Category Archives: magazines

THE LITTLE TORONTO NEWS SITE THAT COULD – MEET PUBLISHER KJ MULLINS OF NEWZ4U.NET

About 18 months ago, I was introduced to one of Toronto’s unsung heroes, a woman who launched a news site that champions the underdog stories and gives a voice to those causes and issues that don’t get much exposure in mainstream media due to their lack of media “sexiness” or mass appeal. These are the stories that confront day-to-day life and issues in the naked city.  KJ Mullins is passionate about Toronto and her neighbours, and publishes her daily NEWZ4U.NET e-newspaper with the help of talented reporters and photographers dedicated to bringing the real news to you without corporate or advertiser “filters” and without fluff or filler content.

I recently sat down with KJ and asked her to tell us all about NEWZ4U.net and what prompted her to create the site.

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Tell us a little about KJ Mullins – what is your personal journalism/business background?
KJ: I started out in college on the journalism track but went to drama/psy instead. Ten years ago after other jobs and being a stay at home mom, I got the writing bug again and this time went full steam.  One of the first articles I wrote back in college helped to bring forth positive changes for disabled students rather quickly, and seeing that I could make a difference was really powerful.

KJ MullinsWhen was your website first launched?
KJ: I launched NEWZ4U.NET on May 12, 2010.

What first inspired you to create Newz4U & what news niche wasn’t being fulfilled by the national newspapers?
KJ: I wanted to get my voice out there and the voices of others who may not fit into the mainstream model. Social issues like homelessness, poverty, LGBT issues and the arts are often overlooked in the mainstream because if it’s not a ‘front and centre’ story it isn’t sexy. The same is true with stories on the city’s front line responders – in mainstream media the motto of if it bleeds it leads also means that stories about good works aren’t covered. It’s rare to find articles about the various Kops and Kids programs that do curb youth violence.

homeless porter_002 DSCF8097How did you source your first news items?
KJ: We have always sourced our news items in the same way; with on the scene and through interviewing with fact checking. We also use reliable newswires for additional coverage. 

What sort of feedback did you receive from readers once the first few editions were e-published?
KJ: Knock on wood, from the beginning we’ve had positive feedback. For the readers who had personal issues in the city like a pot hole appearing and reappearing at their Toronto Community Housing building which we helped to bring positive results, the feedback was extremely positive.

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DSCF0879Who are your readers and how do you reach them?
KJ: Our readers are mostly from Toronto and are generally 25+, evenly mixed between genders. Most have university educations and many are movers and shakers. They are interested in social change and the arts.

DSCF3761As a web-based news source, what sort of reach does Newz4U enjoy?
KJ: In 2014 we had over 449K readers who read over 2.4 million articles. We average 31K monthly readers going through 146K articles.

What stories do you look for?
KJ: We are always looking for new stories about social issues. Fresh produce in the city, and childhood hunger is a current issue we are tackling hard. In Canada’s largest business city it is mind-blowing how many go to bed hungry every night or haven’t got a bed to sleep in. We’ve covered Pride and the Caribbean Festival for several years, looking into the areas that aren’t touched by mainstream.

DSCF2517The arts are also a strong interest for us. We cover as many events, big and small, as possible. Right now we are working on the RBC Taylor Prize and the Lionel Gelber Prize, both covering Canadian non-fiction literature. Each shortlisted book is read and reviewed prior to the prize announcements. It’s a lot of work but promoting our Canadian authors is very important. These men and women are putting forth some amazing work. Photography, fine arts and music are also a prime focus. We hope to be at the Junos this year with one of our newest writers whose focus is music.

DSCF8833 DSCF6408We will also be covering sports at the Pan Am Games. Our sports photographer, Hugh McClean, has been covering soccer and rugby in the past year, two sports that get very little coverage in the city.

?????????????????????Do you offer sponsored pages or ad space and if so, what is the range of $s?
KJ: This is a hard one for us but yes we do have ad space. Ads run from $25 to $150 a month depending on placement. We have plans to change up our layout in mid-March/early-April that will allow for pages to be sponsored as well. Prices for this are still in the works.

We also have a sponsorship program which gives ‘free’ ad space for Toronto small businesses. Our Angel sponsors keep us going and growing.

NEWZ4U.NET gives back to the community by offering local grassroots and small charities space for promoting themselves and their events for FREE.

How do people reach you for editorial coverage and/or advertising?
KJ: We are always available via email at editor@newz4u.net. We respond within 24 hours Monday-Friday. You can always get in touch with me personally on Twitter @kjjournalist.

20141018_143931Above photo: G.J. Fordham

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CASHBOX CANADA MAGAZINE PRESENTS DEBUT CD LAUNCH FOR SHINING NEW MUSIC STAR, MIMI O’BONSAWIN

CashboxCanada_MIMI (7)http://www.mimi.ca

Last night, 20yr old Canadian singer/songwriter, Mimi O’Bonsawin, unleashed such a powerful performance with her debut self-titled 12-track CD, that many in the industry-heavy audience were predicting fame, fortune and Taylor Swift-like future chart domination!!

20141112_202601 20141112_203846 20141112_202258Supported by some of the best musicians in Toronto (who also played on her album), Mimi tore up the stage of The Gladstone Hotel in downtown Toronto. Producer and co-writer Thomas Wade led the band with blistering guitar riffs and the lovely back-up singers were amazing, too!

20141112_202554 20141112_202410 20141112_205024For several of her songs, Mimi, of Canadian First Nations/French Cdn heritage, was joined on stage by the Metis Fiddler Quartet (www.facebook.com/metisfiddlerquartet) – pictured below – whose haunting sounds echoed throughout the Gladstone ballroom.

20141112_203852 20141112_203905 20141112_203924Audience members and celebrity guests had a blast, each receiving a copy of Mimi’s CD and lots of post-show photo opps….including Mimi with proud mum and dad (below)

20141112_214037Founding MuchMusic VJ and Cdn music industry icon, Michael Williams (below)

20141112_215007 20141112_215020And lots of Mimi’s friends and family turned out, including this tiniest of new fans (below)

20141112_195145 20141112_195027 20141112_195133(0) 20141112_195233 20141112_200046 20141112_212008Aspiring recording artist, Deena (www.thedeenatheartist.com) and her handsome fiance/personal manager Sam Sousi, came out to support Mimi, too…

20141112_203214 20141112_212324Cashbox Canada (http://www.cashboxcanada.ca) magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and show presenter, Sandy Graham, worked hard all night and for many weeks leading up to the concert to ensure Mimi’s launch party was a big success. Here’s Sandy (below) with musician Bill Wood (Bill Wood and the Woodies) and contributing music journalist Michael Williams

20141112_212122Don Graham (Sandy’s brother and outstanding Celtic musician) pictured below, MC’d the concert….

20141112_195743…and http://www.Newz4U.net publisher/editor KJ Mullins covered the event (and shot me shooting her!)

20141112_195756Here are a few random pics from the start of the event including the all important set-up and sound-check to the post-show reception and stage tear-down…

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MIMI album coverIt truly was a magical night, watching the birth of an exciting and inspiring new musical talent. Congrats and bravo, Mimi!

 

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COOL STUFF HAPPENING FOR FORDHAM PR THIS WEEK

Big news for artist, Bruce K. Lawes, whose stunning historic portrait of a young George Armstrong Custer went under the hammer at this past Saturday’s Coeur d’Alene auction in Reno, NV.  The 6ft x 3 1/2 ft painting exceeded the reserve and Custer is now on his way to an American collector’s home.  Here’s Bruce just before the auction started with Trailside Galleries owner Maryvonne Leshe & Trailside Mkt’g Director Kimberly Fletcher, who now represent Bruce in the S.W.  Bravo and congrats, Bruce, glad to see you relaxing by the pool afterwards! http://www.bklawesart.com

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Our favourite mustard man, Dan Gordon from WHISKY & SPICE presented a sampling event at McEwan’s at The Shops at Don Mills (Toronto) yesterday and he reports he got lots of thumbs-up from the discerning shoppers. He’ll be back with more tasting opps throughout August but you can  find the 3 flavoured W&S mustards on the shelves already. http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

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So happy to reconnect with old pal, Sandy Graham, who used to run Toronto’s hottest 50’s&60’s live music venue, Route 66, way back when. I ran Ollie’s at the old Ports of Call on Yonge @ Summerhill during the same period and we had a friendly rivalry. I used to date one of her cute waiters – Danny – and I would often make it down to the Route before closing time, drop a qtr in the old jukebox, and Danny & I would dance to Rum & CocaCola by the Andrews Sisters, clearing the floor and getting rounds of applause for our Fred’n’Ginger style dancing.  Aaaaah, good times!  11 years ago, Sandy founded the annual Beach Celtic Festival which takes place this year on Sept 6 & 7 and she’s asked me to undertake the promotions and publicity for the fest.  http://www.thecelticfestival.com  So watch for updates and news over the coming weeks.

Beach Celtic Poster 2014

The Canadian Comedy Awards have a couple more weeks of voting so make sure you log on and cast your vote for the best stand-up, sketch troupe, etc. http://www.canadiancomedy.ca  If you’re planning on attending the Awards this year in Ottawa (Sept.10-14), keep checking the site for news and updates.

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I’m busy writing book reviews for my fave Canadian horse newspaper, The Rider (http://www.TheRider.com) for the August issue.  Did you know that Harlequin has a cowboy-themed series of romance novels? I’m enjoying one book, Invincible, due for release next month. And being a lifelong Monkees fan, I’m thrilled to be able to write about the new cookbook, Written in Our Hearts, created as a fundraiser for the late Davy Jones’ horse charity http://www.Facebook.com/writteninourhearts  Watch for the reviews on The Rider’s website around Aug. 15.

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Davy_JPGJerriCoverMockUp3If you’re looking for something hot’n’sexy to do this coming Saturday night, why not drop by piano lounge Salute on Bellair in Yorkville to see/listen to Deena who will be presenting her sultry song stylin’s from 9pm onwards.  http://www.DeenatheArtist.com

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So lots of stuff happening this week….time to grab another mug of coffee and get my head down. In the words of my patron saint of PR, “grace and decorum…grace and decorum” !

Hyacinth Booquet!

 

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BRUCE K. LAWES’ STUNNING EQUINE PORTRAIT GRACES COVER OF ARABELLA MAGAZINE

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CONGRATULATIONS to artist BRUCE K. LAWES for this awesome cover of ARABELLA magazine, Canada’s premiere fine arts quarterly. Check out the online version at http://www.arabelladesign.com and watch for the big juicy mag on newsstands in the next week or so. Pages 24 & 25 carry more photos of Bruce’s work including his Civil War portraits painted live from the historic Gettysburg battlefield last July 4th weekend which was the 150th anniversary of the great battle.  Bruce will again be painting at the famed National Park during their annual re-enactments so if you’re planning a trip to Gettysburg this July 4th, be sure to stop by Bruce’s tent to say hello.  http://www.bklawesart.com 

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Follow Bruce on http://www.Facebook.com/bklawesart

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DOWNTON ABBEY DAY @ Wm ASHLEY’S in YORKVILLE

web_downtonAbbey_may2014What a lovely lady-like afternoon I spent today with the promo folks from ZOOMER MEDIA and the friendly staff at WILLIAM ASHLEY’s fine china and housewares store at the Manulife Centre in Yorkville (Toronto). It was DOWNTON ABBEY DAY and all the customers were served tea in English china cups and saucers, treated to cucumber sandwiches (yum) and biscuits – shortbread & ginger snaps were my favourites.  At the store entrance, we were met by three awesome Brit autos, including this sexy Rolls next to an even sexier red Jag (below), after which I was greeted at the entrance by Mr. Carson himself!

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We enjoyed some lovely jazzy tunes by the  Terra Hazelton Trio…20140510_134759(0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

….and I was thrilled to meet a couple of real Toronto Ladies, Liz & Connie (pictured below), who attended in full stately home attire.

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Zoomer Media was there, interviewing some of the invited experts who spoke on high tea, under-stairs service in the early 1900’s and other historical/cultural subjects.   20140510_140853And I spied some beautiful china that I would love to add to my collection, too. Trouble is, I need my own lady’s maid to keep it all polished and ready for use.

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Upon leaving, I was presented with a lovely gift bag containing the latest issue of Zoomer magazine and a Downton Abbey CD containing music from the TV series. What a lovely adventure I had this afternoon, of which, I’m sure, Lady Mary would thoroughly approve.

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Pick up your own Downton Abbey collection of fine English china at:  http://www.williamashley.com

Follow all the Downton Abbey news at:  http://www.zoomermedia.ca

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NEWZ4U.NET carries great story on photo-journalist JORDAN J. HAY

Jordan J. Hay is a photographer on the move up

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Jordan J. Hay

KJ Mullins-Toronto: One of the pleasures of the annual CONTACT Photography Festival taking place this month is finding new talent. On Tuesday night at Hotel Ocho, 195 Spadina Ave, an emerging artist launched his first exhibition. Jordan J. Hay has the raw power in his images that can only continue to grow.

Jordan J. Hay did not set out to become a photographer. His first love is journalism which lead to him putting a lens to his eye and capturing what he saw. Four years ago the young Hays was covering the devastation in Haiti when he started taking pictures while on assignment. He was so young to the craft that those first images were on another’s camera. When he submitted his article he included his photos and was surprised that the art was sought after.

In those images and his later work Hay has been able to capture the heartbreak and the hope in the eyes of the world’s poorest children. Each image comes with a tale as Hay gets to know his subjects.

At Ocho Hotel he spoke of the pain grandmothers are facing in areas of Africa that have seen a generation vanish after AIDS brought a tidal wave of death. His photos of one such family in Zambia quietly reflects the struggle where grandchildren are being raised in absolute poverty with little chance of change.

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Some of Hay’s work comes from his work with his work with several Not-For-Profits like Compassion, Gospel for Asia, International Red Cross, Picture Change, Save the Children, World Vision. One of the pieces on display features a little girl smiling while holding her family’s new goat in Haiti. I asked Jordan if he sees a difference being made in communities where NFP funds are present. Hay was enthusiastic about how what looks like such a small change, like a goat, can turn the lives of a family completely around.

Hay’s work is impressive. He has the raw talent that makes him an artist to watch and can only grow into his craft. Unfortunately Ocho Hotel is not the best venue for his show. The space’s windows opposite his photos give a glare that takes away from his work. I am sure though that gallery owners who view his images will be lining up to host an exhibition for a young artist who could be the next photographical story teller like Gordon Parks.

Tibet by Jordan J. Hay

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AUTHORS AND PAINTERS AND HORSES, OH MY!

If you’re a horse lover, this weekend come celebrate the world of horses at the annual CAN-AM EQUINE EXPO when it takes over the Orangeville Agricultural Soc. Event Centre, just N.W. of Toronto.

Rider Ad

Barry Finn, publisher of THE RIDER, EQUINE NIAGARA NEWS and BARNMICE.COM (one of the world’s largest equine social networks), is hosting renowned artist BRUCE LAWES on Saturday March 29 and three popular authors of horse books, HEATHER YOUNG, ELLEN SCHOEMAN and KATHY FARROKHZAD on Sunday March 30.

“We’re looking forward to meeting our readers and horse-lovers from all across Ontario,” says Barry (pictured below), “and we’re thrilled to welcome Bruce to our booth (RedV8) tomorrow (Saturday Mar. 29) from noon to 4pm, and then on Sunday (Mar. 30) we present the three accomplished writers whose books we have featured in our publications.”

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For directions, times and ticket information please visit the Can-Am official website:  http://canamequine.com/admission/

and for a really good read, please visit:

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PANORAM ITALIA MAGAZINE FEATURES AWARD-WINNING CANADIAN FILMMAKER JOSEPH PROCOPIO

2129-joseph-procopio-young-rising-talent-lensI’m thrilled to share this great article written by Rosanna Bonura for Panoram Italia magazine showcasing young Toronto-based filmmaker JOSEPH PROCOPIO [ www.josephprocopio.ca ]. With over 45 international film awards to his name, Joseph is currently writing feature film scripts and has just returned from LA where he met with leading agents and producers to discuss his next project.

Panoram Italia interview with Joseph Procopio

Watch this blog for my own interview with this multi-talented young director-writer-producer who’s creating such a buzz in the biz!

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ARTIST BRUCE LAWES TO PAINT PORTAIT OF RESCUED WILD MUSTANG

Renowned Canadian painter Bruce Lawes has a gorgeous new model and she has four legs!  Gypsy Blu, a beautiful grey Wyoming mustang rescued by Muskoka, Ontario, resident Adrienne Goltz, is Lawes’ next subject for an equine portrait and last week they got together for a photo opp with reporter Matt Driscoll of What’s Up Muskoka magazine www.whatsupmuskoka.com. You can read Matt’s story here:  Muskoka mustang

Bruce with Gypsy Blu 1Bruce with Gypsy Blu 2Bruce will be working from a series of photos he took of Gypsy Blu and will create her portrait for owner, Ms. Goltz, in his signature hyper realism style. Check out Bruce’s website for examples of his previous work and watch for updates on Gypsy Blu’s portrait over the next few weeks.  www.bklawesart.com

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists and community magazines!

 

 

 

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