Magazine of the Year Case Study: The Scientist


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Mary Beth Aberlin, Editor in Chief of the 2011 ASBPE Magazine of the Year award, discusses the magazine: The Scientist. The presentation was delivered at the 2011 ASBPE National Conference in Chicago.

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  • Begun 25 years ago
  • Controlled circulation magazineOur website reaches many more people who visit it not just for the magazine, but for up-to-date news coverage
  • While the mission of the magazine is essentially the same, how content is delivered has changed.
  • Here’s the evolution of our editorial team. Couldn’t resist.
  • Small staff that is expert at multitasking
  • Pretty standard
  • Sometimes an infographic is the best introduction to a topic.This spread introduced the feature section of a special-issue topic
  • This is the final image that was chosen by me, the editor, and the art director.We consider art selections our prerogative, not that of the author. But our authors are scientists and we usually run final pdf by them to make sure it is scientifically accurateThe downside: these authors reacted badly. Here’s the one we thought was final.
  • Still a lot of the same and a few new thingsNext few slides show some of the out-of-the lab and how-to columns our reader value.
  • In the feature well 6 times per year feature surveys and competitionsNot on slide is the Labby awards for best lab website or multimedia presentation. In September issue our 2nd annual.
  • Out of the lab advice of a practical natureEditor who wrote this had a baby right around this time
  • Another practical column: Interviews with users of technologyPros and cons of products
  • As I mentioned lots of web trafficThis is where readers comment
  • Used to cull comments on websitefor print, but we were always a month late.Decided to change the way we feature comments
  • On our newly redesigned website—launched just in June—we now present provocative “Featured Comments”Here’s what it looks like and an example.The comments all link to the article from which they are drawn.
  • Special anniversary issue in OctoberAnd on to another 25 years of engaging with the life-sciences community
  • Magazine of the Year Case Study: The Scientist

    1. 1. The ScientistA Case Study<br />MARY BETH<br />5 August 2011<br />
    2. 2. THE SCIENTIST MISSION<br />Started as trade newspaper for scientists (October,1986)<br />To report the latest news on outside-the-lab issues<br />- policy<br />funding<br />jobs/salaries<br />ethics<br />technical advances<br />book reviews<br />
    3. 3. WHO READS THE SCIENTIST?<br />A highly educatedgroup of … <br /><ul><li>Scientists
    4. 4. Academics
    5. 5. Industry leaders
    6. 6. Intellectuals</li></ul>Highest Degree Earned<br />JD/MBA 3%<br />BS 12%<br />MS 10%<br />PhD 60%<br />MD/PhD 10%<br />MD 5%<br />
    7. 7. STATISTICS<br />Print edition<br />12 issues/year<br />72-84 pages/issue <br />56,000 copies/month [800 paid]<br />Website<br /><ul><li>300,000 visitors every month
    8. 8. 600,000 page views every month
    9. 9. News stories; 3-6,000 views every month</li></ul>Daily E-mail<br />> 260,000 e-mails sent each weekday<br />
    10. 10. EVOLUTION OF DESIGN<br />1986 Newspaper Format<br />2000 Newspaper FormatGlossy, 2” shorter<br />2002 Magazine Format<br />2006 Magazine Redesign<br />2011 Current Issue<br />
    12. 12. THE TEAM<br />Editor-in-Chief<br />Editor in Chief<br />Mary-Beth Aberlin<br /><ul><li>Balances editorial budget
    13. 13. Commissions and edits print columns
    14. 14. Top edits all print stories
    15. 15. Manages editorial flow
    16. 16. Writes monthly editorial</li></ul>Senior Editors<br />Bob Grant<br />Edyta Zielinska<br /><ul><li>Write, commission and edit news and print stories</li></ul>News Editor<br />Jef Akst<br /><ul><li>All of the above, plus manages news</li></ul>Correspondents<br />Megan Scudellari<br />Tia Ghose<br />Associate Editor<br />Richard Grant<br /><ul><li>Write newsand print stories</li></ul>Editorial Intern<br /><ul><li>Writes newsand print stories
    17. 17. Proofs print copy</li></ul>Art Director<br />Lucy Reading-Ikkanda<br /><ul><li>Balances art budget
    18. 18. Designs print stories
    19. 19. Art directs illustrations
    20. 20. Illustrates infographics
    21. 21. Coordinates photoshoots
    22. 22. Prepares art files for website</li></ul>Production Assistant<br />Cristina Luiggi<br /><ul><li>Prepares adverts for the print magazine for website
    23. 23. Writes news, print stories
    24. 24. Commissions and edits stories</li></ul>Senior Editors<br />News Editor<br />Correspondents<br />Associate Editor<br />Editorial Intern<br />Art Director<br />Production Assistant<br />
    25. 25. EDITORIAL PROCESS – Content<br />PRINT<br />Features<br /><ul><li>3 Features/month (2 by leading scientists)
    26. 26. 6 Surveys/Competitions per year</li></ul>ONLINE<br />Daily E-mail<br /><ul><li>3 short Nutshell item—highlights breaking science news
    27. 27. 3 longer stories—combo of science news and latest TS issue
    28. 28. Multimedia items (videos, slideshows, infographics)</li></ul>PRINT<br />Departments<br /><ul><li>2 Profiles/month (1 established scientist;1 young scientist)
    29. 29. 4 Notebooks (700 words; behind-the-scenes looks)
    30. 30. Critic at Large
    31. 31. Thought Experiment
    32. 32. Modus Operandi (new and novel technical development)
    33. 33. The Literature (hot papers)
    34. 34. Bio Business (6/year)
    35. 35. Careers (6/year)
    36. 36. Lab Tools (user opinion of new technology)
    37. 37. Book essay; 4 capsule reviews</li></li></ul><li>EDITORIAL PROCESS – Story Arc<br /><ul><li> Editor-in-chief plans monthly content in consultation with editors
    38. 38. Commissioned stories assigned to editors
    39. 39. Editor works with author / art director
    40. 40. Story to editor-in-chief for top edit
    41. 41. Text to copy editor/fact checker
    42. 42. Final text to production
    43. 43. Pdf passes to editor
    44. 44. Pdf pass to editor-in-chief for read
    45. 45. 2nd editor reads
    46. 46. Checklist
    47. 47. Proofreader / spellcheck
    48. 48. Final</li></li></ul><li>LAYOUT & DESIGN – Feature<br />
    49. 49. LAYOUT & DESIGN – Feature<br />
    50. 50. PROCESS – Infographics<br /><ul><li>Sometimes the author provides a sketch(not always!)
    51. 51. AD crafts a sketch which is sent to the editor and author for approval.
    52. 52. Captions are provided by the editor; composition is pinned down before assigning to an artist.
    53. 53. Sketch is assignedto an artist.</li></li></ul><li>LAYOUT & DESIGN – Infographic<br />
    54. 54. FEATURE PROCESS – Prelim Art Plan<br /><ul><li>Preliminary layout; Ideas for graphics sketched by AD; sent to the author / editor for input</li></li></ul><li>FEATURE PROCESS – Graphics<br /><ul><li>The AD works with the Editor and author to solidify the graphic sketches
    55. 55. One approved, the AD commissionsan artist</li></li></ul><li>FEATURE PROCESS - Opener <br /><ul><li>Opener options provided by the AD
    56. 56. Opener chosen</li></li></ul><li>FEATURE PROCESS - Final Tweaks<br /><ul><li>Final tweaks to graphics, opener (and title!)</li></li></ul><li>VALUE TO THE READER<br />1986<br /><ul><li>Begun as trade newspaper for scientists to reportthe latest news on outside-the-lab issues</li></ul>2011<br /><ul><li>Still cover the same issues
    57. 57. Offer 2 scientist-written reviews in each issue
    58. 58. New column offers infographic explanationof innovative new technique</li></li></ul><li>ANNUAL SURVEYS<br />Best Places to Work<br />- Industry<br />- Academia<br />- Postdocs<br />Salary Survey<br />Top 10Innovations<br />
    59. 59. CAREER ADVICE<br />
    60. 60. LAB TOOLS<br />
    61. 61. READER INTERACTION<br />Website<br />300,000 visitors every month<br />600,000 page views every month<br />News stories; 3-6,000 views every month<br />Daily e-mail<br />> 260,000 e-mails sent each weekday<br />
    62. 62. READER INTERACTION – mail<br />Eliminated letters section from print magazine in April 2011<br />
    63. 63. READER INTERACTION – website<br />Many stories—both print online—bring in >20,000 page views and dozens of comments.<br />
    64. 64. LOOKING AHEAD<br />