Swept’s latest issue: subways, weed, guns and a little trip to California’s landmark in the desert, Salvation Mountain.
In today’s age where crowd funding and kick-starters are one of the leading methods of getting funding and launching a product, some might wonder why the team here at Swept took the more traditional approach of working from the ground up. The first reason would be that it wouldn’t work. I can see crowd funding’s resourcefulness when a company is trying to launch a new product that will require a lot of development and all the research to go with it, dealing with manufacturers and suppliers and the whole bit, but this isn’t needed to make a digital magazine. As my editor at the Brampton Guardian had always told me, “It’s not rocket science.”
Swept, unlike some other ventures, benefits from the lack of hype. The editorial team and I often joke around about how we have a super underground following of Toronto hipsters who talk about our articles and local poetry. We joke because we know our following isn’t nearly that influential. The site hovers around 130 hits a day since the launch in October, with a few spikes where we were in the 500 range. The bright side is our numbers are on the way up and if we keep producing content at the rate we have been we will be able to attract proper advertising and sponsorship. However, from social media, we can see that the networking we do ourselves is reaching people.
When Neil first came on board last year, we had a big meeting where we floated ideas about what Swept would be, and what sort of content we were going for. Emotions ran high and we had grandeur visions of what Swept would one day come to be. Since then, we’ve had our share of challenges, and have learned a few lessons the hard way, which is probably the best way to learn a lesson. One of those lessons is not taking too much on by yourself, which is something that as the Founding Editor of this publication, I struggle with often.
You may notice a few things are different about this issue. Recently we welcomed Ivan Kostynyk, a designer and brand specialist, as our new Art Director. He is in charge of putting together the magazine visually. While this volume will remain designed for Issuu.com/PDF format, our next volume will be completely digital. We’re looking at different formats to publish with, but it will be digital, and Ivan will be a part of that development.
In addition, we have also brought on a little help for the website. Michal Krupski has been working in the background to tweak our website to serve you better. This week we made a few changes to the front page and have also given readers the ability to comment on posts through their Facebook accounts.
Again, I want to highlight the fact that Swept functions as is, without a huge cash flow or state-of-the-art office, yet still our team continues to grow. We recently started a photography series called City Moments where Toronto photojournalist Nicholas Lachance takes to the streets and asks one question to accompany various photos. His first segment is included in this issue. Look forward to more of it!
Readers should note that Humber College journalism student Janie Ginsberg has two stories in this issue and is hungry to publish more with Swept. We have also recruited Rebecca Byers, who has been supplying us with some awesome photo journals from unique spots, like Salvation Mountain.
As for the editorial team, we continue to plan and plot our next moves and big ideas. We are now writing columns nearly every week and our content flow on the site has significantly risen over the last few weeks. We have content published nearly every day and as always, it will remain free! Make sure to visit the website.