Marketing Magazine, May 1990
Aiming for anglophones
By Gail Chiasson
MONTREAL: The goal is Montreal's upscale anglophones. It's not a big market, but it earns — and spends — a lot of money. And, it's being targeted by a weekly that barely existed a year ago.
Copublisher Wesley Goldstein is banking on readership figures now being compiled to prove his yearold, upscale community newspaper, the Weekly Herald, isn't the fashion and entertainment paper some claim.
"In fact, we often have to bump features because our hard news takes so much space," says Goldstein.
"Warren (partner and copublisher Warren Perley) and I often find there's so much news coming out of. the city hall council meetings, which we attend Monday nights, that we have to bump material at the last minute for our Tuesday papers.
"Our advertisers are aware of our target market and they know we're being read, but formal research figures will give us a stronger sales tool."
Goldstein and Perley, both experienced journalists, have hired Jim Arkley, former advertising director with the Gazette and now a private marketing consultant, to handle the research study.
Arkley also acts as sales consultant for the Weekly Herald, which Goldstein and Perley founded as equal partners.
Perley previously spent 18 years as a journalist for Canadian Press, the Montreal Star, the Gazette, United Press Canada and United Press International. Goldstein was 11 years with the Canadian Jewish News, United Press Canada, Canadian Press and Associated Press.
"We had worked together at United Press Canada which closed in 1985, and then met again at an amateur hockey summer draft," said Goldstein. "Perley asked, 'Hey, do you want to start a community newspaper?' and the rest is history."
The paper, which started with Goldstein, Perley and a staff of three under the title the Hampstead Herald, now boasts a staff of19 and a circulation of 21,000, with doortodoor delivery in Hampstead, CôteStLuc and much of Westmount and the Town of Mount Royal.
These areas of Montreal are upscale, with strong Englishspeaking populations. Household incomes average $68,000, says Goldstein.
"We don't see ourselves as competitors to existing regional weeklies in these areas, although maybe these papers consider us so," he says. Indeed, the paper doesn't look like the "competitors," the long-established Mount Royal Weekly Post, Westmount Examiner and the Suburban.
Through the use of desktop publishing, double thickness paper, nonsmudge ink and fourcolor printing (by Interlitho, StLaurent), the paper has been able to attract such advertisers as Birks, Ogilvy, Brisson et Brisson and highend car advertisers that aren't usually found in community newspapers.
"We have a high percentage of repeat ads, somewhere around 60%," says Goldstein. "Our advertising/editorial ratio is about 55% to 45% (about 60% advertising in special supplements). We draw little advertising from small, local advertisers. We're positioned differently. We don't offer the mass circulation they want."
What the Weekly Herald does offer is an average of 32 pages filled with a mix of news and features from both local sources — often professionals in other fields — and syndicated ones.
It gets material from Women's Wear Daily (exclusive among Quebec weeklies), SPY magazine (exclusive for the whole market), Publishers Weekly and Maturity News. As well, articles come from Anne Gilbert, an antique writer in Florida; Rob St. Francis, a Washington-based auto journalist; and Frank Cook, a realestate writer also in Washington.
"We started special supplements last fall with a fashion subject, and have since done others on brides, fashion, travel and homes and gardens," says Goldstein. "Most of our four-color work is in the supplements, but we have good graphics people who make a lot of use of spot color, and that helps the paper stand out."