Friday, October 29, 2010

On Blogging and Op-Ed with Andrew Potter

This past week AMPA sponsored the LitFest session "Making Your Opinion Matter: On Blogging and Op-Ed Columns," and I thought I would share just a few of the many gems of advice offered by Andrew Potter, public affairs columnist with Macleans magazine and features editor with Canadian Business Magazine.

Potter co-authored the international bestseller The Rebel Sell with Joseph Heath and has just published The Authenticity Hoax. He also blogs regularly for and at In other words - he's a man who knows what he's talking about when it comes to writing, specifically opinion writing, and the wild world of blogging.

First, I have to share Potter's wryly proffered definitions of his journalistic specialty, the op-ed column, as "complaining in an entertaining way" and "the empty calories of journalism." On a more serious note, he also shared his belief that "good opinions can fundamentally change the way you think about the world." His advice to the many emerging writers in the audience? "Do not write for free!" or risk undermining your work.

The topic of blogging quickly became the focus of the session, beginning with Potter's advice that a blogger must identify their purpose and their goals by answering the question "What is your brand?" Everything on the blog should promote this brand, offering a kind of predictability for readers.

Then Potter dropped the bomb, stating that "blogging is dying." Twitter has fundamentally changed blogging by becoming a micro-blogging platform in and of itself, a forum for the small tidbits of information and links that used to be blog fodder. Blogging is now just one aspect of brand building online, one branch of a "unified space" of social media cross-promotion.

I'll leave you with one of his especially resonant statements in response to a question about how to drive blog traffic: "Link and be linked to. Follow and be followed. Quote and be quoted."

So, Andrew Potter, if you're out there and reading this, I've taken your words to heart. Note my link to your blog[s], my many quotes of your sage words, and the fact that AMPA now follows you on twitter. I'll be watching those traffic stats carefully!

--- Rebecca Lesser
AMPA Communications & Programs Coordinator

Family Friendly Award for airdrielife

Congratulations to Frog Media Inc, publisher of AMPA member magazine airdrielife, for winning the 2010 Airdrie Family Friendly Award. In the press release, publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt describes the family-friendly emphasis of the magazine:

“This business was started because I wanted to have more flexible hours for my everyone involved in the business is a parent with kids and they can enjoy the same freedom to set their own hours.” airdrielife was recognized for creating a welcoming environment for people, supporting community events and for being home-based which allows for flexibility for staff.

The next issue of airdrielife arrives on doorsteps and over 100 locations in Calgary and Airdrie November 22.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tax Matters for Freelancers

The Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE) will discuss tax matters for freelancers at their quarterly meeting Thursday, November 25, 2010.

Most freelance editors are better wordsmiths than number crunchers, but meeting tax obligations is a key part of running your business. Meet with a representative from the Canada Revenue Agency, who can provide advice to small business owners on such topics as record keeping, making tax payments, taking advantage of all your eligible deductions, and utilizing CRA services and resources. To tailor the presentation to your needs, CAFE invites you to submit questions in advance when you register.

Sign-in starts at 6:30 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m. Refreshments and networking until 9 p.m
Free for CAFE and STC members; $10 for non-members
McDougall Centre, Media Room

455 6th Street S.W, Calgary

Registration is required by Tuesday, November 24. Contact Kerri Rubman,

Bad weather date, if needed, will be posted at

Calling All Grammar Lovers

Make sure you mark a big “G” on your calendar for the evening of November 3, 2010. The Editors’ Association of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta (WGA) present Grammar Gals Extravaganza, a night of linguistic information and fun with Edmonton’s Karen Virag and Virginia Durksen:

The WGA teamed up with the Editors’ Association of Canada (Prairie Provinces Branch) to present a Grammar Gals Extravaganza with Edmonton’s own Karen Virag and Virginia Durksen, who have been regular guests on CBC Radio’s Alberta at Noon and Blue Sky call-in shows. Karen dons the prescriptive hat; Virginia the descriptive. The result is a fun and informative discussion touching on everything from arcane grammar points to the annoyances of contemporary usage to linguistic pet peeves. Make a note of and bring along (take along?) your grammar questions, pet peeves, and language insights. What better way to spend an autumn evening than being entertained by the witty repartee and warm charm of these two language specialists as they use your questions, comments, and opinions as a springboard to informative and lively discussions that are sure to make you smile out loud!

Karen Virag is the supervising editor at the Alberta Teachers’ Association. She is also a freelance writer and editor, and teaches grammar at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Virginia Durksen describes herself as a writer and word whisperer. She also develops customized workshops for workplace writers and editors. Through her company, Visible Ink, Virginia teaches business and technical writing to corporate clients across Canada.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Socializing and Light Refreshment: 7:00–7:30 pm – Session: 7:30–9:00 pm

Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room (downstairs from the main floor)

7 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Cost: WGA & EAC members: free. Non-members: $5

Please RSVP to or (780) 422-8174

For more information, visit:

----Andrea Cubala

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Magazines: The Conversation Business

[An excerpt from "In 'Digital Distraction' Age, Magazines No Longer Information Providers" by Tony Silber at]

Living in an age of “digital distraction,” magazine-based media companies need to come to terms with what they’re becoming, and whether they’re doing it by default or design, said Roger Fransecky, CEO of the corporate-consulting firm Apogee Group, and keynote speaker at last week’s “Reimagining the Future,” conference held at the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.

The powerful metaphor going forward is “conversation,” Fransecky said, and media companies can create a path to the next one. “You’re no longer information providers, you’re in the conversation business,” he told the audience of about 125 magazine-industry professionals and journalism-school students. From a business perspective, the challenge is to ask a series of questions in that context. “What’s over?’ Fransecky asked. “What do you still believe? When you look at your business, you need to ask, ‘what do we still trust?’”

Read more

Monday, October 25, 2010

So many job opportunities!

Committed to the Success of Entrepeneurs

I'd like to introduce to you Allison Onyett, the latest addition to AMPA's small team of volunteer bloggers. Allison has a B.A from the University of Calgary, and is exploring the world of publishing for a career where she can put her writing skills, marketing and business knowledge, and avid interest in arts and culture to good use. For this first post she shares with us her impression of an online education course with the GoForth Institute:

Did you know that 50% of small businesses launched in Canada won’t survive past their second year? Or that roughly 70% of small businesses won’t see their 5th anniversary? Neither did I, until I took an online education program with GoForth Institute. Their mandate is to provide entrepreneurs across the country with the resources and skills they need to improve their odds of success. I thought that magazine publishers, freelance writers, and any of the other entrepreneurs and small business owners in the industry might be interested in learning more about the program that I found so helpful.

In 2009, Dr. Leslie Roberts and her team launched Canada’s first national education program for entrepreneurs. The core of the program is 100 Essential Small Business Skills™ that successful business owners across the country told them you need to know about running your own small business. Catering to busy, cash strapped entrepreneurs, the ten-hour online course is timely, comprehensive and affordable.

I found the course really comprehensive – in ten hours, expert entrepreneur-instructors taught me all the skills I would need to run a small business, and how all the different parts of a business work together. Best of all, the course is broken down into ten modules, and each module has three twenty minute video lessons The course came with downloadable course materials, exercises, quizzes and email access to each of the instructors if I had a question.

This fall GoForth also launched Canada’s largest on-line resource website for entrepreneurs at any stage of growth. The site is jam-packed with content, seamlessly laid out to allow for fast, easy access to the information you need to know about your small business. GoForth even has a section where you can ask an expert your own specific questions and get a fast answer – free! So if you’re a small business owner, or thinking about becoming one, I’d recommend making the time to visit, take the course and use the free information provided – on your 5th anniversary, you’ll be glad you did!

----Allison Onyett

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Connecting with Magazines: The "Brand Bond"

by Andrea Cubala

Our increasingly online world and its effects on publishing is a hot topic these days—perhaps even cliché—but something I’ve been pondering nonetheless. Due to the online presence of magazines, virtually every magazine issue can be accessed via internet. If readers can browse their favourite magazines onscreen, isn’t it safe to assume that print readership should be suffering? Not quite. The Print Measurement Bureau (PMB) recently released their fall report, and the news is positive: the “average readership across all magazines remains stable at 1.02 million.” In fact, not much has changed in the past year. The following averages have remained consistent:

  • number of readers per copy
  • time spent reading magazines
  • level of interest

The internet and social media are actually helping magazine readership. The internet brings magazine information and advertising to the home, making all things magazine highly accessible. Just watch this short (and very spunky) video entitled “Magazines Connect.” It highlights various facts about how the internet and magazines, well, connect. For instance, dedicated magazine readers are also heavy internet users. If we can all agree that this generation is very internet savvy, then it’s no surprise that young adults and teens constitute a large portion of magazine consumers.

This youth dedication to magazines may be due to the relationship that readers have with their favourite magazines; something I’d call the “brand bond.” According to “How Magazine Advertising Works,” readers view magazines as brands: just like people choose clothing to represent who they are, they choose magazines to do the same. And with brand satisfaction, comes brand dedication. If your favourite magazine entertains you, informs you, and represents you, then it makes sense that you would continue to read that magazine despite any changes it incurs over time.

Now back to the question at hand: Why do people still turn to magazines on newsstands when they could read them online? That’s easy. Did books go extinct with the release of e-readers? Did CDs disappear with the appearance of mp3 players? Did people stop listening to the radio when TVs were made? Did…okay, you get the picture. Holding magazines, carrying them around, rolling them up, folding them, and leaving them in the bathroom are just a few reasons why print magazines are extremely convenient. Just imagine trying to do the same with your computer. Plus, there’s nothing like flipping through a magazine, the crisp corners crunching under your fingertips and the glossy pages gliding over one another.

While the internet has definitely added convenience to our lives in more ways than one (no more messenger boys to carry our wax-sealed letters!), people still seem to opt for the old-fashioned way. We are sentimental creatures and when we find something we like we stick with it. The internet has opened the door to access and information about magazines, but our dedication is what keeps the print magazines in our bathrooms—in all their steam-crumpled glory.

For more reader information and statistics from the PMB’s fall report, visit:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Event on Marketing for Small to Midsize Enterprises

AMPA is pleased to co-host a special marketing event: "7 Steps to Marketing Success." Join us October 26, 2010 for an evening of learning, networking and dining, as internationally renowned marketing guru John Jantsch shares his savvy and cost-effective approach to getting results in today’s dynamic marketing environment.

John Jantsch, a marketing and digital technology coach, has made it his mission to bring the simple, effective and affordable Duct Tape Marketing approach to struggling SME’s (Small to Midsize Enterprises) through workshops, the Duct Tape Marketing system, and the Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coach Network.

To learn more, and for registration details, click here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Would These Editors Hire You?

Here's just a taste of a very interesting article from FOLIO, as three editors discuss what they're looking for in new hires:

Anthony Licata
editor-in-chief • Field & Stream

It used to be that we were just looking for editors who could tell a good print story but the job has really evolved and these days we’re looking for the Jack-of-all-trades type of editor. It’s really important to have a staff that is comfortable handling all aspects of the job, from packaging a complicated service story to editing a long narrative to conceiving a multimedia edit program that includes print, online and video. While the basic skills remain the same we need editors to think broader and help us conceptualize and actualize great content on multiple platforms at once.

(**AMPA note: Anthony Licata is the keynote speaker for the 2011 Alberta Magazines Conference)

Robin Sparkman
editor-in-chief • American Lawyer

We’re looking for people who are smart, hardworking and deft at conceiving and editing stories across all platforms. Editors need the basics—good judgment, a writerly sensibility and high reporting standards. I need people who really sweat the copy and make sure that every word is accurate and precise.

Mariette DiChristina
editor-in-chief • Scientific American

I work in a specialized industry, so the first thing I’m looking for is someone who is comfortable with the material. They don’t need a science degree. I don’t have one. Perhaps the most critical quality of an editor is sheer enthusiasm.

Read the rest at

Alberta Views Wins Big at WMA

The 28th Annual Western Magazine Awards were handed out on October 15 in Vancouver, honouring editorial excellence in western Canadian magazine writing.

Alberta Views was a big winner for our province, bringing home the award for Magazine of the Year (Alberta/NWT), as well as the Written Award for Profile and the Provincial Gold Award for Best Article thanks to Jeremy Klaszus’ “Mr. Tree”, a three-part feature about his grandfather’s wartime memories.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Application for Aid to Magazine Publishers

[courtesy of D.B. Scott at]

Canadian Heritage has just published its application guide for aid to magazine publishers and has given publishers barely six weeks to apply. The deadline is November 24. The aid to publishers component provides publishers of paid or verified request magazines with funding to produce and distribute their publications.

  • Paid circulation magazines must have sold at least 5,000 paid copies annually, with the exception of aboriginal,official language minority or ethnocultural publications, where the floor is 2,500.

  • Eligible magazines must have a minimum average price of $1 per copy or an average minimum annual subscription price of $12.

  • Magazines must be majority Canadian owned and contain an average of at least 80% Canadian editorial content and no more than 70% advertising.

  • Verified request magazine must have distributed 5,000 requested copies, representing at least 50% of the magazine's total circulation.

Read the complete eligibility criteria

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MagaScene 76: Ad-edit changes, small biz marketing + events, news & jobs (October 2010)

Preserving the Advertiser/Editor Divide
Revised Canadian Magazine Industry Ad-Edit Guidelines
For your magazine to be eligible as an AMPA member, you must follow the Canadian magazines industry advertising-editorial guidelines
“intended to help editors, publishers and advertisers maintain an industry-wide standard"...

"7 Steps to Marketing Success"

A Strategy for Small Business Marketing

John Jantsch, a marketing and digital technology coach, has made it his mission to bring the simple, effective and affordable Duct Tape Marketing approach to struggling SME’s (Small to Midsize Enterprises) through workshops, the Duct Tape Marketing system, and the Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coach Network...


Jackie Flanagan Nominated for Calgary's New Mavericks

Alberta Venture Inspires with Women's Mentorship Program
Transcontinental Goes Digital
with Digital Representation House

Western Magazine Awards
Gala Reception
Litfest Magazine Sessions on Blogging, Op-Ed and Features

Approaches to Green Print Manufacturing FOLIO: Webinar

FreeFall Chapbook Winners Launch


Editorial Internship, up! magazine
Web Internship, up! magazine
Senior Designer, Soul Integrated Solutions

Calgary's New Mavericks - Jackie Flanagan nominated

Jackie Flanagan, founding publisher of Alberta Views, is one of 30 Calgarians nominated for the Calgary Herald and calgary Public Library's search to declare the 10 New Mavericks. The initiative picks up where Aritha van Herk's 2001 book Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta left off. The panel of experts, including van Herk, selected the 30 nominees with the aim of being inclusive and encompassing in representing "Calgary groundbreakers and pioneers who have shaped the city since 1988." (Read more about the initiative).

The Calgary Herald of October 12, 2010 adeptly describes Jackie Flanagan:
Few Calgarians have been as generous and committed to their ideals as Flanagan. She created AlbertaViews magazine to offer opposing viewpoints in a province known for a homogeneous political culture. And she has been a committed philanthropist, giving millions to worthy causes and the arts.

Votes can be submitted via email to and the final list of ten will be announced November 7, 2010. Congratulations, and best of luck, Jackie Flanagan!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Preserving the Advertiser/Editor Divide

In 2010 a task force of Canadian magazine professionals gathered to review the industry’s current Advertising-Editorial Guidelines. They came from both consumer and business media titles, from publishing, advertising sales and editorial departments. The end result was the 2010 Canadian Magazine Industry Advertising-Editorial Guidelines.
The guidelines are intended to help editors, publishers and advertisers maintain an industry-wide standard for preserving the distinction between advertiser messaging and editorial content. So what has changed—and what does that mean for you? D.B. Scott, a member of the task force, describes the need for the guidelines on his Canadian Magazines blog:
"While they are only guidelines, the intention is to provide clarity in a marketplace where advertisers are, understandably, pushing for more opportunities, ranging from product placement and advertorials to mentions on covers. There is also the thorny issue of editorial staff being involved in the design and even the presentation of advertising."
To learn more, read D.B. Scott's full posting at
Magazines Canada invites you to join Patrick Walsh, co-chair of the task-force, for the October 14th webinar "Get the Skinny on the New Ad-Edit Guidelines."

--- Rebecca Lesser
AMPA Communications & Programs Coordinator

LITFEST MAGAZINE SESSIONS October 22nd & 23rd - register today!

AMPA proudly presents two magazine-themed sessions at this year's Litfest:

Making Your Opinion Matter: On Blogging and Op-Ed Columns - October 22
In today’s sea of ubiquitous self-publishing and universal social media, making your opinion matter can be challenging. Writer and blogger Andrew Potter discusses what it takes to make your blog or opinion column fresh, relevant, interesting, and able to stand out from the crowd.

Creating a Winning Magazine Feature - October 23

Lawrence Scanlan discusses what it takes to go from pitch to publication. As both former editor and award-winning writer, Scanlan examines the process from both sides of the divide: exploring the tensions, diplomacies and battles that often mark the writer-editor relationship.

To learn more, and for registration details, click here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get Your Write On!

by Andrea Cubala

Thought you were too late to share your creative talents? Think again. Other Voices has extended the deadline of their poetry/story contest to October 15th. The entry fee for the contest ($25) gets you a one-year subscription to the magazine, which strives to represent the diverse voices of those who aren’t always heard.

To submit your creative works, or to see contest details, simply visit this page. If you find yourself hesitating, perhaps the prizes will sway you: $250 + publication for the winning entry, and a choice between Other Voices accessories for all honourable mentions!

To find out more about Other Voices and to read from previous issues (all with artistic eye-catching covers), visit:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alberta Venture's Tips for Small Business Websites

Alberta Venture offers "Action Plan Online" on their website, a series of helpful articles on small business changes which offer big rewards. In Part 10 of 12, Lindsey Norris presents "Small Business, Big Website":

You’ve seen them. You’ve undoubtedly been irritated by them. Bad websites – with annoying flash, clashing colours, spelling errors, broken links or insufficient information – can quickly turn off potential customers. Here, Darlene Goode, a co-owner of Professional Web Studio, which specializes in designing sites for small business, offers three tips on how to make your site work for, not against, your business.
  1. Add content pages

    Helpful fact-filled pages related to your services or field may be what encourages people to contact you over a competitor. A current example: bedbugs. “People who have keywords like “bedbugs,” “kill bedbugs,” they are getting a lot of traffic right now,” Goode says. “So if you’re an exterminator and you have pages on bedbugs, your chances of getting a phone call are greater.”
    If there are things you can do or things you see that you can implement to save your customer money or time, by all means, do it. Just make sure you keep track of it and the cost to report back. “Start implementing the lowest costing ones at first, track how sales are affected, and keep adding value if improved sales justify doing so,” Howse says. Nothing makes people talk like saving money does.

Read more of "Small Business: Big Website"