Magazine Training International began its life in 1989 as Eastern European Magazine Training Institute (EEMTI), dedicated to helping to strengthen and provide resources to the fledgling Christian publishing industry emerging from the shadows of communism. Later, the ministry extended into the countries of the former Soviet Union and in 2000 into East and Southeast Asia. As the ministry continued to expand worldwide, it became advisable to move the headquarters from Austria to the United States. We had long before dropped "Eastern European" from our name. In 2006 we changed our name to Magazine Training International.
Our first challenge
When Eastern Europe turned a new page in history in 1989, for the first time Christians were free to print their own message on that page. Largely denied access to the printed page for half a century, Christians were eager to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by a relatively unfettered church and press. Nevertheless, the obstacles were formidable.
For 50 years, Christians could not freely publish magazines in Eastern Europe. As a result, few Christians had publishing experience or education in journalism. Yet, because of the cataclysmic happenings of the 90s, entire nations were open to the gospel in a new way.
For most of Eastern Europe's new publishers, the response was to plunge into publishing first—and then look for desperately-needed help in the form of training and resources.
As Eastern Europe's Christian publishers began to ask for help, the EEMTI program developed rapidly, growing out of the individual efforts of one trainer and expanding to involve dozens of experienced magazine professionals from around the world. Over the last decade, MTI trainers have taught in conferences in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Slovakia, Austria, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, and the United States. Since 1989, MTI has organized more than 50 conferences and courses covering every facet of publishing.
The present challenge
Today, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union boast hundreds of Christian magazines. Although many are stable and growing, most are still struggling, often largely as a result of the still-rocky economies of most of the countries in the region. However, since 1996, MTI has been able to increasingly deploy Eastern Europe's more-experienced editors as trainers in the region.
The ministry continues to expand in Asia. To date, some 140 staff members of about 70 magazines from 20 Asian countries have attended MTI events in Asia and elsewhere. MTI plans to continue working in Asia, offering a course or conference every year or two.
Because of increasing demand for MTI courses and our inability to expand the ministry rapidly enough to satisfy demand, we decided to begin to offer DVD courses which may be organized locally by publishers or others. The business course, Managing the Magazine, was released in January 2009 and is now available. Our second course to be offered on DVD, Design for Magazines, is expected to be available in February 2010.