Tuesday, December 09, 2008

do you know what your coworkers do for a living?

Seems like a silly question, doesn't it? I was reading a post on Eye magazine's blog, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at the printing of an issue. On MagCulture.com, Jeremy Leslie commented that it was a good reminder that everyone in a magazine art department familiarize themselves with the process, and it made me think that it would benefit a magazine's entire staff to see it.

You may have been lucky enough (or unlucky, if you didn't enjoy yourself) at some point to visit a printing press. Even if you get the concept, nothing compares to seeing the live-action version of printing. You begin to understand the physical limitations of the medium.

Likewise, I think it's a good idea if everyone gets to know what people in other departments do. Not just "I'm an assistant editor" or "I'm an associate art director," but what are each person's actual duties? What's the process of getting a story, a layout, done from start to finish? What are the steps?

There are a few ways to teach this. Perhaps a presentation by each department. Or maybe a day of job shadowing. I think it would give everyone a new found respect for what everyone else does. When you know what's involved, you understand why things are done the way they are and why they take the time that they do.

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