Event Recap: Showcasing Success in Magazine Media 2018

On November 6, we hosted a knowledge-sharing and networking evening for magazine professionals and creative types, where a panel of magazine creators shared their success stories.

The discussion focused on achieving success at the launch stage of a magazine, in advertising and co-branded projects, in the editorial process, and in reaching and reflecting one’s audience.

Showcasing Success: Innovative magazine professionals share the stories behind their most successful work and favourite projects. Panellists: Christina Paruag, Greg Hudson, Ruth Jones and Sheila Sampath. Moderator: Julene Chung.

Here are a few highlights from the panel:

FemEvolve’s Catalyst for Change

Cover of FemEvolve's 9th issue.

Christina Paruag, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FemEvolve, shared how her health issues and difficulties in finding reliable health information prompted her to start her own magazine, and host events to build a community around the fledgling brand.

Christina shared lessons from her health struggles that she incorporated into running a magazine—the importance of evoking emotion from your readers to keep them feeling connected to your content; helping readers feel understood, and finding people and stories that they’ll connect to; keeping the brand authentic by providing resources in pieces; building a community to get to know your readers on a more personal level, enabling you to understand the unique challenges they face; and hosting events, live sessions or Instagram stories and following up by engaging with your audience through polls or the comment section.

By engaging with their audience, FemEvolve has striven to create a magazine and a brand that provides accurate info about women’s health, is a safe place for women to discuss their health and self-esteem, and supports a community of women who can learn from each other’s experiences.

FASHION and Co-Branded Editorials

Cover of FASHION magazine's November 2018 issue.

Using a recent project FASHION undertook with Lise Watier as an example, Greg Hudson, FASHION‘s Features Editor, spoke about how a magazine can make co-branded editorials work for your magazine as well as the brand.

In a co-branded project between Lise Watier and FASHION magazine—covering everything from videos, to events, to editorial, to social media—FASHION leveraged their strong reader knowledge to create “advertorial” content that they knew their readers would connect with. By creating a turnkey solution that benefited Lise Watier while staying true to FASHION‘s brand and maintaining their editorial integrity, the project was ultimately to the benefit of both the magazine and their advertiser.

While co-branding or “advertorial” pieces have been viewed as the opposite of journalistic integrity in the past, as the market continues to change co-branding can be an opportunity to build relationships with advertisers and readers. Greg demonstrated how FASHION‘s readers responded positively to the 360° solution, how Lise Watier grew its traction with readers, and how FASHION proved their value as a magazine that knows its readers and which readers can trust.

The Site’s Collaborative Editorial Process

Cover of The Site magazine, volume 37.

Ruth Jones, Co-Editor-In-Chief at The Site, discussed how collaboration and flexibility is key to producing the independent, award-winning and volunteer-run magazine of contemporary architecture, landscape, urbanism and design in Canada.

Each issue of The Site starts with a theme—from there, their team compiles content curatorially, with open dialogue between contributing editors and the authors. As the editorial lead and managing editor track down pieces that will fill gaps in original submissions, the former identifies and organizes a set of features that will set the tone for the issue. Changing editorial leads from issue to issue gives the editor heading the project the space to develop their thinking on the questions being raised. The team also rotates administrative and managing editor duties from issue to issue to prevent burnout, and shares skills among team members that would otherwise be sequestered by each person’s unique area of focus.

The Site aims to integrate design and content to make a clear statement to readers that beauty and impact need not be mutually exclusive. Ruth explained that the challenge is to find the presentation that makes that clear, whether it means favouring text over image or going about things in a different way entirely. With this collaborative approach, the magazine has expanded beyond the pages of their issue into exhibition and event-based work, and is experimenting with how that fits into the magazine itself.

Shameless’s Communities of Care

Cover of Shameless's 38th issue.

Sheila Sampath, Editorial and Art Director of Shameless, discussed how the magazine creates communities of care through the editorial process, and spoke about re-imagining how they define success through feminist, decolonial and anti-oppressive lenses.

Shameless is more than a publication; it is also an activist organization with a responsibility to underrepresented youth communities. By introducing community accountability and examining the traditional flow of power by using a reverse hierarchical structure, Shameless strives to take leadership where they can and create cultures and communities of care.

Shameless has also reimagined their definitions of success, to be less about breadth and more about depth. Most people receive or hear about Shameless through a relationship, an educator, cool queer Aunt, or older sibling. Shameless endeavours to use these relationships as a basis to build a sense of community and a notion of care, creating intimacy in print and transformative change. With a focus on building cultures of care, the magazine itself is created in an effort to reimagine relationships to each other, and to the publication. Sheila shared how everyone at Shameless works towards redefining what is flexible, and what it means to work with writers living on the margins in different ways and how that is not just reducing harm, but is also building community and deep relationships through their work.


Showcasing Success was held on November 6 in Toronto at 2nd Floor Events. Nearly 60 people attended, from magazines large and small as well as the wider publishing and funding community, for an evening of networking and knowledge-sharing. The panel discussion was emceed by Julene Chung, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Curated Life.

We would like to thank all of our panel speakers for sharing their time and enthusiasm with us: Ruth Jones, Greg Hudson, Christina Paruag, and Sheila Sampath. The event was made possible with the support of Ontario Creates.

Join us for more networking and skills training at these Magazines Canada events in 2019:

Ontario Creates / Ontario Créatif

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