Monday, November 26, 2007


This may come as old news to some visitors to this blog but I'm going to write about it anyway.

One thing I'd noticed of late visiting the magazine area of the Saskatoon Public Library is that a new issue of the right wing news magazine Western Standard hadn't turned up in a bit. I finally got around to checking out my suspicions today and sure enough publisher Ezra Levant announced October 5th that they would be going over to a strictly digital format. Frankly I wasn't hugely surprised. There had been talk for a good while that the magazine wasn't doing well, especially after they sent out an e-mail to various folks asking for unpaid volunteers who might be interested in working on the magazine.

Looking for the website on Google I came across a few comments on Western Standard's demise. There were of course the expected nonsense about horrible socialists and left wing media. The more sensible comments generally said things I agreed with. Most obvious is the problem of starting any sort of magazine in our increasingly online oriented age. There was also the suggestion that some of the big media outlets have drifted right and undercut the market for an openly right wing magazine in Canada. You can see that with Macleans, the Canadian equivalent of Time. In the past while it has gotten more right wing in its editorial stance and choice of contributors, such as the signing on of Andrew Coyne as national editor and columnist.

I also wonder if perhaps the magazine wasn't Canadian enough. I was never a big fan of Alberta Report, the right wing magazine that expired in 2003 and for which the Western Standard was intended to be a replacement for. But to me at least it seemed to have a lot more Canadian flavour to it. Western Standard had too much syndicated American stuff in it. I remember one issue I thumbed through had a column by some American pundit that had little relevance to Canadian readers. There are differences between Canadian and American culture and politics, and you just can't lazily assume discussion of elements of one automatically apply to the other.

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