Canadian Magazine Industry News
21 May 2009,     MISSISSAUGA, ONT.
Masthead publisher Doug Bennet to receive 2009 Harvey Southam Award
By Marco Ursi

It’d be super weird to write this a news-y voice, so I’m just going to come out and congratulate Masthead publisher Doug Bennet (i.e., my boss), who will receive the 2009 Harvey Southam Editorial Career Achievement Award at the KRW Awards in two weeks. I put in the nomination for Doug on the suggestion of North Island Publishing president Sandy Donald and was totally thrilled to find out he'd been selected to receive the honour. So was Doug.

Doug Bennet. Photo by Nik Sheehan.
As many readers know, Doug was the founding editor of Masthead way back in 1987 and served in that position for ten years. His passion for all aspects of the industry—not just editorial, but also the nitty gritty of production, the newspeak of the newsstand business, the number-crunching of circulation, the high-stakes drama of ad sales and the nerdy font obsessions of art direction and design—gleamed from every page of every book he produced. Though it was never a big breadwinner for North Island Publishing, Masthead soon established itself as the bible for the publishing industry. “When we were quoted in the New York Times, I knew we’d made it,” Doug has said.

During his time as editor, Doug played an integral part in launching what is now known as Mags U, an annual conference for the Canadian magazine publishing industry. Sandy Donald describes Doug as the “brains” and the “guiding light” behind the event, which for the first time brought together magaziners from all sectors—consumer, trade, farm, religious, etc.—and from all departments.

At the end of 1996, after taking a leave from Masthead to co-write the follow-up to his hugely popular book, Up North, A Guide to Ontario's Wilderness from Blackflies to the Northern Lights, Doug became editor of Canadian Home Workshop magazine, where he proceeded to do an excellent job of offering handymen (and women) tips on building and crafting things from wood and metal. During that time, the magazine was nominated—and won—its first ever National Magazine Awards.

Soon enough, though, Sandy Donald came calling again, and in 2000, Doug returned to Masthead, this time as publisher. Four years ago, he took on a second role as publisher of Design Edge Canada, a magazine that was named Trade Magazine of the Year by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors in 2008.

Last year, Doug and Sandy made the difficult decision to close Masthead. The outpouring of grief that followed was a testament to Doug's work and dedication to the "magazine about magazines." As former Maclean's publisher and Masthead columnist Paul Jones put it, "He embodied all the attributes of an outstanding editor of a business publication: superb knowledge of his field and the people in it, respect for and from his readers, a commitment to service within his industry and the moral conviction that being a credible advocate for the industry did not preclude, but rather demanded, thoughtful and constructive criticism of the industry when warranted."
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