Canadian Magazine Industry News
11 May 2009,     BEDFORD, N.S.
Eastern Woods & Waters casts its net into Web publishing
Eastern Woods & Waters, an Atlantic Canada-focused hunting and fishing magazine, was recently relaunched as a Web-based publication, following the closure of the print version last October. “People don’t go online to read magazines, which is why a lot of magazine and newspaper websites don’t make any money,” says publisher and editor Jim Gourlay. “People go online to research things or to be entertained. So that is the form that this website will take.”

Eastern Woods & Waters was originally launched in 1984.
The magazine's staff is currently uploading and re-purposing 24 years worth of back-issue content onto the website. “We have young people who are thirsty for that knowledge who don’t really read magazines anymore. They’re going online. So we have the capacity to take content that’s still valid, which amounts to about 1.1 million words in about 700 how-to articles. It’s a huge volume of content that will give us a base for our website and then we’ll build from there.”

User-generated content, Gourlay hopes, will be a big part of the transition. “There’s a whole outdoor community out there [who share] common interests. They may be on different continents, but they can communicate directly and instantaneously.” Right now, for example, spool fishing season has begun and users can update weather status and conditions for other users.

Gourlay plans to fund the site through advertising and hopes to generate enough traffic in the coming months to keep advertisers interested. All online content is available for free.

Eastern Woods and Waters was published quarterly and had a circulation around 12,000. North American outdoor magazines are responding to a demographic that is diminishing as our society becomes more urbanized and “as young people become couch potatoes and desk jockeys, playing with electronic gizmos instead of enjoying the outdoors,” Gourlay says. “There comes a point where, in terms of the business model of a print magazine, the critical mass is just not there. And we were approaching that point.”
— Lora Grady
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