Week 8 Midterm Exam/Planning Editorial Content

Week 8, March 13
Today you’ll take the midterm exam for the class.

After that we will look at the mission statements you came up with a few weeks ago and then start planning editorial content and your prototypes.

Sample Prototypes

Planning Editorial Content

Editorial Blueprint Worksheet

Discuss what each person will contribute to the prototype, an 8- to 16-page print publication or a fleshed out website with actual magazine content. Each team member must produce:

  • Roughly 1,000 to 1,500 words of content for your magazine prototype. This may be a 400-word editor’s note and a 700-word feature story or a 1,200-word feature or three brief pieces of 300-500 words each.
  • Photos, video, podcasts, illustrations, graphics or other content for your magazine/website prototype. Visual or multimedia content should be roughly equivalent in effort to 1,000 to 1,5000 words of text content.

Assignment for next class (after Spring Break):
Research the position(s) you’ll be playing on your magazine team. Write a job description for yourself and a to-do list for the next few weeks. Think about information you have to gather to pull together your piece of the magazine launch plan. Look for examples of what you’ll need to create (a budget, an editorial budget, a financial budget, a media kit, magazine websites, etc.).


Week 7 Meet Reid Cammack/Midterm Review

Today we’ll meet SFSU journalism alum Reid Cammack, now creative director for Gloss.

Current issue

We’ll then review for the midterm exam, scheduled for Tuesday, March 13. The midterm will cover Chapters 1-10 of the textbook plus some of the issues we’ve been discussing in class.

You’ll then work in your teams to discuss design issues.


  1. What kind of mood do you want your magazine to evoke in readers?
  2. What colors and tones convey that mood (bright, cheerful colors? earth tones? neon? calm, restful colors)?
  3. Look at logos for other magazines. Which come close to what you want for your publication?
  4. Start designing a logo.
  5. Look at Color palettes. Which might be good for your publication?

Design Worksheet

Free logo makers:

Readings on Magazine Design:


Some things we haven’t covered that you’ll need for your midterm exam:


  • Magazine Terminology: Business
  • Magazine Terminology: Production/Parts of a Magazine
  • Magazine Personalities
  • Magazine Concepts

To review for the midterm exam:

  1. Read Chapters 1-10 of the textbook
  2. Review past quizzes
  3. Look over these class presentations:
  1. Read more at:


Week 6 OZY/Revenue Streams

This week we’ll meet representatives from OZY:

Quiz on Chapters 6 and 8
Discuss how magazines are using new tools for increasing revenue.


Source: Mequoda
  • Multi-platform publishing


Source: Mequoda

Multi-platform brands:

Oprah Media Kit

Dwell Media Kit
Dwell Media is a world-class design brand and publisher of Dwell® Magazine, Dwell digital properties, including dwell.com, Dwell Store, as well as national events including modern home tours, and the Dwell on Design® events in Los Angeles and New York City.


Workshop: Discuss revenue sources for your publication. Consider:

  • Events
  • Educational opportunities: Courses, webinars, paid tutorials
  • Books (cookbooks, guidebooks, anthologies, etc.)
  • Ancillary products related to your audience — cookware, furniture, insurance
  • Membership
  • E-commerce
  • Mobile apps
  • Video/video advertising
  • Custom content
  • E-newsletters
  • Social media advertising
  • Television show
  • Research/consulting services using data you collect from readers

Come up with at least three practical, viable sources of revenue for your magazine. Develop these ideas — how will they bolster your brand, develop audience loyalty and bring in revenue?

Also continue to finetune your Mission Statement.



Week 5 Mission Statements/Anxy Magazine

Feb. 20 Agenda

Guest Speaker: Indhira Rojas, founder of Anxy Magazine

Mission Statements

Today your team will start to define your target readership and your magazine’s mission.

A good magazine mission statement:

  • Describes the publication
  • Defines how the publication is different from the competition
  • Defines how the audience benefits from reading the publication
  • Should be short and pithy (usually about 3-4 sentences)
  • Captures the spirit and tone of the magazine

Clarify Your Magazine’s Mission Statement, WestGold Editorial

Examples of Magazine Mission Statements:

The Atlantic





Family Circle

Travel & Leisure

Darling Magazine

In your teams…

  1. Write a mission statement for your magazine
  2. Describe three target readers: Give each one a name, age, profession, interests, personality traits
  3. Think about what each of these target readers need and how you will serve those needs

Homework: Identify your direct competition and other magazines in your space. Think about how your magazine will be different. What will you offer that these magazines don’t? Come ready to discuss on March 6.



Week 4 Elevator Pitches

Week 4 2/13/2017

Quiz on Chapters 3 and 5

Today we’ll hear your elevator pitches for new magazines and then form teams for your magazine launch projects. Prepare to present a 1- to 2-minute “elevator pitch” for the magazine project you’d like to work on this semester. Your pitch should include:

  • a working title
  • a specific target audience
  • potential advertisers
  • outline of editorial content
  • ideas for alternative streams of revenue (events, ancillary products, custom publishing, apps, e-commerce, etc.)

Then we’ll choose the best four magazines and form teams.

Once teams are formed we will go over the Final Project Assignment and roles and responsibilities for each team. In assigning roles take an inventory of your team member’s skills, traits, strengths and weaknesses.

Then begin to discuss magazine mission statements.  Examples of magazine prototypes:

Creating a Magazine Prototype

Magazine Masthead

You’ll meet with your teams to:

1) Assign each person on your team to a position

2) Refine the working title for your magazine

3) Start defining your target readership and your magazine’s mission.

Clarify Your Magazine’s Mission Statement, WestGold Editorial

A good magazine mission statement:

  • Describes the publication
  • Defines how the publication is different from the competition
  • Defines how the audience benefits from reading the publication
  • Should be short and pithy (usually about 3-4 sentences)
  • Captures the spirit and tone of the magazine

Examples of Magazine Mission Statements:

New York Magazine

The Atlantic

Sunset Magazine


Family Circle

Rolling Stone

Travel & Leisure

Week 3 The Art of the Elevator Pitch/San Francisco Magazine

Feb. 6

This week we’ll look at what a magazine needs to survive and how to present a good elevator pitch. At 3:45 p.m. we’ll meet Diablo Magazine Editor-in-Chief Kat Rowlands.

Here’s the agenda for today’s class:

Kat Rowlands

Quiz on Chapters 1 and 4

The three-legged stool: Advertising, Circulation/Audience, Editorial.

Steps for identifying a good subject for a magazine:

  1. Find a niche that’s not already filled.
  2. Consider the audience — be specific.
  3. Think about products and services that go along with this topic/audience. It’s hard to have a successful magazine without advertising.
  4. Consider multiple streams of revenue in addition to advertising.
  5. Get the word out to your audience.
  6. Build a relationship with readers — provide not just what they want but what they need.

Multiple streams of revenue:

Example: The New Yorker

Example: Vice

  • 1994: starts as Voice of Montreal
  • 1996: drops the O and changes name to Vice; launches Viceland website
  • Late 1990s: moves to NYC
  • 2002: Vice UK
  • 2006: documentary, TV, feature films
  • 2013: HBO show, Vice News
  • Shane Smith interview
  • Magazine
  • City Guides
  • Vice Video

We’ll also talk about what a magazine needs to survive and how to craft and pitch an idea in preparation for your magazine elevator pitches next week:

  • Defined audience
  • A need/needs that are not being met
  • Products/services to sell to this audience
  • Unique selling proposition — how is your magazine different from others out there
  • Editorial content

Make your Pitch Perfect: The Elevator Pitch

6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

How to Give a Flawless Elevator Pitch

Sample Pitches:

The Emerald Magazine

Outlier Magazine

Kazoo magazine

For next week: Prepare a 1- to 2-minute elevator pitch for the magazine you’d like to work on this semester. Describe your target audience, the need you plan to fill, how it’s different from competitors and how you will make money.

Week 2 The Magazine Industry

Week 2 Jan. 30 An Overview of Magazines

What is a magazine?

The magazine industry

Is the magazine industry dying?
CBS Interview with Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine

Anatomy of a Magazine

Magazine Terminology

Alliance for Audited Media Consolidated Media Reports


Case Study Assignment To Do List:

  • Make contact with someone from your magazine this week.
  • Try to set up an interview, tour or other in-person meeting with an editor or other professional from the magazine.
  • Review the publication’s website.
  • Monitor the publication’s presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and other social media channels.
  • Try to get current and past issues from a newsstand, a library, a friend who subscribes or someone at the magazine office willing to send you some back issues.
  • Make a list of interview questions.
  • Think about how you can get the most out of this assignment, particularly if you’re interested in interning, freelancing or working for this publication someday.

Remember, this assignment is due March 6, five weeks from today!

Magazine Pitch To Do List:

  • Start thinking about a magazine you’d like to work on this semester.
  • Consider a magazine you’d not only like to read, but one that there’s a need for. What niche isn’t being filled? What community isn’t being served?
  • Think beyond simply content; consider opportunities for creating events, developing audience, attracting advertisers, even selling other products. You’ll need to come up with a magazine that’s financially viable, one that has multiple streams of revenue.
  • Each student must do an individual pitch but you can start to think about who in the class you’d like to work with.

Your 1- to 2-minute elevator pitch is due Feb. 13, two weeks from today!


Week 1 Introduction to The Contemporary Magazine

Week 1 1/23/2017

What this course is about

Syllabus review

How to get the most out of this class


Magazine Introductions

Small group discussion: What’s your favorite magazine? What role do magazines play in your life? How is your relationship with magazines different from other publications?

First Assignment: Magazine Case Study

Welcome to The Contemporary Magazine

https://smartblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Magazines-300x225.jpgWelcome to the website for JOUR 500 The Contemporary Magazine, a course in San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department taught by Professor Rachele Kanigel.

In this course we’ll explore all aspects of magazine publishing, including the history of the industry; new developments, such as digital and tablet publishing; audience development; editorial content; design; production; distribution; business plan writing; and alternative revenue models. This semester, we’ll hear from a number of leaders and innovators in the magazine publishing field, including:

  • Kat Rowlands, editor-in-chief of Diablo Magazine
  • Reid Cammack, creative director of Gloss Magazine
  • Indhira Rojas, founder of Anxy Magazine
  • Eva Rodriguez, Adam Needs and Andrea Garcia-Vargas of OZY
  • Harry Spitzer of Epic Magazine

This course goes beyond theory and study; the most important aspect will be the final group project. For much of the semester students will work in teams to create a launch plan and prototype for a new publication. You’ll also have opportunities to meet and network with magazine professionals on your own. Start thinking of a Bay Area magazine you’d like to delve into.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of magazine publishing and get a taste of what it’s like to be a media entrepreneur!