Five years on – the Red Star pub was the only choice for a summit with the founding Publisher of The Yards magazine, Jarrett Campbell, to discuss the magazine’s creation five years ago.
“We had the first meeting here at Red Star. We launched in December, so it would have been March (2014) when we really started forming what this would be,” Campbell said, adding that the positive response from the community on the launch of this untested venture was heartening.
“A lot of people liked the idea of a community-focused nonprofit magazine.”
Before The Yards, OCL had a community newsletter that received content from unpaid writers and was distributed by volunteers to a number of buildings in the community, but was running into difficulty reaching many residents as locked front entrances to apartment and condo buildings gradually became the norm. As Campbell, then OCL president, looked at how to increase the league’s reach in the core, he reflected on the opportunity to create a larger partnership with the people who work, live and play in central Edmonton.
“Most people in Edmonton view the two high density neighbourhoods of Oliver and Downtown as one. You might live in Oliver and go to the bar Downtown, you might live Downtown and go to a restaurant in Oliver. These communities are intimately linked, have the same issues and should speak with one voice.”
OCL and DECL are now partnered with the Central Edmonton News Society, which publishes The Yards with professionally written articles by local journalists and distributes the quarterly magazine by mail to every single resident in central Edmonton. The reach of the magazine has grown further, with articles posted and shared online for the wider community to read about why Edmonton’s core neighbourhoods are so special.
As Jarrett set about determining the magazine’s funding and distribution model, Omar Mouallem stepped forward as the initial editor of the new magazine.
“What you see as The Yards – the voice, the tone, the look, the feel, and how it connects with communities and issue and people – that’s Omar’s vision,” Campbell explained, noting that engaging with motivated professionals like Mouallem who live in the area and participate in community league events has been key to the magazine’s success.
“Omar is an extremely talented person, and to have a guy like that step up to help create it, we’re very lucky.”
And The Yards’ luck continues as it changes and grows with its founding neighbourhoods. This fall’s issue was our biggest yet and we look forward to continued growth and success.
This December’s winter issue will mark the 5th anniversary of The Yards magazine.