Chris Simpson

Semper letteris mandate

Background

I have enjoyed a long and varied writing career in media,  technical and corporate communications across traditional and digital platforms.

I began with a weekly column in The Welland Tribune, then moved to Toronto where I earned a Commercial Art certificate from George Brown College and worked in graphic design for several years.

As computers became more readily available, I took a number of courses in programming, which ultimately led to a career with J. Walter Thompson as head of their Canada-wide computer department.

When the agency outsourced its IT department in 1992, I returned to journalism as assignment editor for the Toronto community newspaper The Outrider, working alongside Rod Goodman of the Toronto Star and his wife Jan Hayes of the Globe and Mail. It was here that I started writing “Ad Nauseam,” a column on advertising that would prove exceedingly popular, outliving the Outrider by many years and earning the respect of many in the advertising field, including Chuck Nyren (Advertising to Baby Boomers) and Bob Hoffman (The Ad Contrarian).

I returned to university and earned an Honours BA, English Specialist from the University of Toronto. While attending university, I also worked as senior staff writer and editor at the popular community magazine, What’s On Queen? A year later I co-founded the popular magazine Celtic Curmudgeon to serve Toronto’s large and influential Celtic community. The launch was covered by CBC and within two months the publication was attracting full-page ads from the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony and the legendary Irish pub, Allen’s on Danforth.

As a representative of both Celtic Curmudgeon and What’s On Queen? I was a regular media presence at the annual Canadian Bookseller’s Association Trade Show. During its heyday the trade show was a thriving hub for meeting and networking with publishing representatives while interviewing iconic Canadian and international authors from Michael Ondaatje to Maeve Binchy.

It was also an opportunity to seek out new authors of merit and help promote their work. To this end I created the website Editor’s Sidebar providing Ontario community newspaper book editors with online databases to discover and review new releases from regional authors. The site also offered easily accessible background information on recurring annual features such as Canada Day, Daylight Saving Time, Valentine’s Day, and Hallowe’en. Editor’s Sidebar was featured in the Canadian Community Newspaper Association’s magazine The Publisher, and The Canadian Press Club’s website promoted the site as a recommended resource.

In 2000, I was recruited to create an internet time capsule to archive unusual and interesting websites. This became the Circa2000 Time Capsule with the online Circa2000 Magazine as the site’s public interface.

Throughout this period I also negotiated contracts for technical writing and took a strong interest in the use of “Immersive Internet” (“virtual worlds”) as platforms for business and advertising. One of my regular gigs was columnist for the Metaverse Messenger (over 125,000 readers) covering the growing culture and marketing potential of virtual worlds.

In 2005 I was hired by George Brown College to teach English and Corporate Communications, a position I held until 2012 when I accepted an offer to become managing editor of The Gull Lake Advance in Saskatchewan with the goal of rebranding and increasing readership. I also wrote the editorials and feature articles and won a 2013 SWNA Better Newspaper Award for Special Feature: “Salute to Veterans.”

Upon moving back to Toronto I returned for a while to corporate work editing white papers before joining the Transcript Divas (now Transcript Heroes) team, where I have been ever since.

Notable Interviews

To the right are a few of the noteworthy interviews I've conducted.

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy

Astronaut James Lovell