ED's MAG GLOSSARY:
So you'll be able to talk the talk
Above the Line: A term used to describe the editors who are at
the very top of the masthead often separated from the rest of the staff
by a line. Executive Editors, Managing Editors, Art Directors, and Deputy
Editors are usually "above the line."
Acquisitions Editor: See Assigning Editor.
Art Director: S/he oversees all of the editorial (meaning not
ads) art in the magazine, which includes design, photography, and illustrations.
It is the highest art position on staff. Most Art Directors have Associate,
Deputy or Assistant Art Directors under them. Sometimes the Art Director
is called Design Director or Creative Director.
Assigning Editor: Refers to an editor who assigns stories, usually
features, to freelance writers. This is usually not a title on a masthead,
just a way to distinguish between to an editor who assigns stories to
outside writers rather than one who edits and/or writes stories in-house.
Generally an assigning editor is a senior editor or above, although
now more associate editors are assigning editors as well. Also known
as an Acquisitions Editor, but more in the book publishing world than
the magazine world.
Assistant Editor: The next step after Editorial Assistant, usually
it involves more editing and/or writing responsibilities, but not always.
Associate Editor: The next step after Assistant Editor. Associate
Editors are usually responsible for writing and/or assigning (to other
writers) the FOB and BOB columns and stories.
Back of the Book: The last third of the magazine after the "well"
that has advertising surrounding it. The BOB usually consists of short,
one-to-two page articles and columns.
Blues: The first set of pages that come back from the printer
before a final print run of the magazine is done. Blues are used to
catch last-minute mistakes and are usually only seen by the EIC, Art
Director, and/or Managing Editor.
Blurb: See Dek.
B.O.B.: See Back of the Book.
Clips: Samples of your published work often requested when applying
for a magazine job or a freelance writing or editing assignment. Clips
usually refer to those stories you've written a byline piece for a magazine,
newspaper, or other medium, but they can also refer to stories you've
Closing: See Shipping.
Copy Editing: Editing that is intended to catch spelling errors,
grammatical errors, and other typos in all text before it is sent to
the printer. Copy editors also ensure that all text abides by proper
style, usually according to a combination of the Associate Press Style
Book and the magazine's own style guide. Copy editors check all editorial
copy in the magazine, including headlines, captions, credits, coverlines
and bylines. Copy editors are usually not responsible for making line
edits or conceptual edits in text.
Copy Editor: A copy editor looks for grammar, spelling, and style
mistakes in a story (or any other text for that matter) after it is
written and edited for content and clarity. Most staffs hire both freelance
and full-time copy editors. The head of the copy department is the copy
Copy Flow: Term used to describe the process by which the initial
text of a story moves from writer to editor to copy desk to designer.
Often a combination of checks and rechecks.
Creative Director: See Art Director.
Dek: See Hed.
Editor at Large: This is one of those titles that is different
at every magazine. Some Editors at Large are more like Contributing
Editors and while they conribute to the magazine by either writing or
editing stories, they may only work on special projects and may only
work part-time. However, other Editors at Large have full-time staff
positions and are no different from any other editor on staff—they
just outgrew a Senior Editor (or other) title.
Editor in Chief: The top editorial position at most magazines.
At Time Inc. magazines, such as People and InStyle, the top editorial
position is called Managing Editor.
Editorial Assistant: By far the most important job on staff (!).
The EA is the entry-level position on the editorial side of the magazine,
often filled by a recent college graduate. S/he usually reports to one
or more senior-level editors. Some EAs only do administrative duties
(opening mail, answering phones, copying stories, replying to reader
mail), but many have (or can earn) writing and editing responsibilities.
The next step after EA is Assistant Editor.
Editorial Director: An editorial director is usually a person
who manages one or more editors in chief, usually within a large magazine
company. The ED, often a former editor in chief him/herself, is responsible
for approving things like covers or large projects such as a redesign
or relaunch. S/he may be in charge of a group of magazines all with
different editors in chief within the same company; for example, a teen
group or a parenting group. On rare occassions, the term editorial director
is used to mean "executive editor" or "editor in chief"
rather than the more prestigous role mentioned above.
Entertainment Editor: Depending on the magazine, the entertainment
editor may be responsible for a combination of booking celebs for stories
(see "wrangler"), conceiving of, assigning, editing, and/or
writing all pages related to celebrities and entertainment. Given monthly
magazines' long lead times, the Entertainment Editor must keep abreast
of all upcoming movies, TV shows, music, gossip, and industry news to
make sure the magazine's coverage is timely and fresh. Often, the Entertainment
Editor consults on all other pages in the magazine that include any
kind of celeb element.(The Entertainment Editor must love all aspects
of shmoozing, as lunches, drinks, screenings, parties, and meetings
are a major part of the gig! Obsession with one's TV, iPod, and local
Loews are job requirements.)
Executive Editor: The Exec is usually the #2 editorial person on
staff. S/he usually approves all the editorial copy before it goes in
the magazine and is in charge of all hiring decisions. At large magazines,
the Exec is often the behind-the-scenes head of the magazine while the
EIC serves more as a figurehead.
Fact-Checker: See Research Editor.
Final: See Galley.
First Bound: The first print run of any issue. Usually the staff
gets first bounds before issues appear on stands. Small changes can
be made at this point, but it's very expensive to do so.
Flak: A slang term for a publicist or public relations representative,
usually an entertainment publicist.
F.O.B.: See Front of the Book.
Frankenstein Cover: When body parts or clothing of a cover subject
(usually a model or a celebrity) are digitally manipulated. For instance,
Jennifer Aniston's head from one picture is attached to her body from
an entirely different picture. Often this creative photo-editing goes
undetected; only when it is noticeable do people refer to it as "Frankenstein".
Front of the Book: The first third of the magazine before you
get to the "well" that has advertising surrounding it. The FOB usually
consists of short, one-to-page articles and columns.
Galley: A page (usually 11x14) of a story or column with the
approved text incorporated into the approved layout. It looks just as
it will in the magazine; the galley is one of, if not the final, opportunity
for editors to make changes before the page is shipped to the printer.
Also called "proof" or "final."
Hed: Short for "headline." Usually accompained with a "dek,"
a one or two line summary of the story. I.e., Hed: Is Your Boyfriend
Making You Fat? Dek: He Could Be! Here Are 3 Ways to Watch Your Waist-line
During Your Relationship. Also called "titles and blurbs" or simply
Layout: The design of any magazine page, including pictures,
headlines and captions.
Line Editing: This refers to editing copy for clarity, logic,
and flow. It can also include copy editing, but generally does not include
big-picture conceptual editing or rewriting of copy. Traditionally,
an editor line edits on paper (rather than on a computer) and uses directionals
and other editing markings to indicate the changes she wants made in
the copy. Editors often ask prospective hires to take editing tests
which include line edits.
Managing Editor: One of the top positions at any magazine. The
ME is usually, but not always, responsible for overseeing the actual
page production of the magazine and making sure each issue reaches the
printer on time. At many magazines s/he is also in charge of staff issues
(hiring, vacation allotment) and budgets. S/he is also usually the liaison
between editorial and advertising. Most MEs do not edit or write copy.
Market Editor: refers to an editor, usually in fashion, whose
spends most of her time "in the market" (at fashion shows,
shops, designers, etc.) looking for the latest trends in clothes, shoes,
and accessories that can be incorporated in the fashion pages of the
Masthead: The list of staffers at any given magazine that usually
appears in the first few pages of any magazine. Most magazines list
their editorial and advertising staffs separately. Usually the most
important people are listed on top (Editor in Chief, Executive Editor,
Art Director) and the important-challenged are on bottom (editorial
assistants, copy editors, fact checkers).
MEGO: This stands for "my eyes glaze over." Few editors use this
phrase on copy anymore, but if you should find it in the margin of your
copy be warned: She's probably bored by whatever you wrote.
On Spec: Short for "on speculation." Normally when a freelance
writer pitches an idea to an editor at a magazine, she just gives the
editor the story idea, but she doesn't actually write the story unless
the editor gives her a contract under which to do so. (The contract
will spell out the basic content of the story, the fee, and the deadline
among other legal details.) The difference with "on spec" is that the
editor agrees to read the entire story—not just the idea—without
the promise of a contract or payment. Writing on spec has its good and
bad aspects. Good because the editor is more likely to give you a chance,
say, if you are a first-time writer to the magazine since she does not
have any money at stake. And, you may do such a great job that she does
in fact, give you a contract. But it's bad because you are writing an
entire story, doing all the reporting, researching and writing, with
the chance that you may never get paid for it. A lot of freelance writers
start out offering to write "on spec" just to get their foot in the
door. Once you are established, though, you really shouldn't write for
anyone unless you get a contract up-front.
Over the Transom: When a writer sends in a story that was never
assigned or discussed, just mailed in, it's said to have come in "over
the transom." Once they come in "over the transom," they usually end
up in "the slush pile"—magazine speak for the pile of unsolicited
manuscripts that collects in editors' inboxes. These rarely get purchased/published.
Proof: See Galley.
Research Editor: S/he is responsible for verifying all of the facts
in a story before it is printed. Research editors are also called "fact-checkers"
for this reason. Very few research editors perform preliminary story
research. Many magazines hire fact-checkers on a freelance basis. The
head of the research department is the Research Chief.
Shipping: A term that refers to sending the magazine's pages to
the printer. It also refers to the period of time it takes an entire
issue to be finished or "closed," anywhere from one to two and a half
weeks. Often called "ship" for short, as in "I can't meet you for drinks.
SIP: This term stands for Special Interest Publication. An SIP
is a magazine that is an off-shoot of another magazine; sometimes they
are one-time special issues, but usually they are on-going. (For instance,
In Style has In Style Weddings; YM has a special prom issue.) Often
a magazine hires a separate staff, often freelance, to produce its SIPs.
SIPs are usually newsstand only. It is pronounced two ways: "S.I.P.s"
Slug: The name used to describe a regular column or feature,
usually at the top of a page. For instance, Cosmo's health column is
slugged, "Your Body."
Spec: See On Spec.
Stringer: A reporter—usually one who just submits story
ideas rather than writes them, but it's defined differently at different
magazines. Usually a magazine, if it has stringers, like People
does, has a bunch of stringers spread throughout the country so they
can get ideas from everywhere.
Title: See Hed.
TK: An editing term that means "to come." It is often inserted
in a story so the flow is not interrupted while the writer looks for
the exact fact or detail. For example, "Men are TK% more likely than
women to grow hair on their chests." It is also used in conversation.
A managing editor may say, "Where are the TKs for the 'Beauty in the
Desert' story? We need to fill them now!"
T.O.C.: The Table of Contents.
Well: The well is the group of pages in the center of the magazine
where no advertising appears. The well articles are usually cover-line
stories and fashion and beauty spreads. They are also usually longer
than FOB or BOB stories.
Wrangler: The editor on staff who is responsible for booking
the celebrities who appear in the magazine, especially on the cover.
On small staffs, the Entertainment Editor is also the Wrangler.
Write-around: a profile that is written, usually of a celebrity,
in which the writer/magazine did not actually interview the subject.
Sometimes quotes will be pulled from other articles in which the subject
was featured (usually you an tell because the quote will be qualified
with "once said" or "has said") and friends, neighbors, and colleagues
will be quoted to flesh out the story and "write around" the subject.
Often write-arounds are done because the celebrity will not grant the
magazine an interview. Write-arounds are popular in entertainment magazines
such as People, In Touch, and Us Weekly.
Writing Samples: Samples of writing either published or nonpublished.
Also see Clips.
WYSIWYG: Shorthand for "what you see is what you get."
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