Canadian Magazine Industry News
9 April 2009,     CANADA
Magazines Canada starts "email army" to mobilize industry supporters
Magazines Canada is building an “email army” by harnessing the power of social networking with its new “Friends of Canadian Magazines Network” (FCMN). The network is essentially an email list designed to deliver newsletters and email updates about issues facing the Canadian magazine industry. The website launch April 1 and more than 130 people have already sent in their “friend request.”

“We’ll send a newsletter and say, hey look, we need your help because there is an issue here and we, as an industry, are emailing our MPs,” said Laurie Alpern, director of communications at Magazines Canada. “We want it to come directly from the public.”

The idea to start the FCMN was sparked from a 2006 study by Innovative Research Group (IRG) that investigated consumer attitudes towards Canadian magazines. The study recommended a “low key, long-term effort” in support of Canadian content. Add to this the recent changes in the Canadian Magazine Fund (CMF) and Publications Assistance Program (PAP) and Magazines Canada started thinking it was time to organize and mobilize support for Canadian magazines.

To join the FCMN you have to go to the website, which is hosted by Magazines Canada, and simply enter your name and email address. There is also a section where you can enter a friend’s name to send him or her an invitation to join the network. The website was created by the Toronto-based communications firm, ebranders, a division of Howe Brand Communications Inc. The website is in both French and English.

“We [Magazines Canada] never really thought about it in terms of numbers, but it would be great to get 10,000 to 20,000 people signed up,” said Alpern.

The idea behind the program is similar to that of the not-for profit organization, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, which was formed in 1987. Friends is supported by 66,000 households and serves as a watchdog of Canadian broadcasting. The group is often present at parliamentary committees and CRTC hearings on behalf of its supporters.
— Jon Kennedy
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