When did Canadian journalism begin? Before anyone kept records, camp criers of the Prairie Cree and many other tribes would wander amongst the teepees giving notice of meetings and announcing important events. The country’s first formal newspaper was the Halifax Gazette, published in 1792; its inaugural edition featured a compendium of international news and local advertisements. (Butter was available by the firkin at the Proctor and Scutt store, near the city’s north gate.)
Maclean’s is very proud to be part of this long heritage; the new year marks our 107th year of continuous publication as a trusted source of news and opinion for Canadian readers. With so much in flux in the media world, we consider our history to be a great achievement. And the future looks even more exciting.
The world experienced unprecedented upheavals in 2011. Natural and man-made disasters came together in the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. The Middle East was convulsed by popular democratic uprisings and brutal crackdowns. Vancouver was shaken by a massive riot. The year also managed to sparkle with the British royal wedding and magical summer visit to Canada by Prince William and Catherine, duchess of Cambridge.
At every turn, Maclean’s was there with the news, images and insight that Canadians need to understand their world. And readers have rewarded our efforts. The most recent figures of Canada’s Print Measurement Bureau, the agency that audits the country’s newspapers and magazines, show our total readership has risen to 2.44 million per week. That is more than twice the weekday readership of the Globe and Mail and National Post combined.
The reason for this growing popularity can be found in the issue you are holding in your hands. (Or reading on your iPad. Maclean’s has been available in tablet form for a year now.)
This week’s cover story reveals the many puzzling ways governments find to waste your money—from air-conditioned incinerator parties to taxpayer-funded camping trips. There is a fascinating interview with author Henry Alford on the lack of civility in everyday life, as well as an in-depth look at a measles outbreak in Quebec and its implications for public health Canada-wide. Our Washington bureau chief, Luiza Ch. Savage, was on the scene at the critical Iowa presidential caucuses. And we are one of the few Western publications to have a writer inside Syria during the current uprising. Our correspondent entered the besieged city of Duma in disguise and in fear for her life. Her report, full of terrifying observations on reprisals by the Assad regime, can be found on page 34.
And, of course, there’s our usual cast of stellar columnists: Paul Wells on what Stephen Harper has in mind for the year ahead, Scott Feschuk’s hilarious take on the Liberal party’s rebuilding efforts, and Barbara Amiel on Meryl Streep and Margaret Thatcher.
Another reason for Maclean’s pre-eminent position as Canadians’ preferred news source is our leadership role on many important topics. The fall release of our annual university ranking guide is a milestone for Canadian high school students and their parents. For the past 21 years, this issue has become a crucial tool in the school-selection process for families across the country. And in the spring, our student issue takes a closer look at the many important issues facing students once they arrive at university.
Our annual “Most Dangerous Cities” report has also become a closely watched national event. The latest report—released last month—was front page news across the country and gave Canadians an easily referenced guide to holding their local officials accountable on serious crime statistics. Other annual special editions have all become must-reads for informed Canadians from Parliamentarian of the Year to our unique Rethink issue, which this year took readers behind the scenes at the clinic, where doctors were trying to get Sidney Crosby back on the ice. And, of course, macleans.ca always provides more depth, extra features and engaging bloggers you won’t find anywhere else.
There’s every reason to expect 2012 will be just as fascinating and significant as the year just past. Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. London will host the 2012 Summer Olympics. There is a U.S. presidential election on tap, at a time when American politics is marked by unprecedented friction. At home, the Harper government faces significant challenges on the budget and foreign policy. And for Maclean’s there will be new voices and exciting new features to add to our long history of quality journalism. Join us for another big year.