A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘magazines

[NEWS] Five LGBTQ links: sober queer spaces, hockey, recovering history, Ed Koch, Pride

  • Them writes about the importance of queer spaces like coffee shops where people can gather while being sober.
  • Folio links to a fascinating study examining why professional hockey players have not come out, and what might make them do so.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the fascinating process of recovering black queer history through researching articles in sensationalist magazines.
  • Hornet Stories describes the fascinating, disastrous history of closeted New York City mayor Ed Koch.
  • A controversy over the headlining of Ariana Grande at 2019 Manchester Pride led to a debate to questions of queer representation on Pride stages. Global News reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Bruce McArthur, Ontario Place, real estate, Chickadee and Owl, TTC

  • This Toronto Star feature touches upon the continuing upset among the communities affected by the murders of Bruce McArthur.
  • Polling suggests that most Torontonians want Ontario Place to remain a place where they can access Lake Ontario easily. I do like the idea of a ferris wheel, mind. The Toronto Star reports.
  • blogTO notes that a small shack near the Art Gallery of Ontario is selling for $2.5 million. (The value, to be fair, is in the land the building sits on.)
  • Jamie Bradburn shares some classic advertisements for children’s science magazines Chickadee and Owl.
  • Steve Munro analyses at length the City of Toronto’s budget, specifically as it relates to the TTC.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes how evidence of exoplanets can be found in a spectrum of Van Maanen’s Star taken in 1917.
  • blogTO notes that Michelle Obama is coming to visit Toronto.
  • Dangerous Minds notes that someone has scanned in the copies of 1980s periodical The Twilight Zone Magazine.
  • D-Brief notes the tens of thousands of genders of fungus.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper calculating circumstellar habitable zones and orbits for planets of binary stars.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas argues it is much too late to retroactively add ethical concerns to new technologies.
  • Language Log notes the struggle of many to pronounce the name of the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an alarming increase in mass shootings in the US over the past decades.
  • The LRB Blog argues that a moral panic over “pop-up brothels” helps no one involved.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports</u. on Zubaida Tariq, the Martha Stewart of Pakistan.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel likes the new Discovery episode. I wonder, though: hasn’t Trek always been a bit science fantasy?
  • Window on Eurasia argues Russian policies which marginalize non-Russian languages in education may produce blowback.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that the TTC plans on raising fares for next year.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the evidence for an ocean on Pluto.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla argues against Muslims voluntarily registering in an American listing of Muslims.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the sadness of Abbie Hoffman at Janis Joplin’s use of IV drugs.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Manhattan’s Trump Place complex has opted to drop the name.
  • Language Hat looks at a seminal Arabic novel published in mid-19th century France.
  • Language Log looks at an intriguing Chinese-language sign in London.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that the US-Iran nuclear deal is likely to stay.
  • The LRB Blog looks at a critic’s old building, an old warehouse, in New York City.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the spot illustration.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the state of interethnic relations in Kazakhstan.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at some flowers of Mediterranean climate zones.

[URBAN NOTE] On Rogers’ axing of Canadian mass media

Bloomberg carried the startling news in a brief article.

Rogers Communications Inc. is pulling back from its magazine business, shuttering some titles, selling others and reducing the frequency of its most-popular magazines, dealing a major blow to Canada’s already-struggling publishing industry.

“Maclean’s,” Canada’s best-known public affairs magazine, will shift from weekly publication to monthly while “Chatelaine” and “Today’s Parent” will move to six times a year. The print editions of “Sportsnet,” “MoneySense” and “Canadian Business” will be cut completely and become online-only. French-language titles will be sold, though a buyer has not yet been found, Rogers said in a statement Friday.

Shares in the Toronto-based telecommunications and media company were little changed at C$55.96 at 11:49 a.m. and have gained 17 percent this year.

Rogers has been struggling to maintain media revenue as advertisers continue their flight to the internet from traditional TV and print ads. It cut 200 media jobs earlier this year in a bid to save costs. The company isn’t alone. Newspaper and magazine owners including Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp. have all made deep cuts in the last year.

The Toronto Star‘s Michael Lewis had more.

“We are going where our audiences are and doubling down on digital to grow our consumer magazine brands,” said Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media.

“We have already made significant investments in creating content and making it available on digital platforms, including Texture, Sportsnet Now and Rogers NHL GameCentre Live.”

Janice Neil, chair of Ryerson’s School of Journalism, called the moves another sign of the “end of the Guttenberg era,” referring to the German publisher who is credited with introducing the printing press to Europe in the 1400s.

Although she said the digital shift is inevitable given the online reading habits of younger generations, she called it a shame for older people who are not as tech savvy.

Neil also noted that Maclean’s, a venerable publication with a loyal print readership, is being scaled back in frequency while glossy showbiz magazine Hello! Canada will remain in weekly print.

This is huge news for Canadian mass media. MacLean’s a monthly?

Written by Randy McDonald

October 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[ISL] “Old Farmer’s Almanac at 225: ‘It doesn’t look that much different’ “

CBC News interviewed Peter Rukavina, Island blogger, on the subject of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. I did not know he contributed to it.

Not too many publications last 25 years, let alone 225, but that’s the birthday being celebrated this year by the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

There are still many that swear by it for its annual insights into the coming seasons and weather patterns.

And there’s even an Islander involved, Peter Rukavina, who turned what he thought would be a short-term job into two decades of work.

As he told Island Morning’s Matt Rainnie, he was asked to help with the publication’s then-new digital companion, almanac.com.

“I had some experience with webby stuff, so I said yes, fully expecting this to be a month-long project, and 20 years later I’m still here,” said Rukavina.

He’s part of a great tradition which still sees some 4,000,000 copies distributed annually.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

[LINK] “National Geographic gives Fox control of media assets in $725 million deal”

The Washington Post is one news source of many to cover the news of National Geographic‘s inclusion in the Rupert Murdoch empire.

On Wednesday, the iconic ­yellow-bordered magazine, beset by financial issues, entered its own uncharted territory. In an effort to stave off further decline, the magazine was effectively sold by its nonprofit parent organization to a for-profit venture whose principal shareholder is one of Rupert Murdoch’s global media companies.

In exchange for $725 million, the National Geographic Society passed the troubled magazine and its book, map and other media assets to a partnership headed by 21st Century Fox, the Murdoch-controlled company that owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, the Fox television network and Fox News Channel.

Under the terms announced Wednesday, Fox will control 73 percent of the operation, called National Geographic Partners, with the balance held by the National Geographic Society. The partnership, based in Washington, will include a portfolio of National Geographic-branded cable TV channels, digital properties and publishing operations, most notably the magazine that has advanced the society’s founding mission — “the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge.”

The agreement provides a financial lifeline not just for the much-honored magazine, but also for the National Geographic Society itself, the organization’s chief executive acknowledged Wednesday. Like many print publications, National Geographic has been hurt by the onset of the digital era, which has put it on a slow trajectory toward extinction.

[. . .]

The society first partnered with Fox in 1997 to launch the National Geographic cable channel, and later a fleet of smaller TV channels. The TV channels have grown into the organization’s most valuable assets; the venture had operating profits surpassing $400 million last year, according to one executive, although the society’s actual dividend from the partnership has not been disclosed.

Many have worried that Murdoch might influence the media negatively. What does it mean that Murdoch is a climate-change denier who has just bought a media outlet that has been consistently supportive of climate change and climate science, for instance?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 10, 2015 at 2:56 am

[URBAN NOTE] On the imminent demise of Xtra! as a print publication

I was shocked to find out yesterday via blogTO that Xtra!, the free biweekly newspaper that has been the dominant feature in Toronto’s LGBT media scene–Canada’s, even–will be stopping print publication in favour of a wholly online presence. CBC outlines the immediate causes.

Xtra, the iconic gay and lesbian newspaper in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, announced on Wednesday it would be folding its print offerings.

The free weekly paper will transition to an enhanced digital offering, according to its publisher, Pink Triangle Press. It said getting out of the newspaper business is part of a strategic repositioning, which aims at financial stability not found in print publishing.

The paper first hit the streets in February 1984. It highlighted local political issues, celebrated queer art and emphasized a community involvement in the gay, lesbian and trans community.

Its website, DailyXtra.com, and gay adult dating website, Squirt.org, will expand this mission, according to Ken Popert, executive director and president of Pink Triangle Press. The new digital expansion will feature more social networking, including dating technology.

“Most of our revenues already come through digital membership sales in the adult dating space, where we’ve had great success building a growing online community,” he said.

The Winnipeg Free Press, meanwhile, hosts Linda Nguyen’s Canadian Press article noting the broader issue of the declining print media scene in Canada.

This isn’t the first time Pink Triangle Press has shut down one of its publications. In the spring of 2013, it ceased production of its free, bi-weekly gay magazine, Fab. The closure resulted in the loss of nine jobs in Toronto.

Media companies have been struggling for the past few years to make up for declining ad revenue as more readers go online for their news.

Last November, Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) shuttered the digital operations at its Metro brand in seven cities where it no longer produces free daily newspapers. The closure affected the Metro websites in Hamilton, Kitchener, Windsor and London, Ont., as well as Regina, Saskatoon and Victoria.

In July 2014, Torstar also closed down the award-winning Toronto weekly, The Grid, after three years of publication, blaming low revenue.

First fab then Xtra!? Stating the obvious, this is both sad and not good.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 15, 2015 at 11:02 pm

[LINK] “On the declining prospects of the young journalist”

The subtitle of Mireille Silcoff‘s despairing National Post article on the future of journalism is “(or: To the writers of the future: good luck with that)”. The economics of freelance writing just don’t work any more, not as a career and not even as a primary job.

Another friend who is a newspaper editor recently described the problem of speaking, from the perch of experience gleaned in decades before this one, at a journalism school today: “It’s either you stand up and lie, or just depress the hell out of all the students.”

Because copy editors have become an extreme luxury at many news outlets, and fact checkers a distant memory, and there are barely any free weeklies any more, certainly none that can get you your own apartment while still in university, and most outlets have no travel budgets for cultural reporting anymore, and most editors are so overburdened that a writer is lucky to get a one-word email (“thanks!”) in return for a commissioned article, be it a blurb or something slaved over for months.

The writer should be happy they are getting paid at all. The thousands of kids graduating from the print streams of North American journalism schools now are destined for years of unpaid internships at organizations currently hemorrhaging money, or an unmoored existence, fuelled by bright hope and nearly impossible expectations, in the twittering universe of blogs, Tumblr, non-paying online magazines and postings on social media. They will be convinced to write for free over and over again, because it is “good exposure.” It comes to the point where a thousand retweets — or Facebook likes or Instagram thumbs-up — feels like actual career headway, rather than the fleeting pleasant distraction that it is, the scent of bread and circuses in the wind (albeit much more circus than bread).

Last year I did visit my former editor’s feature-writing class. For my talk, I chose the lying route. I had just written a cover story for an American magazine that represented a quarter of my income that year, a story I had worked on for six months. I talked about the multiple trips the piece required, about the all-nighter with the cawfee-tawking fact checker, about the library of 23 books I read in preparation for writing, about the month of interview transcription, about the four versions the story went through before publication.

I stood there lying not because any of the above was untrue for me, last year. I was lucky enough to be born in 1973, to have gained all my experience and connections in the last decades when the long-form style of feature print journalism I was describing was not just a viable route for many writers, but a profitable one.

But it will frankly will be an impossible career niche for nearly every single person in the graduating classes of 2015, who are coming into journalism in a time of great transition and mystery as to how the industry, never mind its art, will continue. I certainly have no crystal ball on the matter.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 14, 2015 at 2:44 am

[LINK] Two Daily Kos links on the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo

  • plg’s “Charlie Hebdo : some context” provides background context for the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, placing them in the context of French radical cartoonists generally.

“[O]ffensively anti-Muslim” is a completely wrong description of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, at least from the point of view of the people who drew them. As a rule, the cartoonists did not attack Muslims as Muslims (whereas the sacked cartoonist did attack Jews as Jews, hence the sacking), and they did not even attack Islam per se. Rather, they attacked Islam as one element of a larger set of revealed religion, all equally hateful. They expressed a deep hatred of organized religious institutions, first and foremost, and for most of them (but not all) a rejection of all religious thinking. This is what their work was all about: attacking religious authorities and sometimes religion in general, and this blanket attack grew straight from the French revolt against an extremely oppressive Catholic Church in the 18th century.

The visual and intellectual equipment of both anticlericalism (attacking religious institutions) and antireligion (attacking religion in general) was consolidated around 1900. Anticlericalism was at the heart of the secularization of all public spaces (including schools) which took place in France between 1880 and 1910. But Jules Ferry, one of the leaders of the secularizing movement, took pains to explain that what had to be destroyed was not religion in itself, but the political and institutional power of religion (for anybody reading French, here is his “Letter to schoolteachers” which is a perfect presentation of what the original version of French laïcité was really all about).

A second, more virulent strain of secularizers did think that religious beliefs in and of themselves were medieval superstitions to be rooted out, that reason and enlightenment would eventually lead humanity on the road to complete atheism. For these “free-thinkers” (as they styled themselves), New Age types from Boulder would be just as bad as Fundamentalist Christians from the Bible Belt, or Islamists for that matter; all would be denounced as benighted brains clutching at shadows.

[. . .]

A second group of cartoons came also straight from the 18th century anticlerical fighters’ handbook, and would have been eagerly endorsed by Voltaire or Diderot, and probably Ferry and many IIIrd Republic secularizers as well (as far as contents were concerned only of course; the raunchy 21st century presentation would have shocked!). These cartoons took aim at the distance between the actual teachings of various religious leaders, primarily Muhammad and Jesus, and the behavior of their followers. The following covers illustrate this (and contain representations of Muhammad, so, for those who don’t want to see that, don’t click!). In one, Cabu’s Muhammad, seated on a cloud, has his head in his hands, weeping and saying “It’s tough to be loved by a–holes”. This cover by Charb, captioned “If Muhammad came back…” shows a kneeling Prophet about to have his throat slit by a Jihadi fighter, with the following dialogue: -“I am the Prophet, stupid!” / “Shut up, you infidel!”.

I think many (though perhaps not all) of their biggest controversies are cases of what I call Onion Fail. You know, like that one time when Iranian state media quoted an article from The Onion that said Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama, or that other time when North Korean media quoted a story that said Kim Jong-Un Named the Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012. Quoting a satirical magazine is risky business, especially if the magazine is in another language or requires some understanding or the politics or culture of another country. Satire is about mockery. So, clearly, instead of actually praising Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Un, they are actually ridiculing them. Simply reporting a word-for-word translation of these farcical articles is going to get the intended message exactly backwards. You’d think the part about Kim Jong-Un having abs to rival Matthew McConaughey’s would have been a tip off, but alas, one of the truly boundless qualities of the universe is the ability to kiss ass and the willingness to receive it.”

[. . .]

As you will see, someone in the Twitterverse has cited the image as an example of racism and has blasted it out under #JeNeSuisPasCharlie. The image shows a cartoon depicting Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who was born in French Guiana, as a monkey. An open an shut case of racism, right? Actually, au contraire.

There are a number of glaring problems with the claim that this anti-racist cartoon is actually pro-racist. First, note that it is drawn by Charb himself. As mentioned in the beginning, his girlfriend was of North African decent and is also chair of the French Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Commission. So, it might seem a little strange for him to be promoting a racist image.

Second, look at what the text says: “Rassemblement Bleu Raciste.” This is a parody of the slogan “Rassemblement Bleu Marine,” which is used by Marine Le Pen’s Front National. Also notice the tricolor flame next to the image. That is a mock up of the party’s logo.

This cartoon came out following a controversy in which a politician from Front National shared a photoshopped image on Facebook that showed the Justice Minister as a monkey. The Charlie cartoon is doing a parody of this and saying Front National is racist. Ironically, some people outside of France are using it to say Charlie Hebdo is racist.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 13, 2015 at 2:33 am