Canadian Magazine Industry News
12 November 2008,     TORONTO
Why magazines will survive

The physical qualities of magazines, the sense of community they create and their adherence to strict fact-checking will keep the medium  alive and well over the coming years, said Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford, speaking at Ryerson University as part of the Dean’s Lecture Series. “When people talk about the death of print, they’re really talking about the death of newspapers,” argued Fulford, who admitted to “worshipping at the church of magazines.” Fulford also spoke about what she believes is an “internal spiritual danger” facing magazines today. Below, we’ve compiled a selection of the best quotes from Fulford’s talk.

“For about 4,000 reasons, most of them too complicated to address here, newspapers are every year less reliable, less comprehensive, less good at their primary function.”

“The first thing [Toronto Life head of research Veronica Maddocks] teaches any new fact-checker is: No matter what, under any circumstances, should you trust a newspaper.”

 “As physical objects, [magazines] are lovely to own. We live today in the great age of design. Never before have ordinary people been so obsessed with decor, fashion, architecture or style. There is an enormous appetite for consumable beauty and magazines play into that marvellously. Done right magazines are eye-catching objects of elegance, satisfying to hold and behold.”

“I think people read magazines to belong to a community, to get a sense of intimacy, to experience catharsis, beauty, and in some way feel smarter. In short, they read them to understand the way people live today.”

“The greatest threat, in my opinion, to the core of Canadian magazines is not the recession because we will survive this one. It`s not the Internet, either,  but rather an internal spiritual danger...In my world, writers often seemed to paint their subjects in the best possible light. They certainly weren’t betraying their subjects—if anything they were betraying their readers who had paid $4.95 for their issue.”

“I’m now advising as many writers as I can to leave the tape recorder at home...For the purposes of thinking, and listening, and processing, and telling a story the way you would tell a story across the table at you at a dinner party, the tape recorder I think is a roadblock...Writing, I say several times a month, is not the same thing as arranging quotes on a page.”

(In case you’re wondering, Masthead has not been transformed into “The magazine about Sarah Fulford.”)

— M.U.
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