Magazine Training International

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After you have brainstormed a number of article ideas, designed a chart for your magazine, and plugged some of your ideas into the chart, you need to look at how to get from planning to production. The magazine needs to be ready to send out for printing—by the deadline! There are two stages in this process—article acquisition and production.

Article acquisition is the part of the process where you assign and collect articles. You will need some type of system to keep track of all the articles you need to assign, have already assigned, and have received. In addition, you’ll need to track the articles that need to be rewritten, are in the process of being rewritten, or are ready to edit.

It may help to view the production process as a series of stages in which different steps are carried out at each stage. In this way, responsibility for different stages can be assigned to different staff members and deadlines can be given. As a result, the entire staff will be aware of the status of production of any given article or magazine issue. The following charts are examples of those used by some editors to complete these processes.

The article acquisition process
Magazine chart
This sample chart is one of  a number of systems that may be used. It shows the magazine’s status on August 30 of the current calendar year. Click here to see a sample of a magazine chart in PDF format. Instructions for use are included.

Here is the supposition for the deadlines assigned to the articles:
  1. The final deadline (when the magazine goes to your pre-press house) for the January/February issue is November 15.
  2. The magazine will be in production in your offices for two months, beginning September 15.
  3. The editors want all the articles to be ready to edit September 15.
  4. Therefore, the writers’ deadline for this issue was August 15, in order  to allow for late manuscripts, article approval, and rewrites.
Article status chart
This chart (for a bimonthly magazine) shows the status of assigned articles as of August 30. Click here to see a sample of an article status chart in PDF format. Instructions for use are included.

To use the article status chart effectively:
  1. Keep it on your computer and update it daily. Or, it could also be kept on a blackboard or white board.
  2. Make it available to all of your editors through networked computers if possible.
  3. Watch for missed deadlines; in which case you need to contact authors.
  4. Watch for articles you’ve had for several weeks that no one has read or approved.
  5. Continue to modify the format to meet your needs.
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The production process
The production calendar
The purpose of the production calendar is to provide individual deadlines for each phase of production. Click here to see a sample of a production calendar in PDF format. Instructions for use are included.

The article tracking form/folder
The purpose of the article tracking form and folder is to ensure that each phase of production is completed. It also provides a means of communication between designers and editors and a central place to keep production documents. This is just a sample. Click here to see a sample of the article tracking form in PDF format. Instructions for use are included.

The production chart (Click here to see a sample in PDF format.)
The purpose of the production chart is to provide an overview of where each article stands in the production process for an entire issue. This chart is just a sample. You would need to design your own production chart to fit your magazine’s production stages.

How to use a production chart:
  1. The managing editor writes the article names into the template at the beginning of the cycle.
  2. The managing editor writes the date in the appropriate box as each stage of the process is completed.
  3. If work on an article is falling behind, the managing editor checks to see what is happening.
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