Postgraduate Publishing studies at Edinburgh Napier University. INDUSTRY APPROVED Publishing degrees (accredited by the Professional Publishers Association and Creative Skillset). MSc Publishing was the first Publishing programme in the UK to be accredited by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA). It is now accredited by Creative Skillset (only one of two courses to hold this award). MSc Magazine Publishing is the only course of its kind in Scotland and is the only publishing course in the UK to be accredited by the PPA. The PPA is the lead body for best practice in training, development and people management for the magazine and business media industry.
Since January, I have been part of a wonderful group who have been working hard over the last few months to get Turadh, an ethical and well-being magazine based in Edinburgh, ready for publication. This experience has been incredibly worthwhile and not only will we soon have the first issue as a physical copy, but it has also helped open my eyes to another side of publishing.
At the beginning of the Publishing MSc at Edinburgh Napier University, when I thought of a career in publishing: I thought of books. Magazines weren’t something I had ever considered, despite spending a small fortune on them every month. However, within the first day of the course we had already been given the opportunity to attend MagFest, the international magazine festival held in Edinburgh, later in the month. Fast forward a few months to where we were given a choice in modules, and I immediately chose the newly structured Magazine Publishing option. So, why the change in heart?
Prior to starting my placement at The Media Company Publications Ltd, I was a little nervous, what would I be expected to do and would I be able to do it?
The Media Company publishes amongst others, Foodies Magazine and the Edinburgh Festival Magazine. Their offices are located in a basement property near Stockbridge, less than a 10 minute walk from Princes Street, and there was definitely a sense of homeliness from the moment I entered. Stacks of magazines and cookery books were overflowing, reminding me of my own bookshelves.
From an outsider’s perspective, The Media Company Publications Ltd could be considered a small team yet they achieve big results. I was helping out within the marketing department, in full swing of their annual Foodies Festivals which take place across the UK, and discovered just how much effort and hard work goes into the marketing of each individual festival. I also realised that sometimes even the smallest gesture, like a 140 character tweet, can go a long way and have an unbelievable impact. Nothing should be overlooked in the world of marketing.
As an intern in a busy office, I learnt to speak confidently on the phone and promote the festival effectively. I also re-evaluated the sheer importance of databases and keeping them current and up to date. Working with entries from a competition, I also realised how many people actually enter them, having always been an “I’ll enter that competition later” type of person, the scale of entrants was very impressive, as were some of their efforts to be picked.
I needn’t have worried about my first day, everyone was absolutely lovely and I would like to specially thank Gary Anderson for showing me the ropes.
When I started this degree I wasn’t entirely sure which area of publishing I wanted to work in but having had the chance to work on both a live magazine project and a live book project – I settled more or less on magazines. Therefore when it came to choosing a placement I was keen to experience the real-world of magazine publishing.
It has been said that I think with my stomach and I absolutely adore cooking so when offered the chance to do my placement with Foodies Magazine, I jumped at the chance. Foodies Magazine is produced by The Media Publications Company Ltd. They also organise Foodies Festivals which take place in seven different locations during the summer months.
Over the course of my placement I have had the opportunity to work on both Foodies Magazine and the Foodies Festivals. This has given me a valuable insight into the process of running a professional magazine and event planning. I have had the chance to help out with a wide range of tasks and been made to feel like a valued member of the team.
Foodies Magazine is distributed free across Scotland and contains a lively mixture of food and drink news, recipes and articles about top chefs. The magazine prides itself on being ‘A celebration of fine food and drink’ and it’s friendly tone and bright colours make for a beautiful publication that is a joy to pick up and read.
As part of the team working on Foodies Magazine, I helped by extracting recipe text from PDF files as well as typing some out from recipe books. I had the opportunity to help research and write some of the news stories, in addition to a potential article. I was also asked to help mark up the adverts in the latest issue which involved checking the adverts in the magazine against a separate list of the adverts. When I found the advert I then wrote the code next to the advert in the magazine.
As I mentioned above the Foodies Festivals take place at seven different locations around the country over the summer months. My work as part of the team working on Foodies Festival, centred primarily on the Hampton Court Palace event as well as the Brighton event. I aided the team through a variety of tasks. I researched a number of potential business to whom the festival could be marketed. I also researched companies that offer VIP wristbands and was able to offer advice on the likely quality of the various options.
I had the chance to flex my data-entry skills in helping to maintain the client bookings database. There is something deeply satisfying about a fully updated excel spread sheet and it was nice to feel appreciated for my data-entry skills. The other main task I helped with was the compiling of the exhibitors profiles for the Hampton Court Palace and Brighton show guides.
I also helped answer the phones which whilst scary to start with, I soon got over my nerves and I take away from this placement an improved confidence around telephones. All in all I have enjoyed my time with The Media Publishing Company and I feel it has confirmed for me my desire to make a career in the magazine publishing industry. I am grateful to all at The Media Publishing Company for allowing me the opportunity to do a placement with them.