MIT 2000 Guest Lecturer: Development of Magazines (really extensive notes)

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

November 8, 2011 Lecture Development of the Magazine - Early form: academic/scholarly journals - Journal des scavans - France, 1665 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - London, 1665 - Popular magazines - Resemble books, early newspapers - Offered “comment, criticism, satire” - Daniel Defoe’s Review 1704 - offered comments, criticism and satire trying to influence public taste - liked to discuss national and international politics. - most compelling force was in the sarcasm of the text. it wasn’t simply social commentary, more like a satirical approach to the news (satire) partly because it was rooted in his great distaste for the king at the time. - Joseph Addison’s Spectator (1711) - Informal essays, fiction as well as satire and sarcasm from Defoe’s review - Frivolous articles: leading fashions of the time (more like pop. magazines)and how to host a tea party - Aimed at male and female audiences - Periodicals were just bits of text containing scientific info. Take a few decades for the journal magazine to resemble more of a magazine that we’re used to, but they still resembled books more than magazines. - Very limited advertising at this time. These popular magazines were intended to be gentile soapboxes from which literate men expound their points of view - focused on social commentary other than news. Early Canadian Magazines - Style of magazine imported into North America - Nova-Scotia Magazine and Comprehensive Review - John Howe - Reprints from U.S Britain - Canadian fiction and poetry - Short lived - Overwhelmed by newspapers - Exceptions - By 1865 there were over 400 newspapers in British North America alone, and all of them got readership from magazines (?) - Most magazines at this time lasted just a few months to a few years Literary-Political Magazines in Canada - Canadian Illustrated News - 1869-1883 - Pioneered photo engraving - shift from the dense box of text that had defined mags and newspapers for the last hundred years - Tied to Canadian nationalism - gathered a good following because of this - Sell Canada to Canada - This Week - 1883-1896 - Goldwyn Smith - encourage cooperation between Canada and US - Important because it Encouraged US-Canadian ties - Grip - 1872-1894 - Cartoonist John Bengough - Satirical weekly, political cartoons - predecessor to the Daily Show, Colbert Report, Rick Mercer - Accessible to wide readership Characteristics of Literary-Political Magazines - Heavy reliance on illustrations, engravings - Mixture of high culture, business and political coverage into one edition - Magazines were subscription based - 25 cents an issue - Few ads at this time in literary political magazines - Upper Class Readership - magazines targeted audience that had extra cash on hand - Keys to success - Lax copyright laws allowed mags to steal material from French or British magazines. The ocean between Canada and europe assisted this. US was even taken from and available really really cheaply. - Population increase and more income from that populaton - Communication, transportation - Natural monopoly - literary political magazines focused chiefly on politics and business. US magazines that focused on US business and politics weren’t that applicable to Canada. Canadian magazines were insulated from competition in the UNited States. There’s always competition between media forms in Canada and the US Turning Point: Saturday Night (1887-2005) - Canadian magazine - Est. 1887 and printed into 2005 - initial circulation of 10 000 subscribers - Short life as a blog - Edmund E. Sheppard - Cowboy and editor - Literature and current topics - avoid controversy - only make remarks in a breezy and thoughtful way about politicians and stuff; element of humour in political commentary of this magazine. - articles, profiles of famous people, cultural subjects, stories and poetry - included domestic and household columns - so it had lots of stuff included in it, not just politics - Increase in advertising in the magazine - wasn’t funding the operation solely on subscription fees. He lowered the fee to make it widely accessible and then used ads to fill that gap. - Originally he introduced really small text ads which expanded into larger and more elaborate ads. - Steadily increased the amount of advertising while he was in charge for 20 years (edmund sheppard) American General Interest Magazine - Really wide audience. Problem is that as soon as you start discussing things generally, Canadian magazines lost their monopoly. - Bad for Canadian magazines around 1900 - Shift from “class to mass” - the desire to market these magazines in a general way to a wide audience was the turning point/weak point in manufacture, printing and sale of Canadian magazines. - Price drops -McClure’s: 10 cents an issue -Saturday Evening Post: 5 cents an issue - Some magazines as low as 1 or 2 cents an issue, in order to capture largest readership possible. - Far less political information in general interest magazines; more sensationalized news. - Entertainment and diversion - Most successful GI magazines had: Fiction; light features, recipes, household intelligence: very general info. - Advertising - Readership as commodity - Still targets upper class - Relied less on subscriber fees and more on advertising - Despite this, most magazine publishers tried to market to upper class because they could charge more for ads if the majority of their readership were wealthy. - Still a level of elitism in the publication and promotion of these magazines. Impact on Canadian Magazines - Devestating - 1900’s: US Magazines flooded the Canadian market - 1925: Outsell CDN magazines 8 to 1 - 50 million sold per year - After encouraging economic ties between America and Canada, Goldwyn lamented the fact that so many US magazines were around - CDN editors petition for protection - Canadian editors arguments: - Puritanical - dirty Americans were immoral magazines, couldn’t produce the quality we could. Described their magazines as salacious and immoral. CDN magazines were virtuous and informative. - Economic - if you don’t protect CDN magazines, CDNS will lose jobs - Nationalist - most important - publishers argues that canadian magazines were important vehicle for formation of canadian national identity. - canadian magazines played important part in producing a national dialogue, and had to exist so Canada could exist - stronger, cohesive agent than Parliament - Free Press contradiction - Free press vs. government interventions - by arguing this nationalist view, they actually describe the reason why there should be no protection measures for CDN magazines: the whole idea of a free press is that there should be no influence over what they can discuss. - national dialogue will suffer rather than benefit if we protect CDN magazine publishing industry. Canadian Government Established “Half Hearted Protection” - 1920’s” Liberals reject tariffs because it would ‘limit free press’ - Decided to give CDN magazines lower postage rates, paper duties instead - decision against tariffs was supported by the Consumers League of Canada who was concerned that a tariff on mags would make them too expensive; the second was the American News company who had a monopoly over control of news stands in Canada and US. They would also suffer if US magazines became more expensive. Rare instance in history were two different agencies had same goal - 1930’s: Conservatives impose tariffs on US magazines - ADs to content ratio. More advertising you had, more tariff you had to pay - 1931-1935: 62% drop in US circulation. So it actually worked. Companies were opening shops in Canada to avoid these tariffs. - Removed by Liberals in 1935; circulation of US magazines tripled. All progress vanished. - World War II - Time and Reader’s Digest in Canada opened up Canadian versions so they could get paper from government - New editorial content and included CDN specific content - Sold Aggressive ad sales. Time and REaders digest were getting over all the protectionist measures that were set up to help C
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