In 2011, I completed Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing program. This intensive 16-month program is Canada’s only graduate-level publishing program, and it combines the editorial, design and business components of book, magazine and digital publishing through lectures and simulation projects. I completed the coursework with a 4.04 GPA and recognition as my cohort’s top student in editorial theory and practice.
A four-month internship is a requirement of the degree, and I spent four months with The Walrus magazine’s digital department. Based on my experience there, I wrote my master’s project report on The Walrus’s foundation model and the important role of corporate sponsorships. From the report’s abstract:
This report analyzes the position The Walrus assumes as a charitable organization in a climate that presents many financial challenges to general-interest magazines in Canada. Through a case study of a recently launched digital project, The Walrus Laughs, the report examines how The Walrus supports itself financially in the current climate and in the context of the “digital shift,” with consideration given to current federal and provincial supports. From an understanding of The Walrus’s history and foundation model, it explores the rationale behind a project like The Walrus Laughs, in terms of sponsorship opportunities, digital and editorial strategies, along with recognition of the implications of The Walrus Foundation’s charitable status. It looks at how and why The Walrus gets a project like this off the ground, where the challenges lie, and how they can be addressed in the future. Finally, the challenges of this model and projects of this nature are analyzed in a forward-looking context.
Read the full report.
My Areas of Focus
I completed various projects and wrote a number of papers on various components of the book, magazine and digital publishing industry. Some of those are:
Too Many Cooks: The Structure and Definition of Publishing in a Digital Landcape with No Boundaries
“As books take on new forms and incorporate the gamut of multimedia options and interactivity, it’s getting more difficult to distinguish what publishers do from what other industries in the creative and cultural sectors, like filmmakers and video game developers, do. As these worlds collide, we must pay careful attention to what sets publishing apart and how the publishing industry needs to restructure itself to ensure the publisher’s role as cultural catalyst isn’t obliterated.”
Reap What You Sow: The Unsustainability of Keyword-Stuffed Content
“Creating content that exploits Google’s shortcomings may catch Google’s attention in the short term, but it won’t hold a reader’s attention. More than that, there’s no telling when or how Google will change its algorithms, but you can be sure it will. Soon enough, all of that Google-baiting content will be rendered worthless. High-quality content will once again take supremacy, and that’s how publishers will get and hold the attention of Google, advertisers and… what’s the other one? Oh yeah, readers.”
Spread the Wealth: Funding Long-Form Journalism
“Magazines and newspapers are in the fortunate position of being involved in a line of work that is more civic duty than entertainment, which suits a non-profit, foundation-funded model. There is money in the world; there are stories to be told. There’s no reason those two can’t align to sustain free-for-the-reader long-form journalism.”
I was also involved in simulation projects:
- The development of an imprint and initial line of books, encompassing editorial and marketing plans, ABIs, P&Ls, ONIX data and cover & catalogue design — all of which were presented and defended before real, live editors and publishers at various stages of the project.
- The development of a SIP for an existing Vancouver-based magazine including editorial strategy & mix, layout, marketing and circulation plans.
- The development and implementation of a cloud-based project management and tracking solution that would simplify the ad sales process (from the sales department to the art department) for small magazines.