Starting with a blank piece of paper for a new publication can be a daunting task.
But being clear on a few key things can usefully help shape the project.
Even if this is not a ‘first edition’ but an ongoing publication or regularly updated website, answering these questions can be extremely helpful to evolving and improving your editing (and creative) process.
What is the purpose of your publication?
Is it intended to influence, entertain, inform – or maybe all three?
Who is it for?
Who is your readership: other pupils, teachers, parents or the wider community in which the school is an important part?
What is the range of subjects to be covered?
Are there boundaries (topics relevant to your school and what it does, for example) or is ‘the sky is the limit’ – anything from how the universe began, through to music, mobile phones and social media, to potentially contentious topics such as politics, body image, sex and religion?
What size is it?
And, particularly if a printed publication, how many pages will there be? For a website, decide how many sections there will be and the page structure setup.
Do you have a budget and business plan?
Few things can be done without money and thus managing the ‘business’ element. What will be the costs of producing your publication for paper and printing, for example. Are there other costs? What funds do you have? Can you generate some more – through advertising or sponsorship? To help with this, writing a simple business plan is always a good idea.
Who should edit it and write it?
Great magazines and newspapers are seldom produced by individuals – it’s all about working as a team and making sure that everyone involved is bringing their special talents and skills to the project.
Do deadlines matter?
Quick answer: Yes! How else do you think newspapers get published every day…
What makes a good cover?
They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’… but an awful lot of people do!
Should we number the pages?
We’d always recommend it . . .
Is there competition?
You may decide to examine other similar publications in your area to understand what competition your magazine might have.
Do some research by deciding where it is to be available e.g. local shops and community venues and ask other organisations who produce their own publication how many they circulate to help you calculate the optimum number.
Can we produce a stand-alone online edition or website?
Yes, if you feel you have the ability and resources.
Or maybe you already have an established online ‘magazine’.
Some of our entries don’t have the financial resources to print, but are judged in just the same way.
Shine School Media Awards
@shinemediawards - Oct 20
Hi everyone. We've had a busy few weeks talking to schools all over the country about what we achieved in 2020 – and looking ahead to next year. All our latest news is here >>> https://t.co/Rc8MO9jN5B https://t.co/mO7amH0o7K
Shine School Media Awards
@shinemediawards - Jul 20
The team at @BromsSchool, who won the Shine award for Best Magazine in this year's competition, have written an article talking about how they created their winning entry. It's on the Shine blog, here >>> https://t.co/weH0Di25Tf https://t.co/HsorCCBGLS