Canadian Magazine Industry News
19 April 2012,     TORONTO
The Walrus Soapbox invites readers to join the conversation
The Walrus is growing again with the launch of an online tool "that puts your ideas in the hands of key decision makers."

The Walrus Foundation has teamed up with to launch The Walrus SoapBox at "The Walrus SoapBox is designed for community-based change; it is a perfect extension of our educational mandate to promote debate on matters vital to Canadians. With a focus on user experience, The Walrus SoapBox will expand our ability to offer a public forum for vital conversations — on the page, stage, and online — around the issues that matter," noted the foundation.


The Soapbox launched yesterday, with the inaugural topic being the relevance of art in daily life. On May 2, The Walrus will hold a public debate on the same topic at The Walrus National Gallery Debate in Ottawa.

"Submissions on The Walrus SoapBox will be referenced before, during, and after the debate – so your voice will be heard," noted the magazine. "The debate will move from the digital realm of The Walrus SoapBox to the stage, to the page, to the screen, and back to the digital realm."

David Leonard, who manages events and special projects for The Walrus Foundation, helped break down the brand's newest offering. "The Walrus Soapbox is user-generated. Anyone can chime in and add an idea, thought, or question," he said. "The beauty of The Walrus Soapbox is that it's entirely inclusive. It's up to the community of users to decide what ideas are featured (by voting thumbs up or down), what's being talked about (by submitting ideas), and what they want to focus on. We launch the conversation on a general theme (in this case, about the relevance of art in daily life), and then the community does the rest."

Who is HitSend? They're a "tech start-up based out out Ryerson's Digital Media Zone (DMZ), which is a business incubator," explained Leonard. "We met them through a Ryerson partnership at another event, and realized that the tool they were developing (Soapbox) fit nicely with our mandate to expand the Canadian conversation. It also ties in very well and our ongoing efforts to give our readers, website visitors, and all Canadians the opportunity to engage with us and each other on the issues that matter. We're really excited about the partnership and The Walrus Soapbox."

While this will be the third annual Walrus National Gallery Debate, "this is the first year that we've incorporated a live webstream into the event, and, paired with The Walrus Soapbox, we're very excited about the ability that we'll have to share this important conversation about the relevance of art with the audience in the NGC auditorium, and with people across Canada," he added. "We're also grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of the conversation."

That being said, The Walrus is looking for an official sponsor for its Soapbox platform — "a sort of 'powered by' model" — offered Leonard., yet another of the brand's extensions, is presented by Stella Artois.

This news follows the launch of Walrus TV and the more recent creation of Walrus Books.
— Jeff Hayward
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