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The Daily, The Tablet, and The Editor

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Viewing News Corporation's launch from an editor's perspective.

By Meredith L. Dias

"New times demand new journalism. The devices that modern engineering has put in our hands demand a new service, edited and designed specifically for them."

With that statement, media mogul Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. has thrown his hat into the digital publishing ring. Earlier this month, he launched The Daily, a daily iPad newspaper. So just how "new" is the Daily brand of journalism? Is the "new service" really all that new? What is the role of editorial in tablet publishing?

The Daily Contents

The Daily, says Carl Bagh in a recent International Business Times article, "is an attempt to rekindle the old print-based newspaper on a different platform, the tablets." It is, in New York Magazine's words, "an iPad-only tabloid."

An editorial team, led by The New York Daily Post managing editor Jesse Angelo, creates each iPad-optimized issue and beefs up the text with photographs, panoramic images, HD video, and the ability to share certain content with social networks. Subscribers log in to the app daily to receive the latest issue. They can scroll through a "carousel" of stories and select the content that interests them, much like flipping through a traditional print newspaper.

Will readers latch onto this multimedia-enhanced version of a traditional newspaper? Some believe that its app-based subscription model could be the answer that has eluded newspaper publishers for years. However, for the time being, The Daily is available to iPad users only, so its reach is limited. Still, the newspaper constitutes a compelling tablet publishing experiment. Will 3D imagery, streaming HD video, and sharing capabilities be enough to shift reader habits away from free content and a 24/7 news cycle?

The Daily takes into consideration the twenty-first-century news cycle; editors can update the issue throughout the day to cover breaking news that arises. About that, James Poniewozick of Time.com says, "I haven't seen much evidence of that yet."

Editorial Responsibilities

The Daily presents a challenge to its editors. They are responsible not just for a collection of up-to-the-minute news articles, but also a multimedia experience. To quote The Princess Bride, "That doesn't leave much time for dilly-dallying." So much more is involved than just formatting articles in a grid. It's seeking out the photographic and video content that will engage the reader and turn the article into a rich multimedia experience. It's keeping the content relevant when there other online news outlets update constantly throughout the day. And it's generating attention-grabbing Facebook- and Twitter-ready headlines for social sharing.

A publication this media-intensive would be difficult enough to maintain on a monthly basis. So how will editors churn out issue after daily issue of multimedia news coverage? According to macstories.net, editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo's newsroom is powered by over 100 journalists. In a memo to his editorial team, reproduced on New York Magazine's website, he expresses his desire to move beyond web and wire reporting. He wants exclusives. He wants The Daily to become an original source, rather than an aggregator of wire content. He wants his "crack news team" to produce original, groundbreaking content on a daily basis.

The Element of Reader Choice

According to some media analysts, The Daily falls short in its failure to incorporate the concept of reader choice. Like a print newspaper, The Daily is a static editorial product -- readers cannot filter daily content to suit their specific preferences. Apps like Flipboard, on the other hand, allow readers to create their own magazine based on personal interests. "Thus," says Bagh in his article, "the choice before the user is to create their own customized content experience or to rely on a group of editors to define their experience."

However, readers can define their Daily experience to a point. The app allows them to personalize their subscription with local weather data and preferred sports team news.

A Compelling Experiment

Just how important is reader choice in today's digital publishing world? Vital, according to some. The Internet has empowered readers to seek out the content that interests them and ignore what doesn't. So how appealing will a digital version of the traditional print newspaper be to young readers who have cut their teeth on the 24/7 news cycle? Will they embrace this repackaged version of a classic concept, or will they continue to rely on tailored newsfeeds from their favorite sites? Can News Corp. and other publishing entities lure these readers away from constantly updated (not to mention free) news content from Google News?

The Daily has posted a YouTube video that demonstrates the newspaper's major features. Their iPad publishing vision: "Touch, swipe, tap, and explore to bring stories to life." If enough readers heed this intriguing instruction, The Daily may prove to be the first of many daily news publications edited and designed specifically for tablets.

Meredith Dias is senior editor of Editors Only.

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Tablets and E-readers: The Next Wave?

Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Examining the results of the Harrison Group/Zinio digital reading survey.

By Meredith L. Dias

Editors everywhere are responding to the explosion of tablet computing and e-reading devices. Tablets and e-readers are poised to make an even bigger splash in the coming year, reveals a September 2010 Harrison Group and Zinio survey. "'We are forecasting that tablet-based devices and e-readers together will exceed 20 million units in the next year," says Harrison Group's vice chairman, Dr. Jim Taylor, "and they may well be the Christmas gift of 2010."

The survey results, however, tell a more modest story about digital readership that editors ought to consider before making any sudden moves. According to Harrison Group/Zinio, 28 percent of respondents read digital magazines or books. While this constitutes nearly one-third of the survey respondents, it means that over two-thirds of the 1,816 18- to 64-year-olds surveyed are not yet digital readers. The percentage of digital readers is likely to explode in coming years, but the survey results tell us that, for the time being, there is still a significant contingent of non-digital readers.

What's more, Harrison Group/Zinio quantifies the aforementioned 28 percent of respondents as "up from less than 10 percent in 2008." This is a somewhat misleading statistic. It is like saying that 2010 car model sales have boomed because more people are driving 2010 cars than they were two years ago. The digital technology has changed significantly since 2008. Back then, there were fewer e-reading devices on the market and tablet computing was still in its infancy.

In the press release, Dr. Taylor claims, "'[Tablets and e-readers] are associated with substantial increases in adult reading.'" However, the survey results simply tell us that 58 percent of tablet and e-reader owners "are reading 'more digital content than [they] ever thought [they] would,'" Does this mean that e-readers and tablets are creating more avid readers, or could it mean that avid readers are more likely to purchase the devices?

The press release also reveals that "33 percent [of tablet and e-reader users] acknowledge that they are spending more money on buying things to read." True, these device users are spending more on reading material, but the survey doesn't tell us whether they are actually buying digital, print, or both -- or even whether or not they actually read what they're buying.

In an October 6, 2010, article on Folio's website, Jason Fell leads with another statistic from the survey: "Consumers who own tablets and other e-readers generally spend 50 percent more time reading magazines (presumably on those devices) than consumers who do not own those devices.'" Can we infer conclusively from the data given that these readers are reading their magazines on their tablets and e-readers? The survey speaks simply to the increased time spent consuming magazine content -- but, again, not the mode of content delivery.

When developing a strategic plan for smartphone and tablet editions, it is important to look at the hard numbers and ignore any unsupported postulation. We can make assumptions based on available data, but we can't bank our publications' futures on them.

Meredith Dias is senior research editor of Editors Only.

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Digital Reading Terminology

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:51 PM

A handy glossary of digital reading vocabulary for editors.

By Meredith L. Dias

There are a great many devices available for reading digital content. You may already be using some of them at home or in your editorial department. However, for many, the technology can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. This month, we have compiled a glossary of devices and terms to help identify and differentiate between portable digital reading devices.

Digital Reading Terminology

E-reader: A computing device, usually a unitasker, engineered specifically for consumption of e-books and digital magazines and newspapers. E-readers come in a variety of sizes and offer a wide range of features, from annotations to 3G connectivity. (Examples: Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader)

Laptop: A portable personal computer, often with similar specifications to a desktop computer. Characterized by its ability to sit on a user's lap. (Examples: Toshiba Satellite, MacBook, HP Pavilion, Dell Inspiron)

Mobile device: A blanket term that describes any pocket-sized computer (e.g., iTouch), PDA, or smartphone.

Netbook: A smaller version of a laptop with lower specifications, often geared toward Internet browsing and on-the-go word processing. Netbooks are engineered for longer battery life than their larger laptop counterparts. (Examples: Acer Aspire, HP Mini, ASUS Eee, Toshiba Mini)

PDA (personal digital assistant): A palm-sized computer or smartphone that allows users to manage information (e.g., appointments, contacts, etc.). Many modern smartphones have integrated PDA functionality, so there is some overlap between PDAs and smartphones. (Examples: iPhone, iTouch, Palm Pre, Blackberry)

Smartphone: An advanced mobile phone with Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi or 3G networks. Other advanced features include PDA functionality, on-the-go word processing, social networking, and email. (Examples: iPhone, Android, Blackberry)

Tablet computer: A portable computer characterized by touchscreen maneuvering and virtual keyboard. Some models offer traditional keyboards users can plug into USB ports. (Examples: iPad and the upcoming Blackberry Playbook)

For Your Consideration: A New Term

All of the devices above share an important feature: portability. While some are more unwieldy than others, any of the above devices can be transported to and fro' with relative ease -- unlike, say, a desktop computer. We find that there is no commonplace term to categorize all of the devices -- the laptops, the netbooks, the smartphones, the tablets -- that facilitate on-the-go digital reading. For simplicity's sake, Editors Only has devised a new term for this purpose: portable digital readers (PDRs). You will likely see this term pop up again in our future coverage of mobile and tablet publishing.

Why the New Term?

We felt that a blanket term like "PDR" was necessary, particularly given the wide range of digital reading devices and the development of non-portable technology like Google TV. We wanted to differentiate between the devices that anchor readers to the nearest outlet and those that run on battery power and can be taken virtually anywhere, much like a print magazine. PDRs include not only the dedicated devices like the e-readers, but also devices capable of various other functions. Essentially, any portable device upon which someone may read a digital book, magazine, or newspaper qualifies as a PDR.

There is overlap between some of the terms on the list (e.g., between smartphones and PDAs), but there doesn't seem to be one term to unite all of these portable reading devices. For instance, while the term "mobile" applies to the pocket-sized devices in our glossary, it doesn't apply to the laptops, netbooks, e-readers, and most tablets. Similarly, the term "e-reader" doesn't really fit the other devices on the list, which tend to be multitaskers. It is the word "portable" that unites them all.

So which PDRs do you use? I remain faithful to my rather large (but, oh, so slick) 17-inch Toshiba Satellite, reading digital galleys of books for review while the graphics processor warms my lap. Someday, my schedule may demand a shift to an even more portable device that allows me to read digital content while on my lunch hour or during my commute. For the time being, though, I like to leave the Internet at home or in my office. But thanks to the Editors-Only-coined PDR classification, I can feel like a part of the rapidly expanding digital reading culture rather than a total Luddite!

Meredith L. Dias is senior research editor of Editors Only.

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Protect and Monetize Your Online Content!

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Seven steps for setting up an effective, low-cost copyright enforcement program.

By R. David Donoghue

The online world is a double-edged sword for publishers.

On the one hand, it is a powerful publishing tool bringing content to a much broader audience, with much lower costs than are required to print and distribute by mail. On the other hand, the Internet also allows virtually anyone to copy content with only the most minimal costs.

This new reality has led to a dramatic increase in content theft, both intentionally and accidentally.

The best way to protect content on the Internet is to acquire and enforce copyrights. More and more, widespread content theft is causing organizations of all sizes to consider enforcement programs to protect their content. The good news is that any size publisher can set up an effective, low-cost copyright enforcement program that will protect its content and can even turn the publisher's copyrights into a profit center, in seven straightforward steps:

#1 -- Register Your Copyrights

You have a copyright as soon as you create original content, but to use the federal courts to enforce it, you need to register your copyright. No matter when you register, you can recover actual damages. But actual damages are often hard to prove. And even when you can prove them, they tend to be low compared to the legal fees for copyright infringement litigation.

For example, the actual damages when someone purchases a single-use subscription to an electronic trade publication -- but uses it like a group license by forwarding the publication around an office -- would generally be the difference between the cost of the group and single-use subscription. That difference rarely justifies the six- or seven-figure fees for a copyright litigation.

However, if you register your copyright within sufficient time of the work's publication, you can seek statutory damages. Statutory damages are a legal replacement for your actual damages, (which are often hard to prove, and relatively low compared to legal fees for a copyright case). Statutory damages, however, can be as high as $150,000 per work.

So, going back to the forwarding of the single-use subscription electronic trade publication, if the subscriber forwarded 12 monthly publications over a year, the statutory damages could be as high as $1.8 million, or 12 times $150,000. Statutory damages, therefore, make copyright litigation a viable enforcement tool.

#2 -- Give Notice of Your Copyrights

On the first page of every copyrighted work or on every copyrighted webpage, print a copyright notice in the form of: "Company Name © 2010" (or the year or years the content was created). "All rights reserved". That single statement, properly placed, puts infringers on notice of your copyright, and if your copyrights have been properly registered, allows for infringements to be deemed willful, resulting in potential damages up to $150,000 per work. Without the notice or other proof that the infringer had actual notice of the copyright, the maximum statutory damages drop to $30,000 per work.

#3 -- Keep Track of Your Content

To prosecute infringers, you need to show that the infringer had access to your content. For print content, you can use sales records. For Internet content, you can use statistics software like Google Analytics. These software packages will tell you which IP addresses accessed your website and which pages were visited. The IP addresses can then be used at least to identify companies or individuals that accessed your content. If you are sending out digital content via the Internet, you can modify your subscription agreement -- or terms and conditions for member-benefit content -- to allow you to track the use of the electronic file you send. Tracking can identify electronic copying (forwarding) of your content.

#4 -- Set Traps

The hardest part of making a copyright case is often proving the copying. A simple fix is adding something distinct or obscure to your content. Consider adding an obscure Latin phrase, removing a hyphen from a normally hyphenated word, or choosing the British version of a word. It is surprising how frequently copiers do no proof-reading or editing of any kind.

#5 -- Police Your Content

Turn the tables on content thieves. Just like they use the Internet to get your company's content at no cost, you can use the Internet to catch them at little or no cost. Set up an automatic search (for example, using Google Search) that will search the Internet daily for the special word or phrase you added to your content, or for a distinctive sentence in your content. That way, you can stop the theft almost as soon as it happens.

#6 -- Customize Your Terms and Conditions

Draft the terms and conditions specific to your particular content. Write them in plain English, in a large enough font for a user to read them, and place them prominently throughout your website. The more understandable the terms and the more prominently they are displayed, the more likely that a court will hold that they control the case.

In the terms and conditions, make clear what rights your user is granted -- for example, whether they are granted a license for personal use only or have some rights to forward or reproduce the content. If the content is electronic, consider a statement that you may place spyware on the user's servers to track the use of the copyrighted materials. That allows you to gather reliable evidence of any infringement that will simplify later copyright infringement cases and help force quick settlements.

Additionally, make sure to identify any limits you want on discovery and specify that statutory damages will be available. And whether you choose to arbitrate or to litigate in federal court, identify which city the arbitration will be conducted in, or which district court should have exclusive jurisdiction over any cases related to your company's content.

#7 -- Establish a Plan and Take Action

Set up a protocol for dealing with infringers. As soon as your tracking efforts identify a new infringer, have a plan in place for gathering evidence, stopping the infringer, and either settling with the infringer or pursuing legal action. You should also set criteria for how to respond to different types and levels of infringement. This saves the time and expense of having to make individual decisions about each infringer.

As soon as your publication identifies an infringement, investigate the extent of the infringement and follow the criteria you established. You are free to immediately file a lawsuit, but in many cases, you can save money and hassle by sending a strongly-worded cease and desist letter first. Having the letter sent by counsel adds credibility. Identify the copying, attach your copyright, and demand whatever corrective actions you want -- whether it is simply removing the content, or removing the content and a cash settlement. Make sure to give a response deadline. A deadline shows you are serious and avoids unnecessary delay.

The enforcement mechanisms outlined in the seven steps above are powerful and relatively inexpensive to implement. The simplicity and relatively low cost of this plan means that it can be used by publications of all sizes -- not just by the Fortune 500 companies. Content providers, both large and small, have generated real profits from enforcement techniques like these, in addition to protecting their content and their current revenue stream.

R. David Donoghue is a litigation partner in Holland & Knight's Intellectual Property Group. Additionally, Donoghue founded and authors the Chicago IP Litigation Blog, where he analyzes intellectual property cases in the Northern District of Illinois. He can be reached at david.donoghue@hklaw.com, 312-578-6553, or www.chicagoiplitigation.com.

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The Scoop on Mobile Editions

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Smartphones may overtake computers in popularity as early as next year. Is it time for a mobile edition of your publication? Find out what other editors are doing.

By Meredith L. Dias

Should you consider a smartphone or iPad edition of your publication? The magazine industry continues to evolve at meteoric pace thanks to widespread integration of smartphone and tablet computer technology. What was cutting edge a year or two ago is fast becoming passé. You don't want to be left behind.

Changing Market Demographics

Computer sales have long been on an upward trajectory, but a recent RBC Capital Markets chart indicates that smartphone sales will overtake computer sales by 2011! This, for many, is a daunting thought. Even more daunting, research suggests that mobile devices will become the primary Internet browsing devices within ten years.

Magazines have already undergone recent technological metamorphosis. They have had to develop functional websites, adapt to online writing and editing standards, design digital editions, and crack the online profitability cipher. Now, all signs point toward mobile devices as the next Internet wave. If magazines are to keep their readers, they must align themselves with their readers' preferred technology.

If you are already taking steps to establish a smartphone edition, you are ahead of the curve. If the projections hold and smartphones overtake computers as Internet browsing devices, all online magazines will need to be ready with mobile content.

Mobile Edition Design

Keep in mind that a mobile edition of your magazine can take many forms, some of which are fairly inexpensive and low-maintenance. While some mobile editions are full-featured, interactive apps with pictures and ads, others are simple digests of an issue's key material.

Nick Batzdorf, editor and publisher of Virtual Instruments, says, "We don't make the iPhone edition a big production. It's basic text and pictures with no proper layout." Some publications offer up similar digests on extensions of their home domains (e.g., http://mobile.columbusparent.com, http://mobile.informationweek.com, http://mobi.mufranchisee.com/news/features/, http://mobile.washingtonpost.com, etc.), where layout is optimized for smartphones.

"Simplicity is key," writes Steven Snell in Smashing Magazine for January 2009. "Because of the lack of space on the screen and Internet connections that are often slower, it's important for visitors to have access to what is most crucial, and as little else as possible." Small screen size necessitates the use of white space, an important design element for magazines on any platform. Though publishers of mobile editions face potential design challenges, programs like Adobe Creative Suite (including Adobe InDesign) can help simplify the process.

Reasons for Developing Mobile Editions

This month, we talked to various magazine editors about their mobile editions. Batzdorf tells us that the mobile edition of his specialized music industry publication has been quite successful. When asked about his reasons for developing an iPhone edition, he says, "When you go to the industry trade shows, there are maybe three people without an iPhone. [Having an iPhone edition] makes sense."

Other publishers, even those with no current plans to develop iPhone apps or editions, recognize the mounting popularity of smartphones and tablets. "We don't have any deliberate plans to create apps for our pubs yet, because I'm just dipping my toes in with eBooks," says Bridget Struble, program director for publications at the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. "Apps have even less universality, and apps are so expensive. But if people start asking for these in 2011, we'll have to consider them."

Peter Meiers emphasizes the importance of smartphone editions in the September/October 2010 issue of Signature: "The smartphone is really the primary, non-print publishing channel," he says. "The ubiquity of use -- and if you set it up correctly -- the ease of the publishing cycle is pretty easy to do. ... With a growth of 38 percent a year, it's a good bet that you're going to find an audience that way."

Even if your publication has limited resources, a mobile edition is still practical. "The fact of the matter is that it's very inexpensive," says Meirs. And, with smartphone and mobile device use undergoing such astronomical growth over the next ten years, it may be an investment many online publishers can't afford not to make.

When a Mobile Edition Doesn't Compute

Still, although smartphone use is rising and, as a result, more and more magazine consumers want mobile editions of their favorite publications, it may not always be advisable to launch a smartphone edition. "At this time, we have a limited new-media presence -- on purpose," says Kathy Storring, editor of Grand magazine in Ontario. "Our readers and advertisers seem to appreciate the paper product as is, so until we have solid prospects for additional advertising online, we are targeting our limited workforce to our paper product. Our website (www.grandmagazine.ca) promotes the current issue, highlights a few articles, and lists our advertisers. So we have no plans for iPhone publishing."

That said, Storring's parent publication, the Waterloo Region Record, "has a very active website and the editorial team is hoping smart-phone publishing will be in place very soon." A mobile edition makes sense for the newspaper, as its online presence is already thriving. In the case of Grand, whose online presence is much more limited, an iPhone edition would be of limited value to the audience.

A Simple Solution

Batzdorf has some advice for editors and publishers considering adoption of an iPhone edition: "Make it simple to put together. It doesn't have to be as splashy as a real magazine. Ours takes only a few hours to put together." Most important is keeping smartphone users engaged with content that is easily accessed and read on their mobile devices.

If you are a large publication, you may have the resources to design a splashy mobile edition with full-color spreads and interactive features. If not, that doesn't mean you can't create mobile content of value to your readers. A simple digest of your publication's current contents, with clickable links to individual articles, can be a nice bonus for mobile subscribers. Whether they are on their lunch break, on a plane, or at home, they will have perpetual access to your magazine.

Meredith Dias is research editor of Editors Only.

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Sharing Content Between Print and Web

Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Some tips for formatting content in print and online.

By Lynn Riley

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to make the most of your budget. One cost-effective way to stretch your budget is to make content do double duty by offering it in both print and electronic formats. Successfully converting print copy to electronic depends on making the right choices. Here are some tips to guide you.

The goals of both print and the Web are the same: to present content to your audience effectively. To achieve that goal, both formats require a clean layout. But that’s where the similarities end. The available space to create your design and layout differs for print and Web.

With print, you have a finite, predetermined size and shape for presenting the content -- an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, for example. Everyone who sees the print format will see the same thing. Web-based products are more challenging. Readers are using different computers, browsers, and monitors. The publication has to look good on all of them.

Creating a Digital Edition from Print

If a print publication is your starting point, you won’t need to alter your images for the digital version. But if you’re starting with a standard-resolution PDF for the Web, and want to take it to print, it’s not so easy. You will need to obtain the original, high-resolution images from your source -- whether that’s stock photography, your archives, or elsewhere. An image can be downsized from 300 dpi to 72 dpi, but not vice-versa. Color is another issue. A computer monitor displays color in RGB, so if you’re starting with an electronic version and converting to print, all colors will need to be converted to CMYK for printing.

One of the most common digital formats is the flip page book model. Others include e-books (good for mobile media), HTML viewers (which can only be viewed on a website), and PDFs (which can be printed out or read on a computer monitor). The digital provider typically uses your press-ready PDF files (the same ones sent to your printer). There’s no extra work on the designer’s part to prepare these files. When working with the digital provider, however, the editor may instruct the provider to hotlink certain images or boxes of information.

A Word about Digital Providers

Very few organizations have the specialized in-house resources necessary for digital publishing. The vast majority of it is outsourced, most often to a specialized digital provider. Your printer may also offer these services. When you outsource this job, seek a provider with industry experience who can make your job easier. Ideally, your digital provider will be a good communicator and become a trusted partner. Keep your publication staff in the loop as well, as they may have valuable input into the final product. Make sure the provider can accommodate your schedule. In most cases, you’ll want your digital edition to drop well before the print version.

The Successful Downloadable PDF

Many publishers choose the easiest option, a printer-friendly PDF version of the publication available on their website. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a quality PDF. For graphics, decrease the size of each image to 72 dpi, or “save/optimize for Web” in Photoshop. Higher resolution won’t make it look any better, but it will create larger files with longer download times.

If your graphic consists primarily of line or flat colors without gradients, such as logos and line drawings, use a GIF format. JPEG graphics are best for photographs or images with fine tonal variations. Choosing the right file format is not only important for the quality, but also for keeping the image's file size to a minimum.

The two images below are best in GIF format:

These two images are best in JPEG format:

Save your pages in standard resolution mode. This will create a document that is much smaller than its high-resolution counterpart. Adobe Acrobat will automatically make hyperlinks out of all of the email and Web addresses. It’s a good idea to make your links stand out with color so the reader knows they are active.

Choosing a Font

The best typefaces for the Web are different from those for print. If you know ahead of time that your publication is going to be in PDF, then choose typefaces that display well on the Web.

Sans-serif typefaces for Web applications:


Serif typefaces for Web applications:

ITC Charter

Other fonts, like Minion or Helvetica, are either too small and delicate or too thick and chunky to read easily on a computer screen. Keep in mind, too, that while the fonts listed above work well on the Web, they may look awkward or amateur if used in printed versions.

The best fonts are specific to either print or Web. In most cases, you should create two versions to better serve your readers -- one print and one PDF. For the Web PDF version, choose from the Web-friendly fonts listed above. For print, use a typeface from your association’s branding guidelines or go with your designer’s recommendation.

Design Software Recommendations

For the first 15 years of my career, I used Quark. Then, in 2005, I switched to InDesign. I never looked back. InDesign interfaces beautifully with two other popular design software programs, Photoshop and Illustrator. The ease with which you can copy and paste graphic elements between the Adobe family of products is a dream.

The process for creating PDFs from InDesign files is simple. Ask your printer or digital provider for a script to automate this process. These days, InDesign is more prevalent among designers and is fast becoming the industry standard.

Remember This...

In summary, here’s what you need to keep in mind: High-resolution graphics are needed for print, but electronic applications should use lower-resolution images. The best fonts for print publications don’t usually work well on the Web, and vice-versa. Using the right software and finding the right digital provider can make the job much easier.

Lynn Riley, of Lynn Riley Design, specializes in design for association publications. Visit the firm's website at www.LynnRileyDesign.com or email her directly at lynn [at] lynnrileydesign [dot] com.

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Printing Your Editors Only Issue

Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Occasionally, people not familiar with Editors Only ask us whether it's a print or online publication. Our answer is that it's both. It's delivered online, but subscribers can easily print entire issues or individual articles.

When you receive the link from us each month, you will see the current issue. You can simply print that. If you print it back-to-back on your printer on 8.5 x 11 paper, it will usually use 4-5 pieces of paper.

If you see an article in the issue and would like to print just that article, click on the article title. That will bring you to a view of just that article, which you can print.

If you want to print a back issue, use the "Archives" menu on the right. Click on the desired issue month and print.

Beyond the Buzz: Deconstructing the iPad

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Pondering the potential role of iPad in magazine publishing's future.

By Meredith L. Dias

We editors have been seeing significant changes in our daily routines. First, we had to learn how to edit for websites, then for smartphones and e-readers (e.g., Blackberry, iPhone, Kindle, etc.). Now, the mounting popularity of the iPad presents us with yet another possible change: learning to edit for tablet computer editions.

If this leaves you feeling overwhelmed, you are likely not alone. With new devices constantly appearing on the scene, it is a constant challenge for editors to keep afloat. We can never get too comfortable -- not when rapidly evolving technology demands constant readjustments and retraining.

The proliferation of iPad magazines raises some important questions: Will this new trend just create more work for editors already stretched to their limits? Or will iPad editions help to save thousands of editors' jobs, which have hung in the balance as lower ad sales have reduced editorial page counts? Are more changes in store for editors, their style guides, and their work routines?

Some Potential Problems

What will the iPad mean for magazines? Mediaite.com's Colby Hall predicts that what's "revolutionary from an editorial and design perspective is that magazine staffers -- now editing for print and the Web in separate work flows -- will be able to edit for print and tablets simultaneously." This is a compelling claim. Unfortunately, the article (a roundup of the recent American Association of Advertising Agencies' Transformation Conference) does not explain this idea further, leaving us with a cliffhanger.

What does separate print and Web editing, aside from differing copyediting and fact-checking standards, is the frequent updating of content on the Web. The print content can only be static, but the Web content can (and should) be dynamic. If the print and iPad editing processes are to be streamlined, and if the Audit Bureau of Circulations' expanded definition of digital editions still only includes editions mimicking the print edition's editorial and advertising content, can the iPad really be a game-changer?

Paul Michelman of the Harvard Business Review cautions magazines against becoming stuck in the past, rather than embracing the new modes of content creation made possible by the iPad: "If we lose sight of that and allow ourselves to assume the answer is from the past, our futures are bleak."

However, this is easier said than done -- if a publication wants its iPad readership reflected in its circulation numbers, it must offer the same editorial and advertising content as its print edition. Even if the layout differs in the iPad edition and includes fun extras (e.g., audio and video), how can magazines truly evolve if their digital editions cannot deviate from the print edition on any meaningful level? Print and online readers, after all, are not interchangeable. Each audience has unique needs and preferences, and the ABC ruling may inhibit editors' abilities to serve those audiences effectively on multiple platforms. Given that, it seems like ABC's concept of what a magazine is may be "stuck in the past."

What's more, there are some real limitations in the device's operating system that may inhibit the iPad magazine experience, including an inability to multitask. Perhaps most infamously, the device does not support Adobe Flash, an exclusion that has generated significant grumbling and may prove problematic for magazines that have incorporated Flash into their existing digital editions. The iPad may force these magazines to undergo expensive digital redesigns to replace unsupported content.

The iPad Reading Experience

Last weekend, I attended a friend's birthday party. When I arrived, there it lay before me, gleaming in the sunlight like a Twilight vampire (and surrounded by a similar halo of hype): a brand-new iPad. Finally, after months of reading articles and watching YouTube videos about it, I had the opportunity to test-drive one myself. Of course, I had to get in line; this gadget somehow managed to be the life of the party. When my turn finally came, the lightweight computer felt strangely heavy -- with expectation.

The iPad's reading interface is quite attractive. Unlike most traditional
e-reading devices, the iPad facilitates full-color publication, a feature of no marginal significance to magazine designers. The page-turning mechanism mimics that of the print reading experience and may pacify print readers reluctant to try digital editions. Moreover, the built-in motion sensor allows readers the option of reading publications in landscape or portrait view simply by rotating the device.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the iPad store facilitates quick purchasing through an iTunes account; with a mere tap of the finger and, in some cases, reentry of a password, users can acquire the latest issues of magazines available on the iPad. This solves a problem that has plagued magazine and newspaper publishers for years: how to facilitate quick payments with minimal barriers between reader and content. Chris Brennan of PCPro.uk sums up the magazine purchasing experience on iPad: "Buying magazines is easy: download the app and tap, tap, donk. ... Simple, easy and bank-account-emptying."

In other words, just what the magazine industry doctors ordered.

Magazines Currently on iPad

Several magazines have arrived early on the iPad scene. Editors are using this platform not only to present an attractive digital edition, but also to enhance otherwise static content with video, audio, and convenient menus for easy content access.

Vanity Fair, one of the early entrants into the iPad magazine marketplace, recently launched its inaugural iPad edition. Matthew Zuras of Switched.com wrote up a detailed review of the edition's strengths and shortcomings. The most important of the iPad edition's strengths was the photo quality, though he warns readers not to "expect to pinpoint the pores of Cristiano Ronaldo's godly abs." The magazine, he says, also features eye-pleasing ragged right text and a drop-down menu of the table of contents, facilitating quick access to desired content.

Zuras also cites layout issues that "wildly irritated" him, including orientation problems. "In portrait view," he says, "each article is squashed into a single, long column that's further compressed by the lead image, which takes up nearly half your screen." Also problematic is the price: the inaugural edition costs a steep $4.99, with future issues slated to be $3.99. The high price point, however, is the least of the problem here; according to Zuras, iPad Vanity Fair subscribers have no access to back issues.

Other iPad magazines include GQ, Time, and Popular Science.

Recognizing the iPad's Potential

DMNews for April 19, 2010, explores the subscription potential for publishers on iPad in "Publishers expect subscription lift from iPad." Nathan Golia cites the iPad's value-enhanced content and high audience interest as potential game-changers for publishers and advertisers. He quotes Peter Hunsinger, VP and publisher of GQ: "'Usually, in our business, you serve three copies before you get paid. With [the iPad], you get the money up front, and there's no bad pay because it's all credit card or phone bill. Also, you eliminate promotion costs -- people are subscribing because they want the magazine, not the football helmet phone.'" Teresa Perry, an SVP of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, shares Hunsinger's enthusiasm: "Editorial and advertising can both be positioned and distributed in easy, readable experiences."

Paul Michelman tempers the iPad publishing hype with a caveat for magazine editors and publishers: "I think the way publishers are approaching it so far all but obviates every one of its assets. How so? By assuming that two mature media -- print and desktop websites -- can simply be retrofit and forced onto this very immature medium." What's more, he criticizes the recent Audit Bureau of Circulations amendment of its definition of digital magazine, noting that the new definition still only rewards digital editions that mimic print, rather than offer dynamic, frequently updated content.

The Near Future

Regardless of whether or not the iPad single-handedly saves the publishing industry, the device has made waves and pushed publishers in a new direction. After all, it was the prerelease iPad buzz that, in part, prompted the Audit Bureau of Circulations to amend its definition of digital magazines.

We may not understand the reach of the iPad for years to come. Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, says, "It will take less than 10 years for [iPad] to become mainstream." This may constitute quick evolution in some fields, but with many magazines hanging in the balance, we don't have the luxury of waiting a decade. Editors' jobs are at stake. If the iPad is our future, it must somehow become our near future.

Meredith Dias is the research editor of Editors Only.

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The Dirt on Online Magazines, Part II

Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 at 1:27 PM

With all the pro and anti hype, what's at the end of the rainbow?

By Meredith L. Dias

"The iPad: Print killer" was the cartoon caption in a recent edition of The Week. The cartoon suggested that print is dead and buried. By contrast, "The Internet is fleeting. Magazines are immersive" was the headline of an ad put together by a group of print publishers. And so rages on the war of hype and anti-hype campaigns on the subject of online magazines.

If you cut through the hyperbolic claims and counterclaims, however, there are some serious issues that demand consideration.

Reader acceptance. Novelty and trendy techno-gadgets aside, will readers really want to devour all your content online in the long run?

Profitability. Publishers talk of getting pennies on the dollar for online magazine ads. Others scramble to develop yet-unproven platforms to extract "micropayments" from consumers long accustomed to free online content.

Coexistence. Proponents and opponents tend to cast online vs. print in all or nothing terms. It's black and white thinking. When will the industry embrace the concept of coexistence rather than one vs. the other?

What the Readers Want

"Fewer members have switched from print to digital than we had anticipated," reported Donald Tepper, editor of PT in Motion at the American Physical Therapy Association. It seems that the development of a digital edition does not always meet expectations. As a result, Tepper adds, "we've experienced little savings in printing or postage."

"Members continue to value our print journal, as it is highly portable and marks them as experts in their field," remarks Bridget Struble, program director for publications of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. "One member has touted JPEN as 'the jewel in my crown.'" Nonetheless, Struble appreciates the practicality and social networking capabilities of their online edition.

What can we take away from stories like these? Simply put, a digital edition will not necessarily outperform its print counterpart. However, rather than taking a black-and-white position on the issue, there is value in both online and print presences.

Why Don't You Ask Them?

Instead of engaging in the abstract and polarized dialogue typical among some industry professionals, it may be wise to turn to research. Ann Mahoney, publishing director of ICMA (International City/County Management Association), is intent on dong just that. "We're going to survey members about the ways in which they want content delivered (and/or in what ways they want to engage in creating or adding to content). Part of the survey will be about what content they want, and part will be about in what ways they'd like to access or receive that content," she explains.

What is most important is analyzing your individual audience and responding to its unique needs -- not jumping onto the digital bandwagon because digital media pundits have sworn off print or because gadgets like the iPad are so seductive. And, perhaps more importantly, don't swear off online editions because a print campaign claims that the Internet is "fleeting."

Producing Digital That Pleases Readers

Are there concrete steps that editors can take to make the most of digital publishing? There are plenty of services out there to help magazines make the transition to online or digital. We recently spoke with representatives from several digital publishing platform providers, including Mygazines and Nxtbook Media, regarding the mistakes that magazines make when digitizing.

According to Randy Frisch, chief marketing officer of Mygazines, strong design elements must be in place before creating a digital edition. "Publications need to be already appealing to the eye before going digital. Content and most of its design elements will be retained so, if that doesn't attract print readers, it will probably encounter the same problem with a digital version."

Marcus Grimm, marketing director of Nxtbook Media, shares his list of top mistakes magazines make when going digital: "Not enough email addresses, no promotion of the digital magazine on the website, content not formatted for the screen, a bad interface, and no versatility." Not only must layout be readable on a computer screen, but it must also be optimized for e-readers and smartphones, which represent a rapidly growing market segment in the digital reading population.

No More Digital Denial

The cause of online magazine profitability received a real boost recently. The Audit Bureau of Circulation has decided to include online audience in its tally of a print publication's circulation. That means publishers will have a certifiably higher rate base and presumably will be able to charge higher rates for ads.

Before ABC's decision to broaden its definition of digital editions, the organization would count online audience only if a publication's digital edition was a mirror image of its print edition. That meant the format of the advertising and editorial content online had to be identical to the print edition format. That was quite a restriction, and left out virtually anything formatted for mobile devices.

This is a timely change. A recent survey by Pew Research Center, summarized in The Mygazines Blog, finds that nearly one-third of Americans use mobile devices to read news. What's more, 75 percent of news consumers rely on social networking sites and email to get their news content. As smartphones like the iPhone and Google Android become increasingly mainstream, this number may increase significantly.

ABC would have been doing a great disservice to the industry they serve if they had withheld a definition of "digital editions" that essentially vaporized a rapidly growing circulation segment.

What This Means for Print

In early March, five major publishers (Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc., and Wenner Media) launched a "power of print" advertising campaign to fight back against the digitize-or-die mentality. It is an undertaking of considerable proportions. According to the Wall Street Journal, the campaign involves $90 million of advertising money and approximately 1,400 advertising pages spread throughout several magazines.

This campaign is of particular importance to magazine editors. An increase in print advertising revenue could mean an increase in budget and editorial pages. As many of you know all too well, print magazine editors have had to make do with very little over the past few years. The recent publishing crisis has shrunken staffs, budgets, and the number of available editorial pages. In some cases, quality has suffered. If this campaign is successful, it could mean that, for the first time in several years, print editors may be able to breathe.

However, some feel that the Power of Print campaign takes its pro-print rhetoric a little too far -- particularly in a two-page spread featuring a photograph of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps on the verso page, and a written tribute to print magazines on the recto page asserting that "the internet is fleeting" and "magazines are immersive."

But on the Other Hand...

"Every media buyer knows that is pure bunk," asserts media analyst Bo Sacks in a recent Print CEO article. "It is the Internet that is immersive, and the kids that buy the ads and spend the advertising money know it." He cautions magazine professionals not to "tell [readers] that they live in a fleeting, soon-to-be-evaporated world. That is a lie."

All this polarity between camps raises an important question: Are print and online editions complementary or competitive entities, compatible or at odds?

What About Coexistence?

The Power of Print campaign pits print versus online. But the answer may not be so black-and-white. A smarter strategy may be to harmonize print and online content. Maintain brand recognition, and appeal to a broader reader base -– one whose reading preferences is likely diverse.

"We are not just publishing magazines any longer," says designer Debbie Bates-Schrott in a recent Editors Only article. She advises editors and publishers to ask themselves the following questions:

--What is the print magazine accomplishing for the reader?
--Can it be done online?
--Online only?
--Or can you provide something different online that can strengthen the brand?"

Print vs. Online -- Final Answer?

No doubt, online and digital publishing have gained considerable momentum, and will likely continue to do so with the proliferation of smartphones and e-reading devices.

For some publications, Editors Only included, online has proven to be most efficient. As we saw with Donald Tepper and Bridget Struble, however, there are audiences for whom print is still the preferred mode of delivery.

Contrary to all the buzz, online will not obliterate every print edition. Some publications will be online, some in print, some in both. In the end, success will lie in the coexistence of print and online. That's the real future. That's the end of the rainbow.

Meredith Dias is the research editor of Editors Only.

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"I work for a large software company and we produce both a print magazine and an online edition. The print edition is a high-quality piece, but the online edition leaves much to be desired. In fact, we're making all of the mistakes listed in this blog post. Thank you for pulling all the research together for me -- keep up the good work!" --Anne-Lindsay Beall, SAS.com. 05-13-2010.

The Future Is Digital - But Not Entirely

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Recent industry event suggests that despite a technological revolution, the game's not over for print.

By Mary Shafer

"We don't have an editor that's not completely consumed with their digital presence," said Hearst Magazines President Cathie Black. She was addressing the Publishing Business Conference and Expo in New York in March. Black added, "We've created 25 websites and bought ten others."

However, Black refutes the widespread belief that digital technology spells the death of print magazines. She reflects that historically every new technology is always heralded with the premature (if not patently false) announcement that it has killed its technological predecessor.

Black drew an appreciative chuckle from the audience by observing that magazines and books are the original "mobile devices."

The imperative now for magazines is discovering how to best integrate all available technologies to maximize content and serve it to consumers in the way they want to get it.

"How do we move a reader through all kinds of content?" Black asks. Ultimately, she concludes, "We have to show enough innovation and creativity that we can charge for what we've got. We need to take resources out of underperforming areas and put them toward what's working."

Black points out that for some print editors, page count is up. She notes that, despite the recent economic downturn, some print magazines have achieved growth in terms of increased size, prices, and newsstand sales. "We've had a tough 18 months," she says. "Now, all of a sudden, it's like a huge sigh of relief. Our meetings are better. Our huge, multi-platform deals are better."

"We tend to be a legacy business. Cosmo sells 8-9 million copies on newsstands, and digital advertising revenue is still pennies on the dollar," says Black. Nevertheless, she adds, "We don't know where it'll go, but it's currently up by 20 percent."

"It's about figuring out what complex set of creative we can offer our customers," she explained, referring to advertisers who still very much want to reach the audiences of established consumer properties. "We've become a full-service ad agency," she admits.

However, Black is adamant that magazine publishers "do not want to be in the device business." She described a consortium called Next Issue Media, which guides magazines through digitization. On e-readers, Black says, "We're currently discussing how to serve the content. Magazine reading is an immersive experience." She adds that replicating that immersive experience in digital is a challenge.

Mary Shafer is the publisher of Word Forge Books and a freelance writer. Visit her website at www.MaryShafer.com.

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The Dirt on Online Magazines, Part I

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:36 PM

How the online medium has changed the name of the editing game.

By Meredith L. Dias

If you're an editor having trouble adjusting to online landscape, you're not alone. Gone are the days when a publication could subsist on print alone. As my editor, William Dunkerley, says in his blog article ("Distressed Print Publications Making Mistakes"), "The print-only model for many is a relic of yesteryear."

These days, there is a lot of hype surrounding online publication. Comments range from "Print is dead" to "Web content is king." There are those who dismiss print aficionados as mere Luddites, and also those who believe that an online-or-nothing approach is the only appropriate publication strategy in today's industry.

However, while the Internet presents exciting new opportunities for publishers, everything in the online publishing world is not as rosy as the hype would lead you to believe. Editors must not only adjust to new software and technology, but also amend their editing procedures in order to accommodate this medium. As if this weren't enough of a challenge, there are still no uniform standards for editing Web content.

To Digitize or not to Digitize

Editors must be simultaneously innovative and careful when approaching the digitization of content. Some fall prey to the erroneous perception that an online-only approach is appropriate for all publications, including theirs. Kim Howard, editor-in-chief of ACC Docket, cautions against this: "It is quite an attractive financial prospect to kill the print version of anything. But before [management] makes a drastic decision, they really should ask the members first. At least you would be armed with good info." Carla Kalogeridis, editorial director of Signature, agrees, "I would tread very carefully here, and if after thorough research and surveying you do decide that a digital edition is right for you, be sure to get the help of digital magazine experts/consultants who can help set you up for success." In other words, do your homework before making any drastic moves, and always keep in mind the unique preferences and needs of your audience. What works for Time or Vogue won't necessarily work for your publication.

The Columbia Journalism Review Report

Recently, the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) published the results of their magazine survey in a report entitled Magazines and Their Websites. The report highlights the respective roles of independent Web editors, print editors, and publishers in the online development of their publications. Editors, particularly those concerned with journalistic integrity and content standards, should sit up and take notice of these statistics. For example, approximately half of the publications surveyed reported that their copyediting standards online are less stringent than in print.

The CJR study also reveals something even more alarming: fact-checking takes a serious hit when content goes online. Fifty-seven percent of publications surveyed use the same fact-checking standards in print and online. However, 27 percent fact-check their online content less rigorously than print content. Even more alarming, 16 percent of online publications do not fact-check their online content at all -- and, more alarming still, half of those publications (8 percent) don't fact-check their print content, either.

That is a lot of unsubstantiated content.

Online Editorial Standards

So why do editorial standards tend to be more lax online? The answer is complex. In many cases, an online presence necessitates frequent updates and, consequently, the articles often go through a much shorter editorial cycle. This is particularly true of publications whose print editors also shoulder the responsibility of online editing -- there simply isn't time for thorough, multiphase editing. The Magazines and Their Websites report observes that online content tends to be less academic and more conversational in tone, and hints that editors of online content are more concerned with producing traffic-grabbing text than meticulously polished prose. However, all these factors aside, it is alarming to think that as many as 16 percent of online publications don't engage in any fact-checking whatsoever.

There are other issues at hand. First of all, there may be a training gap across the board. There is a crop of editors who cut their teeth on print and have had to learn new technology along the way. Similarly, there is a crop of online editors who have cut their teeth on digital technology. They aren't necessarily well versed in grammatical and journalistic protocols. This creates a sizeable population of editors who have spent so long in print that they don't know how to produce winning online content. Alternatively, they may have focused so heavily upon digitization that they don't understand the basic tenets of their editorial responsibilities.

It doesn't help that online editing is still in its foundational phase. In the September 2009 issue of Editors Only, my article, "Errors Published Online," discussed some of the gaps in online editorial standards. Publications still play their online correction policies by ear -- some make post-publication changes to their online material without comment, while others still issue correction and retraction notices. Some correct grammatical and typographical errors without notification to the reader, while others (particularly bloggers) use the "strikethrough" function to alert readers of even the most marginal fixes. In the absence of a universal standard, online editing becomes highly subjective, sometimes with very little consistency between publications.

Making the Online Transition

The hype and buzz surrounding online publication is, to a point, justified -- it is nearly impossible for a publication to survive and thrive without some sort of online presence. However, it is also important to remember that online publishing is hardly a panacea for all that ails the industry. It is still, on many levels, untested. It has no history, and few norms.

Publishers and editors are still struggling to find the best online payment model, the most judicious means of producing content for a Web versus print audience, and the proper harmonization of print and online editions. They are still, in other words, winging it.

It won't always be this way. Eventually, editors will hit their stride and come to a consensus regarding online editing standards. In the meantime, all you can do is what you have always done -- represent your publication online with content as clean and accurate as your resources allow. Because some online publications are scraping by with minimal editorial acumen, you have a rare chance to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Be engaging. Be factual. Be meticulous. Online readers are not dumb. They still recognize quality content when they see it.

In Part II of this article, we'll explore some of the perks and pitfalls of digital editions, the Audit Bureau of Circulations' recent revision of its definition of digital magazines, and comments from top editors and digital platform providers.

Meredith Dias is the research editor of Editors Only.

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Reflections on the Advancing Technologies

Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Education may show us the way to the future.

By Mary Shafer

C'mon, admit it: You're thinking it. You didn't get into this field to become a techno-geek. You may have to stare at a screen all day at work. But when work's done, you wanna curl up with a good old-fashioned, fresh-ink-on-crisp-paper magazine or book. And you believe that most folks out there buying your titles feel the same way.

Well, relax. You're partly right. There are still a lot of readers who wouldn't even consider reading on a screen, not no way, not no how. But, in the next generation, people who've grown up with both models will switch easily between the two, and won't be hung up about it. And finally, the following generation, which is growing up with their hands on mice and their eyes on screens at home and school, may primarily leave print behind.

It'll be a lot easier on us if we at least try to have an open mind and face this revolution with some enthusiasm.

I'm choosing to see this evolution of our primary product from a historical perspective. Making history means things are changing, and change is never easy and seldom fun. But it's full of mystery and promise and potential, and that's exciting. I know there are those who are perfectly happy with the previous un-exciting times, but we don't get to choose when history will happen. It chooses us, picking us up in the swift current of time. We either choose to go with the flow and learn how to swim, or get dragged beneath the surface and drown.

Instead of clinging to outmoded technology, I suggest we all remember what our mission as publishers really is: it's about the dissemination of ideas in an interesting, creative way. It's not just about the packaging. Every industry that focuses on giving its customers what they ask for doesn't just survive, it thrives. Which will you choose?

Now it's time to decide whether you're going to sink or swim. If your backstroke's a little rusty, that's okay. Look to your left and right, and you'll see your fellow swimmers right beside you. We'll hold you up till you get your groove back.

Meanwhile, the Publishing Business Conference & Expo is being held in New York City, March 8-10. 32 breakout sessions will be covering everything from navigating the e-publishing terrain to new e-business models, from rethinking author contracts and copyright to a social media strategy guide. (Note: Editors Only readers can get a $100 registration discount. Use Discount Code "EDITORSONLY100" to save $100 off the Full Conference Pass. Register at www.PublishingBusiness.com when registering for the full program.) I'll be there and paying special attention to ways that this inevitable future can be our friend. Then I'll be back here to share what I've found. I also invite your comments if you'll be attending, too.

Mary Shafer is publisher of Word Forge Books. She can be reached via email at publisher [at] worldforgebooks [dot] com.

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Forget Micropayments

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Here's another proposed idea for monetizing content.

By Steve Outing

You're not listening; I can tell. Many people in the industry are already in full-fledged panic mode, and one of the recent responses has been a wave of calls to resurrect an online publishing business model that has not yet worked: micropayments.

Charging for content is a dead horse. Most news content on the Web has been free for 15 years, and attempts to charge for commodity content have failed again and again because, for example, what most news companies produce is easily replaceable, for free, with a few clicks elsewhere.

There is a better way for online publishers to get people to pay for their content -- and of the many recent articles about how the industry can get people to start paying for their content (since online advertising alone doesn't bring in enough money to support large newsrooms), I've yet to see any suggestions like a model that I learned about recently from a California start-up venture called Kachingle. I'm not sure if this company has the answer to save magazines and newspapers, but if Kachingle succeeds, it'll make a lot of digital publishers (from bloggers to newspapers to Time magazine) a lot of money.

Problems with Micropayments and Paywalls

The new wave of micropayment promoters -- while genuine in their desire to save the jobs of journalists and editors and to stop the decline in the quality of content resulting from layoffs, cutbacks, and bankruptcies -- is actually suggesting something that will dig an even deeper hole for the industry.

A significant problem with micropayments is that it walls off content and makes it difficult to share with others and spread it around the Web. If I like an article and promote it in one of my Twitter posts, many of the people will not read it if they encounter a pay demand even for 5 cents; it's a barrier that will turn many away, especially if to get to the article the prospective user first has to sign up for some content payment network account. If I've paid 5 cents to read an article and want to promote it to my social network friends or followers, will the URL that I share even work? Perhaps not if the publisher hasn't set up the system to account for that. Internet users from other countries may not be able to access the content at all because they can't sign up for the micropayment system.

And of course there's Google, and the various news and blog search services. Will they index your content if it's behind a micropayment pay wall? If Google can't point people to your content, you may as well not be on the Web. And you're out of business.

Paradigm Shift

Publishers have to get over the idea that they are going to get paid directly by the user. For the vast majority of a publisher's content, there can be no barriers before an article asking the user if he wants to pay a penny or a nickel, or buy a $2 monthly subscription, to read on.

The user must be given the option of whether to pay for a website's content (by financially supporting the site), or read it for free. I'm betting this one will be a tough pill to swallow for many industry executives with traditional media mindsets, but it's critical because it fits the culture, indeed the nature, of the Internet. Traditional micropayment schemes for online news content -- "pay up or go elsewhere" -- fight it, and thus are doomed to fail, in my view.

Executives also have to grasp the notion that few publishers will be able to get very many people to pay for their content specifically. Most newspapers, for instance, will only be able to charge online users directly for truly premium content that is not replicated somewhere else -- for example, e-books and other high-value content that's not typical fare.

Also perhaps hard to accept (but you have to): The online consumer samples many brands, from the New York Times to Joe's Blog. Most online users visit many websites on a typical day, bouncing around the world of free content. They'll have a few media brands and bloggers that they visit regularly, but they also encounter new ones frequently, via the serendipitous link spotted when reading something from a known media brand, to the recommendation of a friend on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail. Your once-powerful brand doesn't mean as much as it used to, and to get paid for content online, it must become part of a giant pool of content that's financially supported en masse.

Think of it this way and you'll understand the core concept behind Kachingle: Just as online users currently pay an Internet provider $30 or more a month for their computers to access the Internet, and perhaps a monthly fee for all the music they want from a service like Rhapsody, they'll also pay a monthly fee for all the news and blog content on the Web. Only the last fee is voluntary, and it will be up to publishers to educate the public on the importance of paying for content online. (National Public Radio has been doing this for itself for decades. Now commercial publishers and bloggers need to do it to benefit all of them, not just one entity.)

The next important point to grasp about the Kachingle model is that it allows individuals to financially support the online content providers that they like best. So if a publication wants to get paid for its content when a website visitor clicks through to one of its articles, it should ask that the visitor support the site via Kachingle.

Educating the Market

The power of the system is in its many participants. The trick -- and this is the part that traditional-thinking publishers will have trouble accepting -- is that you are not just asking users to support your content, you are asking them to support all the news, blogs, and other content online.

But if this bothers you, think about it for a minute. When you get your users to sign up for Kachingle and start paying for content, you're helping lots of other Web publishers. And as all those other Web publishers and bloggers encourage their users to sign up for Kachingle, they are helping your site earn more money. Call it the power of the commons. The winners are the blogs and websites with the best content and that attract the most visitors and fans. Publication sites can win at that game, right?

No one has tried the donation model applied in a user-simple manner across all manner of online content. If charging for news content on the web won't work, and micropayment barriers will just turn legions of potential readers (and viewers of ads) away, why not put heart and soul into this "crazy" new model and see if it can work to adequately supplement Web advertising?

Will Kachingle Save Online Publications?

Will Kachingle save giant news corporations and supplement online advertising income enough to maintain large buildings and newsroom staffs? I think that if Google used this same model, its size and power could in time get Internet users paying billions of dollars for online content.

Remember, the Kachingle model is just one revenue source that online publications should use. Many get money from participating in Google AdSense, for example; that has no effect on the rest of a site's business model. The main way that most news websites will earn enough money to survive will continue to be advertising. A main focus for them should be on reinventing their ad models, because selling banner ads and classifieds advertising is broken. Kachingle is just another revenue source.

The Editorial Angle

Recently, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote in his column some answers from readers about why NYTimes.com doesn't charge for its content. (You'll recall its TimesSelect paid-content experiment with Op-Ed columnists and archives put on a subscription plan, which failed to bring in enough revenue so was scrapped for a return to free content, more readers and more ad dollars.) Keller said he favors the general idea of Times online content being paid for by consumers who value it, but leaves an open mind about what approach to take.

Keller also commented on the Walter Isaacson Time cover story, "How to Save Your Newspaper" (February 2009): "Walter doesn't really grapple with the main puzzle of a pay model: how to keep it from stifling traffic, especially search-driven traffic, so much that online advertisers go away. I'm not saying that problem is insoluble. Just that, as far as I know, no one has solved it yet."

I think that Keller and other editors, struggling to survive a nasty downturn in print revenues and unable to find a way to adequately replace them on the digital publishing side, would approve of the Kachingle approach. That is, if they can get their minds past the hurdle of the payment for their content being voluntary, and that their content payment is mixed up in the big pile of money with all sorts of publishers, down to the pajama blogger. Otherwise, the Kachingle approach addresses Keller's concerns about stifled traffic, search engines, and fleeting advertisers.

The Bottom Line

KISS -- keep it simple, stupid. Online publishers are more likely to convince people to pay a monthly "Internet content fee" if everyone is in it together and there's one ubiquitous medallion on every content site that an individual visits (which always remembers you). The publishers who make the most money will be those that produce the best content, and thus get the most people to support them via the Kachingle system. That should be to the advantage of publication websites' quality content, right?

So now you've got it, folks. This may be the model publications have been waiting for to receive money for their "free" content. And at least one company has the system built and ready to go today.

Steve Outing is a journalist, consultant, entrepreneur, and blogger at www.SteveOuting.com, and also former columnist for Editor & Publisher magazine. He can be reached at steve [at] outing [dot] us.

Editor's Note: About half a year after the above material was originally written by author Steve Outing (in articles on his website and for Editor & Publisher), he began serving as an occasional advisor to Kachingle and acquired a small financial stake in the company.

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Getting Readers to Pay

Posted on Monday, December 21, 2009 at 2:42 PM

There's a movement gaining strength among magazine and newspaper publishers to begin charging for online content that's now free.

By William Dunkerley

In publishing's print era, most general readers paid for content, while free, controlled circulation publications tended to serve niche markets. The Internet Age brought with it a pendulum swing that made free, advertising-supported content mainstream.

With recession-driven cuts in advertising expenditures, there are those who would like to push the pendulum back toward paid content. Innovative schemes are being devised that include collecting "micropayments." A micropayment, as defined by BusinessDictionary.com, is a "transaction in small amounts, costing a few cents to usually less than five dollars, typically involving sale of information on internet." Presumably, this would allow readers to peruse a table of contents, and then pay relatively small sums to read only those articles that seem interesting enough to warrant shelling out some money, albeit small change.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been especially outspoken in his belief that future prosperity for publishing will be dependent upon selling content. "The old business model based on advertising-only is dead," he resolutely proclaimed. Murdoch seems to believe that his new pay-as-you-go model will lead to salvation of the industry.

For those of us in the editorial business, the notion that readers will be paying to see our content can have a rewarding ring to it. Our editorial product would seem to have a higher perceived value if readers are required to pay. It's like receiving an economic vote of approval.

Reviewing the Various Plans

A number of variants are emerging for how to implement the concept of paid online content. Different groups of industry players -- big shots and small fries -- are separately developing schemes to create omnibus pads or platforms that can facilitate the implementation of some form of payments and micropayments. Will individual publishers be running their own e-commerce systems, or will middlemen step in for a cut of the revenue stream? That question is yet to be answered.

For the next few issues, Editors Only will be examining the pay-for-content movement from the point of view of what it will mean for you as editors. We'll start by describing one of the proposed solutions in this article. Future issues will look at others, as well as overall ramifications and concerns. And, finally, we'll conclude the series with our own analysis of the movement.

The Brill Pad

Steven Brill, formerly editor of the now-defunct magazine Brill's Content and founder of American Lawyer magazine, is promoting a plan for "preserving valuable journalism by restoring the value proposition." He offers the plan out of a belief that "the Internet has undermined the economic model" because of what he calls a "cultural virus."

Brill told a New York conference in June:

In the history of the world no one can point to any quality journalism operation that depended only on ad revenue and, while giving its content away for free, thrived as a profitable, independent business. Not one. Ever.

That bold assertion may come as an abrasive surprise to many of you who have produced quality controlled-circulation publications over the years. Nonetheless, it is part of the premise upon which Brill has built his proposed e-commerce pad, dubbed Journalism Online, LLC.

Brill's plan involves "creating an easy way for consumers to buy content with one account across multiple websites and eliminating millions in capital expenses for these hard-pressed publishers by supplying this robust, completely flexible e-commerce engine."

Journalism Online would market "all you can read" packages that might cost, say, $30 per month. They would be in effect a passport that would allow you to read everything that is offered by the publications affiliated with Journalism Online. Smaller payments would get you smaller passports, i.e., an ability to read only content from a single publisher, or stories on a single topic from multiple publishers. You might pay $10 per month for such limited access.

Brill says he expects his system will induce between 8 to 15 percent of a publication's online visitors to pay for at least some of the content that they view. The balance of page views would remain free in order to be supported by advertising revenue.

A consumer would register once with Journalism Online and then have access to all the publications that are affiliated with Journalism Online. Each publication would set the prices for viewing its own content. A payment could cover an annual or monthly subscription, or just one article. In addition to magazines and newspapers, Brill expects to include bloggers who produce original content.

Will enough publishers and bloggers sign up with Journalism Online for it to really take off? Brill says he doesn't believe that a critical mass will be necessary -- and besides, he reports that he has well-known attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson helping with negotiations. What's more, Brill adds, "If a newspaper or magazine doesn't think some significant portion of its content ... is unique enough to get some people -- maybe 10 percent -- to want to pay for it, then why are they paying journalists to produce it?"

Because of some of Brill's controversial-sounding rationales for his proposed e-commerce pad, we would have preferred that he describe them here in Editors Only himself. We invited him to do so. But after initial expressions of interest, he found himself unwilling to subject his prose to our standard editorial treatment.

William Dunkerley is editor of Editors Only.

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Errors Published Online -- To Fix or not to Fix

Posted on Monday, September 21, 2009 at 1:06 PM

What is the best course of action for online corrections? Do all edits require a correction notice?

By Meredith L. Dias

"We don't want to distract readers every time we fix a comma," said Salon.com co-founder Scott Rosenberg in an interview published by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. "On the other hand, we don't want the fact that it's easy to fix a Web page to give us an overly convenient cover on those occasions when we do screw up."

So what is the best course of action when you've printed a story online that contains grammatical, attribution, or even factual errors? Which mistakes require further comment? What corrections policy will best serve your readers?

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics states that "journalists should ... admit mistakes and correct them promptly." There are some who interpret this literally, noting even the most minor grammatical errors. Others ignore the SPJ tenet completely and "scrub" their stories clean of significant errors without comment (i.e., delete or edit content without issuing a correction or retraction). Still others differentiate between minor technical errors and more substantial errors that require correction notices. One editor told us, "If it is a simple typo, we'll fix it without comment -- or delay." The editor adds, "If something was factually incorrect, including the spelling of someone's name, we will correct it in the current version, plus under the heading 'Correction.'"

Bloggers have adopted a simple solution for edits, one that facilitates both the admission of mistakes and prompt correction. When correcting errors, they strike through the erroneous text using their blog editor or simple HTML tags. In Newsless.org's "The Future of Corrections," Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow Matt Thompson reports that this has become a common, and accepted, practice for blog writers. Strikethrough of faulty text promotes editorial transparency in a medium particularly easy to scrub clean of errors.

How should editors of online publications differentiate between innocuous errors and ones that require further comment? Recently, the Hartford Courant published a story entitled "Putnam Police Training Could Be At Fault For Woodstock Fair Shooting." The story was published online at 10:12 P.M. on August 31, and attracted two comments in response to the following sentence: "Because the pullet [sic] was travelling [sic] such little velocity when it struck the man, it may have passed through a berm or other structure intended to stop the bullets, Vance said." In response, "Susan5868" asked, "Does anyone proof read this stuff before publication?" Another reader, "phucer," replied simply, "Ugh."

The next day, September 1, the same article bore a new title: "Stray Bullet That Hit Man May Have Come From A Putnam Police Officer." In the revised article, the aforementioned sentence has undergone some cosmetic surgery: "Because the bullet was traveling at such a low velocity when it struck the man, it might have passed through a berm or other structure intended to stop the bullets, Vance said." All of these changes have been implemented without notice to the reader; however, "phucer" provides a link to the original, unedited article in the revised article's responses.

What can we learn from this? Most of the editors we contacted assert that errors of a typographical or grammatical persuasion do not warrant a correction notice; however, the reader response to the Courant article provides an interesting counterpoint to this editorial consensus. Though publications generally concur that grammatical tweaks can be scrubbed from the record without further comment, the response by "phucer" indicates that readers may be seeking transparency in even the simplest online edits.

When scrubbing grammatical or spelling errors from the record, editors ought to ask themselves: Will any readers be disadvantaged in the process? In the aforementioned ASNE article, Scott Rosenberg says, "You can fix an error and pretend you never made it. That rankles anyone who sees journalism as having a sense of history." Moreover, unacknowledged edits can introduce errors into the journalistic record. For instance, if a publication misspells President Obama's last name and edits without comment, this will do little to alter the historical record -- in context, even with the misspelling, the subject of the article will be clear. However, if a publication misspells an unknown person's name and later scrubs the mistake, this could alter the record if secondary sources have already attributed quotes and information to the erroneous name.

Recently, we contacted several dozen editors and publications on Twitter regarding their online corrections policies. Based on click-throughs to the web page containing our survey questions, there seems to be considerable interest in the topic. Only a handful responded, however. Are editors generally reluctant to discuss their online correction protocol? Or perhaps they have not yet developed cohesive policies.

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"Hey! Phucer here. What truly rankles is the utter lack of even basic proficiency in spelling and grammar by those being paid to write. The dumbing down of America marches forward, unashamedly." --Phucer. 09-29-2009.


"As for whether editors are reluctant to discuss their online correction protocols (note plural), I agree with the possibility that many publications and editors have not yet developed policies for the ever-changing electronic publishing world. I've noticed that factual errors do still get treated as corrections to be published, but typos often are simply fixed from one hour to another without being mentioned." --Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, WriterRuth.com. 10-04-2009.

To Err Is Human

Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 1:24 PM

To correct is divine.

By Denise Gable

Mistakes are inevitable -- especially when facing the pressures of tight deadlines. It's not easy to admit publicly that you've printed a mistake, but for many editors it's a necessary part of business.

Country Business Magazine, country-magazine.com
Frequency: 7 issues/year
Description: Country Business is a specialty retailer publication featuring expert advice, new products, top trends, and more. Available only to qualified retailers, Country Business serves today's independent gift retailers.

Susan Wagner, editor, "If the error was minor and only up for a short time, we would fix it immediately but not make any comment. If the error was major, such as a wrong name, incorrect data, etc., we would fix it immediately and make an editor's note stating the new corrected info. If the error was minor but had been up for awhile, we would correct it and include an editor's note about the correction."

S.T.I.L.L. Magazine, Mack Buckley
Frequency: Blog format, continuous
Description: S.T.I.L.L. Magazine is an online hip hop music magazine, published in blog format. The magazine strives to inspire ordinary people to become "living legends".

Mack Buckley, editor-in-chief, "Our policy is simply to change the error (if it is grammatical in nature). Of course, we try not to publish any errors or facts that are untrue. In the event that we do find that some information is not in fact true, our policy is to contact the person(s) interviewed to confirm whether or not the information is correct. In the event information was passed along that was not factual, we will correct the error and add a notation in the article. That is pretty much all you can do! Online publications do have that distinct advantage over print -- we have the power to correct after publication, whereas print publications do not."

Attribute Magazine, attributemagazine.com
Description: An independent Internet publication that publishes digital editions targeting like-minded, optimistic individuals.

Stacey Louiso, founding editor, "Being (only) online we normally just go in and correct any inaccuracy we come across or that is pointed out by others. We don't really have the space to say, 'Oops, we made a mistake.' Our articles are edited fully and that includes fact checking -- but we all know how pliable facts are these days."

Lake Chelan Mirror, Prairie Media, Inc.
Frequency: Weekly
Description: Weekly newspaper for Lake Chelan and its surrounding communities.

Les Bowen, editor, "Corrections and clarifications are considered on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, updates with new information are simply added to stories and an editor's note generally will state an update was made. Corrections (like incorrect names or factual errors) are updated, but we add an editor's note that there were errors. This helps mitigate the results of caching search engines that may have captured the incorrect information.

"In all cases of a correction (both in print and online), we follow the rule of not restating the incorrect information. So an appropriate editor's note would be: 'John Doe was misidentified in an earlier posting of this story.' A statement like 'John Doe was incorrectly identified as John Jones' would be inappropriate. By removing the error and only posting correct information, we prevent the further propagation of the error. We recognize that an error was made and provide enough specific information that readers can tell what information was corrected without restating the error."

True West Magazine, True West Publishing
Frequency: 10 issues/year
Description: The world's oldest continuously published Western Americana publication.

Meghan Saar, managing editor, "Since 1953, True West Magazine's editors have always appreciated the feedback we receive from our readers, especially those who help us improve on our coverage. At times, an article may need to be corrected, and you can submit those corrections to editor [at] twmag [dot] com. Articles on TWMAG.com are usually corrected the same day that corrections are submitted, and if not, the correction will be posted online as soon as possible. We also encourage readers to share their opinions and thoughts about our coverage by posting their comments with the article on TWMAG.com. That way, the conversation continues, not only with the True West editors, but also with other readers. We want our website to be a comfortable home for Western enthusiasts to engage with us and with each other."

JavaScript and Groovy magazines, Michael Kimsal
Frequency: Monthly
Description: GroovyMag covers a wide variety of topics in the Groovy and Grails world, featuring some of the best and brightest names in the Groovosphere. JSMag aims to publish quality JavaScript content to educate, motivate and inspire JavaScript programmers.

Michael Kimsal, editor-in-chief, "Our stories go out in PDF form, and we don't typically fix every little thing. Usually any typos are found before launch, or sometimes a day or two after. We'll typically do one 'fix' change. Anyone who's already downloaded the PDF can do so again, and we'll Twitter out that there's an update. Beyond that, the PDF will include an 'errata' file (in a zipped download file) that will alert people to any moderate changes."

H.H.H. Magazine, HHH Entertainment, LLC
Frequency: Monthly
Description: H.H.H is the "New Generation of HipHop". The magazine showcases local artists, fashion designers, and DJs in order to help build fan bases.

Lisa Marie, CEO and editor-in-chief, "I like to say that we differ from most publications -- the articles that we post are controlled 100% by the artists and/or their representatives. If there is an error in something that we have made, I immediately go in to correct it once I am made aware of it."

The Wolf Magazine, Loyola University of New Orleans
Frequency: 3 issues/year
Description: Student magazine of Loyola University of New Orleans.

Jessica Williams, editor-in-chief, "In print, we would usually run the correction in our next issue. But still, once it's in print, it's there. Forever. The great thing about an online newsroom is you can always go back and change your mistakes. If the mistake was minor, such as a misspelling or a grammatical error, we would change it as soon as possible without further comment. But if it was major, such as an incorrect fact, we would change it, then highlight at the bottom of the story what was changed and why. If something was believed true at the time of posting, but new facts show that it isn't, we run an entirely new story as breaking news, and state in the new article that in the previous article such-and-such facts were incorrect. We then take the old article off of the site."

Denise Gable is managing editor of Editors Only.

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The Twitter Revolution

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 at 4:56 PM

How social networking can help your publication.

By Meredith L. Dias

Established in 2006, Twitter has become something of a Mecca for publications and the professionals who run them. Thanks to its micro-blogging format (status updates in 140 characters or fewer), editors can post links to new content in just a few seconds. With just a click, Twitter users can "follow" a magazine page and see status updates on their Twitter newsfeeds. Editors can engage their followers with links, contests, special offers, and direct messages. If other users like the content, they can "retweet" it (i.e., repost it on their own Twitter feeds and link back to the source), thus widening the publication's Twitter visibility.

This sort of interpersonal connection with readers can help boost subscriptions and retain existing subscribers. Moreover, Twitter can help foster new business partnerships. Kim Howard, editor-in-chief of ACC Docket, shares her success story: "I connected, through a member, with an ediscovery group who loved our ediscovery issue. He asked for permission (which we granted) to summarize one particular article and we allowed him to post a 'look inside' version. He offered 50 free Dockets (which he purchased) to his blog followers who responded first. He said he never received that kind of overwhelming response before."

Moreover, Twitter can help editors to connect with new freelancers and writers, many of whom use Twitter to promote their services. Howard says, "I put a call out on Twitter for anyone interested in writing on a certain topic for which I have had no takers. I immediately got a response from a lawyer and he is working on something with an in-house attorney." However, she cautions against relying too heavily upon the social networking service: "Twitter is certainly not the end-all solution to marketing your magazine or association. It's simply one more communication tool."

There are some behaviors to avoid when navigating the Twitter universe. Tweeting too often can alienate followers, who are often receiving tweets from dozens or even hundreds of pages. While it is certainly permissible to tweet multiple times per day, it is important to consider whether or not the content posted is useful. Often, Twitter users will ignore or even block users who are posting too frequently, as the multiple updates push other desired tweets off the user's main page more quickly. Posting in excess can jeopardize this important opportunity to create real dialogue between publication and reader. Therefore, in this case, less can definitely be more.

Though Twitter is certainly not a cure-all for what ails the magazine industry, it can certainly provide a boost by introducing an interpersonal element to the publication. Many Twitter users enjoy the opportunity to converse with favorite celebrities and politicians who might be otherwise inaccessible to them; similarly, readers are embracing their chance to forge a direct connection with their favorite publications.

Follow Us on Twitter

Go to http://twitter.com/editorsonly and click the "follow" button to receive updates every time we add content to our newsletter.

Meredith Dias is the research editor of Editors Only.

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Leaving Comments on Our Articles

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Do you have comments or questions about any of our articles? We would love to hear from you. At the end of each article is a link that allows you to post your thoughts. We ask only that you limit your comments to 100 words or fewer. We will attribute all comments to the author/source and reserve the right to edit for style and length.

Please provide a valid email address when submitting your comment. We will not publish anonymous comments unless under extenuating circumstances. We will never publish your email address unless otherwise requested.

We look forward to hearing your input.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Reference books for editors and writers.

It is important for any publishing professional to have access to the right style, grammar, and writing guides. We have compiled a list of some of the most useful, comprehensive books out there for publishing professionals. Visit our Books page to see the complete list.

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How to Hire an Online Editor

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 2:21 PM

What to look for in a potential online, blog, or Web content editor.

As more and more publishers take their content online, the need may arise within your publication for an online (Web content) or blog editor. Because the online editor is among the newest arrivals to the editorial arena, you may be uncertain what to look for in a potential candidate. Here are some criteria to consider when looking at potential online editor candidates:

--Blog experience. Seek individuals who have experience writing, posting, formatting, designing, and promoting blogs. It is useful to find someone who has experience with blog software and HTML.

--Search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge. Candidates with SEO experience will understand how to generate keyword-rich copy and meta tags that will be picked up by search engines and result in a high search ranking.

--Internet marketing experience. Online editors often assume marketing responsibilities, promoting Web content and products via SEO, social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and social bookmarking (Propeller, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, etc.).

--Proficiency in applicable software and programming. Depending on your publication's specific protocol, you may need someone versed in Microsoft Office, Quark, Adobe, Dreamweaver, content management systems (CMSs), Java, Flash, XML, etc.

--Last, but certainly not least: writing, editing, organization, and communication skills.

Despite this intensive list of criteria, you will find no dearth of qualified candidates for your online editor position. Most college marketing curricula now include SEO and e-marketing. Moreover, because social networking is so widespread, with Facebook claiming over 150 million global users, you will be hard-pressed to find a candidate who isn't versed in at least some of the aforementioned social marketing tools.

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