Danielle Cunningham

Danielle Cunningham

Nanaimo’s Portal magazine celebrates milestone

NANAIMO - Vancouver Island University's Portal magazine celebrates 25 years.

Portal magazine is Nanaimo’s magazine.

That’s one of the main things Joy Gugeler, a Vancouver Island University professor of publishing, journalism and media studies, said she wants Harbour City residents to know about the student-published magazine that celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month.

“We would like them to embrace it as not only a university magazine, but as a Nanaimo magazine,” she said.

She said Portal is one of only three literary magazines published on Vancouver Island.

Faculty and students would like to raise its presence in the community.

It started as a thin pamphlet in 1991 and has grown into a glossy-covered magazine available both in print and online. The online version also features podcasts, which includes audio readings of submissions. The students have also been working to include more information on various social media platforms.

“You don’t have to be a poet … or photographer to enjoy the beauty of the magazine and what it has to offer,” said Danielle Cunningham, managing editor of Portal.

Each year, students enrolled in the VIU media studies program must raise $10,000 to produce the magazine, because the project doesn’t receive funding through the university. Each student in the creative writing program has a role.

Gugeler said it’s a big undertaking and students dig in and help raise the money.

Currently, the magazine is only open to submissions from VIU students. This year Portal magazine students partnered with business students to do a case study. The study identified a few options for the future, such as opening up a portion of the magazine to community submissions, reaching out to alumni and asking more recognizable authors to contribute.

Looking toward the future, faculty and students involved in the project would like to see Portal available in more locations around town, such as the Nanaimo Airport, at B.C. Ferries terminals and other high-traffic areas.

“We are going strong … bring on the next 25 years,” said Gugeler.

Throughout the years, Portal has featured articles on prominent Canadian writers. The debut issue featured an interview with novelist Sheila Watson. She was awarded the Lorne Pierce medal by the Royal Society of Canada in 1984. The 1995 edition celebrated 25 years of student writing at the university, known then as Malaspina College. The 2002 edition celebrated another milestone. It was the first edition to include a spoken-word audio CD.

For more information, please go to https://web.viu.ca/portal.