Your grade will be based on a 100-point grading scale. No credit will be given for late assignments or assignments that do not meet minimum requirements.
Magazine analyses (3): 10% each
You will need to complete three analyses of different magazines during the first half of the semester. Each analysis focuses on a different type of magazine:
For each, you will need to examine at least one current copy of the magazine, evaluate it and do some additional research. You will then need to write up your analysis (600-750 words each) and post it to a personal blog under the category mcom458. Details for each analysis can be found in the links above.
Initial Pitch: 10%
Each student will come up with his or her own magazine idea early in the semester. The best ideas will be selected and groups formed around those ideas. Students must submit an Action Plan on the night of the initial pitch. You can find a simple model for your Action Plan on pages 14-15 of Hogarth. In addition to the outline that is given on page 15 in Hogarth, be sure to include the pieces from page 14 (the three whys, analysis of rival publications, and brand eye). NOTE: There is a typo on Page 15. UCP should be USP. Please make enough copies for all members of the class and the instructor.
Magazine Proposal: 40%
This is the heart of the course. All semester, your team will be working to create a detailed proposal for a new magazine. LivePlan will help you create this. If you choose not to use LivePlan, you can use this model for your proposal.
Half of this grade is based on your work and half on your team's work. The winning team will get a 2 point (10 percent) bonus on the team score.
Your team is responsible for covering the following positions. Some of these roles may be combined and some responsibilities may be shared or divvied up differently.
- Publisher/business manager: pulls entire package together, leads the budget and business operations, researches costs of production, staff, etc. Product: Business plan, including budget and 5-year forecast
- Editor in chief: directs editorial concept Product: Mission statement, description of departments, themes, story budget for first three issues
- Advertising sales director: develops advertising program, including list of target advertisers Product: Media kit
- Art director: directs design of magazine and related products (website, media kit, digital products) Product: three covers, prototype
- Digital editor: Oversees the digital approach, including use of multimedia, social media, decisions about how much content goes on the website, mobile and tablet products Product: Website (or other digital products)
- Circulation/marketing manager (one or two positions): Develops a circulation plan, including strategies for single-copy, subscription and/or controlled circulation; develops marketing/promotions plan for the magazine, including events, contests, partnerships, other marketing strategies Product: Subscription direct mailer and/or press release announcing the launch of the magazine and/or calendar of events
The proposal includes several sections:
A business plan, including an operations budget and a five-year financial forecast. Your business plan should also include an executive summary, market analysis and company summary. In addition, you may identify potential investors or members of a dream advisory board. (Business manager and publisher will take primary responsibilities for this)
An editorial plan that includes a mission statement; a description of departments; and a table of contents for three issues, listing headlines and blurbs for stories. You may decide to include actual stories you’ve written, photos, infographics, etc. You may also have a letter from the editor, other editorial material. (Editor-in-chief)
A design plan that includes a 16-page prototype (front cover; inside front and rear cover ads, back cover ad; 10 pages editorial, 2 pages interior advertising) that shows what the magazine will look like. In additon, you should have two additional covers for upcoming issues. (Art director)
- A media kit that includes an advertising rate card and audience profile and a list of target advertisers. (Advertising director)
- A circulation and marketing plan that includes a subscription direct mailer (a letter or postcard) and strategies for single-copy, subscription and/or controlled circulation as well as Ideas for promotion and marketing, such as potential events, partnerships, contests, etc. (Circulation/marketing director)
A digital strategy that includes the approach you plan to take with your Web site – paid content or free, web-exclusive content, digital-first, digital-only - mobile and tablet products, etc. This should include details about what features they would include (contests, forums, chats, blogs, etc.) In addition, you will need to create either a small website (consisting of at least a homepage and two article/column pages) or a site made with Joomag. (Digital editor)
Each student must also write a 1- to 2-page report on your personal contributions to the group, detailing what you brought to the project, how your group worked together and what you got out of this assignment (please be honest in this account). In addition, each student should submit a portfolio of your personal contributions to the project. This may include:
- Research reports you've collected or compiled for your group
- Correspondence with magazine professionals
- Sketches, sample covers or layouts
- Your notes or proposals to the group
In addition, each group will need to prepare a 15- to 20-minute pitch for judges.
Questions for speakers: 10%
Most weeks, we will have a guest speaker for part of our class meetings. This is your chance to learn from a wide range of professionals, in the process improving your odds of creating a successful proposal. Therefore, it is important that you come prepared to ask questions about the topics they are discussing. In addition to having read the relevant material in the text beforehand, you will also need to prepare a printed (not handwritten) list of at least five questions for each speaker and ASK at least one of them. At the end of each class, be sure to submit your list to me, with a check next to all the questions you asked. For each speaker, you will receive a maximum of 2 points, up to the maximum of 10.
Your attendance in this class will affect your grade in two important ways. First, your attendance will directly affect your grade if you miss more than one class (see below for details). Second, a major portion of the grade in this course is the group magazine project. Your absences can hurt your group’s project, therefore affecting other students’ grades, which is unacceptable.
The roll will be taken at the beginning of each class. If you arrive at the class significantly late (20 minutes or more), leave class early, or have to be asked to leave class (disruptive behavior or sleeping), it will be counted as an absence. One absence – for any reason – is allowed without affecting your final grade. Each absence after that will lower your final grade by 5 points unless there is a written notification by a doctor or university official.
You should use the “allowed absence” to cover all personal emergency situations, including common illness that requires rest at home or visit to a health clinic, death in the family, car problems, taking care of family or friends, etc. There are no additional “excused absences.” Exception may be made only in a case of a true medical emergency that requires extended hospitalization. However, you will be advised to seek a medical withdrawal from the course if you have to miss three or more weeks of classes.
Observance of religious holidays, recognized by the University of Maryland System, are not considered absences under this policy. Also, if you miss class for “participation in university activities at the request of university authorities (athletics, forensics, etc.),” it will not be considered an absence if you submit a letter from the coach/university official/professor explaining your place on the team/activity and a schedule of any away games or events during the semester. This letter must be submitted by the second week of the current semester. You must prepare any assignments that conflict with this schedule before the test or due date, not after.
When you miss a class, it is your responsibility to cover all the information given during the class as soon as possible from someone in the class. This includes lecture notes, assignments, schedule changes, etc. It is a good idea for you to find someone for exchange of information for a missed class.