A Vancouver-based women's magazine, NW Women's Journal, is getting the squeeze of censorship from local printer Journal Graphics. Michele McKaeg Larson, the magazine's publisher, says she submitted pages for her June issue yesterday and immediately received a call from Journal Graphic's coordinator saying a particular page was potentially “offensive.”
The controversial page falls in the issue's feature regarding sex and beauty in the workplace. One article written by local stripper and writer (and former WW intern!) Viva Las Vegas deals with whether stripping for a living is more degrading than a corporate job. The article originally included a full-profile photo of the author in the buff.
Larson maintains the image doesn't include anything you wouldn't see at a beach. However, she explains that even though the stripper is “tastefully” depicted, the printers threatened not to run the magazine if the page remained as it was.
“As a journalist, anytime someone tells me I can't do something it really gets to me,” says Larson. “And it's not sensationalism. This is a real issue.”
She has redesigned the page to show less skin, but she hasn't made up her mind about whether to run it. In any case, she firmly believes there is nothing wrong with the image.
“I'm really tormented about it,” she admits. “Should I compromise my principles? I'm in a real dilemma as a business person.”
Ken Moorehead, assistant sales manager for Journal Graphics, says that the 135-year-old company is a family establishment that occasionally has to weigh in on their accounts' content. “We're all very proud of the company,” he explains. “We don't just print anything.”
But Larson points out that the August '06 issue she first she ran with Journal Graphics featured an ad that pictured four women revealing a considerably greater amount of skin:
“This went through without even a whisper,” she says. “Maybe they didn't like the new issue because it's about a stripper.”
Even though Larson has not decided on the outcome of June issue now behind schedule, she won't be dealing with Journal Graphics for long. “No matter what I do with the issue, I'll be shopping around for a new printer.”