Guardian magazine masterclass

by Steve Watson in May 2013
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On Tuesday 18 June we’re putting on the next in an irregular series of magazine events at the Guardian’s offices. This time we’re going to be focusing on what it takes to make a financially sustainable independent magazine, with expert input from Will Hudson, co-founder of It’s Nice That and Printed Pages, and Rob Orchard, publisher of Delayed Gratification.

We’ll be tackling thorny issues like print, distribution and advertising, and giving as much advice as we can on the stuff you need to know if you’re thinking of making your own independent magazine. The best bits of these evenings often come during the Q&A session, so we’ll also be leaving plenty of time for questions at the end.

I love meeting people who are working on new editorial ideas, and these Guardian Masterclasses are a great place to do it. Last September I helped to host a whole weekend of independent publishing classes at the Guardian and it’s been incredible to see the magazines and other projects started by the people who took part. In fact just this morning there was a round robin email from the group, so I thought it was worth sharing some updates here.

The first magazine to emerge from the weekend was The Loop. A children’s magazine re-imagined as a newspaper, it landed on my desk a couple of months after the class and it’s really impressive. I’m not sure we can claim much credit for it – its editor Eleanor Meredith showed some pretty advanced proofs during the classes – but I hope we helped to give some useful advice and contacts.

The Loop

Next up came Cult by Dubliner Geoff McGrath. I’m afraid we weren’t able to prevent him from having a pretty torrid time with printers, distributors, barcodes and several thousand magazines being delivered to the wrong shops across Ireland. But he got it out and he’s still going, with the summer issue (below) due out in just a few days.


Then Debbi Evans brought out Libertine, her magazine for interested women. With a background in technology writing, Debbi wanted to make a magazine for women that wasn’t like anything else out there, and the result is brilliant. (The piece on Ping Fu, who went from a Chinese labour camp to become CEO of her own Fortune 500 company, is my favourite).


And this morning I found out that Thais Mendes has brought out a zine about motherhood, called, appropriately enough, Motherhood. I haven’t seen a copy but the pictures she sent look great.


Also this morning I found out that Danielle Gilbert is putting the finishing touches to Stand & Deliver, her magazine devoted to stand up comedy. Again, I haven’t actually seen a copy but I love the cover.

Stand and Deliver

Then there’s Flo Swann, who brought out Core, her magazine for Warwick Business School, last month.


And finally, Jonathan Wright opted not to start a magazine in the end, and has instead launched Adventure Rocketship!, a sci-fi anthology that mixes fiction, essay and interviews.

Adventure rocketship

I’d say that’s a pretty prolific output, and it’s fantastic to see so many different projects coming to fruition. If you want to come along to the next Masterclass book your tickets now – it should be a good night!

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