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Best of both worlds

The Newfoundland Quarterly connects online and in print

By Rebecca Cohoe

While the Internet has made life easier for many industries, publishing hasn’t always been one of them.

A new approach by the Newfoundland Quarterly (NQ) seeks to balance online and print journalism to reflect the broad spectrum of life in this province.

‘Nimble and inventive’

“There’s been an incredible shift,” said Michelle Porter, business manager, NQ, the long-running magazine focusing on the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Resettlement" by Kumi Stoddart is one of the artworks currently featured at www.nqonline.ca.
“Resettlement” by Kumi Stoddart is one of the artworks currently featured at www.nqonline.ca.

“The way that people read has been fundamentally changed by the Internet, and as a result, magazines are having to be much more nimble and inventive. In many cases, there has been a rush online; however, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.”

While a new website and an increased presence on social media are part of NQ’s vision for the future, the approach won’t be the same as a larger magazine with a broader focus.

“In some ways, it’s an enviable position — you’re never going to see us taking the click-bait approach to social media,” said Ms. Porter.

“We know that in our situation, having an engaged relationship with our specific audience is more important than reaching as many people as humanly possible. We know we want to extend our reach, but all of our readers, past, current and future, have a deep and spirited connection to Newfoundland and Labrador in common.”

From left, Michelle Porter and NQ editor Joan Sullivan have worked closely to ensure online and print content is complementary and mutually engaging.
From left, Michelle Porter and NQ editor Joan Sullivan have worked closely to ensure online and print content is complementary and mutually engaging.

Complementary content

Another approach that larger magazines is taking is to provide all or most of the print content online, offering some for free, and more to those who pay a monthly subscription fee.

That isn’t the Quarterly’s plan. Instead, NQ online will add extra depth to some of the issues explored in the print version with related articles written with an online audience in mind.

The articles will be shorter, punchier and published more regularly, rather than the quarterly publishing schedule of the print edition.

“There’s nothing like print: the pages, the smell of ink, the portability. However, there’s also nothing like digital!” — Michelle Porter

There will also be a focus on more diversity of both content and, hopefully, audience.

Ms. Porter expects the new website will help introduce the Newfoundland Quarterly to a new generation of readers, but also notes that the interest in online content isn’t merely generational.

“There’s nothing like print: the pages, the smell of ink, the portability. However, there’s also nothing like digital! The speed, the instant connection, the opportunity to share . . . ”

Evolution of publishing

Joan Sullivan, editor of NQ, agrees. She sees it as a natural development for the 116-year-old publication.

“We want to meet our readers where they are, whether it’s on the bus with a smartphone, or running on the treadmill with our print edition.” — Joan Sullivan

“I think to hold something in your hands is an under-rated part of the reading process, but online also has its benefits. As Canada’s oldest publication, the magazine has seen its share of societal shifts: the Internet is just one of many.

“It is important for any publication to have an online presence,” she continued.

“Just as Newfoundland and Labrador culture is constantly evolving, so is NQ. It’s not about shifting our perspective entirely, though; rather, we want to meet our readers where they are, whether it’s on the bus with a smartphone, or running on the treadmill with our print edition.”

The funding for the online project was provided by the Government of Canada, as part of Canada 150 celebrations. The NQ’s new website, including subscription information for the print version, is now live.


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