Magazine Deadlines: An Inside Look at a Magazine Production Schedule

Magazine production is a business that runs against the clock, and those who produce magazines live a work life that is based entirely on a constant series of constantly evolving and moving deadlines. But unlike newspapers that focus on day-to-day news as it happens, then move on to the next news cycle in a few hours, magazines take longer to produce, so their lead times are longer too. .

First, the editorial staff will produce a yearly summary of issues, including cover story topics, columns and features that will go within each issue, and suggestions for artwork, photography, and graphics. Then the advertising and marketing team will get down to the business of creating ads. They will typically take a copy of the magazine and show it to potential advertisers such as merchants, retailers, or others, and then based on how many ads they sell, the managing editors will determine how many pages the magazine can afford to have. . .

The various articles will then be assigned to the writers, and they will also be given a deadline to turn in the finished articles. And they will be told how many words the articles must have, so that everything can fit on the allotted number of pages, including photos and advertisements. Photographers will be dispatched to take pictures for the magazine, graphic artists will design the entire issue, and finally it will end up packaged and ready to go to print.

The schedule for producing many magazines means that articles will be written three months or more before their print date, so writers need to keep this in mind. If you’re writing about a winter sport, for example, you’ll need to keep that in mind, even if you’re writing it in mid-July. Similarly, photographers will need to take photos that don’t look out of the ordinary when the magazine finally hits newsstands and readers open it. This may also mean that the topics covered need to be researched a year in advance, so that they are appropriate for a particular season of the year. But if they contain time-sensitive information, it may need to be inserted at the end, just before the article goes to print. For example, a food review for a restaurant opening next year could be written this year, but the phone number of the place won’t be known until next year, just before the magazine goes into production. So these kinds of challenges are part of the strategy and planning that go into producing the magazines we see every day.

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