Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Canada Periodical Fund Formula Based on Circulation

After what may seem like an eternity for many publishers, Canadian Heritage has released its new formula for support under the Canadian Periodical Fund (CPF) for the Aid to Publishers (ATP) component.

Funding Based on Circulation
The biggest change is that support is now based on circulation instead of on editorial or delivery costs as in the past. It's no surprise that paid magazines receive the highest funding per copy, but request circ also gets support. Magazines get more funding than newspapers.

The new formula is also aimed to benefit smaller circ mags; mags with 2,500 to 25,000 paid circ are eligible for $3,000 to $31,000, and there is a cap in place of $1.5 million for the largest publications.

Will the New Formula Benefit Alberta Publishers?
While the case remains that few Alberta magazines qualify for any funding at all given our largely controlled circ marketplace, at least this new CPF formula gives publishers with paid or request circ some numbers they can plan around. The new levels of support will be phased in over three years starting with the 2011-12 period.

I'll check in with some Alberta publishers who receive CPF support as this new program unfolds to see if it's helping or hindering. In the meantime, you can read full details about ATP here.

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MagaScene: Alberta magazine industry news, events & jobs (August/Issue 86)

WordFest Unveils Literary Line-up
Business Innovation Funding for Print Magazines

MacEwan Writing Works Fall Courses (Sep - Nov)
Magazines Canada Webinar Wednesdays (Sep - Nov) 
1, 2, 3 ... You're Published! One-Day Workshop (Sep 17)
Master Media Interviews Workshop (Sep 21)
Word on the Street Lethbridge (Sep 25) 
Alberta Arts Days 2011 (Sep 30 - Oct 2) 
Best on Page: Witness the Power of Magazines (Oct 1)

Account Executive, RedPoint Media Group Inc. (Aug 31)
Editorial Intern, Where Canadian Rockies Magazine (Sep 9)
Graphic Designer (Magazines/Maps/Websites), RMV Publications
Advertising Sales, Edmonton Home & Condo Living 
Advertising Sales, WHERE Edmonton/Canadian Cowboy Country  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Youngblut leaving Swerve

After connecting with Shelley, she let me know that she'll be wrapping up at Swerve in the next few days, then taking a few weeks off before starting up at The Globe on Sept. 26. After seven years, she felt it was time to make a change. "I really want to get back to writing," she said. In the meantime, Bruce Weir will be acting editor until the position is officially filled; it would make the most sense for it still to be Bruce when it's official! We shall see. Here's hoping Swerve doesn't get swallowed up in The Herald's special publications black hole without Shelley around to champion it.


A news bite to round out the week: some pretty big news in the Alberta mags world, actually. Shelley Youngblut, editor of the Calgary Herald's weekly supplement Swerve, recently announced that she is leaving her position to go to The Globe and Mail. This probably comes as a surprise to many, since Swerve is, in fact, Shelley's brainchild, which she pitched to the Herald and launched in 2004. I'm hoping to get the full story when I see her tomorrow at the Sugar Bowl. In the meantime, have a read of more details on D.B.'s blog.

Colleen Seto, AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Monday, August 22, 2011

IMPACT Mag Lets Readers Choose 20th Anniversary Cover

Choose From Top 20 IMPACT  Cover Athletes
IMPACT magazine is celebrating its 20th anniversary by asking readers to vote for their top cover athletes to grace its September 2011 issue. The magazine chose its top 20 cover athletes over the past 20 years based on their impact on sport, community and country. It was no easy task as there have been more than 140 elite athletes and sports personas who have been featured on the cover in the past two decades.

Calgary Flames Star Theo Fleury was the first to take IMPACT's cover position.

Readers Vote for Anniversary Issue Cover Athlete
Readers were asked to choose their favourites from that list. Since the end of July, readers could vote at or on Facebook for the likes of Olympic medallists like Jarome Iginla, Simon Whitfield, Clara Hughes, and Mark Tewksbury. More than 3000 votes were cast, demonstrating a keen interest in IMPACT's reader community. This contest was a clever way to get readers to interact online and have a say in what happens with the print publication.

A Personal Vote for Catriona Le May Doan
It'll be interesting to see which female and which male athlete will take next month's cover. Given the many sporting heavyweights in Western Canada and in particular, Calgary, it's anybody's guess who will claim the cover. I personally voted for two-time Olympic Champion, Catriona Le May Doan. Not only is she the cream of the crop in terms of athletic achievements, she's also involved in endless community initiatives, plus she's hilarious. Okay, she happens to be a friend, but I would have voted for her regardless. Looking forward to the big reveal!

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Elements of Editing in a Two-Day Workshop: A Staff Writer's Experience

Travel bursaries for voting magazine members are just one of the many benefit programs that we provide at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. We've asked bursary recipients to share their professional development travel experiences. 

Paul Stastny, staff writer at Oilweek magazine, made use of an AMPA travel subsidy to attend a one-day workshop as part of Simon Fraser University's Summer Publishing program in Vancouver.

An Adventurous Start in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
I arrive in downtown Vancouver by SkyTrain and confirm the address of my hotel in my planner, thinking how convenient it is to be only a few blocks from Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus. But as I head out of the downtown core, the neighbourhood starts to look seedy. Apparently I’m headed in the right direction, until a man next to me at an intersection convinces me otherwise; he puts down a refrigerator grill and explodes into a flurry of shadow punches. 

I phone the hotel to find that I've written down the wrong address. It’s a painful reminder of my lack of attention to detail and why I’m here for a course on editing in the first place. Somehow, in a lapse of attention, I've ended up on the edge of Vancouver’s notorious East Hastings district. 

The Elements of Editing Workshop with Shelley Youngblut
We introduce ourselves in class and say a few words about what brings us to the Elements of Editing workshop led by Calgary’s Swerve magazine editor, Shelley Youngblut. Without going into the embarrassing minutiae of my mini adventure, I say I hope to reign in my distressing lack of attention to detail. But as a writer for Oilweek, I’m also here to gather some insights into the creativity and sensibilities that have made Swerve an award-winning publication, and a magazine that features some of my favourite Canadian non-fiction writers.  

Shelley draws on her consumer publication experience from some 30 years of editing in New York and Canada. She’s a great speaker; her passion for editing and working with creative people is inspiring. Her anecdotes and observations make you want to be a better editor, even if you’re a writer, which is to say there’s a lot of takeaway for both writers and editors here. 

As for my lack of attention to detail, I can’t say I’m cured. My sense is that any course that could actually help me with this weakness is one I probably couldn’t sit through. Fact checking or the nuts and bolts of line editing isn’t what this course is about. Thankfully. 

--- Paul Stastny
Oilweek Staff Writer, JuneWarren-Nickle's Publishing

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cracking the QR Codes

What are QR (quick response) codes?
You've probably noticed the sudden proliferation of QR (quick response) codes--those squiggly square bar-code-ish symbols that, when scanned by a smartphone, links the user to a specific webpage. I've seen them on store signage, giant outdoor banners, e-mail signatures, even Facebook profile pics. And yes, on magazine covers and ads, too. See Esquire's cover here:

Why magazines use QR codes for marketing
QR codes offer yet another marketing technique and a way to track response rates. For publishers, this means you can launch new promotions of your own or offer your advertisers another tracking mechanism for their print campaigns. A common application for advertisers is to use a QR code to link potential customers to a coupon to try their product. Or, a QR code can take existing customers to additional resources for a product for added value. Basically, QR codes can be a great way of interacting with readers from the printed page to the online world.

Share your QR code experience!
Have any of you tried a QR code? (I know that some of you have, so don't play shy here!) Share with us what your promotion was/is and what kind of response it received. Or are you a scanner of these codes? What moves you to scan one? I was keen to scan a code for a restaurant I wanted to try. Too bad my phone is circa 1982...

More information on QR codesFor more info about how QR codes can work with magazines, have a boo at Martin Seto's Masthead Gadget blog article. (And no, despite his rumour-spreading, he's neither my dad nor my husband. Ha!)

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Monday, August 8, 2011

Alberta Magazine Publishers Association is Moving Offices

Time for a Move from 17th Avenue
The boxes are piled up along the wall and atop the dollies, and the bright, multi-pastel-hued I Heart AB Mags posters have been taken down with care from the windows. We’ve managed to Kijiji obsolete office equipment (alas, good-bye 300 lb. printer), recycle magazines older than those in doctor’s offices, and box up binder upon binder of Canadian Heritage grant reports. 

You see, it’s time for a move. Our lease is up, space is scarce and we’ve found some new digs just north of the Bow River in Calgary.

The New Office in Kensington
Starting on August 9, AMPA will have moved into a shiny new space in the Kensington district—just a block  from the famously jaundiced, iconic Calgary grease refectory that is Chicken on the Way (I say this all affectionately; I’ve had more than a few chicken dinner snack packs). 

Our new office is modestly larger, which will be a good thing for the staff—at our former location we'd rubbed elbows in our open-concept, shared workspaces. It’s a good thing we all got along so well. 

A New Space for AMPA Members
The extra space will also be good for AMPA members. It will enable us to create a new community resource area: a place where members and the public can access our archive of past magazine issues, a library of reference materials, and view a wall-spanning display of AMPA member publications. There will also be space for members to book and hold small meetings and get-togethers, and for AMPA to host small workshops and webinars.

A Move for a New Era
It’s been five years here for AMPA, a year for me, and I’ve come to enjoy the bustle of 17th Avenue. Still, it seems appropriate for AMPA, which has been growing and changing with its membership, to make its move now: a symbolic start to a new era.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, please feel free to stop by. The chicken fritters are on us.
--- Andrew Mah
AMPA Acting Executive Director

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mobile Analytics Can Prove Useful for Publishers

The Value of Mobile Analytics
We've been chatting for what seems like forever about the importance of online content, but the biggest obstacle continues to be how to generate revenue from this content. It's always been difficult to tell what financial payoff online content has for magazine publishers, short of actual online subscription sales.

Now, mobile or tablet analytics may provide the answer. Similar to web analytics, mobile/tablet stats provide behavioral metrics such as page views and user actions, but on a mobile device where a user can be much more focussed on a publisher's content or advertiser's message, such metrics may be much more meaningful for publishers and advertisers than web metrics.

How to Capitalize on Mobile Analytics
According to an article in Folio, these mobile metrics can include geolocation, which for a savvy marketer can be critical information to determine what content to post to solidify brand loyalty.

To really capitalize on these metrics, you have to effectively tag your pages, online elements and apps so you can track user actions such as opening a page, clicking on an object, entering information, leaving a page, starting or stopping a video playback, and so on.

Where to Start with Mobile Analytics
The mobile analytics arena is still young, and it will take a while yet for the data to build up. Qualified interpretation remains the key to turning these metrics into useful marketing information, but it's a good time to start developing a tagging infrastructure that is built into your workflow, and taking a look at vendors who can provide these metrics.

---Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Magazine Editor Shares MagNet Conference Experience

Travel bursaries for voting magazine members are just one of the many benefit programs that we provide at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. We've asked bursary recipients to share their professional development travel experiences. 

Karen D. Crowdis, former editor of AMPA member Birthing magazine, saw the AMPA travel subsidy as her opportunity to attend MagNet, the national magazine conference in Toronto, for the first time.

Rookie on the Road 

Off to the MagNet Conference 
By publishing industry standards, I am a rookie in the biz with six years under my belt. In terms of the big show, I am the quintessential newbie—everything is still so thrilling to me about this industry.  This is my rookie voyage to MagNet. I work mostly remotely so the prospect of being in the company of industry pros always pulls at me.  Rookie or not, it’s nice to be with people who understand what I do. 

The Conference Experience 
Walking into the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott downtown Toronto quells my tenderfoot excitement just a bit. I am struck by the sheer number of people there. A flash of regret surges through my body as the introverted—aka: painfully shy—me questions my sanity for coming at all. 

I try to look like I know where to go, but I miss the room I need at least three times. Eventually, I run into some cohorts from the Professional Writers Association of Canada and dutifully become their ‘cling on’,  following them to the Marquee presentation room.  From keynote speaker Evan Hansen I learn that I really need to buff up my online skills.

Soon I find AMPA Executive Director, Andrew Mah, and AMPA’s own Editor of the Year, Kathe Lemon. Familiar faces were just what this MagNet virgin needed to stay the course.  In terms of seminars, MagNet did not disappoint.  The seminars completely whet my appetite for this industry.  I took something new away from all of them—that is the rookie advantage at these things.  

Love of the Magazine Industry Refreshed 
As the plane engines rumble under my feet again too soon, I realize my rookie season at MagNet is over. Witnessing the size of our Canadian industry was inspiring. I leave recharged and in love with this industry all over again. I know this is my industry; it’s where I belong. 
Thank you AMPA for the opportunity to attend MagNet—it was so worth the investment!

--- Karen D. Crowdis

Karen D. Crowdis is an experienced writer and editor, whose work has appeared in Alberta Conservation’s Discovery Guide, Ottawa Outdoors, Birthing Magazine, various corporate publications, as well as her recently launched blog about balancing life as a writer and family. Clinging to the rebel within, she still listens to music too loud, wrote her honours thesis on heavy metal culture and denies driving a minivan.