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Canadian Magazines Shine a Light on #MeToo

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.

Speak with: victims, subject experts, alleged violators, #MeToo leaders.

WHAT THEY DID

From Canadian Living to Chatelaine, Fashion Magazine and Flare, to The Walrus, Canadian Lawyer and Maclean’s, many Canadian magazines covered the #MeToo movement. Magazines interviewed movement leaders, victims, perpetrators, experts in the field of sexual harassment and the law, and even polled their audiences.

Maclean’s made one aspect of the conversation—the gender pay gap—visual with two different newsstand covers for their March 2018 issue, which were priced differently based on gender; men were asked to pay more for their copy. The magazine also published an investigative report into sexual assault accusations against Ontario Conservative MP Rick Dykstra, with Dykstra resigning as a direct result of their breaking online news. From opinion pieces to a book review, Maclean’s continues to cover the movement with many mediums.

The Walrus launched “Year in Action,” a cumulative project with long-form articles added throughout 2018, including “Am I Complicit in My Own MeToo” and “What Consent Means in the Age of MeToo.”

B2B magazines also weighed in on the movement, particularly those within the legal sector. Canadian Lawyer, already a veteran in covering sexual assault from a legality point of view, produced the online article “#MeToo Pushing Accountability for Sexual Assault Outside the Courtroom” and are following it up with an upcoming workplace-themed June/July 2018 print issue featuring two articles centering on the #MeToo movement. Legal magazine Precedent responded with opinion pieces such as “Why hasn’t the #MeToo movement come to law?

Consider format: Podcasts, surveys, covers, articles, book reviews, opinion pieces, video, interviews, surveys, charts, social media, gifs.

HOW THEY DID IT

Canadian magazines covered this international story across platforms and mediums.

Chatelaine launched #TheManSurvey, asking 1,000 Canadian men between 25 and 65 about growing up, work, fatherhood, sex, mansplaining, loneliness, #MeToo and more. They transformed the results into “What’s It Like To Be A Man In 2018?” an exhaustive piece that featured charts, gifs, videos and more, to look at how our culture defines masculinity. [Ed: For more on how Chatelaine conceptualized and produced this survey, read our case study “Chatelaine: Canvassing for Content.”]

Canadian Living gave the issue a pop culture treatment with their listicle-style piece “5 Ways to Make Sure #Metoo Makes a Difference.” They also covered the movement in interview style with “What #WeMust Do to Continue to Empower Women and Girls Everywhere,” asking Caroline Riseboro, the President and CEO of Plan International Canada, to discuss the impact today’s movements are having internationally.

Ryerson Review of Journalism got in on the conversation with their Pull Quotes podcast episode “Journalism after #MeToo,” asking Canadian journalists where they should take the movement next. “Podcast formats can work well for these kinds of wide-ranging discussions, providing a space for dialogue that isn’t always possible in print,” says Laura Howells, Chief Podcast Producer, Ryerson Review of Journalism.

Balance: Velocity, sensitivity, accountability.

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES

One underlying challenge of covering the #MeToo movement is the sensitive nature of the subject itself. To cover the movement with accuracy and true insight required journalists to ask pointed questions of both victims and alleged perpetrators, discuss difficult topics, and wrangle with their personal feelings about the subject. This required sensitivity in use of language and careful consideration in what questions should be asked—and how.

Another challenge was the sheer velocity with which the movement propelled itself forward. National magazines were forced to balance getting to print with an ever-growing, and at times shape-shifting, international story. To produce well-informed and thoughtful content that informed and captured the magnitude of the movement—backed up against deadlines—was a real challenge.

Lauren McKeon, Digital Editor at The Walrus, was able to overcome the challenge of trying to keep up with moments of change despite having a small digital team. They launched “The Year in Action” and “created a dedicated landing page where [they] could cover all different angles with a long-term focus.”

Finally, #MeToo coverage directly affected and continues to affect the lives and reputations of sources and subjects. Canadian Lawyer‘s Senior Editor Tim Wilbur stresses, “Magazines need to ensure that they are doing rigorous fact-checking and, wherever possible, seek legal advice.” Responsible journalism requires utmost respect of the full impact of published content.

Howells says: Consider the impact. Be thoughtful in your approach. Your content can affect your sources, subjects and audience.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

When faced with covering a rapidly expanding movement, there are many things to consider.

Canadian Lawyer‘s Wilbur weighs in on the legalities of covering these kinds of subjects. “Legal requirements are different in Canada versus the U.S. Do some basic education on the legal issues and what kind of standards need to be upheld when reporting on something like this.”

For her part, The Walrus‘ McKeon takes a broader view and recommends honing in on what you do best a magazine. “From there, thinking about what kind of stories you bring that are unique and how you can cover the movement in a way that no one else can. Let your mandate inform your approach. Do what you do best. Think about how can you add that no one else can add. Don’t worry about playing catch up. You be you.”

Content:

Chatelaine: Canvassing for Content

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.

Survey: 45 questions; 1,000 people. Spinoff: Multimedia packaged content.

WHAT THEY DID

For each of their three surveys, Chatelaine worked with Abacus Data, an Ottawa-based polling, public opinion and market research firm.

“We asked ourselves what we would really want to know if we could ask anything,” says Lianne George, Chatelaine‘s Editor-in-Chief. The team then whittled down the list to about 45 questions and Abacus put these in front of 1,000 people across Canada. From the participants’ answers, the magazine spun off print pieces, multiple video series and social assets to support the surveys.

Having this multi-pronged approach gives Chatelaine an opportunity to “delve into conversations inspired by the results,” explained George. “This is actually the fun part, where you get to mine the findings for stand-out stats that lend themselves to deeper exploration via an article or video, for example.”

While Chatelaine‘s process started with defining what kind of content they wanted to produce, the team acknowledged they would need to remain flexible. “We had a sense of what we wanted to do when we started, but certainly the execution was informed by the most interesting results,” says George.

Finding balance: time x process

HOW THEY DID IT

Chatelaine has a staff of 24; George estimates about half worked on the survey series when factoring in all the stages of content creation. It was no small or quick feat. To wit: the team worked to conceptualize the project, commission the survey, write the questions, parse results, assign content, produce video, shoot portraits, write, edit, design, plan social strategy and finally, publish. From start to finish, each package took about six months to complete.

Given the many moving parts, managing the timeline could have been a concern. But for George, it was a matter of allocating a generous planning period and sticking to a strict workback schedule.

Challenge: Making sure context and intent of participants' words are not lost in the editing process.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

“One of our biggest challenges was ensuring we captured a representative collection of voices—both in responses to the survey and in our video series, where we teased out some of the most provocative questions,” says George. She stresses that it was crucial that the context and true intent of participants’ words were not lost in the process of editing hours of footage into minutes-long videos.

She also points to how highlighting surprising facts can garner much attention. “In our first iteration, what struck us was the stat that only 32% of women self-identified as feminists,” she states. “By publishing this, we were able to catch the attention of major influencers like Lena Dunham and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”

According to George, 2017 was very successful from a traffic and engagement perspective. They created social media content that had major organic reach; designed a popular, cheeky and downloadable emoji set (including yogurt, a bottle of wine and some comfy, high-waisted underwear); and their hashtag, #ThisIs40ish, trended #1 in Canada on launch day. “It was one of our top stories of the year in terms of unique views and social engagement.”

When it comes to #TheManSurvey of 2018, Chatelaine was able to help nudge forward an important conversation about how certain gender expectations and attitudes shape the experiences of Canadian men and women.

Having established great success with the surveys over the past three years, Chatelaine is already planning another for 2019.

George says: Surveys are great for getting to know your audience. And they generate a lot of relevant story ideas, too!

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

According to George, the foundation for the multi-year project’s success came from working with the right polling firm.

“You’ll want to partner with someone you trust and who understands your editorial mandate,” she says. “Abacus really understood the value in what we were trying to do and helped us position our questions effectively without changing the editorial nature of the language we were using.”

She is also confident in Chatelaine‘s investment in these surveys. “They’re a great way to get to know your audience and generate a lot of relevant story ideas in one go!”

Read Chatelaine‘s survey content for 2016, 2017 and 2018.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Inuit Art Quarterly: Where Creatives Converge

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.

15 nominators, 15 emerging artists, 15 elder artists.

WHAT THEY DID

The goal of IAQ‘s portfolio was to profile emerging and established artists in a way that felt innovative, responsive and engaging. They reached this goal by featuring artists in a wide range of practices, including film, photography, performance, graphic arts, fashion design, sculpture and textiles.

The magazine piece contains profiles of 15 early career artists and 15 elder artists; and a short excerpt on 15 leading figures in art who acted as nominators. It features narrative text and a feature image of one piece of art by each artist. The strong visuals were essential in allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about artistic influence and legacy. By only publishing one work from each artist, the editorial team hoped to pique the interest of their audience and encourage them to seek these artists out further.

“The Inuit art community—which includes artists, curators, gallerists, collectors and others—is relatively small and tight-knit and most everyone involved has been working with great enthusiasm for many years to raise the profile of these exceptional artists,” says IAQ editor Britt Gallpen. “It felt fitting to share this important moment and platform with them.”

It is not unusual for Inuit artists creating today to be working within a long, familial artistic lineage. The profiles as a whole provide crucial insight into personal connections between artists, whether professional, community-based or familial. This series of profiles is also geographically diverse, highlighting artists working in more than fifteen communities, hailing from coast to coast to coast and including urban Inuit working in the Canadian south.

By the Numbers: 27 image sources, 18 months of work, 34 pages of content, 30 writers, 65 contributors.

HOW THEY DID IT

As a starting point, the editorial team drafted a large list of potential nominators with an eye to regional diversity and areas of expertise.

“It was important to us that artists working in various media and in various locations would be selected. Understandably, we started with a larger list that was whittled down based on availability and interest,” explains Gallpen.

Nominators were then asked to shortlist two exciting early career artists for inclusion in the feature. They were encouraged to select artists with promising practices who had not yet received much critical attention for their work. Crucially, the term “early career” was not associated with any type of age restriction. The team requested that nominators select artists who would be willing to write or speak with them about an inspirational artist. After the creation of a long list of next generation artists, it was cross-referenced for duplicates before assigning each nominator with a final artist to write about. In turn, these early career artists were asked to nominate an elder artist who inspired and motivated their artistic growth.

Images were carefully chosen to show the relationship between the emerging and established artists, while also highlighting each artist’s best known style and techniques. When possible, photos were used of artworks made using the same materials (for example, textiles from Fanny Algaalaga Avatituq and Ruth Qaulluaryuk, drawings from Tony Anguhalluq and Luke Anguhadluq, and etchings from Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak and Helen Kalvak) to best show the visual similarities (and differences) between the artists’ work.

82% new website visitors.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Since the spring of 2016, IAQ had broadened the scope of the magazine. Readers accustomed to reading about textile, stone, bone and paper artists were hesitant to accept the inclusion of artists working in media such as film, installation, photography and performance. The “30 Artists to Know” piece presented the magazine with a unique opportunity to articulate and solidify a new vision for the magazine. And it gave readers a chance to acquaint themselves with contemporary artists working in a wide range of practices, and also to learn about their relationship with iconic artists who had come before.

This large-scale undertaking involved considerable logistics, which presented several challenges to the Inuit Art Quarterly editorial team of two.

Working with 30 contributors for the text required much communication and coordination. In some cases, contributors didn’t have phones or use email. The team used a variety of tools including Facebook Messenger, email, word-of-mouth and phone calls to reach artists, in most cases interviewing them prior to drafting entries for their comment and approval.

In addition, more than 27 individuals and institutions—both within Canada and abroad—were required to secure images.

“Some photos were particularly difficult to source, as was the case for Arnakallak Saimut, whose work is exceptionally scarce,” reports Gallpen. “The small carving reproduced in the article is from the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Spain, and was found very late in the editorial process. Other photos, particularly the video stills and photos of live performances, were difficult to source as existing documentation of historic Inuit musicians, actors and filmmakers is often not of exceptional quality.”

Gallpen says: Be accountable and agile with your contributors. This is especially important if you are supporting voices that often go unheard.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

This type of feature requires that the editorial team rely heavily on non-industry contributors outside of their organization. Therefore, devoting considerable time and resources to a project of this nature is highly recommended by Gallpen.

“Giving yourself ample time, both for in-house production as well as for your contributors, is crucial. Additionally, creating backup plans should contributors fall through at the last minute is highly advisable,” advises Gallpen. “Be willing to relinquish authority and control and to embrace the unexpected.”

Gallpen also recommends that if a potential contributor is not available, ask them to suggest an alternate—this is an organic way to expand the magazine’s network.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Canadian Forest Industries: Surveys the Nation

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.

Content: The Breakdown—1 survey, 236 responses, 56-page final report, 15-part web series.

WHAT THEY DID

Group Publisher and Editorial Director Scott Jamieson and Canadian Forest Industries Editor Maria Church led the charge in launching the exhaustive readership survey to get feedback on the current state of the forestry industry in Canada.

After receiving the final data, the CFI editorial team combed through it for themes and angles, ready to analyze the results and turn the data into multiple forms of content. When they started reviewing the data and brainstorming how to share it, it became clear that a multi-media, multi-step approach was best.

The team did a gradual content rollout from June to October 2016. This slow trickle helped build momentum around the survey results and garner feedback, and allowed staff to manage the survey workload around their regular duties by staggering the work.

They began by launching a weekly 15-part web series with each short piece focused on a key finding from the survey, such as “Real world logging profits,” “Machine operator earnings,” “Operating cost trends,” and “Fleet replacement plans.” Each installment was promoted to CFI‘s 16,000 e-news subscribers and on their Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Canadian Forest Industries also ran a longer regional report every few weeks on Canada’s main forest areas to show their audience how their region was doing relative to prior years and other regions. After releasing the 15 themed reports and regional reports digitally from late June to late September, the team created a three-page summary article for the magazine’s October 2016 issue. Additionally, they produced a video segment that featured CFI editor Maria Church and anchor Tamar Atik sharing key findings from the survey data.

The CFI survey results were also shared in industry presentations at OptiSaw 2016 in Vancouver, and another at the Truck Loggers Association AGM in 2017.

Finally, the CFI team produced a 56-page final report. This combined all 15 thematic reports, the five regional reports and an executive summary in a single volume, along with quotes from loggers across Canada. It was released in October 2016, in conjunction with the October 2016 summary article.

Helpful Tip: Reach B2B readers during their slow season.

HOW THEY DID IT

Scott Jamieson and Maria Church worked together to create the survey, and then solicited feedback from a few logging associations, with the Truck Loggers Association in BC acting as a main partner. The CFI team threw everything they could think of into the survey questions and then used timers to whittle it down to a 15-minute survey. They also worked with third-party research firm Bramm & Associates to vet the survey, to ensure that their questions would produce usable data. All told, it took CFI under two weeks to produce the entire survey in English and French.

After launching the bilingual survey in early April 2016 (typically a slow time for loggers as they are not running their operations), the CFI team reached out to potential participants through email; online links on the magazine’s English and French sites; and LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in both English and French. It was in the market for six weeks, resulting in over 230 complete replies to the detailed survey questions. As noted in the 15-part web series, survey respondents “were distributed according to the geographic breakdown of the forest industry, with 50% in Western Canada, 25% in Quebec, and the rest found in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and central Canada. Within BC responses were almost evenly split between the BC coast and Interior.”

The research firm had a final report to CFI by mid-June. The editorial team then spent a week reviewing the results and planning how they’d roll them out to their audience.

Reaching Out: Email, shares, links.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Initially, the magazine was worried that the length of the survey would limit the number of complete replies. They decided to reach out to their target group directly through CASL-compliant emails, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), and popular industry websites.

Fortunately, the group of logging contractors that CFI was reaching out to were highly motivated. The contractors genuinely wanted to know the state of the industry. The survey also received a vote of support from the largest logging association, Truck Loggers in BC, who encouraged members to take the time to complete it.

Time management was a major challenge for the CFI team on this project as they were adding a large assignment to an already busy editorial staff. Using a third-party research firm to vet the survey and create the initial report was crucial, both for credibility and workload.

Jamieson also notes that executing a successful survey requires a skilled editor who is comfortable manipulating data and finding the story in the numbers.

Jamieson says: Manage the workload. Roll out your content. Then re-purpose it for the main report.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

Research is one area where magazines can make a meaningful impact on their market, especially for business media markets and brands. Industry magazines are one of the few organizations within a sector that can provide an unbiased perspective on pressing industry issues. To help finance these projects, Jamieson recommends finding sponsors to pay for the research. For CFI‘s survey, Hultdins, Stihl, Tigercat and Ponsse were sponsors and the work was supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).

Jamieson also recommends talking to stakeholders in your community to see what information would be most useful, testing the surveys with them, and giving a lot of thought to how the information will be used. For example, in the CFI survey the print magazine was a relatively minor player, with the majority of content produced for online, digital and social channels. He also recommends using free charting software online that can turn numbers into graphs and charts in a few minutes to avoid getting bogged down in the graphics process. The production department can then create high-end versions of the graphics chosen for print.

CFI released a follow-up survey in April 2018, which they hope will allow them to start analysing industry trends in the data. Using a similar content marketing strategy as for the 2017 survey, CFI plans to increase their use of social media for the 2018 survey outreach and eventual results sharing. The magazine’s ultimate goal is to produce a similar survey every two years.

See the full report here.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Showcasing Success

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.

Showcasing Success: Innovative magazine professionals share the stories behind their most successful work and favourite projects.

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.

CASE STUDIES

Showcasing Success: Canadian Magazines Shine a Light on #MeToo

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.

Read the case study.

Chatelaine: Canvassing for Content

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.

Read the case study.

Inuit Art Quarterly: Where Creatives Converge

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.

Read the case study.

Canadian Forest Industries: Surveys the Nation

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.

Read the case study.

Le Bulletin des agriculteurs : Mission accomplie

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.

L'actualité : Une occasion de renouveau

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.

FASHION Magazine in Motion

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.

Read the case study.

Canadian Geographic: Mapping a Historical Tragedy

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.)

Read the case study.

Canadian Underwriter: Comprehensive Coverage

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.

Read the case study.

Briarpatch: Sowing Seeds for the Future

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.

Read the case study.


Showcasing Success was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Canadian Underwriter: Comprehensive Coverage

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.

Cover all the angles: viewpoints, expertise, opinions, outcomes.

WHAT THEY DID

Canadian Underwriter tackled the Fort McMurray storyline with a multi-prong approach. Coverage included print articles, infographics and online news. Content—everything from articles to news items to infographics to images—was created for the print magazine and website, and featured on social channels including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Because every segment in the industry was discussing the tragedy, the magazine explored all the viewpoints, expertise, opinions and outcomes, says editor David Gambrill.

From the day the fire broke out on May 3, 2016 to June 5, 2016, Canadian Underwriter staff produced 41 web stories about the fire. Canadianunderwriter.ca had 222,000 web page views during that time, reflecting a high reader engagement associated with the ongoing Fort McMurray coverage.

The editorial team honed in on specific, helpful and timely topics for their audience, such as:

The last flames long extinguished, the editorial team continues to use this event to educate and inform their readers. Online and print stories about Fort McMurray within Canadian Underwriter—and references to the fire within stories—now number in the hundreds.

Web stories: breaking news. Print: analysis. Social media: highly visual.

HOW THEY DID IT

Canadian Underwriter accomplished in-depth coverage by assessing what content was most suitable for each platform. They earmarked time-sensitive coverage for their website, reserved more complex ideas for print, and shared basic or picture-oriented concepts on their social media channels.

“More than half of what appears on the site every day is staff-generated. So oftentimes we will write stories based on the information we receive and post shorter, focused pieces immediately,” says Gambrill.

The magazine has also made use of as many sources as possible to consider the catastrophe from every relevant angle.

“There is no end of statistics and information available from a variety of sources in the industry,” says Gambrill. “Information can come from individual insurance companies, adjusting firms, industry trade organizations, and industry research firms.”

Topics x Audience = Multiple Stories

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The sheer magnitude of the Fort McMurray wildfires produced seemingly endless angles and stories. This proved to be an opportunity and a test for Canadian Underwriter. On one hand, the event sparked endless angles and stories. And instead of dying out with time, the story continues to grow. With every new statistic or case law, comes the chance to produce more content. On the other hand, the impact of the wildfires tested the magazine’s ability to satisfy the varied interests of its readership.

“The challenge for any journalist is to make sure that the information and ideas you are presenting are relevant to your audiences,” says Gambrill. “I would write a different story about Fort McMurray for claims specialists than I would for insurance companies or brokers.”

Gambrill acknowledges there remain many unexplored lessons to be learned from the incident.

Canadian Underwriter fulfills an education function for the industry—a place to get industry-specific business information about the event and its impact. This is always true of the publication; it’s just that the role became more important because of the magnitude of the disaster.”

Moving forward, Gambrill says they plan to dive into lessons learned with a video or webinar series featuring interviews with frontline adjusters who helped in Fort McMurray after the disaster.

Gambrill says: "Trust your instincts. You know when something is going to resonate with your readership."

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

When deciding how much focus a magazine should invest in a certain event or topic, Gambrill simply encourages editors to follow their best instincts.

“Some things you just know are going to resonate with your readership,” Gambrill says. “There are very few instances when, as a magazine editor, I am able to justify publishing two daily online stories about a single event for a solid month.”

Much of the decision of how much coverage to dedicate to any given topic comes down to knowing the magazine’s audience and assessing how many different voices are joining the discussion.

“When a catastrophe like this develops, it’s hard to know at the outset what the outcome will be. You often get a feel for the magnitude by the many different voices and perspectives that emerge as you are covering the story. The more people who are touched by the tragedy—consumers and industry professionals alike—the more perspectives are represented in the coverage—and the more coverage there will be.”

Read Canadian Underwriter‘s coverage of the Fort McMurray disaster and its implications at canadianunderwriter.ca.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Fashion Magazine: In Motion

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.

Snackable, shareable, social: The right content for the right audience.

WHAT THEY DO

As a brand, Fashion is all about high-quality content—whether that’s a fabulous photo shoot or an interview with an A-list celebrity—and Flanagan believes video is one of the best methods to tell these stories.

It’s the right format for these types of content, she says, because it allows for shareable and snackable cross-platform marketing, which connects well with the magazine’s audience who tend to be younger, mobile and more social.

It’s the front-row seat to all the things the Fashion girl (or guy—30% of their online audience is male) already loves—fashion, beauty, celebrity, lifestyle. It’s the equivalent of an all-access pass and leads to intimate connection with the audience that might be impossible with static pages and online copy.

To make those connections, Fashion uses video wherever they think it makes sense.

“We are meeting our audience wherever they are. We post videos on all our platforms—YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.” In addition, they add video to their hub property, fashionmagazine.com, completing the loop.

42% increase in video views on fashionmagazine.com; 70K views on original produced videos on Instagram; 2M video views on Facebook; 500% increase in shares on YouTube.

HOW THEY DO IT

Flanagan says the title is always looking to diversify and innovate with their digital ecosystem. They were one of the first publications to leverage guerilla-style Facebook Live videos which grew quickly in popularity. It gained enough traction that Fashion was able to monetize them.

“More recently we’ve been experimenting with live cover video shoots, 360० video, as well as video push via Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.”

With this agile approach, Fashion has reaped the benefits:

  • Year over year, they saw a 42% increase in video views on fashionmagazine.com
  • On Facebook in 2016, they had 1.4 million video views. The following year, that number increased to 2 million, a 70% increase.
  • On YouTube, “likes” have increased by 81% year over year; shares increased more than 500%; subscriber numbers rose by 40%; and comments increased by more than 260%.
  • On Instagram, original produced videos generated on average 70 thousand views.

Challenge: Keeping up to the shifting landscape. Solution: Pivoting the strategy to address change.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The challenge with producing video is being able to keep up to the constantly shifting social landscape. The key to Fashion‘s success, says Flanagan, is the team’s ability to pivot their video strategy to match what they see in the wild. For example, when Facebook recently changed its algorithm to prioritize live video and interactive engagement, Fashion made it their focus.

“We have big ambitions in the digital video space and are making significant investments, including hiring a full-time, in-house video editor to help us continue to produce rich, high-quality content. In future, we would love to develop different channels and franchises and we’re interested in experimenting with long-form, scripted or even an original series.”

Flanagan says: "Do video. A third of the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos. It's clear the medium isn't going away."

ADVICE TO OTHERS

Flanagan’s advice for other magazines who are thinking of trying video? “Just do it!”

She says it’s ideal if you’re able to bring on a dedicated staff member with expertise in video production. For magazines who don’t have the ability to do so, then leveling up skills for all staff members is the next best option. Even learning a simple program like Videoshop can be the difference between producing cool video clips or mediocre content.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Briarpatch: Sowing Seeds for the Future

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.

4 months, 1 Fellow, 1 topic, 3 stories.

WHAT THEY DID

In 2013, Briarpatch published Laura Stewart’s story, “A Voice for the Grasslands,” which explored threats to grassland ecosystems. After securing the fellowship in 2017, Stewart was delighted for the opportunity to collaborate more fully with the magazine. With the editors’ guidance, she worked on expanding her original piece into an ambitious series of feature articles investigating climate change, resource extraction, grasslands, and treaty relationships in Saskatchewan.

Articles written during her fellowship included “The Thin Roots of Prairie Protection,” diving into the implications of the provincial government’s decision to privatize public pasture lands; “Science After Harper,” exploring the gradual defunding of scientists’ research; and “Saskatchewan’s Earthbound Climate Action,” examining climate change skepticism among residents of an oil-producing region of the province.

A Magazines Canada Fellow can work in any area of magazine publishing but Stewart chose to mainly involve herself in Briarpatch‘s editorial and production processes during her fellowship from the beginning of May 2017 until the end of August in 2017.

“Laura also took on editing and fact-checking work for the two issues we worked on over the summer,” says Andrusieczko. “[She] contributed her superb fact-checking skills, so we had help publishing the nuanced, well-informed discussions we always strive to have. It was a treat to have a scientist’s eye for detail and nuance in our storytelling.”

Cultivate talent. Nurture growth.

HOW THEY DID IT

Before applying for the fellowship, Stewart had approached Briarpatch about the opportunity with story ideas already in mind. Briarpatch offered feedback to best fit their audience and this helped tighten the focus of her fellowship application.

After being announced as the host magazine, the Briarpatch team guided their fellow in researching stories tailored to their audience, revisiting issues she had previously covered and stretching her writing skills. They also worked with Stewart, who had previously enjoyed the freedom of writing longer pieces for online outlets, to adhere to the stricter word counts their print publication demanded.

“The first time I wrote about the grasslands, I wrote from personal experience about my own immersion in the subject,” says Stewart. “Coming back to it after having been out of province for several years, with the benefit of journalism training and the support of the Briarpatch staff, I was able to see the topic from other angles and bring in other voices for a quite different treatment of the story.”

Dig deeper into the story. A Fellow can help with heavy lifting.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The fellowship afforded Briarpatch the chance to delve into a single story with more depth and continuity than their staffing and budget would normally allow, cultivate a deeper relationship than one-off contracts typically allow, and offer a living wage to a writer. From the reader’s perspective, Stewart’s commitment to the subject meant they could come back for the next installment, giving them a sense of investment. Win-win for everyone.

Andrusieczko says: "Host a Fellow. Make sure your Fellow is meaningfully embedded into your team."

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

As host magazine for the inaugural Magazines Canada fellow, Briarpatch is an enthusiastic supporter of the fellowship process. Benefits for the host magazine included being able to make time for dedicated research, collaborate on fact-checking, and have fulsome discussions at storyboard meetings.

“Small magazines in particular can benefit from this program. It’s great to work with a fellow over an extended period of time on ambitious projects,” explains Andrusieczko. “We found we had the most rewarding experience when we shared the tasks and looped in the fellow on the day-to-day responsibilities.”

After finishing her fellowship, Stewart continues to write for Briarpatch.

Watch this short video that looks at the collaboration between Laura Stewart and Briarpatch: youtu.be/muKAOq_cuYg. You can also find Briarpatch at briarpatchmagazine.com.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Content:

Canadian Geographic: Mapping a Historical Tragedy

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.)

First Canadian content producer for Google Earth Voyager

WHAT THEY DID

The goal of the team at Canadian Geographic was to give readers/viewers/users a small glimpse into the horrors of the residential school system that operated from 1831 to 1996. The hope was that viewers would click on links in the story to learn more, or perhaps would even seek out information on their own.

To tackle this enormous story, the team divvied up the information into four chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides historical context for how the schools came to be.
  • Chapter 2 depicts what the schools were like and how the students were treated.
  • Chapter 3 outlines the effects of the treatment and abuse on the students and how the system was damaging in a number of different ways.
  • Chapter 4 describes the transition that led to their closures, the apologies that followed and the beginning of the healing process.

“There are, of course, more elements to this story than what we were able to cover in those four chapters but we intended this to act as a broad introductory overview.”

To add richness to the story, the team added 63 images, 26 quotes, 130 school waypoints (including 16 waypoints for schools represented inside the story), and 17 videos. The process took about three months, including a full month of research, writing and editing.

21 pages of content, 63 images, 26 quotes, 10 video links.

HOW THEY DID IT

The Canadian Geographic project was unique in that the education team led the process. As team lead, they decided on which stories would be beneficial to tell, collaborated with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation based in Winnipeg, MB for data sets, then looped in the editorial team.

From there, the editors decided how they wanted to tell the story to fit the Voyager format, engaged in research, sourced images, wrote the copy and reviewed it for clarity, flow, tone and style. The NCTR’s director and fact checkers also reviewed the story to ensure accuracy and a respectful tone.

When it came to working with Google, the collaboration was simple, according to Curtis.

“We emailed them a rough draft of the story and they set up the framework on their end. We had multiple opportunities to review and make sure that everything was in the right place, even down to the details of how far we might want to be zoomed in for a location on the map.”

Linked up: Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada (project), Canada's Residential Schools (Google Earth Voyager project), Canada's Indigenous People (November/December issue, 2017)

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Curtis says the most challenging part of the project was narrowing down the story and sifting through the experiences, testimonies and videos of people who suffered through horrible and degrading abuses. But facing these hard truths in order to share them with others was worth it. So far, “Canada’s Residential Schools” has been viewed 55,000 times and the goal of shining the spotlight on this tragic part of our history is being met.

“There are so many more stories that we would like to be able to tell with Google Earth Voyager,” she states. “We’re already planning the next ones. Some of them will follow the theme of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, others will have more traditional geographic approaches.”

All told, they hope to have a total of three new Voyager stories posted in 2018 and continue to build their partnership with Google.

Curtis says: "Try Google Earth Voyager. It offers an easy way to make stories interactive, engaging and visual."

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

Curtis strongly encourages other magazines to try working with the Voyager tool.

“Google Earth Voyager offers an easy way to make a story engaging and visual,” she says. “There are many ways to get creative on Google Earth—choosing 2D birds-eye views of locations, using 3D views to make landscapes and cities pop out more, picking street views and photo spheres. All this adds diversity to the visual representation of a story. And the opportunity to put videos and photos in with the text on the panels is great for giving users options for engaging with the story content.”

See Canadian Geographic‘s story, “Canada’s Residential Schools,” on Google Earth Voyager.


This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)