Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shop talk, blah, blah, blah...

Speaking of A.Z.'s blog, The Zerb has been carefully documenting the Postification of Maclean's under Ken Whyte over the past year... I, for one, am superkeen to hear that Mark Steyn will be writing book reviews; I think the dude's best writings are on arts and culture.

But I'm not sure how the Macchanges are playing in Peoria or, I suppose, Pickering. My Ottawa uncle, the Alliance and now Conservative-voting one, can't stand the magazine's new flashy style and just cancelled his subscription after many, many years. The Svend "Svend him Packing" Robinson cover was the last straw for him: too sensational. My aunt wanted him to keep the subscription, but had issues with the Jack Layton cover and so went along with the uncle. "They made him look like Lenin," she told me. They're thinking of trying the Economist instead.

In addition, a coworker just told me today that she had just cancelled her subscription, though I didn't get the reason why. (Such a helpful observer, I am!)

As a Canadian journalist, of course, I'm terribly interested in what's going over at Maclean's. But as an average media consumer (ie. when I was looking for a mag to buy before getting on the train to Montreal), I was really turned off by the Maccers cover that had a picture of Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki and Bono and the words "Wrong, wrong, wrong" underneath. Surely 80% of Canadians admire at least one of those men... Why would you want to alienate them? I was alienated!

Okay, so I ending up buying that issue. The guy at the cash was glaring at me. The train was coming. I was too embarrassed to buy Stuff.

Technically, I suppose you could say I "consume" Maclean's daily -- or at least whenever Paul Wells (Hi P.W.!) updates his old blog. Am I thinking too old media here? Or am I thinking too new media? Or too me media?

Anyway, so in my random journeys of the past couple of months, I've encountered two people who have cancelled their Maclean's subscriptions, I've purchased an issue with my own money, and I've heard lots of journalists who read the magazine for free at work gabbing about it.

Will Ken Whyte's gambit pay off? What does gambit mean anyway? Stay tuned!

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