VANCOUVER

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

CanWest Donates Blankets To Homeless, Daily

Naomi MacDougall photo

Ch-ch-ch Changes

By THE ONLY

Extra! Extra! Blood in the streets! Black blood, ink, gushing from the veins of newspapers gunned down in vicious turf war! Extra! Extra! Trees everywhere quaking in their roots at the thought of being recycled as paper!

Everybody’s gunning for The Province. This week Metro invaded, little green men from the planet Sweden shaped like metal boxes were seen across Vancouver, as many as seven spotted on a single street glancing at each other and mumbling, “I was here conquering this corner first!” Dose, another alternative daily newspaper soon to be joining the fray, also hopes to CRUSH The Province, squeezing the tabloid’s distribution numbers to messy fractions. The Vancouver Sun stands back aloof on a hill hiccoughing nervously, shouting down “Way to go, guys, give The Province a kick for me! Hey, you fellahs needs cab fare? You can have my lunch money if you promise to not bother me…”

It’s all very complicated. Let’s break it down. The Province, like the Sun, is owned by CanWest, based out of Winnipeg, the only city in Canada in which they don’t own any newspapers. Considered this city’s flagship papers, they are being challenged for advertising revenue by Dose… owned by CanWest. However, the real threat is Metro (METRO! ROWRRR! SCARY!) the hulking, sixteen-page dark horse, stuffed with endless terrifying Fido ads, whose ownership is split three ways between the original Swedish creator (with highly successful franchises in London, Toronto, and other towns with large public transport systems) Torstar, the Toronto media giant, and… CanWest

Oh. CanWest? Wait. That means millions of dollars and thousands of trees are being shredded in a war between newspapers owned by the same company? It’s like watching a hydra with the nibbles giving in to a hankering for hydra-heads. So how real is the fight? Is CanWest really hoping to destroy one property with another? Granted there are other, more ruthless publishers out there. Hell, even printers can get pretty ruthless. Quebecor, the folks who publish AdBusters amongst others, happily crush their own workers with iron-rich boulders when they try to unionise. AdBusters are understood to stand by tut-tutting severely during these crushings before steeping sprightly into the fray to fit the wounded with comfy Black Spot sneakers accessorised with Ecuadorian-made odour eaters.

The battle is joined! Reporters sporting blue face paint and burlap kilts are lining up on gore-soaked fields to shout clipped slogans and wet their burlap. What’s the solution? Get a make-over! Drastic times call for drastic desperation. First it was the Province, with their incredible style revolution, adding white space and, um, changing a couple headline fonts. Then Terminal City (Bless ‘em. Sweet little blighters, racing barefoot through the cobbled streets after readers, weeping, “Do you like us better now? What if we were a snowboarders’ magazine? How about if we covered more cheese related issues? Naked women on page three?! Hog-tying?!?!!”) threw away more of their good stuff for the cause. Georgia Straight showed them all how to do it right, then explained exhaustively what all they did, such as adding white space and changing a few headline fonts. Next up was the paper formerly known as WestEnder, now to be referred to only as… WE. Mais oui. Suddenly the twenty-million-a-year Georgia Straight really does look alternative.

Type fonts equal content. White space is aesthetics. Revamps are revolution and reader loyalty is based on the latest style appropriation rather than depth, novelty or invention. Vancouver has more free newspapers/magazines than any town in the world. Only is one of them, we scare trees, too. However, at least– we hope! – we have something to say, rather than simply using a different type font to say what we did before.

  1. Tired

    I am going through your Last Stand comment at the end of your magazine and I had a few thoughts.

    First off, like any one from your mag care about trees. Come on.

    Second, do you really care about some silly rag that is trying to make it in an oversaturated market? Is anyone in your demographic interested in what the Metro has to say? Who really cares?

    Fifth, if the Province and the Sun don’t have balanced enough news for you, why aren’t you doing something about it? I appreciate the random DTES comment that comes from you guys, but didn’t you guys used to do that with the “other magazine”?

    Wow. Picking on Adbusters. I’m impressed. Like no one else figured out that they were a company. Last I heard, you guys were trying to make some money too, or are you a registered non-profit? Oh, they are saying smart, relevant comments and trying to change things. Like any organization like this they have flaws. You are giving band reviews and talking about Amil’s feelings. But you are the more rightious and underground. Pull the plug on the those dogooders and let’s make their whole mag a P:ano review!! I don’t think anyone heard that you were bitter about the (sugar refinery) yet!!

    Speaking of which, thirty-fifthly, dissing Terminal City is like you looking at your parents when you are 15. “Fuck them man! They don’t know about the REAL SHIT MAN!!! When I’m grown up, I’ll make the city SO HYPE DOOD!!!”. And so you ran away from home that year (cause dad said that one of your friends was bad for you and he couldn’t hang out anymore) and tried it out on your own.

    All kidding aside, good for you. I think that it is great that you guys are giving it a shot on your own. Now, DON’T GET BITTER BECAUSE IT’S NOT WORKING. Just because Mom and Dad didn’t know everything, doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a point. More Weaklies means that more people will start advertising because everyone will find the need to start advertising. If everyone will start advertising then you will also make money.

    And you won’t come to me, an average guy who you barely know, and send a sad sap email that say, “Hey, we are broke, can you donate to help the cause?”

    Fine to dis when you are taking care of your own. Boo hoo if you can’t make it and need excuses.

    Tired, tired reader. - Mar 26, 08:14 AM

  2. sarah

    we don’t make any money, so what? aren’t you broke too? all we’re trying to do is get the paper to pay for itself and maybe dinner and a huge jug o’ wine on production day. we do it because it’s fun to make a magazine, not to get rich.

    as far as the awkward metaphor, terminal city in no way resembles our parents. in fact, i think it’s more like our evil stepsister told us that we couldn’t hang out with our dad anymore, so we went to live with him.

    Things are going quite well. we’re having fun and people are reading the paper. we find no shame in asking for help. We ask “average guys we barely know” because we don’t have any corporate sugar daddies. If people who like to read our magazine want to help us out, that’s cool. but you never know unless you ask.

    as far as our bitterness, it has nothing to do with this magazine (or any magazine) and it is a deeply rooted trait that all of the ONLIES were born with. we choose to embrace it.

    thank you for your interest in the ONLY and your comment
    xox sarah c - Mar 31, 08:09 PM

  3. Stephen Buckley

    well, one thing that really really really really needs to get highlighted and usually gets a nod from people who already know is the point that canwest is attempting to partake in virtual competition by making each spawn compete with the others.

    perhaps there has been too much threatened rumbling towards the crtc that they should…i don’t know…regulate in the interest of media audiences instead of insuring adequate competitiveness for advertisers. so maybe canwest is trying to make it look like they aren’t the monolithic gordon campbell neoLiberal loving freaks that they truly are.

    what is also lost is the idea that the pap that shows up in these tiny rags is intentionally happily free of any substance or depth. in a world of increasing complexity, we do NOT need decreasing depth of substance to understand whether we should canadian troops to darfur or fix haiti [after we helped break it] or pay any attention to bono’s comments about africa.

    thus, i spend a good amount of time paying attention to non-canwest clones that merely shop at different clothing outlets.

    and despite glowing lights of intelligence, the courier is another spawn of asper as well:

    http://dgivista.org/Politics/sparky/2005/06/lamenting-lack-of-black-and-white.shtml - Jun 18, 06:47 AM

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