of someone who isn’t you is a really common one in magazines,” she adds. She says it’s about learning how to serve your audience. The Ryerson Review of Journalism publishes twice a year, one spring and one summer issue, although the students work through the school year and all work is submitted at roughly the same time. The Review has 325 subscribers, puts 1,100 copies of each issue on newsstands and sells about 70 per cent of those 1,100 copies. Spring editor Katherine Laidlaw explained that the program is changing to produce a winter and a spring issue. Students on the Review’s masthead are assisted by faculty as well as a series of industry professionals. Laidlaw explains that the Review uses two

outside art directors (one per issue), professional photographers and a fact-checking consultant, all of whom are established industry professionals. Laidlaw says “the priority is to have it look as professional as possible, and the way to do that is by using our art director’s contacts in the field.” Jacqueline Nelson is a Review alum who now works as an associate editor of Canadian Business. Nelson speaks calmly, in a cadence that lends itself to pull quotes. She speaks glowingly about her time with the Review, and says the lessons she learned there were stepping-stones to her work in the profession. “I think of the Review like Picasso’s early years,” she says, “because before he became a mastermind of putting eyes and lips in the wrong spot, he was a fantastic still-life drawer. So I sort of see the Review like that, like building a really solid slow foundation so you don’t miss anything, so when you have to act quickly later you already have that foundation.” Humber College grants its students a series of broad, diverse magazine publishing experiences. The school publishes six different magazines including Convergence, a Canadian and international media magazine, which is published twice a year. Students in final year also produce two issues of Sweat, a sports-lifestyle magazine, which is published for the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. These magazines, roughly one every eight weeks, are both print, and online.

With magazines there’s always something a bit grander at work; you need a story that really holds up - Teri Pecoskie Even before their final year, students have the chance to publish four smaller magazines: one on the film and television industry, one on the magazine industry and two about the city of Toronto. Students have the opportunity to publish at least three different articles for three different magazines with significantly different audiences. They can also fulfill three masthead positions. Even students who move into broadcast produce a magazine during their time at Humber. All the magazines are completely student driven through every aspect of the production process, with the faculty available for advice and support. Teri Pecoskie was the editor-in-chief for the winter 2010 issue of Convergence, as well as the co-editor-in-chief of the school’s paper Et Cetera. Pecoskie says she encountered real-world challenges during her time with Convergence, such as an article that required a late do-over. “We had an article on PR strategies, how to deal with crisis management, and then the Tiger Woods scandal broke and we had to start the article from scratch basically,” she says. She has since moved into the newspaper world, following an internship at The Toronto Star, because she appreciates the blank slate that newspapers offer. “With magazines there’s always something a bit grander at work; you need a story that really holds up,” she adds. Priya Ramanujam started her national hip-hop magazine, Urbanology, in 2004 while still a student in Humber’s journalism program. Today she runs the magazine full-time, as well as a program called Say Word, which helps train young student journalists from priority neighbourhoods. She says she’s a magazine junkie through and through, and will read anything she can get her hands on. When looking for writers, she holds student magazine experience in high esteem. “Some of the best writing doesn’t come from big consumer magazines; it can be found in smaller publications and student-led publications, so I pay a great deal of attention to it.” Not all student magazines are products of journalism programs. The University of Toronto publishes Globalist, an academic magazine focusing on international relations issues. Wilfrid Laurier University publishes Blueprint, which started as a forum for long-form journalism, but has since become a substantial literary digest. Cunningham says while these publications don’t have the same name recognition among editors as journalism publications, the lessons learned are still valuable for the industry. The Toronto Globalist, published since 2005, is a fraction of the larger Global 21 network, which publishes students’ international relations magazines at 10 universities around the world. The Toronto edition functions largely independently though, with the international network allowing the masthead to confer with colleagues

abroad, and attend global conferences. Current editor-in-chief Natalie Krajinovic took the reins this past year after two years of publishing experience on Globalist’s masthead. Even though she herself is looking towards law school, she’s seen the value of the field experience all along. “It’s always been very stressful and it’s never-ending. But it’s a great experience of what to expect if you do want to pursue a career in journalism,” she says.One of the hardest magazine business lessons Krajinovic has learned is of financial struggles. Globalist was unable to release a print edition this year, and is focusing instead on releasing one in the next school year. “The finances are difficult, especially in the past year or so,” says Krajinovic. “Editing and putting together an issue is time consuming, but in terms of the funding situation, that’s non-stop.” While still ambitious about publishing print editions, Krajinovic seems pragmatic about the future of the industry. “I think focusing online is more realistic; that’s where people go for everything. I’m more on my laptop per day than I’m talking to people. It’s depressing to think about that, but that’s where it’s headed.” Globalist isn’t alone in its shape-shifting. Wilfrid Laurier University’s Blueprint magazine started roughly a decade ago as a magazine for longform journalism. Founding publisher Chris Ellis, who has moved on to magazines such as Walrus and This, says Blueprint began as a platform for items such as interviews, profiles and longer issuebased journalism focusing largely on broader issues. “We tried to deal with very specific issues, things that went beyond campus,” says Ellis. Today, Blueprint is an art and literary magazine that publishes seven issues per year, and is distributed both on campus and around the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Current editor-in-chief Erin Epp says she’s proud of the magazine’s relationship with the local community in which she grew up. “We accept community submissions and we print those, we distribute in the community, we have release parties in the community. We try to not just become encased in this campus bubble that can happen really easily.” The relationship with the community became a necessity this past year when Blueprint got slammed with its first-ever advertising ratio (70:30). Epp says the magazine was forced to sell ads to local businesses in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, many of which already distribute free copies of the magazine. She says she’s also learned about the marriage of print and online, with Blueprint’s website garnering between 80 and 100 hits a day. “I would still like to keep a print aspect to it, and I think it always will have a print aspect to it,” says Epp. “But in today’s world of print media, a printed publication has to be accompanied by a website.” Blackett says teaching was a great way to see students learn the value and difficulty of putting together publications. He says student publications are a lesson in owning one’s work. “You’re in control of them. You’re the boss. It’s a really good experience for people to be in control and make those decisions and understand the challenges in it and take ownership of it. When you have the ownership in it, you really strive to make it high quality. You have more at stake if it’s your magazine or your publication.” u

mag w o r l d |ROMI 4 9LEVINE

The End of the One Trick Pony B y A n d r e w A r d i zz i

Then you better start swimmin’ Or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin’.

Education: Continuing education programs at college and university night schools enable those in the magazine industry to build on their current skills and portfolio. Charles Oberdorf, co-ordinator of the magazine publishing program for Ryerson’s Chang School says those who attend “want to learn a different skill or learn how to do what they’ve been doing by the seat of their pants.” More than 30 per cent of attendees come from within the magazine industry.

Bob Dylan explained change as well as anyone could and in the evolving magazine industry, survival depends on mastering the vast set of tools available. Finding work demands an understanding of what magazines are looking for and steps each person can take to adapt in the industry. Multi Tasking: Val Maloney, editor of Masthead says, “I think that there’s still room for people to get hired, they just have to make sure they have the skills and knowledge about new technology and be able to multi-task.”

Adaptability: The magazine industry will continue to change like any other. The key is to have skills that will be transferable to any number of jobs.

Flexibility: Graham Scott says, “I think editors are wanting more to work with people wo are flexible and able to take a story in a couple different directions.”

Web Exploration: Graham Scott, editor of This Magazine, understands the importance of the web in the contemporary industry. “I think that’s what we’re going to see more of,” he says. “A willingness and a talent for experimentation and trying something new.” Val Maloney says it’s important to be as out there as possible with quality work. “If you’re going to do a blog or be on Twitter, make sure you are doing something of value out in the world,” she says.

Awareness: It’s important to understand the nature of the job market and what jobs are opening up. “It’s very much based on when positions open up. People are being hired to fill a very specific role,” says Jessica Ross, editor of Homemakers magazine. Hiring has been limited to maintaining the status quo of the magazine’s masthead and in Homemaker’s case, they aim to fill specialized positions. “When you move into the consumer magazine industry it’s best to be able to be excellent at something rather than knowing a little about a lot of things,” says Ross.

Passion: Graham Scott says, “Unless you love [the magazine industry], like in a sweaty, gross, slobbery way, think about other options,” he says. ILLUSTRATION ANDREA SCOTT

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Mag World 2010  

Magworld is a magazine for magazine industry insiders. The magazine is now in its twelfth year of publication, and looks to stimulate conver...

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