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Author Topic: Walrus editor "resigns"
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 14 February 2004 01:45 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Founding editor of Walrus steps down

quote:
In a surprise move, it was announced yesterday that David Berlin, 52, founding editor of The Walrus, is stepping down, citing health reasons.

Over at the Frank Forums, always entertaining on media issues (another thread today is called "Peggy Wente: harping shrew, or truculent virago?"), the gossip is this:

quote:

I am told DB went into a boozy post partum depression after the launch of the Walrus. Maybe that's the health problem alluded to. DB was good at the pre-launch bombast and boastfulness, but not on the hard work of fixing and building up the Walrus when it proved to be less important and exciting than had been promised. DB wasn't able to keep up his enthusiasm and inspire his staff.

The idea that the Walrus has bottomless pockets is baloney, by the way. The Trust behind it has $5 mil to its name certainly, but it wants the Walrus in the not too long term to pay its own way and to pay back some of the initial investment. The Walrus however has found it hard to sell ad space. There's just no buzz about the magazine. The third issue came and went without trace. If business doesn't improve soon, the ax will fall. Paul Wilson has his work cut out.

From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 14 February 2004 07:04 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Paul Wilson's a capable fellow, he may be able to do it. After all, there are still a huge number of advantages going for the Walrus, most important a desperate wish that it succeed on the part of Toronto's chattering set. The trick will be to improve the quality (obvious point, eh?)
From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 14 February 2004 09:05 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I bought one issue. I thought it was too artsy for my taste. It had two good articles and the rest was just gloss. Not worth the money.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 09:43 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If only it wasn't a page for page layout cop of Harpers it might have a chance. What is the point of copping an already dated format? New ideas anyone?

On the other hand most of the writing is good enough. The cover story on US GI's is refreshingly lacking in Pro-US propoganda, though the author seems oblivious to the torturing of Iraqi suspects, though perhaps she just wants us to figure that out for ourselves. Couldn't tell.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 15 February 2004 02:50 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really enjoy the Walrus. Very few non-academic pieces of writing cause me to change my opinion and the Walrus has, particularly their issue 2 piece on the Int'l Criminal Court. Not sure whether that's a testament to my stubbornness or the quality of most non-academic writing.... I hope they continue to publish, not least so I can recoup the cost of a subscription.

I think their layout design is an attempt at timelessness over trendi-ness that may appear dated. It doen't really bother me, although I find the little mini-cartoons plunged into the columns of text to be kind of an annoying diversion from the articles.

Finally, although I'm be no means an expert in business, I wonder if they havn't marketing themselves as far as they should regarding adspace. Looking at the 3 issues I have it seems like at least 80% of the ads are for publishers. Even with the "literary crowd" readership, I seriously doubt anyone's going to buy that many books. Maybe they have sought out other advertisers are were rejected though.....

[ 15 February 2004: Message edited by: CJH ]


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 15 February 2004 08:17 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Walrus is ok, and I hope Wilson does a good job on it. Politically, I think he is a centrist; his early experiences were with the Prague Spring and Charter 77, movements of East European dissidents. I may be wrong, but I don't recall him being very critical of American misbehaviour in the world, for example, in Chile or El Salvador.

I thought the Criminal Court article was very superficial. I know that most of the defence counsel there have an ideological take on things that was not brought out in the article. As far as I am aware, none of them believed in International Tribunals before they went, and most were part of pro-Milosevic groups. They don't want anyone to judge international criminals, and this affects their views about the one in Africa.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
LukeVanc
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posted 15 February 2004 09:10 PM      Profile for LukeVanc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was duped into getting a one year subscription thinking the Walrus was some great new controversial left wing news and commentary magazine. I have to say, it's definetly not worth the money. It blows. The writing is horrendous, conservative, and incredibly dull. I hope this magazine does die so they'll stop sending it, because it is a waste of paper.

[ 15 February 2004: Message edited by: LukeVanc ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 February 2004 10:35 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I got a subscription too. It's okay, but I'm not overly impressed. It's not like I run for it in the mail or anything.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
LukeVanc
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posted 16 February 2004 06:42 AM      Profile for LukeVanc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For anyone out there who is an insomniac - just buy a copy of the Walrus and give it a read - it should get rid of your insomnia pretty quickly.

Re: Walrus format - my dad mistook the Walrus magazine for the ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION magazine - enough said.

[ 16 February 2004: Message edited by: LukeVanc ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Kayaba
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posted 16 February 2004 06:57 AM      Profile for Kayaba        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Harsh. By and large I think it is a great magazine.
From: elsewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 16 February 2004 07:09 AM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's not like I run for it in the mail or anything.

what do you subscribe to that you run for?


From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 16 February 2004 07:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I have two subscriptions currently, both of which I got for Christmas this year. One is The Walrus, and the other is Harper's. I really like Harper's and I was hoping I would like The Walrus as much, but so far, I don't. However, that could change. I'm willing to give it a chance. I live in hope.

There are a few other magazines I've subscribed to in the past that I've really enjoyed. I had a subscription to Adbusters, but in the middle of the subscription, they turned into some kind of weird freakshow instead of their "old" format of spoof ads and lots of good articles about consumerism, etc. I think they're getting back to their old format again, if the issue I bought a while back is any indication, but I can't really afford a subscription now, so I read it online instead. Besides, you kind of get their point after the first few magazines, and then you start thinking to yourself, "I'm buying an expensive, glossy magazine every month in order to read about not buying stuff."

If I had a subscription to The New Yorker, I think I'd like it enough to at least walk quickly to the mailslot, but it's expensive. It was on my Christmas Wish List though (gave a couple of members of my family a list of magazines that they could choose from to give me subscriptions, which is what I really wanted this year as gifts - we all exchange lists). I had a subscription to a recipe magazine a while back that I really liked. It was called "Taste of Home" and it was excellent. But again, it expired last year and money's tight, so I didn't renew.

I bought Heeb Magazine off the newsstand a few months ago (I think in November) and I thoroughly enjoyed it, from cover to cover. If I had a subscription to that one, I'd run for it in the mail. A good mix of serious and funny articles, and I don't think there was a single article that didn't grab me and keep me interested until the end. But again - expensive. $US and all. I'd have so many magazine subscriptions if I were rich. I'm tempted to subscribe to it, though, because I can never find it in the sea of magazines in Indigo or Chapters, they're the only ones in Canada who seem to distribute it, and I hate going to one of the staff and asking for it by name.

Also, I had a subscription to Frank Magazine for a couple of years, and that was always good for a laugh. That was always a fun one to receive in the mail. Can't believe everything in it, but that was around the time when Mike Harris was boffing whatsherface there, so it was a spiteful pleasure. Another one I didn't renew because it's expensive (I got the last subscription as a gift) but for a while there, I was starting to feel as though the negativity was getting to me anyhow, so it's good that I've had a break from it. I buy it once in a while on the stand (not for quite a while now) if I notice it, but that's about it.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 16 February 2004 08:27 AM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If I had a subscription to The New Yorker, I think I'd like it enough to at least walk quickly to the mailslot, but it's expensive.

last march, i had fun going through two years back issues of the new yorker and the atlantic monthly (at the ryerson uni library) and reading the articles that seemed most interesting to me ...

i've subscribed at various points to this magazine, alternatives (the environmental magazine out of waterloo), adbusters, anything that moves, discover (when i was young, i really followed the voyager space probes) and NACLA.

obviously, content is a reason to subscribe, but i find that design is nearly as important ... a magazine has to reach out and grab you by the scruff of the neck. some british magazines have done this well over the past few years, such as sleazenation, jack and Q.


From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Puetski Murder
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posted 16 February 2004 07:10 PM      Profile for Puetski Murder     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really enjoy The Walrus, but don't take it as gospel. What other Canadian magazines do we have that fulfill this niche?

Their articles definitely make for interesting conversation pieces. Bauhaus in Tel Aviv, Soldiers and Ice Blocks etc.


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 17 February 2004 01:35 AM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We've done this before, but i'd say Geist, This Magazine and Maisonneuve all do similar things in a more attractive and interesting way. I wish 10% of the money sunk into The Walrus ahd been spent on saving Canadian Forum, which was great.

Robert Fulford on Geist

Fulford on Maisonneuve


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Kayaba
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posted 17 February 2004 04:28 AM      Profile for Kayaba        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Geist is too snobby and Maisonneuve is too trendy.
From: elsewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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Babbler # 560

posted 11 March 2004 03:30 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The latest Walrus (April/May) has been excellent so far. I enjoyed the "Canadians are nothing like Americans" article. And I'm deep into the article on "Casting Light on Depression" which is all about a neurologist's research into the illness. I'm finding it even more fascinating because of the discussions we've been having about this very subject on babble.

And in the last issue, I found the Field Notes to be very interesting, as well as another article that escapes me now.

I'm glad I got a subscription and gave it a chance. It's turning out to be pretty good.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
scrabble
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posted 11 March 2004 04:39 PM      Profile for scrabble     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If I had a subscription to The New Yorker

Say, 'lance, would you be wanting another years' subscription in your hatch-day stocking?

From: dappled shade in the forest | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
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posted 11 March 2004 04:50 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Me ears is burnin'.

Appreciate it, scrabble, but it's taken care of. But wotsa "hatch day"?

Nemmine... commemorates the day I was hatched. Don't you mean "spawn day"?


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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Babbler # 560

posted 11 March 2004 05:25 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
BTW, Lisa Rundle, the former editor of rabble.ca, was one of the contributors to last issue's Field Notes, about how she and her partner wound up with West Nile. It was interesting.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 30 March 2004 06:57 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
wonderful gift from ma belle amie à Montréal:
the recent April/May 2004 issue of The Walrus (along with Feb/March, too).... thanks

Have not yet read, but 1st reactions:

DOES look like Harper's in some sections, but not too much, and straddles the literary /generalist editorial gap the way the old Saturday Night of the 1970s often did

More opinions after actually reading ... although that does not slow down some critics

[ 30 March 2004: Message edited by: Geneva ]


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
saskganesh
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posted 30 March 2004 10:56 PM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Great first issue, got a sub, then very dissapointed with the GI issue. Needs time to find its legs, I think. I have hopes.

Haven't read Geist in a while but picked up two issues of Maisonneuve because of the Walrus buzz and wanted to read something while I was waiting.

I like mags that take a long time to read.

edit: their website is weak.

[ 30 March 2004: Message edited by: saskganesh ]


From: regina | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
candle
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posted 31 March 2004 01:25 AM      Profile for candle     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Willowdale Wizard:

obviously, content is a reason to subscribe, but i find that design is nearly as important ... a magazine has to reach out and grab you by the scruff of the neck. some british magazines have done this well over the past few years, such as sleazenation, jack and Q.


Raygun, the American music magazine, was like this in its early days - experimenting with fonts and layout. Of course, some people complained it was unreadable but I think they were missing the point.

Some years ago, David McFarlane did an article in Saturday Night about the Toronto free jazz musician Bill Groves in which he talked about if this article was a piece by the legendary Ornette Coleman and he had the type switching all over the place and then quoting himself again. It was an absolutely beautiful piece of work.

Speaking of McFarlane, in the current issue of Toronto Life (the one with the story on Jack Layton) McFarlane writes that he was canned just before Christmas by the Globe and Mail, for whom he wrote a weekly column in the Review section. I didn't have a chance to scan the whole article (which mostly seemed to be about having a Globe & Mail paper route as a youngster) but the gist was that they needed the space.


From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 10 June 2008 03:27 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Even Ken Alexander can't stand to work for Ken Alexander

quote:
Ken Alexander is no longer The Walrus. The Walrus Foundation board of directors accepted his resignation today. Alexander, who helped found the five-year-old general interest publication, will step down July 4 after the September issue is put to bed. “I have resigned to pursue other interests and, yes, to spend more time with my family,” Alexander said in a press release. "In so many respects, my four years as editor has been a dream job."

From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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