Home » Writing

The Inner Workings of Magazine Publishing

Aug 17, 2007
What is the working protocol of journalism especially for magazines? Also what is the role of editor-in-chief in a magazine and the working hierarchy in a magazine... who reports to whom? Also how much should the editor-in-chief allow the owners/publishers/directors of the media company to interfere in the editorial content? These are just some of the questions that is normally asked about the inner workings of a magazine.

First, I'm not sure what you mean by "working protocol of journalism." Are you talking about relationships with sources, between editors and reporters, or something else? In the context of your other questions, I wonder if you mean something to do with editorial authority, too.

Second,Various journalism roles can vary quite a bit, actually, from publication to publication. Some companies have more "hands-on" management styles, while others give their executives more autonomy. But, in general, the editor-in-chief has control over the publication's editorial contents and direction, just as the advertising director has control over the ad contents, placement, and policies.

That doesn't mean the editor is God, because he/she shares power with other high-ranking executives. The editor's greatest management skill is in working effectively with people -- knowing how to negotiate with other power brokers who have a say in how the magazine is put together, distributed, etc.

I'll give you an example of hierarchy: In the trade magazine publishing company where I worked, there was an individual editor over each magazine. We shared a pool of in-house writers, and we each contracted separately with freelancers as needed. There also was an advertising director who managed the ad sales and placement for each of the three magazines. If I didn't like the ad placement in my magazine, I could go to her and negotiate; she was usually agreeable within reason.

(Of course, we usually prevented negotiations by talking in advance about special features that would need special space, and she was conversant with our standard placement of recurring features, etc.) We also worked with execs at various support companies -- R.R.

Donnelley printing in Senatobia, Miss., which required us to meet certain format standards with what we submitted and to adhere to agreed-upon timetables; and the company that wrapped, labeled, and mailed our magazines, which required clear directives, correct mailing label files, and adherence to agreed-upon timetables. We also worked with the business office in our publishing company to communicate clearly about incoming bills from freelancers (then signing off on them) and other issues.

In other words, the hierarchy is broader, and less linear, than I thought it would be from my studies in journalism. The real world is much, much, much more "cooperative" than it is territory based. And, sadly for editors, the power tends to reside where the money is (hint: Not in the editorial offices). Often, the ad director swings a bigger stick than you will as an editor. Make close friends with the ad director -- do favors when you can. You'll need to call those favors in at some point. Make sure you develop a relationship as allies rather than as adversaries.

Last, The editor-in-chief has limited options in how much he lets the magazine's owners, publishers, and other higher-ups interfere with the editorial content. He should establish the extent of his authority when he is hired and, if possible, have it spelled out in writing. Clear upfront communications are the best preventative step. He can help prevent problems by communicating clearly with his bosses about editorial directions and getting buy-in as he goes along rather than waiting for issues to arise.

If issues are raised later on, the editor's best tool is to be persuasive to his bosses and help them understand why his editorial judgment should prevail. However, when push comes to shove, the editor's choices are limited: Stay and bow to his boss's wishes, violate his boss's wishes and take the consequences, or quit. If he has an employment contract that has been violated, he may consider suing, but that would be rare. Often, compromise (within the limits of your personal ethics) is the best option.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant at http://www.4Magazines.info/. 4Magazines.info offers the greatest magazine subscriptions from a variety of top publishers. Browse through our selection of Lifestyle Magazines here: http://www.4Magazines.info/category/lifestyle.html.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 142
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors