Danny Viola has recently joined The Walrus as editor, and is on the hunt for great Canadian stories. Formally editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve, his writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Reader’s Digest Canada, and Motherboard, among others.
Follow him @dannyviola.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work at The Walrus?
It is tough to gauge what the most rewarding part is, mostly because I’m only three weeks into my job here. But knowing that I work at a magazine that believes in investigative reporting and thoughtful journalism, and is committed to putting in the time, money and effort that’s needed to produce quality reporting, that makes me feel very lucky.
How do you use and monitor social media?
I like knowing what everyone is talking about. I feel like I am constantly checking Twitter whenever I have a spare moment, even if it is mostly just full of dumb jokes—or maybe especially because it’s full of dumb jokes. It’s also helpful for finding new writers, or letting people know when I am looking for stories (which is always). While I was at Maisonneuve, so many stories came from people seeing a tweet and reaching out to me. It’s just a way of keeping the lines open, finding new people who I’d love to work with.
What is your verification process before you publish a story?
The Walrus, like my previous magazine, Maisonneuve, has an intensive fact-checking process. Both have interns who learn and specialize in fact-checking best practices, going through ever word of every story printed. They are pros.
Which story are you most proud of in your career so far?
The first cover story I edited for Maisonneuve, “Worth the Risk?” It was the biggest feature I have ever edited, and deals with an important issue: basically, looking at a common medical procedure that can be a death sentence for some women. The writer, Alison Motluk, is a genius, and was an absolute pleasure to work with. Also, Vesna Plazacic’s “At Least the Bombs Aren’t Falling” has a special place in my heart.
What advice do you have for PR people wishing to connect with you?
If it looks like a boring copy-and-pasted email that was sent to 1,000 other people, chances are I won’t get through the first sentence.
First website you load in the morning?
Coffee or beer?
Coffee and wine.