Wednesday, July 02, 2008

John Macfarlane to be interim editor of The Walrus; AD De Luca is leaving

[This post has been updated] John Macfarlane has agreed to be the part-time editor and co-publisher of The Walrus on an interim basis while the magazine searches for a replacement after the recent resignation of founding editor Ken Alexander. Macfarlane recently retired as editor of Toronto Life magazine.

"It would have been difficult for me to turn my back on The Walrus in a time of need," says Macfarlane, who will continue to serve as a member of the advisory board of St. Joseph Communications (which owns Toronto Life), and who was recently elected chairman of the board of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

"Canada needs and deserves a magazine with its literary and intellectual aspirations. It's been remarkably successful in its short lifetime. I'm simply lending a hand until we find an editor who can make it even more so."

"We are delighted John has agreed to help us manage this change, "says publisher Shelley Ambrose, " His experience and expertise in magazine editing and publishing is unparalleled."

[It should be noted that Shelley Ambrose's significant other is Douglas Knight, president of St. Joseph Media.]

"John's stepping forward at this time reflects his life-long commitment to critical writing and journalism," says Allan Gregg, chair of The Walrus Foundation board of directors. "I can think of no one who is more qualified to assist us as we strive to make The Walrus a permanent part of the Canadian cultural landscape."

Also revealed in the same release is that Walrus creative director Antonio De Luca announced last week to staff that, after five years, he was moving on. (De Luca was the last member of the original editorial team that launched the magazine.) "My departure has nothing to do with anything other than my need to fulfill other creative parts that will only help me aspire to reaching my own human potential. I leave The Walrus knowing there are excellent people here to continue the incredible work we have done thus far.”

[Update: In a Globe and Mail interview with James Adams, Macfarlane made the following, interesting point:
He said that "business people assume that a magazine that can't make it on commercial revenues alone is a failure." But that's not true, he said: A periodical with The Walrus's literary and intellectual aspirations requires "three revenue streams — from circulation, from advertising and from fundraising, patronage or whatever. There is certainly no shame or implicit weakness in needing patronage."
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