From The Editor

By Metta Spencer | 1987-08-01 12:00:00

From: The Editor To: Activist Readers

THANKS FOR ALL THE Letters! Opening the mail these days is a treat. it's so full of praise for what we're printing. This new column is in response to requests by readers wanting to know more about the organization, the better to participate in it. (You already do; you're the owners.)

Every country needs a peace magazine. Britain has Sanity. Australia has its Peace Magazine, the U.S. has Nuclear Tunes. You have PEACE Of course, there are many newsletters and publications for special constituencies, but a national peace magazine must not be just a "trade journal" for activists; the style must be sufficiently readable to serve both audiences -- activists and the unconverted. We publicize events and resources. We dig up facts. We provide a forum for discussing the great issues about the fate of the planet. In so doing, we serve the main objective of the peace movement -- clarifying and enlightening public opinion. Activists do this educational work largely by clarifying our own thinking in public discourse. When we debate among ourselves; we should do so publicly so others can follow along. You serve by putting PEACE where others will pick it up. So dear dentist or lawyer, put a copy in your waiting room. Teacher, put it in the teachers' lounge. Library user, when you check out books; ask the librarian to subscribe to PEACE. Churchgoer, ask your perish council to order bundles of thirty to give away or sell. Or ask them for a $100 donation. Businessperson, you can support this by advertising. (Joyce Sutherland, a Toronto realtor, has placed a $40 ad in every issue of the magazine since Day One!) All such support works together to increase public awareness. That's my pitch. Now, here's how the magazine belongs to you.

Who Controls the Organization? PEACE Magazine is published by CANDIS. the Canadian Disarmament Information Service. CANDIS comprises the CANDIS Society and the Board of Directors. The CANDIS Society list is updated by the Directors each year the members and volunteers who have worked at least 20 hours during the past year (e.g. by typing, editing, making phone calls, selling ads, or writing) and/or who have donated $100 or more. (Want to belong? Read on.)

The Board of Directors (with up to fifteen members) is elected annually by members of the CANDIS Society. The Board owns and controls the magazine; its meetings (about three a year) are open. The Editor and Treasurer are members; other nominations to it are solicited from the major Canadian peace organizations. The rationale for this practice is to assure the widest possible representation and to prevent any one constituency from gaining disproportionate control. All voices are to be heard; the magazine's an open forum for all discussions that broadly favor nuclear disarmament.

A new Board was elected in May. Each member belongs to one or more of the following organizations: Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Canadian Labour Congress; Canadian Peace Congress; Canadian Pugwash, Christian Initiative for Peace, Group of 78, Lawyers for Social Responsibility, Operation Dismantle, Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament. Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Science for Peace, Survival Committee of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Toronto Disarmament Network, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, and Voice of Women. Thus the magazine is owned and supervised by activists from more than fifteen major peace groups. Decisions between Board meetings are made by an Executive Committee: the Chairperson of the Board, the Treasurer, and the Editor. Two vacancies on the Board remain; we hope to fill them with a fundraiser and an ad sales expert.

How the Job Gets Done: PEACE Magazine, for a long time, hasn't had a single full-time paid staff member. All writers, editors, officers, and most of the office staff are volunteers -- even those who work far more than full time. The business office does have two part-time paid staff members, and a graphic artist is paid to help about 40 hours per issue. I'm not saying that this is as adequate; it's just all that we've been able to afford. We're an amateur operation with that quality beyond our means. Bless the lovely people who make that so.

The business office is managed by Moira Armour and Jean Smith. The mail, subscriptions, mailing lists, computer problems; and bookkeeping are handled by Andrew Hope, Lynn Lathrop, Claire McCelland, and Verda McDonald.

The editorial and production offices are actually my apartment. Associate Editors meet here every Tuesday night to appraise articles, copyedit, and proofread. We have several new Associate Editors, but Shirley Farlinger and Barry Stevens are the reigning champions for reliability and perseverance. We regularly contact our Advisory Editors across Canada, who suggest topics and authors for articles. Then we hold one open planning session for the next issue. (Want to attend? Phone the office; we'll invite you.) Many articles arrive unsolicited. We receive far more good (unpaid) material than we can print. If it is accepted, an article is typed on one of our two Macintosh computers. We are "desktop publishing" pioneers -- the first Toronto magazine to adopt this method, which saves us about $3000 per issue.

The production work (both gruelling and fun) involves typing each article, adapting it to the Associate Editors' suggestions, laying out pages on the computer, locating photos, ordering halftones, laserprinting pages at the Berkeley Computer Group (see their ad!), pasting up the pages and photos, taking the product to Del Charters Litho in Brampton, checking the "Van Dykes," and delivering labels to B and M Mailing. I used to do it all, but nowadays Maureen MeDewell and Leigh Crawford do part of the typing and Ted Dyment does some of the layout on the Macintosh. Still. I need more assistance, urgently, if PEACE is to stay at its current size and quality.

Funding up to Now. Talk about shoestring operations! Ours is a miracle. For about $66,000 per year, we produce six issues of a 48-page magazine, print 8000 copies each time, and mail over 3000 of than. We have previously received grants from governmental sources, including the City of Toronto, the Disarmament Fund of the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (this year $6000 from CDPS) as well as from our original sponsor, the Church of the Holy Trinity. Even so, a major part of our funding has come from Board Members, some of whom have contributed several thousands of dollars. That shows how we feel about the magazine. We give away as many copies as we sell! As a business practice, that's dumb. As a way. to save the planet, it's smart. ours is not just a business, it's a cause.

Even so, we do have financial concerns. We want grassroots Canadian peace groups to view the magazine as their cause too. and to make a project of building PEACE's circulation. This does not readily occur to activists, who after all live in a society where magazines are supposedly profit-making commodities. Another obstacle is that each peace group has its own newsletter. In a pluralistic society, people are understandably wary of having any single 'monopolistic" peace magazine for everyone.

Still, competition limits the effectiveness of the many existing publications. To be attractive, a magazine needs a large circulation, because of the "economy of scale." Most of the expense of producing a magazine comes in the preparation stage, which costs the same amount whether you print 100 or a million copies. Hence the more copies you print, the less they cost apiece. PEACE needs to grow by at least fourfold to serve its full purpose. This expansion won't happen in the way a commercial magazine would grow. We have to be promoted by peace groups; which is why you need to know all this.

Planning Ahead. Our past supporters have firmly stated that we must become fully self-sufficient within a year Moreover, I must reduce by one-half the amount of time I devote to PEACE. I can donate no more than 35 hours per week, as of September 1. Fundraising and personnel must increase to meet these two new challenges.

We request your help in reaching the following goals within six months:

  1. . CANDIS Society membership. We should have 100 members of the Society whose membership is conferred on the basis of donations -- $100 or more apiece. (Here's your chance!)
  2. . Group subscription sales. We should have 50 orders of 20 or more subscriptions at $10 each. To be eligible for this discount, the group prepays for those subscriptions with one single cheque. Of course, the magazines will be mailed out to subscribers individually, in the usual way. Any group (e.g. church, union, club) is eligible.
  3. . Bulk sales. We should have a relationship with 100 groups that order bundles of thirty magazines each time it is published, at $1 per copy. They will sell or give away the magazine as part of their outreach work. We'll print a directory of all such groups in each issue of the magazine. This listing will be good recruiting publicity for them when newsstand sales increase.
  4. . Over-the-Counter sales. We should have PEACE on sale an 300 newsstands and bookstores across Canada. Ask friendly merchants to carry it, please
  5. . Advertising sales: We should have 6 pages of advertising at $360 per page, less 25 percent commission.
  6. . Editorial and Production Staff. I need approximately one full-time, skilled production worker, one half-time secretary, and two quarter-time typists and "gophers." Without then,, we'll have to reduce the size of the magazine to the scope I can manage. Our magazine is built from blocks of sixteen pages. We would therefore shrink from 48 to 36 pages in the December issue, until we meet our goals. But l am confident we'll do well right away. We feel encouraged by your frequent expressions of support.

By the way, some of you may have Macintosh computers, modems, and real expertise in desktop publishing. Would you like to make some pages for me and mail in your disks? If you have the skill and the inclination, call me at 416/789-2294. I '11 keep everyone posted in later (shorter) columns. Thanks!

Metta Spencer

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1987

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1987, page 4. Some rights reserved.

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