Docs

Real retrospective

Few people get the chance to review their lives in black and white. Or in color, for that matter. So, it was a unique experience to sit down with a stack of realscreens, dating back to our launch issue in September 1997, in order to put together the retrospective that begins on page 41.
October 1, 2007

Few people get the chance to review their lives in black and white. Or in color, for that matter. So, it was a unique experience to sit down with a stack of realscreens, dating back to our launch issue in September 1997, in order to put together the retrospective that begins on page 41.

Though it’s over a decade ago now, I still vividly remember my interview for the mag. It happened in the editorial director’s living room on a weekend, as then-editor Mary Ellen Armstrong was on her way to Banff for sister publication Playback. It was less than three months to launch, and there was no staff and few plans, but all of that was balanced against an abundance of enthusiasm. And fear. Fear is the great motivator.

Eventually, I replaced Mary Ellen as editor. And although I suspected she was good, you never really get a sense of how talented someone is until you try to do their job. I did my best to fill her large shoes (with a combination of fast writing and ego), and tried to keep the momentum going.

In June 2002, I turned the magazine over to Susan Zeller, and took over another Brunico publication, before deciding to go freelance. Susan’s tenure was far too short, and I ended up returning a little over three years ago. It’s amazing how fast a decade can slip by while you’ve got your mind on other things.

I want to use my space this month to thank the people in the industry who supported us back when there was no Earthly reason to, and those others who have stuck around or arrived since. Without industry support, we couldn’t do what we do. (And there would be little reason to, frankly. My mother can only read so many issues.)

Internally, I have to thank Mary Ellen, Mary Maddever and Shelley Middlebrook for teaching me everything I know about publishing. And I have to thank our chairman Jim Shenkman for taking a chance on a documentary magazine, and ultimately me. Thanks also to Diane Rankin, who helped launch the mag back in ’97 and has stuck around, in one capacity or another, to help guide the way ever since. (And congrats to you and Finn…)

There are a lot of people who have made this a successful venture, but I hear the string section warming up and the mic is beginning to sink into the floor.

So, here’s to the next decade of non-fiction – and the next decade of realscreen magazine.

Brendan Christie
Editor

As noted in the realscreen anniversary report, the non-fiction industry is one that frequently experiences expansion and contraction. In keeping with that theme, we’re pleased to add Lindsay Gibb and Kelly Anderson to the writing team. We’re also pleased to announce that designer Mark Lacoursiere has been promoted to the position of art director.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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