My Summer of Magazines

by kipress

Since I’m now actually forgetting what other books I’ve read for “fun” in the past year, I’m going to move on to what I read last summer for not exactly fun, but not exactly work: many, many magazines.

Now, mostly, reading magazines falls into the category of fun. Lately, my magazine of choice has been the iPad edition of Intelligent Life, the arts-and-culture arm of The Economist. This is a magazine with such good writing that it can get away with articles like (I’m paraphrasing here) “Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall: Which is the Best Season?” Seriously. The iPad edition is, currently, free, thanks to the fine sponsorship of its sole advertiser, Credit Suisse, a business I have absolutely no hope of patronizing. (This makes me wonder why they haven’t enabled location-specific licensing on this baby, but I’m not complaining.)

But the thing with reading for fun is that if you multiply it by a gazillion, it becomes work. Ask anyone who has taken a course in the Victorian novel.

This past summer, I was on the jury for Manitoba Magazine Publishers’ Association Maggie Awards. So, I read approximately one gazillion magazines. Some things I learned:

  • Old-fashioned binders full of paper—many binders, and boxes, full of paper–are difficult to use while travelling.  I would have liked some PDFs. Chalk another one up for the iPad.
  • Despite the awesomeness of magazines, I should probably stop volunteering for extra duties that involve filling out evaluation sheets.
  • Columnists rule! There were, of course, some brilliant, informative, and moving feature articles in the competition, but my favourite reading of the summer—and hence, one of the hardest things to judge–was definitely the “Best Column” category.
  • Yes, I really am an industry professional! Sometimes, working in the classroom, I start to doubt whether or not I have some grip on reality—though that’s partly because I carry around a lot of self-doubt in general. So an exercise like this was great if only to experience how my opinions—of magazines, in this case—echoed those of the other members of the jury. Other industry professionals agree: I’m not crazy.

I’m writing this now because the students in my program are working hard on their magazine projects now, and I am, as always, excited to see their prototype magazines. If you’re in Winnipeg, come down to the college (160 Princess Street) between 12 and 4 on Thursday, March 28, to see the results of their creative labour. And many thanks to the Manitoba Magazine Publishers’ Association for again sponsoring the awards at the end of the project–and to the Manitoba magazine professionals who will be judging the students’ efforts.