CityMag, South Australia’s free street magazine, is celebrating ten years this month – a testament to the power of local journalism.
CityMag was first published in 2013 by founders Josh Fanning and Farrin Foster to create a voice for Adelaide’s emerging generation of young professionals. It was bought by South Australian-based national publishing company, Solstice Media, in 2018, sparking a new period of growth. The publication now has more than 60,000 monthly website users and more than 105,000 page views, with about 40,000 readers for the quarterly print editions.
All of this comes at a time when local media and street press are disappearing. For CityMag, its first ten years have coincided with a historic change on Adelaide’s streets – and this has not been a coincidence. Its founders were part of the movement that transformed the city’s vibrant laneways with a new small bar license. CityMag’s pages were filled with young entrepreneurs who were central to this change. “We wanted to try and see what we could do and what we could change,” Fanning said.
“We did connect with the government, we did create small bar licenses with Udaberri and then Clever Little Tailor, which was the second and really the official pilot of this special circumstance license. So, we did feel like we helped change history.”
CityMag entered the market when there were numerous publications focused on the city. Most of those are now closed but CityMag remains a go-to news source in discovering the latest trends in hospitality, the arts, and business news. Its work over the decade ranged from new bar openings and the operators that made them special, to the musicians that lit up stages, and retailers who offer unique products, essentially seeing Adelaide for “what it is and what it is becoming”.
“We first started making magazines because we didn’t feel like Adelaide saw its true potential…,” Fanning said.
“Farrin and I wanted to give Adelaide some swagger and to help it see how its offering as a small-scale city was truly world-class. From this, we essentially created a platform for young people to tell their stories, because their stories also told my story.
“If there’s one thing a vibrant city runs on, it’s the energy of new and interesting people doing new and interesting things.
“Without a media brand who valued new ideas and championed change at a grassroots level, I believe Adelaide would have continued to lose generations of young people to the bright lights of bigger, more progressive cities.” Solstice media managing director, Paul Hamra said CityMag has had a profound impact on the culture of Adelaide.
“When we acquired CityMag back in 2018, we were incredibly proud to add such an innovative and thought-leading publication to our portfolio and in the five years since we’ve owned it, it has become stronger,” he said.
“CityMag really has been influential in changing Adelaide’s vibrancy, laneways, and small bar scene and we look back on this in our special 10th anniversary edition with a stroll down Leigh Street – now a bustling entertainment strip lined with numerous small bars.
“The fact that CityMag has thrived at a time of continuing transformational change in the media is a testament to the quality of reporting, as well as the dedication and passion of staff to make a difference and a lasting contribution to the entire community.
“We hope the people of Adelaide join us in celebrating this great milestone and raise a toast to another decade of CityMag showcasing Adelaide’s best habits, culture, and commerce.”
The special ten-year anniversary edition of CityMag is out now. Free copies are available to collect at various venues around Adelaide, including several hotels, pubs, cafes, OTRs, and other businesses throughout the city.
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