Posted by: dbradbury | March 26, 2010

Atlantic Magazines Association at the Westin

My friend Alison DeLory and I met in 1991 when we were both living in Toronto and attending Ryerson University.  At that time she was a budding journalism student who has since blossomed into a sought after free lance writer with a number of magazine articles, editing positions and published stories under her belt.  Alison was in attendance at the Atlantic Magazines Association conference last week and I asked her to write a little something for the blog, (sorry Alison, I took editorial license and omitted your paragraphs describing the sessions you attended).

Magazines East 2010

By Alison DeLory

For me, a great magazine is one I can’t wait to open and pore through lovingly, page by page. The editor feels like my best friend, the art direction leaves me breathless, the advice is practical, and the messages are memorable. A great magazine might make me want to plan a trip, cook a new dish, volunteer at a local charity, run a marathon or race to the nearest fashion outlet. A truly outstanding issue is one I keep long after the month in which it was published – and I am a dedicated and proud purger of anything nonessential.

I am privileged to work in the magazine industry as a freelance writer (http://alisondelory.com/). For the most part, this means I work alone from my home office and aside from the occasional in-person interview or meeting, I do all my research over the phone or on the computer. The flexibility and freedom to write about topics that interest me is wonderful. The isolation? Not so wonderful.

It was with excitement, therefore, that I signed up for Magazines East 2010, the second annual conference put on by the Atlantic Magazines Association and held at the beautiful Westin Nova Scotian Hotel on March 21 and 22. Writers, editors, designers, publishers and sales people from local publishing groups including Metro Guide, Advocate, Saltscapes and others, along with students and a few freelancers like me, gathered in one location to learn from each other and an exceptional line-up of speakers who informed and inspired us.

Although Atlantic Canada’s magazine industry is relatively small by national standards, it seems to be surviving, if not thriving, in tough times. While the proliferation of free content on the internet has sounded the death knell for some highly worthy magazines (cue crying for Saturday Night Magazine), it has forced others to tighten up and become more focused with superior, specific content. Those in Atlantic Canada are perfect examples of how finding a niche market and developing a strong brand breeds sustainability and growth.

It’s thrilling at the end of a conference to have connected with my peers and learned more than a thing or two about how the Atlantic magazine industry can build on its successes. There’s a sense of hopefulness again, after a period in which so many publications downsized or disappeared. Thank you to the organizers, the Westin Nova Scotian, and the sponsors (Advocate Printing, Magazines Canada, Canadian Business Press, Texterity, CCAB, CoasttoCoast and Spicers) for making it happen.

I know my love affair with great magazines, especially great Atlantic Canadian magazines, will continue to grow.

With Alison - October 2009

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