Friday, August 29, 2014

John Macfarlane tells The Globe he found The Walrus teetering, but now it is on solid ground

John Macfarlane
It's a natural story for the Saturday Globe and Mail: a retrospective look at the career of John Macfarlane as he comes to the recently-announced resignation of his editorship of The Walrus. The story in tomorrow's Globe by James Adams asks Macfarlane to select examples from his career and comment on favourite or significant issues.

Among the most interesting, though not surprising, is the choice of The Walrus's October 2013, its 10th anniversary issue, which he said was emblematic of the more secure circumstances of the magazine he's helped to turn around as co-publisher and editor (with co-publisher Shelley Ambrose) and why they can pursue a successor with confidence.
"We’ve established a business model that works. We’ve demonstrated that if you want to do a magazine like The Walrus in this country, you can’t make it viable with just circulation and advertising. The third leg of the stool is philanthropy and events: fundraising. 
"Five or six years ago, if Shelley had gone to somebody else and said, “We’d like you to edit the magazine,” that somebody likely already had a job, maybe a mortgage, maybe kids to educate, and he or she would have asked, “Will The Walrus be around in a year?” and Shelley couldn’t have looked that person in the eye and said, “Yes.” Now we can. Five or six years ago, we were pretty close to shutting the place down. Today we can look for an editor who has skills I don’t have and we’ll be able to say to that person, 'The Walrus will be here 10 years from now and we’ll be able to pay you what you’re worth.'

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