That's the question Ryerson Journalism Review's Daniel Kaszor set out to investigate in that magazine's Spring issue. He sits down with independent owners Ron Garth of Vue Weekly, Michael Hollett of NOW Magazine and Dan McLeod of the Georgia Straight, as well as an editor with Eye Weekly, a corporate-owned weekly that competes with NOW in Toronto. His conclusion? "Readers may find it difficult to spot major differences between the two breeds of paper ... [b]ut there are distinctions," Kaszor writes. "Corporate papers are usually more personality-driven and apolitical. And the indies are not so much labors of love as pure acts of will held together by shrewd owners with deep personal and financial interests in their papers."
From a rebellious underground paper in the '60s, The Georgia Straight has grown to a 120,000 weekly circulation institution in Vancouver, B.C. It hasn't gotten that way by resting on its hippie laurels. Publisher Dan McLeod demonstrates that by once again shaking up his sales department, firing a vice president and parting ways with the consultant who helped double the paper's sales. "There's going to be some loud howling, but it's a way to grow the business," McLeod tells AAN News.