Gazette launches lifestyle magazine, expands Driving section

The first issue of Urban Expressions magazine

Two projects I’ve been involved with over the past month were revealed to Gazette subscribers this week.

Today’s paper (at least the home-delivery version) couldn’t be rolled up very well because of a thick, 92-page magazine called Urban Expressions. It’s a lifestyle magazine filled with stories about fashion, home decor, food and other girly magazine stuff (no sex or relationship tips though).

And, of course, there’s lots of ads.

I was the copy editor for this issue, and lived it for about a week in August (which is why I didn’t post anything to this blog for 11 days), coming up with clever headlines and captions, and reading and re-reading every story to ensure everything was right (so if you find any typos, you can blame me).

Copy editing a magazine is definitely different from a newspaper. You have days, rather than hours. The stories are long, the pages all designed by a professional designer (in this case, The Gazette’s Susan Ferguson, who had an even more hellish time with this than I did, designing a whole magazine from scratch), and everything goes back and forth between different people who each have their own ideas.

The welcome message from editor Mark Tremblay is online. The magazine has its own website, but right now that’s just a media kit and a mockup magazine for advertisers to peruse.

Rachelle Lefevre cover story in Urban Expressions by Eva Friede

The cover story (like most magazines, this one has a giant picture of a pretty white girl on the cover) is about actress Rachelle Lefevre, who is known for her role in Twilight movies but is also in the upcoming Barney’s Version, a film based on the Mordecai Richler novel that just screened in Toronto. She talks to Gazette style editor Eva Friede about her love of the city and poses for pictures in what I understand are the latest fashions.

There’s also:

Local content returns to Driving

The other skybox-worthy change happened the day before, as the paper expanded its Monday Driving section to include some local content. The three-days-a-week Driving section hasn’t seen any regular original content since Jordan Charness’s automotive legal advice column was dropped in 2008.

Among the weekly features, which will be added to the back of the Monday Driving section, are:

There will also be more automotive news, either local or national.

I’m involved in the editing process of this, though only for the local content and I’m not the one laying it out and writing the headlines (now I know what our assignment editors feel like).

As you can imagine, both of these moves are designed to increase advertising revenue. Let’s hope it works.

21 thoughts on “Gazette launches lifestyle magazine, expands Driving section

  1. Jasmin

    It’s a great initiative and I look forward to reading my copy when I get home tonight. You’re right, editing for mag is so different than for newspaper. It’s a definite adjustment in mentality.

    Is this a one-time thing? How often are they publishing?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s definitely not designed as a one-time thing. This issue is marked “Fall 2010”, so the idea is more of a seasonal thing, though how often it comes out in the long run will probably depend more on advertiser demand than anything else.

  2. beeg

    While I guess it’s good for the news industry that a North American paper is growing, it’s probably not so good for news consumers if that growth amounts to reporters shilling for consumer products (aka “a good cause”). Do we really need two writers extolling the virtues of the new Ford Mustang? Instead of 1,800 words (!), couldn’t the Gazette have just run a picture of an erection? Anyway, I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt: presumably the excessive use of the passive voice (“It was at Calabogie that the real fun was to be had”, “the Mustang had the rear seat headrests redesigned” – then it had them killed?) is intended to undermine the phony “reporting” assignment likely conjured up by the ad wizards at Ford. The revolution is around the corner, or at least the next turn!

    PS to the copy editor: A baby is not an “it” – he’s a he or she’s a she.
    PPS: Please tell me at least that Ford bought an ad.

    1. Aaron

      My thoughts exactly. I guess some people read the driving section… but really? An entire section, now expanded, on just driving? It’s not far from being a giant ad, disguised as journalism. When can we expect a Cycling section? (I’m not holding my breath)

        1. Maria Gatti

          Caroline Rodgers’ cycling blog in La Presse is FAR better than the current incarnation of the Gazette’s On Two Wheels. The original blog was spirited and advocacy-driven like the cyberpresse one, but the current guy just seems interested in technical stuff.

          Yes, it is bullshit. Cars kill and destroy the environment, and petroleum fuels wars as well as environmental disasters; pushing them is worse than pushing heroin (not that I’d advocate that either). But I’ve worked for commercial papers too, we do have to make a living somehow – what I’m saying is no judgement about our trusty blog host but about media hypocrisy.

          Obviously “Urban Expressions” is fluff as well, but it looks very well-designed. Can it be found anywhere other than at the homes of subscribers?

      1. wkh

        The magazine. It seems like the exact same content as the lifestyles (whatever it’s called, where food, shelter, fashion, etc go) but just… more shiny. Maybe people will read it for the ads? It seems like something I’d throw in the trash after reading maybe once and never bothering to open again.

      1. Jimmy Jack

        Too bad. Does the Gazoo ever do any serious reader research? Seems to me that a lot of the “star ” columnists such as Boone and Bronstien don’t get any reads in my group of friends and we get ticked when the stuff we like gets canned and the big boys continue on. Although if I wasn’t paying only 8 bucks a month for delivery the Gazoo itself would be gone from the budget.

        1. Lisa

          I know that the Gaz does reader research……(focus groups, etc.) but perhaps they are asking the wrong people or skewing the questions?
          I don’t know if they seek people out or ask for volunteers.

  3. Singlestar

    Isn’t is great that editorials can talk about the environment and a green lifestyle and the advertising section keeps filling the paper with Driving Driving Driving 6 days a week….

      1. David Pinto

        Given the trememdous, over-the-top ad presence of the automobile indusrtry — massive advertising in the print media, not only by car companies but by dealers. zx well as the equally massive ad presence on television, I do not understand how the industry managed to nearly collapse a few years ago.

        1. Fagstein Post author

          Classified ads are a fraction of what they were 10 years ago. That’s really the biggest problem. Real estate, automotive and other high-priced stuff is still there, but the rest has just about vanished.

  4. Mama Fagstein

    I saw your name in the masthead of the magazine. It’s going in the ego box. BUT, next time tell MAMA before not after.


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