Canadian Publishing Industry News
21 October 2009,     TORONTO
Spacing announces launch of Atlantic blog, considers national issue
Toronto-based Spacing magazine has announced the launch of Spacing Atlantic, a blog which will go live Oct. 28. The blog joins Spacing Montreal and Toronto and is part of a three-pronged series of new sites. The additional blogs will be launching in Ottawa in November and Vancouver at the beginning of 2010, says publisher and creative director Matthew Blackett. 
Spacing's Summer/Fall 2009 issue

Though he says Spacing has probably never monetized its websites as much as it should expanding the blogs to create a coast-to-coast network will open up national advertising opportunities that were previously unavailable. It will also help in creating special national issues of the magazine, which Blackett doesn’t rule out as a future possibility. “If we were to do a national issue of the magazine it would be a once a year or special edition,” he says. “We are very happy with what we do in Toronto and we don’t want to change that formula.”

Two east coast-based former summer interns at the magazine will be leading the contributing volunteer staff of about 15 at the Atlantic blog. He says the editors will be paid and although writers are working for free now, there is a plan to pay them eventually as well. “We have people in Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John’s, Fredericton,” he says. “They are students who have a strong interest in the topic. They want to build their portfolios, for a lot of them it gives them an outlet for things they are already working on in school.”

Blackett says between Spacing Montreal and Spacing Toronto the blogs bring in about 10,000 visitors a day. With the addition of the three new city blogs he expects that number to grow to about 20,000. Currently he says Spacing’s online advertising makes about a fifth of that for the magazine but believes that will change with its cross-country presence.

Using Spacing’s successful Toronto subway buttons as a model, the Halifax launch event for the Atlantic blog next Wednesday will feature merchandise specific to the city. “They have the street names etched in the sidewalks in Halifax so we are making buttons,” he says.

Though they vary in size and location, from a wide-angle perspective, Blackett says that the urban issues in Toronto, Montreal and the Atlantic provinces are similar. “It’s about providing sustainable transportation, great green spaces, attractive waterfronts,” he says. “Without the network we’re creating it would be more difficult to learn what is going on in Charlottetown for instance. We are trying to make a one-stop shop for people interested in these types of issues.”

— V.M.
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