The Ten Commandments of Magazine Editing

In magazines on May 17, 2008 at 8:28 am

I’ve been meaning to post up this gem of a link sent to me by Joon Ian about the rules of being a magazine editor. It’s not a complicated list, but it’s good to set these standards down on solid point form so that everyone can understand it clearly and succinctly.

An excerpt from Magtastic Blogsplosion (great name!)

Make a magazine for your readers

Not the PR people, not the advertisers, not the editor-in-chief.

Be true to your format

If you’re digital, be digital. Don’t try to be clickable, moving paper. If you’re paper, be paper. Don’t try to be a printout of the internet.

Be different from the competition

Being first to a story isn’t being different, different is being different.

Make sure your public can find you

Sell it, give it away, put it online. There’s nothing more frustrating – and more likely to die young – than a magazine I love but can never find.

Surprise and challenge your readers

Give the people what they want, then give them what they don’t know how to ask for.

Know what you don’t do

And then never do it. If you don’t know where the line is, it’s probably behind you.

Make every issue a collector’s issue

Passionate readers will keep their favourite copies on the bookshelf / next to the lavatory for years to come. Be that magazine.

Editors: learn to be visual. Designers: learn to love words

And then talk to each other.

The First Rule is golden: Always write for your reader–do they gain any information that’s beneficial to them? Will they learn anything new? If not, it’s fluff.

Of course, as with the Original Ten Commandments, they’re rules easier said than done, but they’re guidelines worth following nonetheless.


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