Monday, August 07, 2006

Conference coverage: Magazines of the Year

Magazine of the Year case studies

CSO: winner in the under 80,000 category
CSO, which goes out to chief security officers and has 27,000 print subscribers, launched in September 2002.

CSO’s secrets to success:
  • A strong staff—The magazine has excellent writers, reporters, editors and designers, says the chief editor. CSO has three designers, who spend time presenting the information graphically. He said it’s important to compensate employees well if a B2B publication wants to attract good people. The magazine has a twice-a-year review process and asks the employees what is energizing for them as writers and editors. CSO has eight editors, and four of them have been working together for the past five years.
  • Constant improvement—The magazine staff looks at covers for the past six months to make sure it’s not stuck in a rut and has idea meetings every two weeks.
  • The idea puddleCSO maintains a communal Word file, and the editors add ideas to it.
  • Readers are the sources—When interviewing CSOs for the magazine, reporters ask them what else is going on in their world and what their thoughts are on the magazine. They also try to talk to sources outside the security industry like psychology or finance professionals.
  • Include longer articlesCSO published an 8,000-word feature because the author was able to find a great story and then weave valuable lessons into it. The magazine also includes in-depth charts and graphs.
  • The surprise element—If you don’t surprise each other, you won’t surprise your readers.

Computerworld: winner in the over 80,000 category.
It has a weekly circulation with 180,050 print subscribers and 1.3 million online.

Computerworld’s tips:
  • Writers and editors are professional journalists, not professional technologists.
  • The publishing company has a strong corporate culture and recognizes people as its number one asset.
  • The magazine allows for flexibility in assignments based on specific talents.
  • Computerworld holds vendors accountable.
  • The publication conducts many editorial surveys and polls the attendees at trade shows.
  • The magazine tries not to break news in print but rather analyze the news after the fact.
  • Honors 100 CIOs each year with the Premier 100.
  • Never cuts back on the travel budget or loses sight of making funds available.
  • Interacts with readers by having them send in their funny stories. The ones that are chosen get T-shirts.
  • Its award-winning design team is big on practical takeaways.
  • As a result of its editorial excellence, one of its readers said the magazine knows what he is thinking. When he has something on his mind, he said he opens up the magazine, and Computerworld has a story about it.

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