We are inspired every day by Canadian magazines and the innovative people and ideas that drive our industry forward. “Showcasing Success” shares stories and best practices from the people producing great things in Canada’s magazine media.
In Canada, great magazines are made every day. New titles continue to emerge, and our most distinguished magazine brands continue to get better. Why? In addition to the Canadians at home and abroad who read hundreds of millions of Canadian magazines a year, we can thank the innovative people who work in magazines—people like you, who develop the concepts, write and edit, design, produce, publish, distribute, hold events and engage communities of readers across print, digital and multi-platform channels.
At Magazines Canada, we are inspired every day by Canadian magazines and the innovative people and ideas that drive our industry forward. The Showcasing Success project seeks out, interviews and shares stories and best practices from the diverse voices producing great things in Canada’s magazine media. We’re excited to share ten new case studies with you, each one of which focuses on the creativity, innovation and successes within Canadian magazines.
The case studies will be released in April and May, so be sure to check back! Join us as we share these amazing Canadian magazines and the incredible work they create every day across all platforms.
Throughout 2017, deep frustrations drove painful, but necessary, public conversations about how bias and prejudices affect people’s lives. One of the most prominent conversations was about the sexual harassment and assault of women by influential men. The growing social outcry quickly transformed into the #MeToo movement, a rapidly expanding, international movement that spans age, industry and race with the objective to grow awareness about sexual violence and sexual assault against women, and open up the conversation about the inequalities that women face.
In exploring and publishing many different voices on this subject, Canadian magazines shone a light on the issues at play and helped shape our national conversation about the #MeToo movement from a variety of different angles.
For more than 80 years, Chatelaine has established itself as one of Canada’s most trusted brands by speaking to and with women about the best of style, home, food, health and real life. In keeping with this mandate, the magazine decided to commission major national surveys to get further insights into the minds and hearts of women across the country, aged 35 to 45. From these surveys, Chatelaine published two ambitious multimedia packages called “This is 40(ish)”—one in 2016 and the other in 2017. In 2018, as the #MeToo movement captivated the world, Chatelaine chose to focus on Canadian men and launched another survey—this time aimed at 25- to 65-year-old men. The resulting package, titled “The Man Survey,” revealed men’s thoughts on everything from masculinity to feminism, to sex, love, relationships and their role in the movement.
For its 30th anniversary, Inuit Art Quarterly chose to create an ambitious portfolio of 30 Inuit artists. They asked 15 leading figures in Inuit art to nominate an early-career artist to watch and, in turn, those artists selected a senior talent who inspired them. The result, “30 Artists to Know,” is an expansive portfolio exploring the intergenerational, familial and community-based bonds that are made visible through art.
The multi-vocal, geographically diverse and deeply thoughtful piece features a broad range of contemporary and historical artists working across all forms of media.
Canadian Forest Industries had known for several years that Canadian logging contractors were struggling financially. What they could not pinpoint—and no one else in the industry could either—was exactly how much they were struggling. It was common knowledge that most contractors had taken rate cuts to help the forestry industry through the 2007–2011 recession in U.S. housing. When the industry finally recovered from 2012 onwards, it seemed that contractors were being left behind but there was no hard data.
Canadian Forest Industries‘ audience is comprised of independent small- to medium-sized businesses, who simply didn’t have the resources or associations to collect the comprehensive data required. So the magazine decided to tackle the project themselves: they thought it would provide several months’ worth of exclusive online content to drive traffic, followed by a formal report. In a best case scenario, the CFI team hoped their findings would make an impact on the debate about the profitability crisis happening between the industry, the government and the contractors.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Le Bulletin des agriculteurs, a magazine covering the Quebec agricultural sector.
What’s their secret for long life? “It’s adapting to the needs of its readers. It’s making sure that what we publish is always relevant for our readers. If it’s relevant, they’ll want to read it. This is the way Le Bulletin has done it over the years,” says Yvon Thérien, publisher and editor-in-chief. And their hundredth anniversary finds Le Bulletin des agriculteurs moving strategically into the digital world to offer more content that meets the reality of their readers.
Read the case study. In French.
In the fall of 2017, L’actualité rebranded and relaunched. “We had an extraordinary opportunity offered by the change of ownership, which found it really important that a magazine like L’actualité could continue to fulfill its mission. We wanted to make a difference and really give the magazine a boost, to take advantage of this change of guard, to revive the magazine,” explains Charles Grandmont, editor-in-chief.
Following the acquisition of the magazine by Mismash Media, Grandmont and his team embarked on the biggest rebrand that L’actualité has ever known. Their goal: To offer more to readers and further increase the benefit of being a subscriber.
Read the case study. In French.
With a young, ambitious, agile and innovative team, Fashion magazine prides itself on testing out ideas and content plans based on the most immediate information and data available.
“Our chief strategy is to be adaptive!” says Noreen Flanagan, Editor-in-Chief of the St. Joseph Media title. “As everyone knows, print magazines and publishing as an industry are radically different than they were a few years ago and it remains persistently unpredictable. That means we constantly have to be both proactive and reactive; we’re constantly refining our goals and tactics.”
So, part of Fashion‘s strategic plans include video, an unique opportunity for the mag to create original, stylish, visually arresting and entertaining content that can be both separate from the magazine and/or a complement to it.
In April 2017, as part of a massive Google Earth redesign, tech giant Google announced Voyager, a tool that would allow content producers to tell rich textual and visual stories using text, photos, videos and navigable waypoints. The new tool built on Google Earth’s existing 360-degree content and spectacular satellite imagery and featured content from partners including BBC Earth, NASA and the Jane Goodall Institute.
This major update caught the attention of Canadian Geographic.
“We knew immediately that we wanted to produce Canadian content,” said Ellen Curtis, the Director for Canadian Geographic Education. “Because we were already working on our Indigenous Peoples’ Atlas of Canada project, it seems like a natural fit to do our first Voyager story focusing on residential schools.”
In launching their endeavour, called “Canada’s Residential Schools,” Canadian Geographic became the first Canadian content producer for Google Earth Voyager. (Google produced all other Canadian content on Voyager prior to CG’s work.)
In early May 2016, wildfires ripped through Fort McMurray, Alberta, leaving a wake of destruction. With an estimated damage cost of almost ten billion dollars, it was the single costliest disaster in Canadian history.
As a B2B magazine serving the nation’s insurance industry, Canadian Underwriter immediately began reporting on the insurance implications of the tragedy. What began as rapidfire coverage of Canada’s largest insured catastrophe unfolded into multi-year coverage spanning the B2B magazine’s print, web and social platforms.
In 2017, Magazines Canada announced a new fellowship program designed to give journalists a paid position at a host Canadian magazine and the opportunity to gain valuable experience, broaden their professional network and explore stories that inform, engage and deepen the conversation on issues that drive our country forward. Briarpatch Magazine, a bi-monthly publication headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan jumped at the chance to host a fellow.
The magazine—which focuses primarily on politics and culture—operated with a full-time staff of only two, and the pair knew they could benefit from having a fellow on board for the four- to six-month term of the fellowship program.
“It was exciting to think of all that we could tackle with a third staff person! The financial contribution that Magazines Canada made to the fellowship meant that we had some support to do what we couldn’t have done on our own humble budget—hire and fairly pay an additional staff member for a summer of intensive work,” says Tanya Andrusieczko, the Briarpatch editor at the time.
Showcasing Success was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.