Valley journal re-launches this weekend

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Bridgetown-based Coastlands shifts to regional focus

The Maritimes has a new regional magazine and it is being published in the Valley. The Nova Scotia Policy Review was launched two years ago in Bridgetown by Rachel Brighton. Now the magazine has a new name, Coastlands, and new regional focus.

Valley journal re-launches this weekend

Its full title is Coastlands: The Maritimes Policy Review and Brighton says it is “the only regional magazine devoted to sustainable development, independent journalism and critical reflection on social, cultural and environmental issues.”

Coastlands will be officially re-launched at Word on the Street in Halifax this Sunday. “The basic idea behind the name Coastlands is that we all live on the same little patch of earth,” says Brighton. “The magazine takes our common concern for sustainability, which is a pretty big word, and breaks it down into smaller parts and then tries to make sense of how those parts fit together. There is an overarching environmental theme in the magazine, but really, the driving theme is justice. “So the new name underscores the fact that we’re bound together in a shared environment and we need collaborative, careful and just responses to our natural, social, cultural and economic resources. The focus on policy just keeps the discussion grounded and focused on what can be done to change things in practical ways.”

Local agriculture picture

A good example of the way in which the magazine examines the big idea of sustainability is a photo essay by Heather Cosidetto and Ryan Buckley. Their work appears in the October issue, along with the cover image by Patrick Little, which shows migrant workers from Jamaica harvesting corn in Kings County. In her essay on the place of migrant workers in local agriculture, Cosidetto notes that migrant workers do not figure in the public image of agriculture in Nova Scotia. Brighton says she published the article, because it raises questions about the relationship between the ‘buy local’ movement and the low-wage economy of itinerant farm labourers.

The new cover also points to stories on the rural-urban balance on P.E.I., the swing to the left in Nova Scotia, and the plight of Wabanaki women in New Brunswick, where ‘Wabanaki’ refers to the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy peoples who form part of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

After two years with a narrow provincial focus, it was time to broaden the horizon across the Maritimes, says Brighton, who is the editor as well as the publisher. “The magazine itself needed to be sustainable. Building a regional readership seemed to be the best way to grow the magazine without changing its character.” Each quarterly issue offers a rich selection of digests, short articles, essays, book reviews, interviews, analysis, comment, cartoons and satire. Coastlands also extends its editorial horizon beyond the coastline, to survey emerging ideas across a broad spectrum of public policy concerns

Brighton, who has been a journalist and editor since her university days in Australia, says she is looking forward to the day when the magazine can support out-of-work investigative journalists who want to dig deeply into public policy issues. She is also calling on photographers to submit work of a documentary nature. “The magazine is here to serve as a gallery for good ideas that will make this part of the world kinder and gentler.”

Coastlands is being printed at Gaspereau Press in Kentville and is being sold at newsstands and bookstores in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, as well as through subscriptions that can be ordered online at www.coastlands.ca. -Submitted

Organizations: The Maritimes Policy Review, Gaspereau Press

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, New Brunswick Jamaica Kings Australia Kentville Prince Edward Island

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