How I Made It

Chelsea Murray, Magazine Founder & Editor

Chelsea Murray is the Halifax-based co-founder of The Deep Magazine, which publishes deeply reported stories about Atlantic Canadian people, places and ideas. Here, she tells FLARE how she made it

Chelsea Murray looks directly at the camera wearing a blue denim jacket and long necklace

Chelsea Murray; @chelsea_murray

How do you describe your job to your family?

I tell them I tell stories. As a journalist it can be obvious what your job is, but not everyone really understands what a magazine editor does. In that role I help those writing for The Deep tell stories by working with them on story and structure to make their piece the best it possibly can be. 

What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever done solely for money?

I grew up on a dairy farm, and in high school I worked as a fitter. You’re basically clipping cattle for show [a.k.a. giving them a nice haircut], which is a very cool thing if you’re into that, but it’s very hard to explain to people. It’s something I loved doing. 

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

Going to Ryerson University [for a masters of journalism]—working with the instructors and getting to know people in the industry—has helped me in my career. Even if everything you do in journalism school isn’t always valuable, making those connections has really served me well.

What would you say has been your most significant setback, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

Working a part-time job after graduation to subsidize freelancing and still not making enough money to pay student loans and rent was hard. It affected my confidence and ambition to do more, and I second-guessed myself constantly. The financial aspect is what made me look for a full-time job outside of media, and finally landing something that really fit helped me get out of that funk.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

Something I wish I’d told myself is: Take every opportunity and work harder than you think you can. If you’re interested in something but afraid of it, do it anyway. As you get older, you write a piece or edit something that was hard and you get through it and realize, I probably could have done this all along. It’s the fear of ‘What if I can’t do it?’ and I wish I hadn’t listened to that little voice as much.

When you’re feeling low about your work, what’s the one thing you always do/watch/read/listen to bring yourself back up again?

Getting outside and making my body really physically tired, either by hiking or running, helps me clear my head and decompress. I also compulsively listen to true-crime podcasts—they’re escapist for me.

How would you describe your industry in terms of representation and inclusivity?

People are beginning to realize that we’re not doing a great job in the media industry—especially when it comes to diversity. Steps are being taken in the right direction to change that, but we’re not there yet.

At The Deep, we aim to have as close to gender parity as we can. Six of our eight original features have been written by women. We’re also conscious of the fact that we’re two white people running the magazine. Because of this, we have to constantly challenge ourselves to make sure the magazine reflects those within Atlantic Canada who don’t necessarily fit the stock ideas of the region.


Looking to the future, what excites you the most about your career?

Making The Deep a financially sustainable publication is something that we’re working towards. In the next year or so we’re making changes to the way we publish, working on our strengths and really building. That’s exciting, as it’s another opportunity to make it better. 

What worries you the most about your career?

As I enter my mid-thirties, I’m starting to think about mid-career moves, which is a different way of thinking about your career. It stresses me out, asking questions like: What do I need to be thinking? What steps do I need to be making to move my career ahead? And I’m not sure that I know the answers. 

  • Click here for more work-life inspo from the awesome people on our #HowIMadeIt List