Jim Zang, Associate Publisher at Calgary-based Source Media Group, considers himself a lucky man. His luck started right out of university when his sociology degree couldn’t attract a job. Jim then enrolled in the Public Relations Diploma program at Mount Royal College. Several courses in journalism that first year and a savvy instructor identified Jim’s passion and talent for writing. In 1986 he landed his first job with Panorama Industrial Communications – a one-man PR and communications firm.
The boss brought in the assignments, and I did the work.” One year later, Jim published his first magazine: How to Have 10 Perfect Vacations in Southern Alberta. “I did all the research, learned great facts as I traveled around southern Alberta, and I wrote the first draft.
His next lucky break occurred when intern employment funding ran out at Panorama in September 1987. Out of work, he boldly applied to the Calgary Herald for the Special Features Coordinator position, despite not having the requisite five years of experience. His new position swiftly became a baptism by fire because of the ‘88 Calgary Olympics.
Over the next 15 years, he scoured all avenues to generate new revenue for the Herald. “My job was to coordinate all aspects of every new project I dreamed up, from production to advertising to feature writing.” During his tenure, department revenue soared from $500,000 to over $6 million.
Jim confessed that his third lucky break occurred when his turning 40 triggered a full midlife crisis. He hungered for a different challenge, but there was no room for movement at the Herald. He knew that he wanted to focus his efforts on his passions – writing and magazine publishing.
After a brief adventure with Red Point Media, he found himself jobless once again. Ever the researcher, Jim noticed that one particular magazine on the stands had no staff editor listed. The publisher – Source Media Group. He called and was hired the next day as the managing editor. In 2004, Source Media Group had only two magazine titles.
In June 2014, Jim celebrated his 10 years with the firm as Associate Publisher. He is justifiably proud of the growth of the business. He and his 15 talented team members now produce nine regular magazine titles, Condo Living and New Home Living, to name just two. Over the next 10 years, his plan is for steady corporate growth and increased profitability of all the magazines.
Sue Paulson is freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing illuminating profiles about notable Albertans. See more at www.suepaulson.wordpress.com.