FIRST MAGAZINE JOB: Editorial assistant, Chimo Media, “which published Sound&Vision, for stereo fanatics; Influence (a cross between GQ and National Review, edited by Peter Worthington – one of the best editors ever); and ProSound, for music engineers. The late army brat and headline wiz Jim Cormier was the guy who hired me; I owe him big time.”
SUBSCRIBES TO: MAD. “The rest I get at work. We also get Best Health at home.”
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOU, PETER?
I love my job so much, my wife, Helena, doesn't let me call it work. Magazines are the only medium whose job it is to make the world a better place. Almost every successful magazine wants things to improve for its readers. Whether it's your golf swing, your fly-fishing cast, your pie crust, your crochet patterns, your health, your politics... It's not enough to tell readers facts like newspapers or CP24 does; magazines help readers make choices that make them happier, and advocate for their readers' well being. And also, magazines listen to their readers. Magazines have to care for their readers as individuals in order to succeed, and they want those readers' lives to improve. From Allergic Living to Zoomer, every magazine worth the name wants its readers' world to get better.
SO PETER, TELL US...
WHAT MAKES A GOOD EDITOR?
Being simultaneously open-minded and closed-minded.
While an editor has to see story possibilities under every dust mite and therefore be open to wholly new approaches to story telling, a good magazine should never go out of focus, nevermind how clever an idea is or whose byline is on it.
FAVOURITE PART OF BEING AN EDITOR?
The world is your McDonald's ball pit. It's so much fun, it's hard to believe your mom lets you in.
There's a daily learning curve; the day you don't learn something new is the day you owe your employer his or her money back. A good editor has to be iconoclastic and indulge their own ADD to the max. You get to write as much as you please; playing with words is something you take very seriously, but you do so knowing that words are more powerful than firearms.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO EDITORS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS?
And remember on those days when you're feeling like dirt for having to compose yet another "Sponsor Profile," we've all been there. Nobody ever holds it against you. Also, at those depressing moments, remind yourself that the amount of intellectual liberty that magazine editors enjoy – even when they're working for salted cashews and/or absolute dweebs – is astounding, compared to almost any other profession.
MOST MEMORABLE EDITING MOMENT?
I was editor of Metro Toronto Business Journal. My co-editor, Okey Chigbo, was nominated for a Kenneth R. Wilson Award for a story about Peter Goudas, an entrepreneur who produced packaged spicy food with international recipes from around the world. When the emcee announced the prize, my headline for his story got a laugh, and it was from one of the toughest audiences ever: headline writers. The headline? "A Man for All Seasonings."
WHAT MAGAZINE DO YOU THINK IS DOING AN OUTSTANDING JOB RIGHT NOW?
Are there any, besides Today's Trucking?
Actually there are more great magazines than ever. The writing's better; the research is more rigorous and the audiences are more demanding. That said, Men's Health and Best Health immediately spring to mind as publications that are spot on their games; neither a wasted word nor self-indulgent page between them.
WHERE TO FIND PETER ONLINE:
Email: peter @ newcom .ca