Using the Needfinding Toolkit, design a needfinding experiment that will help you get to know your target readers and their needs. It can be a focus group, an online questionnaire or a series of one-on-one interviews. Unlike with most journalism assignments, you MAY interview friends, relatives, roommates, co-workers but they must be in the target audience for your publication. Draft questions that will help you understand your target readers and their needs better. You may ask specific questions about the type of content your publication should include, advertisers that would appeal to readers, logos, design, story ideas, etc.
Assignment: As a group or individually, do one-on-one interviews or lead a focus group for target readers of your magazine. Ask people about their needs (related to the topic of your magazine) and how a publication like yours could provide solutions. Include the results of this needfinding research.
A report on your needfinding assignment is due April 10.
Week 3 2/6: Read Chapters 3 and 5, The Magazine from Cover to Cover. Be ready for a quiz.
Prepare your Elevator Pitch (due Feb. 13)
Write up a one-page description of a magazine you’d like to start. Include a working title, target audience, potential advertisers, outline of editorial content. Prepare a one- to two-minute elevator pitch to be presented 2/13.
This assignment is worth 10 points, 5 percent of your grade. You will be graded on:
- the clarity of your definition of the audience
- the viability of this type of magazine
- the professionalism and passion of your presentation
We will as a class choose the four best magazine ideas and form teams to work on them.
If you have questions about the assignment contact me by email or come to my office hours (Mondays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon; Tuesdays, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; and by appointment)
If you are not in class on Feb. 13 you will miss the assignment and be randomly assigned to a team.
Week 2 1/30: Read Chapters 1 and 4 of The Magazine From Cover to Cover, 3rd Edition. Be ready for a quiz.
Look at the website for Diablo Magazine in preparation for next week’s guest speaker, Editor-in-chief Kat Rowlands.
Start thinking about the magazine you want to pitch on 2/13.
Week 1 1/23: Go to a bookstore or newsstand with a lot of magazines. Find one that intrigues you and bring it into class next Monday for discussion. Review the list of Bay Area magazines on the course website. By 1/30 sign up for the magazine you’d like to research.
Read Chapters 1 and 4 of The Magazine From Cover to Cover, 3rd Edition. Be ready for a quiz.
Magazine Case Study Assignment (click for details) due March 6
Choose a Bay Area-based magazine and write a case study about it. Research the magazine to find out about its history, ownership, mission, business plan. Try to interview at least two employees or former employees of the magazine. Read through at least six issues of the publication and/or several months of online content. If possible, arrange a tour of the magazine’s offices. Try to use this assignment not only to get information but as a way to network with magazine professionals.
This assignment is worth 10 percent of your grade.