Connect, Inspire, Advance: Our 2018–2023 Strategic Plan

Matthew Holmes
Matthew Holmes

This summer, I shared my thoughts on our draft Strategic Plan, which will guide Magazines Canada over the next five years. Based on our consultations with members, in September the Board ratified the 2018–2023 Strategic Plan and our team’s been planning the next stage of our resources and member services since.

I know: these documents usually make for some pretty dry stuff, but I’m actually pretty excited about a few things the new plan will set in motion over the coming months. We’re going to focus more of our energy on two of the things that a trade association does best and that are only possible when we come together.

First, we will present a united voice to government on major issues that impact our industry and our people. In fact, we’re starting this week in Ottawa where our Board of Directors is holding its annual strategic retreat and hosting the “Magazines on the Hill” reception—we’re bringing a newsstand of Canadian magazines to Parliament Hill for Members of Parliament to browse and enjoy. (If you think politicians have issues, wait until they see ours….)

We’ll be telling MPs how important the Canada Periodical Fund and Canada Council Support is to our industry. And, at a time when journalism is under threat and there’s so much noise out there, we’ll tell them how our magazines reach communities throughout Canada—be they geographic or linguistic, Indigenous or immigrant communities, or those centred on a specialized trade, artistic practice, or sexual identity, to name just a few. The Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Creative Canada” vision spends some time on Canadian magazines and makes commitments to continue supporting our industry as it evolves—this is something to celebrate and we want to show our appreciation in Ottawa.

Second, our strategic plan places a priority on giving our sector the venue it needs to share its stories, innovations, and empower our people to grow and develop professionally—so critical as the industry continues to accelerate and evolve. We did just that earlier this month in Toronto with our “Showcasing Success” event. The panel was young and inspiring and the room was buzzing with the new ideas they shared. Plus, we got to celebrate the merger of the National Magazine Awards and Magazine Grands Prix!

In fact, two elements of our investment in professional development are worth singling out here. I’m very proud to say that in 2018 we will expand on the success of the Magazines Canada Fellowship—giving emerging journalists the chance (and, also the time and money!) to start a deep dive with a Canadian host magazine. Also in 2018, we will support ten students or recent graduates to gain valuable magazine experience via our new paid internship pilot project.

Magazine brands reach over three-quarters of Canadians, of all ages, across all platforms. Though print is still clearly the preference for most, recent Vividata research shows that more and more Canadians are accessing our content via mobile and digital channels every day. As our Strategic Plan prepares us for the next few years, perhaps one of the most exciting changes is the path it charts for a new membership category of digital-only magazines and content publishers… we have built a big tent for everyone in our community—and the next step is to deliver on the needs they all share to tell their stories, learn from each other, and continue to adapt in this changing media environment.