Author Archives: rkanigel

Week 16 Getting Ready for Pitch Day

May 8 One week till Pitch Day!

Revised Magazine Launch Plan Judging Sheet



Week 15 Launching a Magazine

Magazine Pitch Day is two weeks from today! Here is the Magazine Launch Plan Judging Sheet judges will use to evaluate your magazines.

Meet your judges:

Let’s talk about:

  • timing
  • food
  • other preparations

This week we’ll hear from Sam Molmud, a SFSU journalism graduate who developed a magazine launch plan in this class in 2014 and went on to start Liquid Bread, an online magazine about craft beer. Most of the Liquid Bread staff and contributors are current or former SFSU students.

The publication has more than 6,700 Facebook followers and a media kit.

You’ll also have time to meet in your teams to discuss your:

Readings on Non-profit

How to Form Non-Profit Organization

How do I start a non-profit?, Grantspace

National Council of Nonprofits


Next week: Rehearsal for Pitch Day. You’ll have time to meet with your group for the first 45 minutes of class. Then you’ll present your 10-minute pitch to the class and get feedback from the other students.

Week 14 The AIDA Model/Digital Publishing at Sunset Magazine

April 24 This week we’ll apply the AIDA Model to magazine publishing

The AIDA Model

Then you will write a press release announcing the launch of your magazine. Magazine Launch Press Release.

Next we’ll hear from Nena Farrell, a SFSU journalism graduate who is now an assistant digital editor at Sunset Magazine.

Week 13 Crafting Your Pitch

Today we’ll work on your pitches. Pitch Day is four weeks away! We will discuss the  Magazine Launch Plan Judging Sheet that judges will use to evaluate your launch plans on Pitch Day.

A good pitch needs to simply and clearly answer these questions:

  • Market — Who wants this?
  • Features — What are you going to do for the people who want or need it?
  • Mockup — What will it look like?
  • Sustainability — How will you attract users/customers and create enough revenue to sustain the business?
  • Risks – What is the competition and what things could go wrong?
  • Team — Why are you and your co-founders the right people to do this?

Early version of Airbnb pitchdeck

Redesigned Airbnb pitchdeck

Your pitch deck should include:

  1. Cover slide
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Market — validation/size
  5. Product
  6. Business model
  7. Competition
  8. Competitive advantages
  9. Go-to-market strategy
  10. Team
  11. Projections
  12. Needs


Pitch Examples:

Other resources:

Email marketing:

Campus marketing:

Promotional products:

This week in your groups you’ll review what you have accomplished so far and begin to fill in the holes. You should also discuss your 10-minute pitch and start working on your  presentation materials.

Design Review

For the last hour of class each team will do a mini presentation and then get feedback from the other groups.

Week 11 April 3 Writing a Business Plan: The Budget

Week 11 April  3

Today we’re going to talk about the dollars and cents of magazine publishing: the budget. We’ll discuss how to figure out how much this venture is going to cost, how you can make it profitable and where you can get money to finance your project.

New Magazine Start-up Guide

Magazine Publishing: A Resource Guide for Magazine Start-ups

How to Write a Business Plan, Small Business Administration

Magazine Business Plan Outline

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Indiegogo and Kickstarter

We’ll also look at some recent magazine launches including:

Alternative Revenue Sources for Magazines

How to Raise Start-Up Capital — lots of articles and resources on starting a magazine

Magazine budget discussion

DOWNLOAD: Magazine Budget Worksheet

Budget discussion questions:

  1. Will the magazine publish in print, online, on tablets or some combination?
  2. How often will it publish in print — monthly, quarterly, etc.?
  3. If you have a website, how often will you update online — daily, just when the print edition comes out, some content in-between print editions?
  4. How will you pay staff — full-time salaries, part-time, no pay at first?
  5. Will you have an office or have people work from home? What will your office need — furniture, equipment, phone, Internet, etc.?
  6. Consider different sources of revenue — paid circulation, single-copy sales, membership, product sales, events, digital advertising, print advertising. How do you plan to get revenue?
  7. How much do you need in start-up funding?
  8. Where will you seek start-up capital — venture capitalists, partnership with an organization, crowdfunding campaign, bank loans, Small Business Association loan, friends/family?
  9. Discuss the scale of your start-up — low-budget (no paid staff, no office), medium budget (a few paid staff, bare-bones office), high budget (full staff, office).


Week 10 Media kits/Defining Your Audience and Its Needs

NLGJA Connect: Apply by April 17

ONA Student Newsroom: Apply by March 29


Scholarship Workshops: Get help applying for Journalism Department Scholarships

  • Wed., Mar. 28, 2-3 p.m. in HUM 308
  • Mon., Apr. 9, 2-3 p.m. in HUM 308

This week we’ll discuss how to define and target an audience and how to use needfinding experiments to better understand potential readers and their needs. You’ll also start to plan the media kit and prototype for your magazine.
First we’ll look at some magazine media kits to see what other magazines learn about their readers:

Top 10 Media Kit Tips for Magazine Publishers

Discussion questions:

1) Who are your target readers?

2) What are their needs?

3) How can your publication fulfill those needs?

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 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 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.