What Is The Job Of An Editor?
I AM PRIVILEGED TO SEE WELL OVER 150 different motor club magazines. They vary from very simple news sheets (usually from a local club) to large magazines that would not look out of place on the shelves of W.H.Smith.
From previous research I have found that the Club magazine usually accounts for some 60 – 75% of the club’s subscription. In the case of a nationally based club, such as a one make club it is often the only contact 75% or more of the members have with their club so the magazine is very important as is the job of the Editor. He is the communications officer and is possibly one of the most important people on the club committee. If he is not on the committee he/she ought to attend those meetings.
For smaller clubs the Editor may have been press ganged into the post at an AGM. He/she is likely to have the necessary computer or publishing skills but what exactly does the job entail? These thoughts on Editors came about due to some impassioned editorials such as “I have had no written copy from members…if you don’t send me things I cannot produce a magazine”.
Another Editor writes: “My job is to collate your contribution and polish them for publication, not to write the magazine”.
I have never edited a club magazine; well, that is not quite true. Back in the 1960’s I did compile a section newsletter for a one make club, however the old hand crank duplicator rendered my words almost illegible. I agree an Editor should not have to write the magazine, but it’s not enough to implore your readers to send in contributions.
I believe the editor has to solicit the type of articles he/she wants to see in the magazine and this must be done by cajoling individual members to write, The editor not only has to arrange the coverage of the National Rally, he/she ought to be there looking out for interesting cars or recent restorations and asking the owners to write them up. Encourage members to send letters/emails. Write up committee meetings so improving public relations.
Does the membership want to know what is going on in the wider world of the vintage or classic movement? I am delighted to see so many club magazines are taking large chunks of material put out by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, this is the one way enthusiasts will hear about changes in legislation that might effect them. The bookstall magazines cannot cover these in detail.
I am of the opinion that some club Editors exist in a vacuum. They are possibly only members of one or two clubs so do not see other club magazines.
I do think that an annual meeting of motor club editors would be useful. I think such a get together with appropriate speakers could result in Editors gaining good ideas for content, on production and printing costs, other printers, cheaper paper, obtaining advertising and so on.
Does your club have a club historian? Is it sufficient to say the club minutes will cover the historical record of the Club’s activities? (assuming they are all kept that is). Many clubs are celebrating big anniversaries at the moment.
Have you a complete run of the club magazine? After all it’s the news piece of the Club – or ought to be…
Yes, the Editor’s job is to “collate contributions and polish them for publication” but in order to do this the Editor must have a plan for the content and he/ she has to arrange for others to write it.
from p. 11 of issue August 2017
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