To prepare for our regular staff meeting earlier this week, we flipped through the last year of This to see what we covered well, and what we’ve missed. The findings clearly showed us the kinds of stories we tend to cover—and pointed to a few things we need to work on.
First a word on the informal nature of this survey: my count was quick and dirty, and may not be 100 per cent reproducible at home. I counted all articles: features, short articles, This & That, graphics, and so on, from our November/December 2008 issue up to, and including, our upcoming issue. I assigned each a topic (environment, books, queer issues, etc) and a location (Japan, Newfoundland, Toronto, etc).
We love the environment—who doesn’t? We love the environment so much that it was our most covered topic in the last year. We brought you articles about learning to live without cars, and people at home and abroad practicing permaculture. We also did well coving Canadian art and government.
This Magazine started out way back in 1966 as This Magazine is About Schools, but somehow we avoided stories about education almost entirely over the last year, with the exception of our cover story about Africentric schools. Race and immigration were two other topics we only touched on. Stories about the economy, the internet, women’s issues, First Nations, and queer issues landed in the middle.
We also seem to love Toronto and Ontario. We focused on people and issues in Ontario (heavy on Toronto) as often as we focused on the all of other provinces combined. British Columbia was the runner up for most covered province. New Brunswick, P.E.I., and the Northwest Territories didn’t even get an honourable mention. Ouch. Rest assured that we’re already working on fixing these gaps.
So here’s where we appeal to you, our readers. What places, people and topics do you want to see in This in 2010? What do you think we did well this year, and what do you want to see covered more often? Comment below or send us an email and tell us what you think. We keep track of data like this because we want to improve and broaden our coverage, to represent every inch of this country and give a voice to people who are underrepresented in mainstream media. Obviously we still have work to do; we hope you’ll help us make This Magazine even better.