Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Good for the Goose Good for the Gander

Posted by Scott On April - 8 - 2011

After listening to NOW magazine editor Susan G. Cole defend her Rob Ford cover on the radio, and after reading my blog post on MastheadOnline.com, a graphic designer (who prefers to remain nameless) decided to have some fun. He has photo-shop equipment, so he turned on his computer and created a mock cover featuring Susan’s face rather than Rob’s on NOW’s cover. The cover lines are arguably offensive, perhaps funny to others, but I am not comfortable posting to this blog. What’s good for the Goose is not Good for the Gander.
This unsolicited work came with the following note:
“When I heard Susan G. Cole, the editor of NOW, defend the cover on the radio last week, I decided to see how she would like it. Here’s what I put together. I sent it to Susan G. Cole and some radio personalities like Arlene Bynon and John Oakley. Arlene sent me a reply, but I haven’t heard back from Ms. Cole.”
NOW magazine’s Rob Ford cover has created quite a lot of noise this past week. One defense offered is “free speech”, a principaled postion indeed. But sometimes speech isn’t free, if you have to defend a libel suit. That’s called libel chill. Others believe pragmatisim trumps principles, and that if it is good for business, then so be it. Free market capitalist triumphantalism at its best. Another argument is that the ends justify the means…i.e. that since Rob Ford is politically incorrect, and dangerous…all’s fair in love and war. Apparently NOW is waging a war or sorts. Call it a class war or call it a classless war. Othes have suggested that the comedy value of the photo-shopped cover is obvious, and that everyone should just lighten up. Fair enough. As for sex trade ads in a “progressive” magazine and questions of double standards, oh well, who cares, right?
Lost in all the noise is whether or not the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) should adopt some guidelines or code of conduct, similar to the Society of Professional Journalists (which is US-based, but accepts Canadian members) : http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp Read the code and then ask yourself:
Are these guidelines smart or stupid?
Are these guidlelines helpful or harmful?
Are these guidlelines of any value in free-market/free speech democracies like the U.S. or Canada?
Are limits of any kind, like yelling fire in a crowded theatre, reasonable or a threat to our liberty?
So let’s vote on two items. The first one is just for fun, the second I hope will actually spark some intelligent debate.

What's your opinion?

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Shoud the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors strike a committee to look at developing a made-in-Canada set of guidelines?

CSME committee for made-in-Canada guidelines?

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One Response to “Good for the Goose Good for the Gander”

  1. Bev Christie Star says:

    Whoa here folks. Mayor Ford, by his outrageous behaviour has brought on the cartoons and yes, even, the photo on the NOW cover! To attempt to give Susan Cole a lesson by putting her face on a photo is nonsensical. Ms. Cole is simply doing what so many of the talk show people internationally have been doing for weeks: ridiculing Mr. Ford because he has turned City Hall into a circus! He has brought it all on himself. Ms. Cole hasn’t done that. No fair folks!

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Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy. www.circ3.com

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