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Cholesterol, flu, hospital environments…. Health isn’t always the most seductive media subject. In order to interest and inform the public, the magazine Montréal enSanté has opted for an accessible approach and quality information, sprinkled with a little humor and an original style. We talk to Jason Santerre, chief editor.
It all started 7 years ago. We’re embarking on our 8th year. The editors wanted to create a magazine in partnership with the McGill University Health Center that would be distributed in the hospital and clinic. We now publish content on a multitude of topics and the center has 16 pages each issue in which to talk about the hospital’s latest research and news.
First of all, we are a bilingual magazine: all our articles are published in French and English, which as far as I’m concerned is very important for a Montreal publication.
What’s more, we work in close collaboration with health professionals who supply us with credible information. I think that distinguishes us particularly. We have access to a whole spectrum of doctors and specialists to answer our questions and who we can quote in the articles.
Another point that differentiates us, is our capacity to present serious content without taking ourselves too seriously and that way keeping the public interested. In everyday life, it’s pretty rare that we would want to hear about good and bad cholesterol or the number of minutes of physical activity we should do each day. At Montréal enSanté, we try to make these subjects a little more fun through writing. With our journalists’ style and our sources’ credibility, I think we have the best of both worlds.
I think the biggest challenge is to stay original, not repeat ourselves and present our articles in an interesting way. Of course, the fact the magazine is free renders it accessible and is a good way to hook readers. It’s important however to remain creative so that they want to continue reading and obtain the next issue.
As editor and journalist, there are also challenges. I’ve worked in the magazine sector for over 20 years and it’s sometimes difficult to stay motivated and creative. It’s a sector where there is a lot of competition, but I’m very proud of what we accomplish at Montréal enSanté.
We live in a world where information is omnipresent. We read a piece of information one day and the following week, we read the opposite. As soon as we speak of health, we suggest you consult your doctor before changing your lifestyle. Whether we’re talking of taking natural omega-3 supplements or trying a new exercise, it’s always better to get your doctor’s advice first. Check your sources and check the facts. That’s what we do here at Montréal enSanté, when we draft our articles. My number 1 rule: at least three experts or scientific reviews are needed to confirm the information.
It’s important to remain humorous while presenting serious content, be original and mirror our public. For us, the rule is that the cover has to present the story of a celebrity who comes from Montreal, or who lives here, or who contributes one way or another to Montreal’s health sector. For example, our latest issue presented William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek and who originates from the city. We have also had PK Subban on the cover. He’s not originally from the city, but he plays for the Montreal’s Canadiens and made a large donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The public likes to see faces they recognize. It’s a nice way of attracting readers. It’s also important to offer the public content which interests them, so we also include fitness, couples’ relationships, etc. We are a magazine for the people of Montreal from all backgrounds, so we try to reach as many Montrealers as possible.
You can read Montréal enSanté for free online >