Masthead News Archives
December 2002
December 30, 2002
Spence named editor of alumni magazine
TORONTO-Former Profit editor and publisher Rick Spence has been appointed editor of University of Toronto magazine, a glossy quarterly distributed to the university's 243,000 alumni. Spence took the post late November. "It's one of the country's last general-interest magazines," he says. "There's a million stories all around here." Spence resigned from Rogers Media in July after nearly 14 years with Profit, and just six months after being named vice-president of the news and business group (Maclean's, Canadian Business, Profit and MoneySense magazines). Spence applied for the job last August after seeing a want ad on MastheadOnline. It was the only job for which he applied since leaving Rogers.

December 19, 2002
Publisher/editor dies at 59
TORONTO-David Tafler, editor/publisher of 50 Plus magazine, died suddenly while in hospital yesterday. He was 59. Tafler had recently taken ill with pneumonia and was convalescing at home when, a source says, he experienced pains and thought it best to return to the hospital. He checked in this past Tuesday evening and collapsed in the waiting room. He passed away at 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Tafler was the force behind converting CARP News-a glossy tabloid produced for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons-to 50 Plus, the glossy, standard-sized bimonthly. He began his journalism career McGill University's student newspaper before moving on to The [Montreal] Gazette. He was later appointed editor and then publisher of Southam's now-defunct business weekly Financial Times, doubling circ from 50,000 to more than 100,000 by the early 1980s. He has authored of a number of investment-advice books and one work of fiction. He was an avid golfer who enjoyed trips to the card tables at Las Vegas. "He was a crackerjack editor, extremely reader-focused," says Rick Spence, former editor of Profit and a Times reporter during Tafler's reign.

December 17, 2002
King scholarship, memorial service announced
TORONTO-Family, friends and colleagues of the late Caren King, who died Dec. 5 at age 46 following complications arising from breast cancer, have announced that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a scholarship fund being created in her name at Ryerson University, magazine stream. King was the first woman ever to be appointed publisher of Canadian Living, in 1995. "I would like people to remember just what a pioneer she was in business," says long-time friend Gwen Dunant.

Cheques payable to Ryerson University can be sent to Margaret Eaton, Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, 130 Spadina Ave., Ste. 202, Toronto, Ont., M5V 2L4. Note "King Scholarship" on cheque's memo line.
Friends and colleagues are encouraged to attend and, if they like, speak at a memorial service to be held in the atrium of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Thursday Jan. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. Those unable to attend may send e-mail remembrances to Dunant at "We do want to collect a book of remembrances for Caren's children." King leaves her husband, five-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

December 10, 2002
Industry veteran dies at 46
VANCOUVER- Respected magazine professional Caren King, publisher of Canadian Living from 1995 to 2000 and Style at Home after that, died last Thursday. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, shortly after the birth of her second child. In 2001, with the cancer in remission, King moved to New Zealand with her husband, 11-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. It was later determined that the cancer had returned, prompting King to come back to her native Vancouver this past spring.

King's career in magazines stretches back to the late-1970s when she launched a photography magazine. Her forte was circulation. She accepted an invitation by U.S. circulation firm Lighthouse to establish a Canadian office in the late-80s and it was "incredibly successful," says Terry Sellwood, who worked with King at Canadian Business and Your Money before she left to give birth to her daughter. "She was my mentor," says Sellwood, now general manager at Quarto Communications. King rejoined the workforce in 1990 when she was appointed vice-president of circulation at Telemedia. Friend and colleague Kerry Mitchell, who filled in for King during her 1997 mat leave at Canadian Living, said King brought a passion to publishing, especially circulation. "I think she saw the art in it... She was extraordinarily passionate and witty. She would always go to the mat for anything that she believed in."

For a detailed account of King's remarkable career, see the January 2003 issue of Masthead magazine.
December 06, 2002
Advertisers would defile church-state division
TORONTO- A gathering of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors yesterday heard that magazine publishers and sales staff are under increasing pressure to bend over for advertisers requesting "value-added" components to a standard advertisement. Reader's Digest advertising sales manager Larry Thomas told the CSME audience that he's increasingly receiving RFPs (requests for proposals) from media buyers who insist on such value-added items as adjacency to specific editorial, advertorials, editorial mention, belly bands and cover position. In terms of being asked to accommodate these value-added requests, "magazines have been the hardest hit of all the media," Thomas said, adding that media buyers themselves are under pressure from their clients to achieve the greatest possible impact. But don't make the mistake, he said, of selling out to demands that would compromise editorial integrity.

December 03, 2002
Transcon rejects convergence model
MONTREAL-The head of Canada's second-largest magazine publisher says his company was able to "resist the siren call of convergence" by sticking to sound business principles. In fact, said Transcontinental Media president André Préfontaine, the company was wary of convergence plays before markets began to deteriorate in October 2000. How did the company resist the urge to merge? Préfontaine cited the following rules of thumb: never overpay for an asset; insist that business plans come with viable profit models; and know that mixing corporate cultures can be a pain in the balance sheet, "counter-productive from every point of view." Préfontaine spoke to participants at a conference organized by the Centre d'étude sur les médias and the Canadian Media Research Consortium on Nov. 22.

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Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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