Blog Post 5: Producing the Magazine

Chapters 3, 7, 11, 13 of The Magazine from Cover to Cover

Since our group’s chose magazine topic is education, chapter 13 was particularly interesting in its discussion of ethics. This is a topic which is highly relevant in the education field. In California, K-12 educators are required to act as mandatory reporters. Therefore, the questions posed on page 342 of The Magazine from Cover to Cover are important to keep in mind when creating a magazine geared toward educators: “What duties do I have, and to whom do I owe them? What values are reflected by the duties I’ve assumed?” (Johnson and Prijatel). These questions are ones that we should be asking ourselves as grad students as well. Plagiarism or misrepresentation of source materials are huge issues in academia. Making certain that our magazine adheres to the highest ethical standards will be aided by referring to the above questions and can help us keep our standards high.

Magazines must also answer the question “[w]hat serves the reader best?” (Johnson and Prijatel 343). So when it comes to advertising, we want to make certain that the products or services we include in each issue are not just “targeted” towards educators but are things that our readers may benefit from (48). Learning that readers are more likely to purchase products that are advertised in magazines can help us choose to work with advertisers whose products will be beneficial to educators as educators (49). Running ads for overpriced cars or other luxury items may alienate our readers and signal that we view them as little more than consumers to be exploited. But exposing our readers to products that they may find beneficial to forwarding their students’ education experience can work to introduce them to products that they may not have known about. In this respect, advertisements can be beneficial to both the consumer and the producer and help us keep our magazine’s mission statement alive.

Making our magazine consistent from issue to issue is going to be something that I feel will be appealing to our readers. Knowing where to locate a particular column that they enjoy, or where the op-ed pieces are usually located, can build reader loyalty. Therefore, as a small publication in an already crowded field, it may be in our readers’ best interests to keep “the placement of elements from one issue to another” as consistent as possible (Johnson and Prijatel 289-90). This can also cut down on production costs, as our small staff will have to spend less time on arranging a new “break-of-the-book” from issue to issue (288-90). Part of the experience and attraction of a magazine is the consistency in look and content from issue to issue. I know what to expect when I pick up a copy of Vogue, for instance. Giving our readers that same satisfying feeling will help build a loyal readership.

Finding readers is of course a challenge that any magazine must face. As we decide on whether our magazine will be purely digital or produce print copies as well, we will struggle attracting eyes to our publication. As academics and K-12 teachers in particular have historically been underpaid, we will want to provide as much value for our readers as we can. Since we will definitely be publishing digitally, being aware that “search engine optimization (SEO) can bring readers to the brand through carefully developed keywords” (Johnson and Prijatel 176). Conducting informal searchers for education-oriented Twitter accounts and searching blog aggregators like Feedly can help us identify useful keywords to drive our brand and better align our content to suit potential readers’ interests.

Creating a magazine from scratch is a daunting task. With so many options to consider, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about marketing our brand for real. It’s going to be enough work to get one issue up and running without having to start all over again once that first issue is completed. It’s fun to read and think about, but for right now, the idea of “one and done” is quite appealing. Like everything I’m exposed to in grad school, I am left feeling like the more I learn about a topic, the more I realize that I know very little about it. It’s nice to scratch the surface of magazine production, but I’m glad I’m not doing it for a living.

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