Thu, 12/08/2016 - 17:08

Posted by H.G. Watson on January 26, 2016

By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor

The print version of the Ryerson Review of Journalism isn’t going anywhere.

After months of consultations and research, the Ryerson School of Journalism announced on Jan. 26 that the annual magazine, produced by Ryerson Journalism students, would continue to be available for subscriptions and newsstand purchase.

“Obviously I’m pretty happy,” said Tim Falconer, the RRJ instructor.

Though there was never any question of the RRJ itself disappearing, the consultations did ask participants what role print, among other platforms, would take in the future. Like many print outlets, the RRJ has felt the impact of a decrease in print advertising revenue according to Ivor Shapiro, chair of the school of journalism.

The editors and writers at the RRJ also undertook their own research. In the end, it was determined that an “audience-first” approach that includes several different platforms was viable—including the print magazine.

“We have to be starting from a different perspective—not talking about print versus digital but talking about brand and the various ways a magazine brand connects with its audiences,” said Shapiro.

Currently, the magazine has about 300 print subscriptions and sells about 200 copies on the newsstands. Many copies are also distributed free across the country.

It also has a popular blog, podcast and social media feeds. RRJ writers and editors have won awards for their stories and gone on to work at newspapers and magazines across the country.

Falconer said most alumni describe the RRJ as the best thing they did at Ryerson. “I understand their loyalty to it.” Many alumni took to Twitter after the initial consultations were announced to pledge their support for the print magazine.

“We also now know that the print magazine must continue to play an important part of that communication with the audience,” said Shapiro.

The price of the magazine will be raised to $9.95. The student masthead will also be given a budget to work with that will determine the size and composition of the magazine. During the 2015-16 school year, the budget was approximately $28,500 excluding instruction, staff compensation and overheads—Shapiro said he did not expect the budget to differ significantly next year.

“Most people in the industry really value the Review because we do something that really isn’t being done,” said Falconer. “The Review does long-form features where we ask students to do 40 interviews and then write 2,500 to 3,000 words.”

H.G. Watson is an employee of Ryerson University. J-Source, and all of its staff, are editorially independent from Ryerson, The School of Journalism and the Ryerson Review of Journalism. She can be reached at hgwatson@j-source.ca or on Twitter.

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.