Archive:Exec report - Journal Editor 2012 - 2013

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Murray Down
[email protected]

Before volunteering as the editor, I had been secretary and I helped out with journal editing in past years but the position of official journal editor seemed daunting and I wasn't sure I was up to it. As October showed up, we still didn't have a journal editor so I stepped up to the plate. The first thing to know is that the journal is a team effort. Sure you're running the show but that doesn't mean you should do every task. Recruit a reliable team of proof readers and other helpers, both from the exec and the general membership. It's great if you can get a few specialists for tasks like photo-conversion, but it's not essential. Make a realistic timeline for each stage of the project with deadlines for article submission, ad submission, proofreading, first draft, second draft, printed proof, final print submission, pickup from Hemlock and finally glorious delivery at the banquet. Ask the exec to decide when the annual banquet/AGM will be (usually late March) and work backwards from there, with lots of buffer time for sleep's sake. Make a google-docs folder and share it with your team, with sub folders for:

  • black and white photos for articles
  • colour photos for chapter intros
  • articles not yet edited
  • articles edited once
  • articles edited twice

Make a wiki page (copy format from last year) with the timeline, helper tasks and submission guidelines. The submission guidelines are important to minimize the amount of editing needed. People should submit articles as plain word documents without formatting and submit their photos separately. The photo file name should include the caption and the photographer's name in the exact format that you plan to use in your captions. Though I didn't specify it early enough, I decided to do captions in the following format:
Bob doing a cool thing. Photo: John Smith
But I didn't clarify this early enough, and furthermore, even if I had, file names don't seem to consistently support symbols like colons ":" so they get replaced by other stuff. Therefor I would recommend one of the following simpler caption formats:
Bob doing a cool thing. Photo John Smith
Bob doing a cool thing. John Smith

Getting captions consistently formatted like this from the get-go will save countless hours (and potential typos) when you're inserting photos as it allows you to use an InDesign function called "autocaption". I wish I figured that out earlier...

Ask the VOCene editor to put out a call for both article submissions and editing helpers. Make a post about this on the message board and generally chat people up about it. Also contact last year's editor (me) and I'll be happy to answer questions and send you all of last year's files.


Update the media kit document to send out to potential advertisers. Although it's good to contact advertisers early, first take the time to make sure all the details in the media kit are correct. It's how you advertise to the advertisers and convince them that the VOCJ is still a high-quality publication that is read by their target demographic. It's ok to re-use last year's kit as long as you update the deadlines, contact info (yours) and anything else that has changed, maybe switch the photos to more recent ones (don't forget to change the captions). Key pieces of info include: Deadline for ad submission, page dimensions of ads (5 3/8" wide by 8 3/8" tall), and bleed (1/8"). Amongst last year's files is a spreadsheet with advertisers that were contacted in the past, what they said (if anything), and who bought an ad. Some companies won't even reply, others are super keen and on the ball. Arc'Teryx, Valhalla, Intuition and Bivouac have consistently purchased ads in the past. MEC consistently purchased ads for a very long time and then last year they inexplicably never responded to multiple emails to the ad rep. In hindsight, I should have just called them or emailed more people, as they seemed so keen to advertise in the past, perhaps my emails weren't going to the right person. Other companies have advertised once or twice and may advertise again so it doesn't hurt to ask again. And if you have ideas about new companies to contact, contact them too, as long as they are related to what we do (if unsure, consult with the exec).

Important technical specs:

- The customary page size of the VOCJ is 5 3/8 inches wide by 8 3/8 inches tall(5.375" x 8.375") and the bleed must be 1/8 inch (0.125")
- Download the Hemlock job options file from their website and install it in Indesign

To be continued...