Maclean’s is Canada’s only current-affairs national news source that publishes magazines on a weekly basis. It reports on a number of different topics, ranging from domestic to global affairs, culture, business, travel, technology, opinion and health, to just name a few. Its parent company is Rogers Communications, and its sister sites include companies such as: Canadian Business, PROFIT, MoneySense, L’actualitie and CityNews. Of the seven senior writers, only one is a woman—this potentially creating a male dominated viewpoint and bias. However, a mainly female editorial board run under Mark Stevenson may counter this bias. Maclean’s is a neutral news source, which covers both conservative and liberal viewpoints equally. It is worth noting that Maclean’s has had a few controversial and negative news pieces written about the Quebec province .
Maclean’s was started in 1905 when John Bayne Maclean bought-out and acquired a small news digest called The Business Magazine. He saw this digest magazine as being predominantly American oriented as the content was written by American writers. He saw the need to convert this into a unique Canadian perspective, and thus, Maclean’s was born. Its mission was to spread Canadian values, and inspire the Canadian reader.
Maclean’s is best known for its comprehensive lists that it compiles. It creates magazines and books solely dedicated to areas of interest for its readers. Topics have included “Canada’s Best Employers”, “Best Places to Live in Canada” or its highly valued list of Canadian University Rankings. I remember when I was looking into universities; I used Maclean’s University rankings as a point of reference. This showed me which universities to avoid, and which to apply to. This highly coveted list analyzes all areas of university from dorms, class sizes to the meal plan program.
On the Maclean’s website, it has strategically placed an “On-Campus” tab, which encourages the university student to visit and take notice. It also posts about university student-related stories, which acts as a strategic method to tap into this demographic. Maclean’s is successful in the student market since its viewpoints are fresh and provide interesting opinions for which PR students need to take note of. As university students, we need to keep an open and critical eye on media. Maclean’s provides the perfect platform for this, as it provides a uniquely Canadian perspective on issues that matter to us. In fact, Maclean’s is a platform to learn about PR in action. I searched PR within the magazine’s search bar, and many relevant PR articles were displayed, including the recent Justin Trudeau #AskJustin PR campaign on Twitter. Take advantage of this learning tool!
The company uses a one-way communication reporting style through the magazine, but a two-way asymmetrical communication for its articles posted online. Through the comment section below the articles, readers are given the chance to share their viewpoints and counter the article published. This allows liberation for the readers’ thoughts, while providing a single feedback loop. Maclean’s does not refute these comments as it is strictly for the readers to share their viewpoint. In the magazine’s editorial section, printed comments are strategically chosen to position around the argument, while many of the written comments are discarded and never printed. There is a bias to which comments get printed, and to which get trashed. PR students need to be aware that it has been found that up to 70% of news is PR driven content, according to The Daily Telegraph. This is important to keep in mind as a PR student because it reminds us to keep a critical eye on news and media, as framing may be involved when a story is published. This is why, as students it is imperative to stay up to date with current affairs and avid newsreaders. Content in news-sources is highly PR related, and analyzing these sources can aide in our leaning.
Take some time today to get to know Maclean’s magazine. As a PR student, we know the importance of being well informed in global and domestic affairs. We need to know where our organization is situated in the business and global environment. Why not start right now, and get ahead of the crowd. Understanding more about the world will only help us in the future.
Other noteworthy sources of news content for students include:
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