Read Like a Pro

You may think only readers are finding today’s magazines a bit on the hefty side, but trust us, we editorial types have noticed, too. At Folio: Show 2000, a conference put on by Folio, a U.S. trade association for magazine publishers, the issue of fat magazines was unavoidable.

Rita Stollman, president of editorial management strategies in Brooklyn, N.Y., told of a company that brought in an expert to instruct staff on how to read a magazine – that is, how to take a more structured approach to reading a magazine. It’s common sense, but worth sharing. Rather than be intimidated by thick magazines or (horrors!) thumb through them aimlessly, Stollman says to do the following:

1. Read the cover to see what’s getting the biggest play.

2. Read the table of contents carefully to see what the stories are about.

3. Go through the entire issue only reading the headlines, introductory text, subheads, photo captions, quotations emphasized within the story, charts and graphs – basically anything that’s highlighted. Together these elements should tell you different and important aspects of each story and allow you to understand its main points.

4. Then go back and read the appropriate stories as time allows. Starting with this one, right?