Thursday, June 26, 2003

Report post-mortems watch

Ted Byfield, notes Licia Corbella in today's Edmonton Sun (sorry, not online), is philosophical about the death of his old magazine. Here's the gist of what he said:

"It's always been a borderline operation at best," he says with a chuckle, "and it was sinking too far below the borderline, so when it actually happened it didn't surprise me much.

"As society has changed radically, the magazine didn't change, it just kept asserting the same things it had 30 years ago. The effect was to make it look more stridently right, but the magazine never changed, what changed was society. That was eventually going to do it in, and it did," he adds, almost brightly......


But, surely he's sad? "No," he says, bluntly. "Look, there's no such thing as permanence ... this side of the kingdom of heaven anyway. You don't like to see something like this happen, but at the same time you never really expect anything to last forever."

Meanwhile, in the Globe and Mail opinions differ on what the end of The Report signifies. This story implies that the death of the magazine is bad news for Canadian magazines in general. Eric Reguly reports on his days at the Alberta Report Calgary bureau, which he describesamusingly. The newspaper's editorial on the death of magazine, although critical, offers some gracious words too.

The Vancouver Sun does regret that the magazine shut down but today's editorial chastens the magazine for being too conservative, not growing with the times, blah, blah, blah. Well, I'm looking forward to the Byfield response to this and I'm confident that some of my Report blogosphere colleagues will address it.

Readers of Alberta's alternative news and entertainment papers should keep an eye out for these items that aren't online. Calgary's Fast Forward Weekly does a small story with no quotes explaining what happened while Edmonton's See Magazine reprints some of its favorite Report quotes from the past. Colby Cosh may want to fetch a copy because he is on their list.

P.S. Link for those who have read Kevin Steel's blog entry today. When Kevin first used the phrase "Where are the helicopters?" in conversation, I thought he was referring to when the North Vietnamese took Saigon in 1975 and Americans and their friends had to be evacuated by helicopter. I said this to Kevin and he laughed and told me the story you've read.

I would sometimes call Kevin to see what he had heard about how the magazine was doing. (It's just a matter of place--Kevin worked in Edmonton where the head office was, and I didn't.) We would try to figure out how our own prospects would pan out, and I would often let him go by saying "Enough joy and frivolity. I'll talk to you soon."