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Broadside: A Feminist Review began publication in October 1979 and produced 10 issues a year until its demise in September 1989. Until then, the paper met its publication goals regularly with two exceptions: a mail strike and faulty equipment. Published in Toronto, Broadside was heavily weighted to Ontario. Attempts were made to link other Canadian correspondents to issues on a regular basis, however these were not consistently sustained.
Behind the production of Broadside was a volunteer collective whose goal was to publish a tabloid-size newspaper that would provide a forum for all women, to encourage dialogue, and to provide a feminist perspective on a range of subjects. The publication was committed to publishing reviews, analyses of women’s issues and feminist perspectives on world events. Articles about the Vietnamese Boat People, nuclear power, and Amnesty International shared space with articles on sexual assault, pornography, child care, pay equity, and abortion. There was always a large arts component along with critical commentary on popular culture.
Collective membership varied and current members were identified in the mastheads. The members of the collective had a variety of backgrounds and skills. These included volunteering skills for layout, editorial functions, fundraising, subscription services, circulation and distribution. Original collective members included Eve Zaremba, Philinda Masters, Deena Rasky, Beverly Allinson, Heather Brown, Susan G. Cole, Debra Curties, Judith Lawrence, Alex Maas, Jacqueline Frewin, and Susan Sturman.
From 1979 to 1988 Broadside had one paid employee, the editor, Philinda Masters. While the Broadside collective was responsible for the paper’s overall functioning, day to day decisions fell on the editor’s shoulders. Masters resigned in 1988 due to increasing financial and personal duress. During the mid-1980s summer students were hired under federal and provincial job programs. Some of the students continued to participate with the paper’s production as collective members.
Throughout its existence, the paper operated under the constant risk of financial doom. Support was raised mainly from advertisers, subscribers, and government grants. Some fundraising efforts sponsored by Broadside included dances, concerts, and a strawberry brunch. The collective initiated direct mail campaigns to boost subscriber lists and revenue.
The editorial collective attempted to continue the paper’s production, but found the combination of burn-out and financial pressures overwhelming. Volume 10, No.4 was published in February 1989, but there was no March issue. A meeting was called in an effort to encourage another group to take over production. Lacking further support, Broadside published the tenth anniversary and final issue (Volume 10, No.5) in August/September of 1989. The collective received funding for the final issue from personal donations and the Ontario Women’s Directorate.
Several collective members, participated in organizing the 1986 Canadian Feminist Periodicals (CFP) Conference. This conference was an initiative that grew out of the efforts of members of the Canadian Periodicals Publishers Association to strengthen the Feminist base within Quebec. Their first conference was held in 1985 in Quebec.
Significant contributors to Broadside included: Myrna Kostash, Susan G. Cole, Eve Zaremba, Marlene Nourbese Philip, Ann Cameron, Dorothy Heanut, Banuta Rubess, Angela Miles, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Kates, and Eleanor Wachtel.