The pioneer of vicious Canadian satire has died a quiet death.
Frank magazine has announced that, due to a lack of readership, it will be discontinuing both its print and online editions.
I reacted to this with a mixture of sadness and relief. Frank was a thorn in the side of anyone trying to reputation-manage Canada’s controversial politicians, entertainers and media figures. I remember it particularly delighted in savaging blatant efforts to spin an issue. Many a PR professional learned to think on their toes after one of Frank‘s attacks on a client.
Then along came blogs, YouTube and Flash capabilities, and Frank found itself competing with a thousand other media mavens. Publisher Michael Bate admitted to the Toronto Star, “More and more publications started doing what we were doing. And we couldn’t compete.” It’s almost sad such avant-garde journalists with their fingers on the pulse of the Canadian public failed to predict what the web was going to become.
In the infancy of the Internet, Frank was the only source for bold, fierce and, well, frank opinion in the Canadian media. And it showed many in the PR industry the importance of communicating with, not communicating to, its stakeholders. Frank will be missed.[ad]