Nova Scotia’s Frank Magazine ceases publication

Halifax-based satirical magazine Frank has announced its demise after more than three decades of publication.

A notice on the publication’s website says the editors “regret to announce the death of Frank Magazine Atlantic…which occurred on September 14, 2022.”

A photo montage representing the cartoon character who appeared at the top of the magazine’s mast, lying in a coffin with his eyes closed, accompanies the announcement.

The website says the publication, which is separate from the Ottawa-based magazine of the same name, had been operating for 35 years.

It was widely sold at supermarket checkouts and was available online for a subscription fee, and the announcement says subscribers will be reimbursed.

The publication’s editor, Andrew Douglas, was not immediately available for comment.

Praises and reviews over the years

The magazine has received praise and criticism over the years for its journalism, with some commentators noting that in the past it would break stories that other outlets would then follow.

Stephen Kimber, a faculty member at the school of journalism, writing and publishing at the University of King’s College in Halifax, said he used to buy the magazine frequently, viewing it as something thing of “a guilty pleasure”.

“It had its heyday when they were satirical, they were mean and they were finding out things that people didn’t want to find out, but they were focusing on politicians and businessmen and media stars,” he said. he said in an interview on Thursday.

“There was a period when they were telling stories,” he recalls, mostly referring to the 1990s.

“They did some of the first stories on [former premier] Gerald Regan’s issues with women they made a fuss about [former premier] The John Buchanan Trust Funds. They have been a major journalistic publication in this province for some time.”

More recently, Frank was the first to publish an article revealing that senior members of an internal RCMP team tasked with providing information to the Nova Scotia mass shooting investigation were married to two of the top female police officers. involved in the intervention. The two constables on the team were later replaced due to conflict of interest concerns.

Andrew Douglas, the publication’s editor, was not immediately available for comment. (Radio Canada)

However, Kimber has said in recent years that he feels the focus often strays too far from knocking the powerful off their pedestals.

“A lot of those who were exposed were ordinary people who had no say in terms of public policy or business or anything else,” he said.

“I stopped making it a regular thing to buy.”

In 2017, the magazine came under fire for a cartoon that depicted El Jones, an African Nova Scotian poet who was attending a protest, as having a protruding chin and a slanted forehead.

The magazine changed the image after critics called the image racist and launched campaigns to remove the magazine from stores.

Douglas also apologized to readers, saying, “In our minds, we have not used [a] racist character, but that said, we also understand that it can be totally subjective.”

Jones, who now holds the Nancy Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, said in an interview at the time that she viewed the image as a throwback to racist images in 1800s magazines that depicted African men and women as having more primate-like characteristics than Caucasians.

Jacob L. Thornton