Sarah Fulford

Editor-in-Chief of Toronto Life

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), Contemporary Studies and Classics, 1996

The name of the game is experimentation.

Sarah Fulford loved the notes her King’s professors gave her on the bi-weekly essays she had to write. She says, “I was quite bad at the beginning but I was much better by the end because I got such good feedback.”

It was the feedback, as much as what she learned from digging into old texts while studying Classics, that Sarah took from her time at King’s.

“I was constantly told to have an argument and to have a strong point of view,” she says. “Good journalism relies on great reporting and great story telling. But the best writers have a voice and an opinion and have a driving vision or argument that they are trying to get through. I learned that at King’s.”

It’s a lesson that has helped her as editor of Toronto Life, a position she has held since 2008.

“She’s the best editor in Canada,” says one novelist and essayist.

When Sarah left King’s, she spent a year in Jerusalem learning about her Jewish heritage by studying ancient religious texts. She wrote some travel articles, got one published in the Globe and Mail, and when she returned to Toronto she did a little more freelance writing while looking for work. She got a job in a book store, worked for a while with Elm Street magazine, and then began at Toronto Life as an associate editor. She became a senior editor within a few years and then, with the help of her mentor, John Macfarlane, who was editor of the magazine at the time, Sarah moved into the top job.

Toronto Life did have a web presence in 2008 but, under Sarah’s leadership, the digital version has expanded. She says, “Every year, every month it changes. We have to be constantly evolving, trying new platforms. The name of the game is experimentation.”

It hasn’t changed the journalism the magazine provides. Sarah believes strongly in giving readers well written and “deeply investigated” stories alongside the stuff of life in the city – culture, cuisine, real estate, and trends. But social media platforms have changed the reach of her magazine.

“In a way, we are no longer a regional publication. But, when we have a piece that has big international significance, like the one we did about a man from Guelph who had sponsored fifty Syrian families, it can go global. And that piece went totally global. There was even an article in Al Jezeera about it.”

It is a big job being editor of a magazine with well over a half million readers of the print version and millions online. But, for Sarah, being an editor isn’t just a day job; it occupies much of her life. That novelist and essayist who referred to Sarah as “the best editor in Canada”? That’s her husband, Stephen Marche (BAH ’97). They met at King’s, got married, and moved to New York where Stephen had a tenure track position at City College of New York. He quit that when Sarah was asked to be editor of Toronto Life and they moved back to Toronto. Now Stephen writes full time and says Sarah has her editor’s hat on for just about everything he writes.

Sarah, for her part, acknowledges the complete partnership the two share: “We love talking about story ideas, storytelling, and sometimes he wants another set of eyes and I’m right there.”

The road from King’s does take some curious turns.

Posted: Apr. 2017


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