Bachelor of Journalism (Hons.), Journalism and Contemporary Studies, 2011
It’s all pretty exciting because we don’t know the answers.
Adrian Lee knows there is much more of the Canadian story to be told. And as the opinions editor at Maclean’s magazine he can help tell it through the voices not always heard.
He says he wants the opinions section, which he edits and curates, to be “a public square of thoughtful, provocative, and interesting discourse” and that he will be “seeking out new voices and the voices of people of colour to bring a range of ideas, and to try to cultivate and incubate smart Canadian writers.”
It will be a snapshot of the Canada of today, an ambitious national selfie.
It’s hard to imagine, talking to Adrian Lee, that he was a shy kid the first time he came to Halifax, the first time he set foot on King’s campus. But he was. Though that changed quickly with his forays into student politics and the King’s Theatrical Society.
“I wound up being very invested in the King’s community,” Adrian says. “It grew out of the way King's allows you to find out who you want to be. King's made it possible to try new things, to become confident in new ways. It is a space that allows you to do that.”
After graduating from King’s Adrian worked as a freelance reporter in Halifax. He landed a summer job at the Globe and Mail and then won a couple of internships, ending up at Maclean’s. A maternity leave position opened up and that led to his permanent job with the magazine. “I’m an adult now,” Adrian jokes. Although he notes he still doesn’t have a mortgage.
He took on the role as Maclean’s digital editor which, he says ”in today’s crazy mixed up world of journalism involved a lot of different jobs.”
Those jobs, as part of the small team that runs the magazine’s website, included social media editor, copy editor, photo editor, community manager, front end coder, graphic designer and digital strategist.
And then came the chance to host an audio program with a national reach.
When Maclean's decided to move into the podcast world, he and a pair of others, including fellow King’s grad Emma Teitel (BA ’11), co-produced and co-hosted The Thrill. It was “smart people talking about interesting things,” says Adrian, and the weekly arts and culture show went on to win gold in the 2016 Digital Publishing Awards for best podcast.
Adrian is still a bit gob-smacked that at the age of twenty-five he was allowed to host a show. It gave him confidence, new skills and it immersed him in the world of Canadian arts and culture. As opinions editor, he’s still there “overseeing stories on arts, culture and science, which are all important parts of a national magazine”
Adrian says, “arts and culture provide a window on the world that is hard to find elsewhere…Arts and culture reflect who we are and what we believe in at a certain period of time. We can’t dismiss the importance of cultural moments.”
And he can’t dismiss that he is right in the middle of a new world order for the media. And he likes the uncertainty of it.
“It’s all pretty exciting because we don’t know the answers,” Adrian says. “That means there are lots of opportunities to try new things. There’s a kind of pioneering aspect to it. But the skills I learned in King’s Journalism School prepared me to make the decisions I have to make today.”