January 27, 2005
NHL lockout prompts cutbacks at The Hockey News
TORONTOAs of yesterday, NHL lockout had claimed 713 of 1,230 regular-season games, and the wider hockey economyrestaurateurs, hoteliers, retailers and publishershave all felt the sting. The latest casualty is Transcontinental Media’s The Hockey News. Company president André Préfontaine recently confirmed that the publishing schedule at the 57-year-old title would be reduced from 42 times per year to every other week. The move is effective this week. Pre-existing subscribers will still receive 42 issues. Préfontaine also confirmed that publisher Gerald McGroarty “has been temporarily laid off.” Advertising has dropped off “significantly,” he added, while circulation is down 13% compared to pre-lockout levels. “We’re just like so many other businesses that are caught up in the hockey economy [which has] grinded to a virtual halt.”
Transcontinental, which wanted to sell the publication a couple of years ago, intends to stick with the title. “We’re not unhappy that we didn’t sell it,” Préfontaine said, pointing out that with the acquisition of Avid Media this past summer (including Outdoor Canada, Canadian Home Workshop), the company has a sizeable male-skewed readership that will be explored.
Leafs Nation, the quarterly magazine produced by St. Joseph Media for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment directed at season-ticket holders, suspended operations last fall. The magazine, which launched last February, was to have published at least four issues and possibly five for the 2004-2005 season, plus a yearbook. The NHL lockout, however, put those plans on ice.
January 25, 2005
Empey leaving Transcontinental
TORONTOSpeaking of an era that she says is almost over, Charlotte Empey, editor-in-chief of Canadian Living and Homemaker’s magazines, says she’s preparing step down Feb. 18. No successor has been announced. On April 4, Empey, 54, is set to take up duties as associate dean at Humber College’s School of Creative and Performing Arts. “It’s a whole new career. And I think it’s time. Not to mention my office is in a wonderfully refurbished cottage on the old Lakeshore Psychiatric groundsa park-like setting that rolls gently down to the lake about six minutes from my home!” she writes in an e-mail.
Empey noted that editors of her vintage are becoming a rarity in the nation’s editorial suites, particularly at women’s magazines where the target market is considerably younger. She alluded to former Chatelaine editor Rona Maynard, 55, who stepped down last month. “Besides [62-year-old Toronto Life editor] John Macfarlane, there are not many if any editors left from Rona’s and my era.”
Empey has been editor of Canadian Living since November 1998. In June 2003 she accepted the added responsibilities of editor of Homemakers as well as publisher of both titles. She resigned from the publisher spots this past August.
She has held senior positions at many of the country’s largest women’s magazines. Prior to Canadian Living she was founding editor of Modern Woman magazine (1993-97), executive editor at Chatelaine (1990-91), fashion/beauty director at Canadian Living (1989-90), editor of Images and Healthwatch (1987-89), and health and beauty editor at Flare (1979-82)
She will take the month of March off after a breather in St. Lucia. It’s a bit of a coming home for Empey; she graduated from Humber with a journalism diploma 31 years ago and is a co-founder of Humber’s Creative Writing School.
January 20, 2005
Quebec publisher looking to grow
BROSSARD, Que.LC Media Inc., based here, is in the market for motorsport titles, says principal Jean Lemieux. “The end users and the companies that place ads are quite similar [among such publications],” he says. “We’re interested if there’s synergy [with our existing titles],” he says. Until recently, LC Media owned just L’evenement Automobile and Le Monde de l’Auto. This past spring, however, LC dramatically expanded operations when it acquired Montreal-based Turbopress Inc., publisher of Toronto-based flagship title Cycle Canada and its French sister Moto Journal as well as a bimonthly trade mag Motorsport Dealer & Trade. We estimate the deal was worth $2.5 million, and while Lemieux wouldn’t reveal the sale price, he said our estimate is in the ballpark. LC Media is owned by Lemieux and partner Frédéric Couture.
January 18, 2005
Postal rates jump again
OTTAWAIncreased publications mail rates kicked into effect yesterday representing an average jump of 4.5% over last year’s prices. Specific rates will vary depending on weight and sortation level, with heavier magazines shouldering a greater increase “that reflects the increased cost to serve, taking into consideration rising transportation costs,” says a statement from Canada Post, the single largest supplier to the magazine industry, delivering over a half-billion magazines to Canadians. Domestic letter mail rates for items up to 30 grams jumped from 49 to 50 cents, also effective yesterday. The Canadian Magazine Publishers Association warns publishers to pay close attention to rates for samples or promotional inserts, which have increased from between 25% to 33%. When the new rates were announced last summer, the CMPA stated that it was “very concerned” with the increases, which are beyond “any recognized inflation measure.” Check out the new rates at: www.canadapost.ca/business/offerings/ publications_mail/can/rates-e.asp.
January 13, 2005
Wilson-Smith steps down, reflects
TORONTOThe sudden resignation of Maclean’s editor Anthony Wilson-Smith earlier this week suggests that major changes are in store for the weekly newsmagazine. Publisher Paul Jones, who hired Wilson-Smith in 2001, was squeezed out of action two months ago following a corporate restructuring.
Wilson-Smith said yesterday that Jones’ departure in November prompted him to reassess his own timetable. “He and I had always had discussions in which he had said, ‘You know, look, I expect that by about the middle of 2006 to move onto something else…and that’s probably a good time table for you to think about, too,’ and I had agreed,” he said, adding that he was “very sorry” to see Jones go. Last month, which marked his 21st year with Maclean’s, Wilson-Smith was vacationing in Barbados when he decided he was “coming to maturity within the magazine and I’m 48 now and if I’m going to look at a career change…or just a change of office then it makes sense to do it on the south side of 50.” He says he’s considering options both within and without journalism and will “likely” stay in Toronto. Look for a brief mention in his editor’s note next week and a final farewell in his last editorial at the end of February. “This is not going to be six weeks of the Wilson-Smith world farewell tour,” he said.
Asked if he delivered on his mandate to redefine the role of the weekly newsmagazine in a 24/7 environment, he said: “Nobody should ever claim they delivered 100%. If they are they’re fooling themselves and trying to fool everyone else.” He does, however, feel that he addressed the “need for renewal and generational change,” pointing to backpage columnist Paul Wells (who replaced Allan Fotheringham), 30-year-old business columnist Steve Maich, regular contributor Alexandre Trudeau and twenty-something Adnan Kahn. “So you have a new wave of regularly appearing voices that we did not have previously.”
Former National Post editor-in-chief Ken Whyte, who was also editor of Saturday Night in the mid-’90s, did not return a call seeking comment on rumours that he is preparing to succeed Wilson-Smith as editor of Maclean’s.
Marc Blondeau, senior vice-president of consumer publishing at Rogers Publishing, which own Maclean’s, declined to comment on the Whyte rumour or who or when a new publisher and editor will be hired.
January 11, 2005
Publisher on shaky ground
REGINAPW Group, a collection of printing and communication companies including Winnipeg-based magazine publisher August Communications, is in the midst of a major restructuring. It successfully applied for creditor protection last week, due to “financial difficulties arising from effects of the weakened U.S. dollar,” according to a released statement. Acting CEO Grant Gayton says this move is a “positive” one. “It gives us the opportunity of restructuring.” CEO Wayne UnRuh has been away on medical leave since last November. August has already been affected following the layoff of 17 staff in November and the closure of its three-month-old consumer title, Looking Great. It also shut down two new trade titles, MotorCoach and Pest Management, last fall. According to Gayton, August was set to launch a few titles early this year but decided to hold off and focus instead on existing publications. There was talk that Looking Great might be sold but Gayton could not confirm it. The contract, consumer and trade publisher produces 19 titles and directories including its food and drink magazine Flavours, which launched in 2003.
January 6, 2005
New faces at This Magazine, Broken Pencil
TORONTOAnna Bowness, former administrative co-ordinator for the Editors’ Association of Canada has succeeded Emily Schultz as editor of Broken Pencil, the thrice-annual magazine on zine culture and alternative arts. Bowness holds BA and MA degrees in English from Concordia and Dalhousie, respectively. Schultz, editor since November 2002, will remain with the magazine for the rest of the month in a transitional role before returning to her former life as a writer and freelancer.
Meanwhile, This Magazine has hired Lisa Whittington-Hill to succeed Joyce Byrne as publisher. Whittington-Hill is currently a staffer at the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association (she’s the small magazines office project manager), but she’s not new to This. She was the magazine’s arts editor for three years and circ manager for one. She is also circ manager for Shameless, the teen girl magazine and was a member of the collective at the now-defunct feminist quarterly Fireweed. Byrne is leaving at the end of the month to take up duties as associate publisher at Edmonton-based Alberta Venture. In a released statement, John Degen, chair of This Magazine’s board of directors, said: “This is a great example of promoting from within. Lisa has done great work for the magazine over the years.”
January 4, 2005
“Design Like A Hero” course offered
TORONTOArt directors, designers and production managers interested in creating files free of surprises once they roll off the press are invited to attend an intensive one-day course offered by more Magazines Canada and Ryerson University on Tuesday February 22, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $75 per person. Lectures and hands-on lab exercises will address such issues as proper output to an ISO standard PDF/X1-a file, image capture and resolution, and font and colour issues. The course is specifically targeted at magazine ad designers. Speakers and advisors include: Chris Smyth, director of digital graphic services at Rogers Media; Greg Antonacci, production manager at Family Communications; and Dave Ballantyne, director of technical services at Quebecor World’s Aurora, Ont. facility. Attendees will receive a copy of Look Like A Hero: the Art Director’s Guide to Magazine Print Production. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.