Clubbing Seals and Reality Crises

I have watched Monday Magazine slide beneath the waves like the Lusitania. Once edgy and interesting. Now, it's a panic-ridden myopic pong match between local lifestyles magazine and edgy lefty-alternative zine. I can see where the split is: in one part of their Broughton St. building offices hip salesdudes (and saleschicks) tour local soft touch businesses who don't like the rate card of the Times Colonist but do like to advertise with Monday magazine. In the other corner, the reporters and editors who are part of this (once) well-respected and (once) eagerly read alternative weekly. They're also hip in their own Don Quixote way, exposing the underbelly of BC stuffy Capital. They're underpaid, they're squeezed to work long sets of unpaid overtime. In short, it's thankless and their output is better than you could expect.
In it's heyday, if I had the choice of getting a copy of the Georgia Straight or Monday, I'd choose Monday in a second. Today, I discovered that when the anything-for-a-buck and the anything-for-a-cause camp collide you get this:

What is pixelated in the bottom right corner on this flyer is one of the most graphic images I have seen. Anyone who wanted to pick up a copy of Monday Magazine and leaf through it and find one of these 10,000-12,000 flyers that "Bruce" at 250-216-9610 had paid to slip into their weekly.
Thanks, "Bruce" for making an attempt to get a visceral reaction out of readers. It's ironic that this is the same category of gruesome imagery used to galvanize people about Iraq or 9/11 or latest Saw sequel.
Monday Magazine has an identity crisis and it's a victim of the media landscape. Ironically, the alternative news leader in the region didn't have the wherewithall to embrace the Internet. Monday has had a website for well over a decade but it was a pale echo of its paper edition until recently. I once thought, "gee, I would like to give them a better website" I tried to broach the topic. The Monday people would fish for compliments and I would try to dole what I could without openly lying (e.g. "it sure is on the Internet" and "almost all of your text runs left-to-right" and "You had something up there last time I looked."). I've heard of their IT situation in-house. Co-op students have it good. Monday is too poor to give them a computer of their own, so they have to bring their own laptop-- likely to be 2x to 5x the speed of what the paid staffers are suffering with. They aren't allowed onto their thready connection to the Internet (last word was 32+ workstations going through ONE dial-up line), they have to use some ubiquitious wifi from another source. What I'm getting at is that Monday Magazine is so in the dark that they have been outmanuevered by alternative press online (The Tyee, Vibrant Victoria, Public Eye Online, VictoriaWood, and hundreds of hapless bloggers) and now they're stuck. The alternative press readers reject grandpa's format (paper) and the environmentalists reject wasting a finite resource (paper); but the sales staff cannot sign deals to web banners-- or, they've tried and it's hard.
So, when someone comes to your offices with 10,000 copies of disemboweled seal photos and says, "I'll pay you to put these in your newspaper," Monday takes the deal because it makes the salespeople happy and it makes the environmentalist types happy. To me: this is how it looks when you indadvertantly put this flyer in between the wrong pages:
British Importers (386-1496) - Gee, do they kill animal to make some of their clothing?
Pasta at the Marina (598-8555) - Hey, I hope you serve only Vegan seafood.
Blunderstones (386-3741) - Those had better be fruit leather boots. I sure hope you didn't harm the cows that hide came off of....
Oak Street Villages (477-5353) - Yep, we'll take anyone's money.
Monkey Tree Pub (727-3550) - Yeah... after that seal carcass, I've lost my appetite for wings...

If you're one of these advertisers, do yourself a favor. This will show that Monday Magazine is tuned out. Click on the links for each of these pieces. Check out where this blog post shows up. Check out where Monday Magazine falls in that list. You paid them money, right? They have a website, so whatever you say in the paper edition should have showed up there. And, as you paid them money and Monday is read by thousands, your Monday ad should show up higher than this ill-ventured blog.

Monday magazine has to make a decision: go soft and let the salespeople run loose; or be an environmentalist lightning rod and drop to the distribution levels and appeal of the Martlet. Otherwise, you end up with pages of food & dining sprinkled with seal guts.

Comments

Tim Bailey said…
Yeah, Monday is nothing but a shell of its former self. I don't even pick it up anymore; it's not worth the time to search within for actual journalism. Re-hashed polemics and fluffy moonbeams I can find anywhere. You're right, too: The Tyee and Public Eye are just better -- they're not bogged down by the ponderous structure or inhnernt ideological contradicitons of publishing under Black Press, nor are they struggling to generate page-filler. I suspect that this is at least partly intentional, though: starve Monday until it's total crap, and then axe it because it's total crap. It's a tried-and-true strategy.

Interestingly, I once spoke with an employee of Monday (a different one than the source to whom you're likely refferring). This person told me that the consistent, long-run revenue for Monday came from the sex-trade ads. This makes intuitive sense since those advertisers really have nowhere else to go, and they all benefit from the centralized nature of Monday's sex pages. This person explained it as leftist news and commentary financed largely by the sex-trade.
Mike DeWolfe said…
If Monday took the risk, they could move into Attractions territory and become a nighlife paper-- including the sex trade.
My source for life inside of Monday was relatively high up there and he moved on some time ago.
If I were to sum up Monday's transition:
Monday used to be your funky Auntie who'd show up every week or so; now, Monday is the weird Uncle who wants to show you disturbing photos.

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