Thanks to Lorraine Carpenter, Cult MTL’s owner, co-founder and editor-in-chief, Montreal’s only English daily web and monthly print publication is not only surviving, it’s defying industry trends and thriving.
For Carpenter, this success is a testament to the value of hyperlocal journalism ― something she first learned about as a writer and editor at The Concordian student newspaper.
While studying at Concordia’s Department of Journalism, she secured a one-week internship at the Montreal Mirror newsweekly, which developed into a 12-year stint as a writer, copy editor and music editor.
When that publication folded in 2012, she banded with other Mirror staff to launch Cult MTL, taking up the mantle as the city’s independent English-language source for arts, culture and news.
Proudest career moment
“Being able to persevere over the years that followed the launch of Cult MTL. After the momentum had died down, we not only kept things going but grew the company, even during the pandemic, which was a very problematic time for the industry. We experienced exponential growth during that period, even though we weren’t able to print or distribute our magazine.”
“People have been saying that print is dead for 25 years and we initially intended Cult MTL to be online only. But when we started printing a monthly magazine, people were excited.”
The Concordia factor
“I spent a lot of time on the airwaves at Concordia’s radio station, CJLO 1690AM. I found it helpful as a music journalist because it kept me in tune with music and being a curator. However, I really think my most crucial experience as a student was being an editor at The Concordian.”
Breaking into the industry
“What really got my foot in the door was doing an internship at the Montreal Mirror. Being an intern was required as part of the degree and the experience was very valuable. I spun it off into a longer internship, followed by a job.
Advice for aspiring journalists
“When looking for a job, I think people should focus on bringing ideas rather than presenting their CVs and asking for something to do.”