Now that the first issue of This Magazine bearing my name is on newsstands, I thought it was time for a proper introduction. And at the end of my first editorial (“The Trickle-Up crisis”, November/December 2008) I promised a short explanation about “who exactly I am and what business I have being here.” Here it is.
I’ve been a reader of This for many years, and a fan. I’m a voracious reader of magazines of all kinds, and This always intrigued and inspired with its mix of investigative journalism, passionate social advocacy, and authoritative opinion. And even after almost 43 years in print, it hasn’t lost its youthful style and non-conformist streak, something that the Canadian media landscape badly needs.
The reason I wanted to work for This is because if it didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. There are plenty of magazines out there that write about politics, art, and culture, but they specialize very narrowly, or they’re captive to political or commercial interests. Most magazines, newspapers, and broadcasters are owned by large multimedia conglomerates who have strong vested interests in pleasing their advertisers, which curtails their freedom to report unpleasant, unpopular, or unprofitable truths. This Magazine is different: as one of the magazine’s ad slogans went for many years, “nobody owns us.” And that’s all too rare in the magazine business today. We’re a non-profit charitable foundation that exists to educate readers and the general public, mentor the next generation of Canadian writers, and add to the diversity of voices in Canadian media.
Before arriving in the editor’s chair in mid-August, I’d already worked as the magazine’s columns editor for a year. Prior to that I’d worked as a freelancer for about two years, writing for magazines and working part-time at two very different publications, as an associate editor at Canadian Business and assistant editor at Precedent, a small independent magazine for young lawyers. Before that, I worked as news editor and then editor in chief of The Varsity, the largest student newspaper in Canada. In other words I know, at the very least, the differences between ‘less’ and ‘fewer,’ ‘its’ and ‘it’s,’ and ‘begs the question’ and ‘poses the question.’
All magazines are collaborative. Our small staff gets to work with the best and brightest writers, illustrators, and photographers in Canada. The magazine relies on a group of dedicated volunteers too, who do everything from stuffing envelopes to judging our annual Great Canadian Literary Hunt (which appears in the November/December 2009 issue). To the thousands of loyal and generous subscribers and donors who keep us financially viable; thank you.
Finally, there wouldn’t be a This Magazine without you, the reader. We exist to inform, entertain, and provoke you, and I encourage you to tell us what you like and don’t like about the magazine. This is a small shop; I check my own email, and if you call during business hours, chances are good I’ll be the one who picks up. So send me a letter, comment on a blog post, pitch us a story — we want to hear from you. This Magazine is your magazine.
Graham F. Scott