After just over two years at the helm of This Magazine, editor-in-chief Jessica Johnston will depart this August to begin a year of study at Ryerson University's master of journalism program. “It was incredible," Johnston says of her experience at the now 41-year-old independent. "It was my dream job. I’d had my sights set on it for some time. It’s been the most demanding experience of my life so far, but unquestionably the most rewarding." Johnston will finish two more issues before packing up. "I look forward to having my weekends back," she says.
Many successful Canadian journalists—including Naomi Klein, Clive Thompson and Patricia D’Souza—have launched their careers from the editor’s chair at This, but the relatively low pay and long hours means the butt on the seat tends to change every couple of years or so. "This isn't a job," Johnston says, "it's a lifestyle." Johnston says she was interested in the Ryerson masters program as soon as she heard about it and plans to focus her energies there on developing her writing skills.
To her successor, Johnston offers this advice: "Accept all the good help you are offered...It’s a big job, so if you can find ways to get outside support, you’ll be a much saner individual at the end of the day." (Former Toronto Life managing editor and Ryerson instructor Lynn Cunningham is often credited as "Lifesaver" on the This masthead. She calls herself "an intern.")
The search for a new editor will begin later this week.