Christopher Simpson

• Personal History

Posted in Personal History by Christopher Simpson on January 11, 2012

Education, Resume, and Assorted Clippings
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During the mid ’70s I wrote a bylined series for The Welland Tribune while picking up credits in Psychology, Sociology and English from Niagara College. After moving to Toronto in 1977, I earned a graphic arts certificate from George Brown and worked for many years as an illustrator and advertiser.

In the eighties I joined J. Walter Thompson, where I set up and headed their new IT Department, combining my knowledge of advertising with my skill as a programmer to provide applications development, documentation, and support to nearly two hundred users across Canada. When the department was out-sourced in 1992 I took technical-writing contracts from such companies as DeBeers and Command Data.

From its second issue, I was assignment editor for The Outrider, Ontario’s first newspaper for the homeless. There I worked with Rod Goodman (former editor and ombudsman with the Toronto Star) and Janice Hayes (news copy editor with The Globe and Mail). During this time I also wrote a column entitled “Ad Nauseam” which, under the pretense of advertising review, satirized media and politics (see V8 Juice and Canadian Unity). Ad Nauseam remained active as a blog until 2010, read by many industry mavens, including Chuck Nyren (Advertising for Baby Boomers) and “The Ad Contrarian” himself, Bob Hoffman (Hoffman/Lewis Agency).

Image from Ryerson Review of Journalism

The Outrider folded in a relatively public fashion, and Lee Oliver tells the story with much relish, and some accuracy, in The Ryerson Review of Journalism Spring, 1995. (I must note, however, that while Oliver mentions a David Paddon as being assignment editor, the fact is there was no one on staff of that name. Plus, I’m pretty sure I would have noticed if anyone else had been sitting at my desk.)

Following the demise of The Outrider, I returned to the University of Toronto, where I spent the next six years earning my BA in English.

During most of this time I worked as Senior Staff Writer and sub-editor at the popular community magazine, What’s On Queen?, where I provided monthly coverage of Queen Street’s eclectic culture: its history, arts, theatre, literature and music. I met and interviewed many of Queen Street’s (and Toronto’s) more notable personalities including Linda Griffiths, Michael Hollingsworth, Robert Berlin, Menno Krant, Milton Jewell, and Dorothy Cameron.

I also co-founded the prestigious Celtic Curmudgeon: Arts & Entertainment Review, through which I began my association with the Canadian Bookseller’s Association’s (CBA) trade show. There I regularly met with publishing representatives, and interviewed visiting authors, including Ian Rankin, Maeve Binchy and Colin Wilson. Curmudgeon’s inaugural issue was covered by CBC news.

A good editor is always willing to confront dangerous situations - such as petting a sedated tiger cub

A good editor is always willing to confront dangerous situations - such as petting a sedated tiger cub

The picture on the left is from the 2001 Canadian Booksellers’ Association Trade Show. In the centre is Tatiana helping to promote Eric Walters’ newest “Tiger” book, Tiger by the Tail. That’s Eric on the right dressed in black, and Vernon (Tatiana’s trainer) in white on the left. In the centre is my lovely wife and co-editor. The guy with the deer-in-the-headlights expression, is me.

In 2000 I was offered the position of Managing Editor for the Circa2000 Time Capsule, an interesting experiment aimed at archiving various unusual and interesting Web sites, and offering them for download as a virtual time capsule. Our public interface was an online magazine, Circa2000, featuring topics of Web-related interest.

During that time I also created Editor’s Sidebar, an information resource aimed at journalists in Ontario’s smaller urban markets. It was received with appreciation and many warm welcomes from various editors across the province. The Canadian Press Club linked to it, the award-winning newspaper designer Tony Sutton submitted articles, and the Canadian Community Newspaper Association wrote about it in The Publisher.

More recently, aside from teaching, between 2007 and 2009 I was a columnist for the Metaverse Messenger (over 100,000 readers) covering the growing culture and marketing potential of immersive technology. From 2010 to 2011 I was a columnist for The St. Catharines Standard.

Presently I am a professor at George Brown College teaching various English courses (College English, Professional Communications).


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