So, it would seem many of us magazine types have a love-hate relationship with Toronto Life. It wins many awards and (admit it) a lot of you would want to work there (if only to have the name on your resumé). Yet, I've heard and read many negative things about the publication – the most recent, a comment on my post about how to come up with great ideas. An anonymous commentator said
Toronto Life isn't usually associated with smart ideas... its voice is certainly bratty enough that Toronto Life must think itself sharp... its "genius" doesn't usually surpass Spy magazine ol' schtick, and that got tired fast 20 years ago. The "new" Toronto Life believes its youth in leau of experience is the dawn of brilliance, whereas the magazine isn't breaking ground anywhere new and keeps crashing with aloof mistakes in both the editorial and art departments.
I debated not publishing the comment because it seems a tad bitter and doesn't back up its claims, but to each their own opinion, right?
I've heard the "it's skewing young" argument a few times now (which I know Sarah Fulford disagrees with), but shouldn't that be considered a good-ish thing? The complaint I heard most often about the John Macfarlane version of the mag was that it was too old-money, old-establishment Toronto.
So, this is my invitation to all of you to weigh in – let's get a conversation going about what makes Toronto Life a good and a not-so-good magazine. What works; what doesn't work? Don't be shy! (Please keep it civil, though.) If this "crowd critique" is successful, I just might make it a regular feature of this blog, because I think we can all learn a lot about how to be better editors by critiquing the magazines we read. Let the debating begin!
[Be sure to check the comments both on Masthead's site and at Dream Job TK's home base.]
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.
I feel that the mag has been infused with a juvenile meanness, useless and vapid sharp little barbs peppered here and there that pull it down. I don't disagree with that tilt if you're a fashion or celebrity magazine, but Toronto Life is neither.
I think the current direction of the magazine is off by one decade. I don't see her urban/younger/hip/sophisticated readers fighting for the single copy of the New York Times Magazine that lands on the communal table at Dark Horse every Sunday. Instead, its the tousled and sexy 40-something men that are reading, reading, reading... this is the demographic to appeal to- urban/40's/hip/informed.
Drop the catiness, run smart and funny stories, and don't be so darn literal with your photo choices. boring. run those cool edgy photos that are left of the cutting room floor.