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The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry

Overview

In this entertaining anthology, editors, writers, art directors, and publishers from such magazines as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Elle, and Harper's draw on their varied, colorful experiences to explore a range of issues concerning their profession. Combining anecdotes with expert analysis, these leading industry insiders speak on writing and editing articles, developing great talent, effectively incorporating art and design, and the critical relationship between advertising dollars and ...

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The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry

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Overview

In this entertaining anthology, editors, writers, art directors, and publishers from such magazines as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Elle, and Harper's draw on their varied, colorful experiences to explore a range of issues concerning their profession. Combining anecdotes with expert analysis, these leading industry insiders speak on writing and editing articles, developing great talent, effectively incorporating art and design, and the critical relationship between advertising dollars and content. They emphasize the importance of fact checking and copyediting; share insight into managing the interests (and potential conflicts) of various departments; explain how to parlay an entry-level position into a masthead title; and weigh the increasing influence of business interests on editorial decisions. In addition to providing a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the making of successful and influential magazines, these contributors address the future of magazines in a digital environment and the ongoing importance of magazine journalism. Full of intimate reflections and surprising revelations, The Art of Making Magazines is both a how-to and a how-to-be guide for editors, journalists, students, and anyone hoping for a rare peek between the lines of their favorite magazines. The chapters are based on talks delivered as part of the George Delacorte Lecture Series at the Columbia School of Journalism.

Essays include: "Talking About Writing for Magazines (Which One Shouldn't Do)" by John Gregory Dunne; "Magazine Editing Then and Now" by Ruth Reichl; "How to Become the Editor in Chief of Your Favorite Women's Magazine" by Roberta Myers; "Editing a Thought-Leader Magazine" by Michael Kelly; "Fact-Checking at The New Yorker" by Peter Canby; "A Magazine Needs Copyeditors Because...." by Barbara Walraff; "How to Talk to the Art Director" by Chris Dixon; "Three Weddings and a Funeral" by Tina Brown; "The Simpler the Idea, the Better" by Peter W. Kaplan; "The Publisher's Role: Crusading Defender of the First Amendment or Advertising Salesman?" by John R. MacArthur; "Editing Books Versus Editing Magazines" by Robert Gottlieb; and "The Reader Is King" by Felix Dennis

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Tom Goldstein

This delightfully eclectic collection is full of exceptional gems, of value to anyone interested in magazines, journalism, and good editing and writing.

de Cinema de Cuir

...a diverse collection of intelligent and inspiring reads that would seem to be a must for anyone interested in the inner-workings of editorial offices.

Library Journal
The sheer complexity of what it takes to create an issue of a magazine is evidenced by the scope and variety of these lectures compiled by Navasky (George T. Delacorte Professor in Magazine Journalism, Columbia Journalism Sch.; A Matter of Opinion) and Cornog (dean, Sch. of Communication, Hofstra Univ.; The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush). These talks, given to Columbia University journalism graduate students over the past decade, range from overview pieces on the purpose of magazines to detailed descriptions of the roles of various magazine staffers. Novelist and essayist John Gregory Dunne (d. 2003) opens the collection with an eloquent piece arguing that magazine journalism should explore the "why" of newsworthy events, which he illustrates with anecdotes from his career. Tina Brown shares stories of her successes and failures as an editor. An interview with art director Chris Dixon, formerly of New York magazine and currently of Vanity Fair, illuminates how visuals support magazine texts. VERDICT These 12 essays will appeal to professionals as well as sophisticated readers interested in the nuts and bolts of how magazines are put together. However, some of the pieces seem dated, and too little attention is paid to changing economics and the impact of new formats on the future of magazines.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.
Publishers Weekly
Bold, brash, and on target on the compelling issues of the magazine industry in a digital age, this slight collection of observations by editors and scribes, delivered as part of the recent Delacorte lecture series at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, is the creation of Navasky, the former acclaimed Nation editor, and Cornog, the dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University. Navasky and Cornog wisely chose a variety of distinctive voices in the business, including John Gregory Dunne, Tina Brown, Ruth Reichl, Michael Kelly, John R. MacArthur, and Robert Gottlieb. Some of the topics presented by the veterans are cultivating author talent, selecting timely topics, keeping art and design on the cutting edge, as well as the conflict between business interests and editorial designs, and the future of magazines in the computer age. Pay attention to critic and essayist Dunne’s lively take on trendsetting writing styles, Reichl’s candid chronicle of her struggles during her editorial reign at Gourmet magazine, Kelly’s savvy comments about choosing the identity of a magazine, and Harper’s publisher MacArthur’s tough tirade on the clash between ad revenue and editorial content. This is a book not to be missed by working editors and journalists, print newbies, and magazine junkies. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of smart essays and lectures by accomplished professionals in the magazine world. Navasky (A Matter of Opinion, 2005, etc.) is the former editor of the Nation and now a professor of magazine journalism at Columbia University. Cornog (The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush, 2004, etc.) is the former publisher of the magazine Columbia Journalism Review and now dean of the school of communication at Hofstra University. Their insightful introduction explains that they have compiled something other than a how-to book. Perhaps it is best to consider it a how-to-think-about-it book. Ruth Reichl, who as editor made Gourmet magazine a must-read for foodies, compares the way magazines operated before the advent of the Internet with the new digital-inspired reality. Other high-profile editors sharing their philosophies include Roberta Myers (Elle), Tina Brown (Talk, the New Yorker, Newsweek) and the late Michael Kelly (the Atlantic and the National Journal). Peter Canby, fact-checker at the New Yorker, and Barbara Walraff, copy editor at the Atlantic, explain why the rush of online magazine publishers should never lead print periodicals to lower standards concerning facts, grammar, spelling and the like. Without rigorous standards, confusion reigns and quality is compromised. John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper's, and Felix Dennis, publisher of Maxim and others, offer divergent views on how those controlling the budget should think about the editorial content as a way to attract and retain readers. Robert Gottlieb, former New Yorker and Simon & Schuster editor, discusses why, at a book publisher, the job of the editor is to make authors happy, but at a magazine the writer's happiness is secondary to the editor's vision of what readers will consume. A useful, even timely collection, even though some of the pieces are 10 years old.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231131377
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Series: Columbia Journalism Review Books Series
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,020,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor S. Navasky, editor of The Nation from 1978, became editorial director and publisher in 1995 and is now its publisher emeritus. He is the George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Delacorte Center of Magazines and chairs the Columbia Journalism Review. He is the author of Kennedy Justice; Naming Names, which won a National Book Award; and A Matter of Opinion, which won the George Polk Book Award.

Evan Cornog is dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University and a former publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review. He is the author of three books of political history and served as press secretary to New York Mayor Edward I. Koch. He has worked on the editorial staffs of The New Yorker and Wigwag Magazines and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The American Scholar, and Columbia Journalism Review.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction, by Evan Cornog and Victor S. Navasky1. Talking About Writing for Magazines (Which One Shouldn't Do), by John Gregory Dunne2. Magazine Editing Then and Now, by Ruth Reichl3. How to Become the Editor-in-Chief of Your Favorite Women's Magazine, by Roberta Myers4. Editing a Thought-Leader Magazine, by Michael Kelly5. Fact-Checking at The New Yorker, by Peter Canby6. A Magazine Needs Copyeditors Because..., by Barbara Walraff7. How to Talk to the Art Director, by Chris Dixon8. Three Weddings and a Funeral, by Tina Brown9. The Simpler the Idea, the Better, by Peter W. Kaplan10. The Publisher's Role: Crusading Defender of the First Amendment or Advertising Salesman?, by John R. MacArthur11. Editing Books Versus Editing Magazines, by Robert Gottlieb12. The Reader Is King, by Felix Dennis

Columbia University Press

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