Masthead News Archives
January 2007

January 31, 2007
Adam Bly’s SEED mag wins UTNE award

Born in Montreal, SEED is lauded by UTNE for its Science/Tech Coverage
TOPEKA, KS.—A science magazine launched in Montreal in 2001 that’s now based in New York with an office in Britain has been given an Independent Press Award for Science/Tech Coverage by UTNE Reader magazine. Canadian magazines were nominated in 11 of 15 categories.

SEED founder Adam Bly, who was engaged in cancer research at age 16, founded the magazine when he was 21 and promptly took the title stateside. He told Masthead back in 2002 that his “plan was to penetrate the U.S. market from day one.”

The following Canadian magazines also received nominations:

UTNE Reader editors are well-read; they scour independent media from around
the world, and republish what they think is the best work
  • General Excellence (Magazines): Maisonneuve, SEED, The Walrus
  • General Excellence (Zines): Kiss Machine
  • Best New Publication: Geez
  • Spiritual Coverage: Ascent, Geez
  • Arts Coverage: Broken Pencil, sub-TERRAIN
  • Best Writing: Maisonneuve, The Walrus
  • Lifestyle Coverage: Shameless
  • Social/Cultural Coverage: Alberta Views
  • Best Design: Maisonneuve, Spacing
  • Local/Regional Coverage: Spacing

See all the nominees and winners in the Jan/Feb issue of UTNE Reader, currently on newsstands.

January 30, 2007
It’s a dung deal for Annex

A sense of solidarity runs throughout the commercial feces community as it must endure near-constant ribbing from outsiders. Now, new-owner Annex must endure the inevitable taunts
SIMCOE, Ont.—Mike Fredericks is keeping his lawyers and accountants busy. The acquisitive B2B publisher and commercial printer has added a 26th title to his stable with the acquisition of a North Vancouver bimonthly called Manure Manager.

Manure Manager publisher Perry Rosehill says “we’ve taken the publication about as far as we could with the resources we had and thought maybe somebody else could take it to the next level.” The magazine was launched in 2003, he says, and issues average 48 pages with 20 to 22 ad pages. Circulation is controlled at 15,700 nationally.

It’s a good fit for Annex, which publishes a variety of titles targeting the agricultural sector, including: Greenhouse Canada, Canadian Poultry Magazine and Top Crop Manager. (Annex recently announced that it was closing Specialty Farms, which was created following the 2005 merger of Canadian Tobacco Grower and Cash Crop Farming magazines.) Earlier this month, Annex acquired Robert Consedine’s Montreal-based Aggregates & Roadbuilding Magazine.

While the magazine’s nature does not necessarily confer an enormous amount of social prestige, it is not without its advantages, notes Rosehill. “It never failed that somebody would offer a [cheeky] comment of some kind,” he says, noting that standard quips are along the lines of, “What a shitty job,” and “Well, you’re in deep, aren’t you?” The great thing, he says, is that it creates a bond with the magazine’s natural advertisers because they, too, are the brunt of similar taunts. “It was definitely a point of humour,” Rosehill says. “Luckily, we have tough skins.”

It would seem that Annex CEO Mike Fredericks is ready to join this cult of suffering, noting that with the acquisition, he has found “a way to get myself into more shit.”

January 29, 2007
B2B publisher to speak at media conference

Cream publisher Charlie Crowe will speak at the conference.
TORONTO—Captivating your readership has presumably always been a priority but, with attention spans at an all-time low, publishers need to exploit the evolving mediascape.

This year’s annual Canadian Media Directors’ Council conference on March 27 is designed to survey the changing playing field. The theme: “Pay Attention! New Forms of Engagement.”

 

Speakers/panelists include:

  • London-based Cream magazine publisher Charlie Crowe, founder of C Squared Communications and former editorial director of Emap Plc (publisher of Media & Marketing Europe, among other titles.) Cream examines media trends and provides case studies of noteworthy ad campaigns from around the world. The 4,300-circ title is distributed to 49 countries.
  • former National Post deputy editor Martin Newland and Toronto Star publisher Jagoda Pike on the future of newspapers
  • The 4,300-circ quarterly on the international media industry has a one-time ad page rate of C$12,490
    BBDO North America chairman/chief creative officer David Lubars
  • JumpTV chairman/CEO Scott Patterson
  • Bell Mobility president Wade Oosterman
  • Mindshare Worldwide CEO Dominic Proctor
  • Carat Americas executive vice-president Martin Cass
  • ZenithOptimedia Group worldwide director of client services John Taylor

The CMDC represents about 80 advertising agencies and media management companies that account for more than 80% of Canadian adspend. For more info, visit cmdc.ca.

January 25, 2007
B2B publishers reconsider ad-tracking contract

Founded in 1979, IMS is the largest ad-tracker in North America. The company's Latin tagline reads: Magnam Pecuniam in anno proximo fortasse facebimus. Translation: "One year we will make big money"
TORONTO— Trade publishers are once again mulling the idea of subscribing to a tracking service that will monitor advertising activity in Canada’s B2B marketplace.

Martin Hochstein, president and founder of Toronto-based Inquiry Management Systems, made a presentation to the Canadian Business Press earlier this month. The CBP board rejected a similar proposal made by Hochstein a few years ago. The thinking back then was that because publishing rivals already track the ad pages in their competitors’ books, what need is there to hire IMS to do it for them? Plus, it costs money.

However, times have changed. Publishing associations such as the CBP and Magazines Canada have increasingly come to realize that sustained federal support requires effective lobbying in Ottawa, which in turn requires a strong and convincing voice supported by third-party data. While MagsCan can refer to data collected by Leading National Advertisers, the Print Measurement Bureau and the Audit Bureau of Circulations readily available FAS-FAX reports on the state of circulation, the CBP has no such info. It’s tough to make a case to Ottawa based on anecdotes and dated industry surveys.

CBP president Phil Boyd

IMS, with offices now in Toronto, London and New York, is a Canadian success story. Founded in 1979, it now dominates the U.S. market, quantifying advertising action in more than 2,500 trade and consumer publications across 200 SRDS categories, as well as monitoring trade show activity and online advertising. It also offers a lead-generation program as part of its suite of services, collectively known as eBasket. IMS, with more than 200 employees, displaced France-based TNS Media Intelligence/CMR in 2004 as the data provider to the American Business Media, the association serving B2B publishers in the U.S.

CBP president Phil Boyd says the board has struck a committee to examine Hochstein’s proposal. “We are in discussions [with IMS] to see if we can provide [eBasket] to our members through the CBP,” says Boyd. The committee will report back to the board in March.

January 24, 2007
Task force to seek “robust public policy”
TORONTO—At its annual post-Christmas party on Monday night, Magazines Canada chair Deborah Rosser announced that the association’s board has voted to assemble a committee designed to engage the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, which is in the process of reviewing the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program.

Dubbed the “Reaching Readers Task Force,” the committee will take form by mid-February, by which point individual members will be named. “We are mandating the task force to pursue a consultative process that will be broad, constructive and inclusive,” said Rosser in a statement released yesterday, adding that the objective will be to “secure robust public policy and continued federal investment in the industry for the longer term.”

The federal government has indicated (see News Archives, Dec. 14, 2006) that funding for PAP is stable for “up to” two years, however a question mark hangs over the future of the CMF. The task force is expected to suggest other ways the government could help, including tax credit schemes.

January 23, 2007
Ad pages flat in 2006
TORONTO—Aggregate growth in run-of-press ad pages at Canada’s largest consumer magazines remained virtually flat last year with total ROP pages down -0.1%, reports LNA Canada. However, there’s plenty of drama to be found in several publishing rivalries.

Total ROP ad dollars increased 4% to $698.5 million—a reflection of advertising ratecard increases. LNA Canada tracks advertising sales at 95 magazines.

Within the context of traditional rivalries, some notable individual results in ROP growth/shrinkage include:

  • Maclean’s (-0.2%) vs. Time Canada (-10.5%) 
  • Fashion (+2.8%) vs. Elle Canada (+0.5%) vs. Flare (-1.8%)
  • Canadian Family (+12.3%) vs. Today’s Parent (+0.2%)
  • Canadian Living (+11.5%) vs. Chatelaine (+11.2%)
  • Canadian Gardening (+1.9%), Gardening Life (-30.4%)
  • eye (-6.1%) vs. Now (-9.5%)

The Top 10 gainers (measured by ROP pages):

Best Performance: Montreal-based bilingual Plaisirs de Vivre/Living with Style published 663 run-of-press ad pages last year, an increase of 31.6% over 2005. The bimonthly's December 2006 issue (shown above) was a very thick 292 pages. With a controlled circ of nearly 70,000 in Quebec, it focuses on design, fashion, travel and culture.
Plaisirs de Vivre (French/English) 31.6%
LouLou 30.6%
Profit 26.4%
Canadian Home & Country 21.6%
Glow 21.2%
LouLou (French) 15.2%
Pme (French) 14.5%
Canadian House & Home 13.7%
Pure (French) 13.2%
Report On Business Magazine 12.9%

Top 10 decliners:

What's Hers -75.0%
TV Times -36.7%
Le Lundi (French) -32.5%
Femme (French) -31.2%
Gardening Life -30.4%
Starweek -26.0%
TV Guide -25.4%
Park & Pipe Magazine -24.1%
Cool! (French) -22.2%
Elle Quebec Girl (French) -21.5%

Here’s what the trending looks like for ROP pages as measured by LNA going back to 2000 (revenue in brackets). Note that year-over-year gains in revenue also reflect ratecard increases:

 2006: -0.1% ($698.5 million)
 2005: +0.4% ($670.0 million)
 2004: +6.5% ($646.6 million)
 2003: +4.1% ($600.5 million)
 2002: +1.4% ($559.3 million)
 2001: +2.1% ($462.7 million)
 2000: +10.1% ($454.0 million)

January 22, 2007
Madrid takes hold of Canada’s Hello!

Canadian edition launched in August 2006 under license from Spanish publisher that launched HOLA! in 1944.
TORONTO—A reorganization at Rogers Publishing’s celebrity weekly Hello!, produced under license from Spain’s Hola SA,  has resulted in the departure of editor Christopher Loudon, publisher Shelley Middlebrook, art director Benjamin MacDonald and two other editorial staffers.

The internal announcement was made last Thursday morning. The two other staffers let go were: senior contributing editor Michael Killingsworth and photo researcher Jeanette Forsythe.

Christopher Loudon resigned as founding EiC of Kontent's Inside Entertainment to join Hello! nine months ago.

Replacing Loudon is Madrid-based Isabelle de Courson, who worked closely with Rogers leading up to the launch of the Canadian edition last August and is the editorial director of international editions. She will now focus solely on the Canadian edition, which will be conceived and designed in Madrid. Ciara Hunt, formerly editor-at-large under Loudon, assumes the new position of managing editor and will work closely with de Courson and Lise Ravary, Rogers’ vice president and editorial director, women’s titles and new products.

Shelley Middlebrook, previously a sales manager at CBC Television and before that executive vice-president at Brunico Communications, was appointed Hello! publisher in March 2006.

As publisher, Middlebrook oversaw the ad sales team as well as administrative operations, including the licensing arrangement. Her position will be replaced with an advertising director who will focus exclusively on ad sales. (Ed:ad ratios in Canada’s Hello! have typically hovered around the 85:15 level during the first four months.) Taking over Middlebrook’s other responsibilities is Tracey McKinley, executive publisher of the Hello! Franchise and Rogers’ veteran vice-president, consumer marketing and research.

Rogers says it has exceeded its circulation target of 100,000 copies sold per month, selling about 500,000 copies over the first 19 issues (an average of 26,316 per issue). Prior to the Canadian launch, Hello! (U.K. edition) sold about 7,000 copies in Canada.

January 18, 2007
CSME offers publicity primer

TORONTO—The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors has organized its first luncheon of the year. The subject: “How to Get Your Magazine in the News.”

Dispensing how-to advice will be Tracey Howland, senior segment producer for Citytv’s Breakfast Television , and PR specialist Stacie Smith of Smith Communications.

The event is scheduled for Tues. Feb. 6 at noon in the Design Exchange Boardroom at 234 Bay St. Cost: $30 (members) and $50 for anyone else. RSVP at CSMEadmin@hotmail.com.

January 17, 2007
Multi-prong promo push for mag medium

Magazines Canada will send a pair of male/female cupids, complete with wings and bows and arrows, to 31 agencies on Valentine's Day.
TORONTO—Magazines Canada, the industry association representing consumer titles, will send a pair of male and female cupids to 31 advertising agencies in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver this coming Valentine’s Day.

“All of this is to bring the passion that readers have for magazines to life,” says Gary Garland, executive director of advertising services at Mags Can. It’s just the latest of many event-style marketing efforts that Garland has organized over the years. For example, a past rendition saw actors installed at various ad agencies posing in bathtubs and beds, intensely reading their magazines. The agency-directed efforts send the message that magazines are a much-loved medium that engages readers by offering solid connections to specific areas of interest.

Exhibition will showcase some of best magazine ads in the world

That’s on February 14. On March 1, MagsCan is bringing back a popular exhibit of some of the world’s best magazine ads. Last year, the show was called “License to Thrill.” This year it’s billed Best on Page. The concept is the same: collect copies of the winning entries from some of the world’s most prestigious ad competitions and hang them on walls and let the vino flow. Last year, more than 700 people showed up at the Toronto event. This year, the show exhibits in Toronto on March 1 and in Montreal on March 8. Admission is free. For info, contact Gary Garland (Toronto) at ggarland@magazinescanada.ca; or Anne Villenueve (Montreal) at anne.villenueve@infopresse.com.

New creative designed to fill remnant ad space sends the message that magazines connect readers to products

Also in March, look for the first of a new generation of promotional ads designed to fill publishers’ remnant space. Mags Can commissioned four ads, available in both English and French, with the message:  “Make the connection with magazines.” The visuals depict magazine readers looking ad an ad for a car/cereal/barbeque/computer while sitting in front of the item in question.

“We should start seeing the first deployments of these ads in the March issues [of participating magazines],” says Garland.

January 16, 2007
Western Living appoints Sutherland’s successor

Rooke grew up in Alberta reading Western Living. She starts Jan. 29. Shown here at at CSME meeting in Toronto last March
VANCOUVER—There are maybe 100 consumer magazines in Canada with annual revenues exceeding a couple of million dollars. Consequently, there are maybe 100 potential openings for the position of editor-in-chief at these substantial titles. In reality, top-dog editorial positions are as rare as hen’s teeth. So, when Western Living editor-in-chief Jim Sutherland announced in November that he was stepping down after a 20-year editorial career, one of those rare vacancies caught the eye of the editor of enRoute.

Charlene Rooke has won the job. Rooke, who was editor of Calgary city mag Avenue before joining Montreal-based enRoute in 2002 as executive editor, will join Transcontinental Media’s Vancouver-based glossy lifestyle mag on Jan. 29. It’s the 40th largest magazine in Canada with estimated annual revenues of $5.9 million.

Jim Sutherland stepped down last month to pursue freelance career after 20 years of editing

“Growing up in Alberta, reading Western Living made me realize that there was a unique Western character and voice. It was one of my main inspirations in becoming a magazine editor—literally, for me, this is a dream come true,” she said in a released statement.

Kim Peacock moved from Toronto (St. Joseph Media) to Vancouver in October 2005 to succceed Lance Neale as group publisher of Transcontinental Media's western Canadian mags (Western Living, Vancouver, Guest Life)

Publisher Kim Peacock liked the geographical and editorial  diversity on Rooke’s resume. “Charlene brings experience, energy, and passion to our team,” she says. “Her national connections and experience in the food and travel sectors, combined with her deep knowledge of Alberta and the magazine’s history, will move us forward in enhancing and expanding the already-strong Western Living brand.”

Rooke is also the author of Edmonton: Secrets of the City (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001). In 2005, she was promoted to editor of enRoute; Arjun Basu remains editor-in-chief of Air Canada’s glossy inflight title.

January 15, 2007
B2B publisher launches training course

Monthly two-day course sells for $995
EDMONTON—JuneWarren Publishing, Canada’s largest energy-sector publisher, is about to launch a monthly two-day seminar designed to serve as a crash course in Canada’s burgeoning petroleum industry. It’s called Oilpatch 101.

Publishes flagship title Oilweek, Oilsands Review, Oil&Gas Inquirer, and Canadian Oilfield Gas Plant Atlas, among other titles. It is one of the few publishers that employs an inhouse cartographer to prepare a variety of maps and charts around which sponsorships are sold.
JuneWarren president Bill Whitelaw says the red-hot provincial economy has created unprecedented demand for knowledgeable staff, both within the industry and related sectors. Everyone from front-line service staff (receptionists, for example) to members of the investment community need to know about industry basics—including the assortment of petroleum-based products, industry stats, the history of the oilpatch, land access concerns as well as drilling, processing and transportation issues.

The $995 course will run once a month in Calgary, however Whitelaw says that JuneWarren offers customized presentations that can focus on more specific concerns. Check out www.junewarren.com.

January 11, 2007
Former Razor editor launches music mag

Bills itself as "The Loudest Magazine in North America"
GEORGETOWN, Ont.—Craig Knight is doing it himself this time. Formerly known as Craig Vasiloff during his partnership with Web porn mogul Richard Botto’s now-defunct men’s mag Razor (based for a time in Richmond Hill, Ont. before moving to New York), Knight has launched Strutter, which sports the tagline “The Loudest Magazine in North America.”
Craig Knight, as he appeared in an old Razor media kit, circa 2000

“Strutter is turning the amps up to 11 as it delivers the music you want to hear and read about,” reads the media kit. “From the rehearsal rooms and club stages to recording studios and concert halls, Strutter focuses on rock, punk, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and metal music.” Fifteen of 66 pages in the perfect-bound premier issue are ads. Bad-boy style editorial on tattoo artists, long-haired custom motorcycle builders and scowling musicians abounds.

The 25,000-controlled-circ bimonthly “will be found saturated” in major North American cities, including New York, L.A., Chicago, Miami, San Diego, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Razor’s Botto and Knight had a nasty fallout in 2004, resulting in Botto appointing himself editor-in-chief. Razor folded about one year later, in the fall of 2005.

January 10, 2007
One Aboriginal mag shuts, another expands

CanWest pulls funding after just 15 months, forcing the title to fold. This was the October 2005 premier issue
REGINA—Belt-tightening at CanWest Communications appears to have resulted in the demise of Shout, “Canada’s Aboriginal Youth Magazine.” Meanwhile, Winnipeg-based rival SAY magazine (“Spirit of Aboriginal Youth”) is poised for stateside expansion this coming spring.

Shout, which launched October 2005 with an ambitious 10-times-a-year frequency and high production values, was in partnership with MGM Communications, the First Nations University of Canada and CanWest MediaWorks (via Regina’s Leader-Post and Saskatoon’s StarPhoenix). “Our publishers [CanWest] have had to make the decision to cease publishing for a while because of a lack of financial support for the magazine,” says editor Michelle Hügli, who noted that a soft ad market was a contributing factor. The January 2007 issue is the last. The controlled-circ title had a circulation of 10,000 via CanWest’s grid. Leader-Post publisher Greg McLean could not be reached for comment.

Launched out of Winnipeg in 2002 with a modest frequency, the magazine is poised for U.S. Expansion

Winnipeg-based SAY magazine, which launched in 2002 with a modest biannual frequency, has grown to four times a year and has been studying the U.S. market for the past 18 months, says publisher and founder Leslie Lounsbury, a Métis mother of six. “We’ve concluded that a lifestyle magazine for American Indians would be the best way for us to go,” she says. The new magazine will be a U.S.-focused edition of SAY with content tailored to that market. (She admits to a marketing challenge: the Y in SAY stands for youth, but the new U.S. edition is not exclusively about youth.)

This sister title to SAY launched as a quarterly this past summer in Denver

The launch is set for March at Res 2007—the Reservation Economic Summit and Business Trade Fair in Las Vegas, and later that month at the Denver Powwow in Colorado.  The new title will have an initial circulation of 10,000, she says.

This past summer at the  North American Indigenous Games in Denver, Lounsbury launched her second title, Medicine Bundle, a quarterly on native health issues and practices. With a circ of 9,000, it targets the U.S and Canadian native communities.

January 9, 2007
TV Week poised for massive windfall

Canada Wide Media founder Peter Legge
VANCOUVER—When Transcontinental Media discontinued the print edition of TV Guide, the word that went through Peter Legge’s mind was “hallelujah .”

Legge’s Vancouver-based Canada Wide Media is the largest independent publisher in Western Canada with more than 30 regionally focused titles. One of them, TV Week, has conducted running battles with TV Guide for years. A 30-year turf war at newsstands and for new subscribers was one of the province’s most enduring publishing rivalries. And it all came to a screeching halt last year.

Could theoretically boost paid subs by 115% as a result of TV Guide's retreat to the Web

“In November we heard about TV Guide deciding that they were not going to have a hard copy,” Legge recalls. “So we thought, ‘hallelujah!’” He says a deal was struck with Transcon such that TV Week would take over about 25,000 live TV Guide subscriptions and see them to term. If subscribers balked and wanted a refund for the balance of their Guide sub, Transcontinental would cover that cost. “Of those 25,000, only 400 cancelled—amazing,” says Legge. The prospects for renewing those subscribers are likely much, much better than your average list rental.

TV Week also acquired the names of about 25,000 lapsed Guide subscribers, Legge says. Time will tell how many new Week subscribers will be converted from that Guide universe of 50,000, but Legge is extremely optimistic. “We could pick up another 50,000 subscribers,” he says.

TV Guide's paid circ declined 57% in 2006, hastening its transformation to a Web-only brand

Given that TV Week currently has about 43,500 subscribers, look for it to post dramatic double-digit gains in this area over the course of 2007 as it attempts convert former Guide readers. TV Week’s newsstand sales, which currently average about 8,800, are also expected to spike dramatically given the absence of its long-time rival, which is now a Web-only brand in Canada.

January 8, 2007
Annex scoops up pit & pavement title

National circulation is 12,000+
SIMCOE, Ont.—Following negotiations that began last summer, the magazine division of Annex Publishing and Printing has acquired Robert Consedine’s Montreal-based Aggregates & Roadbuilding Magazine.

The standard-size, bimonthly trade title that Consedine launched in 1987 serves Canada’s $20-billion aggregates and roadbulding industries. Vancouver-based magazine broker Watershed Partners brought the deal to Annex’s attention. Annex president and CEO Mike Fredericks said the title fits nicely with Annex’s forestry titles, which target many of the same advertisers (manufactures of heavy equipment and machinery). There was also an emotional connection for Fredericks.

“I spent my summers working in quarries and on road construction sites. This industry helped me raise the funds to attend university,” he said in a released statement. “It’s great to know that this industry continues to thrive in Canada and that this magazine is well established to support the industry.”

Fredericks said that Consedine will “stay with the magazine for a minimum of two years during the transition.” The national magazine has a circulation of over 12,000 and is without a direct editorial rival in Canada. The closest competitor for ad dollars would be Heavy Equipment Guide, a 10-times-a-year national title established in 1986 and published out of Vancouver by Baum Publications.

The acquisition represents the 25th title in the Annex stable of trade magazines. The others are:

Bakers Journal
Canadian Chiropractor
Canadian Florist
Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly
Fire Fighting In Canada
Fruit & Vegetable Magazine
Greenhouse Canada
Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery
International Thoroughbred Digest
Canadian Pizza Magazine
Canadian Vending
Canadian Poultry Magazine
Specialty Farms
Wings
Helicopters
Canadian Forest Industries
Canadian Wood Products
Opérations Forestières et de Scierie
Canadian Rental Service
Drainage Contractor
Glass Canada
Ground Water Canada
Top Crop Manager (two separate regional editions)

January 4, 2007
Lad mag tones down sexual content

UMM cover (Hilton)
Winter 2006
OTTAWA—Having long played the T&A card in its bid to attract young male readers, Urban Male Magazine has announced that it wants to reposition itself as “a more sophisticated and informative magazine.”

“We’re doing a slow progression,” says Nashir Gangji, director of operations. “We’ve noticed a demand from our advertisers. They’re not going in that direction anymore, or not as much as they used to.” Gone, then, are the days when scantily clad females would spill forth from the cover. The quarterly’s current issue (Winter 2006) features, instead, a modest photo of Paris Hilton that could easily grace the cover of, say, Reader’s Digest.

UMM mag (before):
Winter 2005

Gangji says the magazine is in the process of completing its CCAB audit and plans to join the Print Measurement Bureau, no doubt to better position itself against Canadian men’s magazine Toro.

The sex-crazed U.S. edition of Brit lad mag FHM announced last month that it would be closing in March amidst declining ad revenue and falling circulation.

January 3, 2007
Magazine’s funding comes to “grinding halt”
TORONTO—Canada’s oldest cross-disability lifestyle magazine is on the brink of closure after normally approved funding applications have suddenly been met with rejections.

Future in jeopardy as project funding applications rejected

Current publisher Ray Cohen launched Abilities magazine in 1988. The 45,000-controlled-circ quarterly forms the core of the Canadian Abilities Foundation, a registered charity “linking people with disabilities to a world of resources.” While never a recipient of core funding, the CAF has for many years received project funding through the Office of Disability Issues, a division of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

Projects have included booklets for women with disabilities in abusive situations and a book for young people with disabilities who are seeking a more independent lifestyle. “Those are the kinds of projects that have kept us going,” says Cohen. “All of a sudden, [last year] that came to a grinding halt. We no longer have that project funding. It’s kind of knee-capped us. We’re in the same kettle of fish that many other social programs are.” Cohen says the CAF received upwards of $200,000 annually in project funding. Without that, and with subscription and ad revenue softening, Abilities has laid off three of five staff. Cohen says it’s not certain whether the magazine will publish its Spring 2007 issue. “In fairness, I should say that the government has encouraged me to re-apply right now and I’ve done that,” he adds.

An urgent call for cross-organizational support and private donations was issued last month by a group called the Friends of the Canadian Abilities Foundation.

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