Thursday, March 26, 2009

Magazine Funding cont...

John Barton authors an editorial on why art and literary magazines should not be judged on circulation alone, here. It's worth taking a look at the comments.

An excerpt:

When it comes to their importance, there's so much more to small cultural magazines than their circulation.

On Feb. 17, Heritage Minister James Moore announced the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program will be merged into the Canadian Periodical Fund, effective 2010/2011. During the press conference in Montreal, he mentioned that to qualify for support, magazines may potentially have to meet a base paid circulation of 5,000 units, which I read to mean a combination of subscriptions, single-copy orders, and newsstand sales. That number sent shock waves through the arts and literary magazine community, for the annual circulation of many of these magazine falls below this mark.

Except for the postal subsidy long offered through the Publications Assistance Program, Canadian Heritage is a newcomer to funding cultural magazines. Inaugurated under the Chr├ętien government in 2004, Support for Arts and Literary Magazines (SALM) has transformed journals like The Malahat Review, which I edit at the University of Victoria, Arc in Ottawa, and Winnipeg's Prairie Fire. We have been able to increase payments to contributors by 25 per cent, print longer issues (and more writing) on forest-friendly paper, and institute very modest salary increases for part-time staff. For the Malahat, it represents 15 per cent of our revenues.

Canadian Heritage support has helped us to dedicate other income to marketing. As a result, our circulation is projected to increase by 7 per cent in 2009, bucking the trend for contraction in these times of economic slowdown. Sustainability, I am sure Mr. Moore would agree, takes time.

1 comment:

Alex said...

The argument that sustainability takes time is undercut by his pointing out that Malahat has been at it for 60 years. Let's face it, "sustainability" just isn't going to happen.

One thing I've been wondering about, Dan: Most of the other lit mags and journals seem to be associated with the creative writing programs at different institutions. Who "owns" them? Would they be allowed to fail? How many are like CNQ in being independently owned?