Producing the parish magazine

Are you sitting comfortably? Here you are again, it’s the end of the month, and the latest edition of the parish magazine is in your hands. You have either picked up a copy from church, received it through the post via the hard working Ena Stilley, or are reading it on the internet thanks to Mike Leuty.

Do you wonder what processes are carried out in order to produce the monthly magazine? Well look no further because I am about to reveal all - no not like that !!!

By the time you have received your copy the Mag committee will be about to meet and discuss any early comments about the latest issue. We then look towards building up the next issue, check what religious events are occurring on or around the next issue date, and decide what or which articles we will use and also what articles we would like to be produced specifically for that issue.

A quick ‘Coffee Break’ and it's back to work. How many of you have received a call from “Angela in the Office” asking you to produce an article (based on a subject) for the next magazine? We rely on input from all of you and to be honest we are often lost for words at the great response we get. After all we are producing a magazine for YOU not for US.

When we have decided on content for the month we move onto the “pipeline” discussing articles for the month after the next issue. This gives us the opportunity to discuss and promote any ideas for future issues. Once again we can suggest approaching people to write for us in order to give them maximum time to produce their articles.

When everything is in place to compile the magazine, the editor Robert Cockcroft and myself decide on the date for us to meet to produce the hard copy required for publication. The location is at my home where the entire articles are stored on my PC. Prior to our meeting I have the task of formatting all the articles for inputting into the hard copy. This requires converting all the documents from A4 portrait to A5 landscape. This can take a bit of time depending on the original format of the document. So if you are going to send in an article may I ask this of you? Can you produce a normal formatted document and add any formatting notes at the bottom of your document as this will save time. Many thanks.

Once all the articles are converted I print them out so the Editor can decide on the “batting” order. Some articles are already allocated their spot, Rectors Letter and Parish News, but the rest have to wait for the editor to decide. Once sorted into order we then start to produce a “MiniMag” which allocates page numbers and gives Robert and I a sneak preview as to how the magazine will look. We have to aim for a total of pages that is divisible by four for publishing, and we aim for twenty to twenty-four pages. We have to ensure all the adverts are included and often end up with a gap. This is the moment our friendship is tested; Robert will suggest a poem to fill in. So with Robert narrating and yours truly typing, well you can only imagine. If we had a swear box we could retire, and I mean all of us.

Once we are happy with content and format we print out the magazine and make a copy onto CD-ROM for back up. Robert takes our copy to the publisher and I send a copy to Mike Leuty for him to put onto the web site.

The following Friday the magazine is ready and is collected by Trevor or Joyce and put out ready for you to buy; now we are at a point in this article where we began.

We take great pleasure in producing your magazine but it is not a ‘closed shop’ and if you feel like writing an article for it, please do so. We have many articles that require your input, for example: (1) Why I go to St Peter’s /All Saints, (2) A day in the life in a weekday Christian. If you don’t have any facilities for producing an article we accept all forms so no excuses. We are always willing to find a solution to help.

This year we have decided to produce an Advent issue (on 30th October) followed by a Christmas/Epiphany issue (on 11th December). Each of these issues will cover a six week period.

I hope this article goes some way in explaining how the magazine is produced, and how much work is put into the final product. Having said that, without YOU and your support we would be nowhere. I hope you enjoy reading the magazine just as much as I do producing it. Finally a quick Thank You to everyone who has motivated me with their encouraging words, especially Helena and Ena, during the past twelve months. It is much appreciated.

Dennis Lord magazine producer
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 6th February 2005