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Duties of a Magazine Publisher
The publisher of a magazine is the person ultimately responsible for defining what a particular magazine is about and making sure that it is a success. The publisher, therefore, has a wide range of duties, many of which he may delegate to his employees, depending on how much involvement he wishes to have in the day-to-day running of the publication. The publisher is more involved in the business aspect of running the magazine, leaving the editors in charge of the content, but some publishers prefer to also have editorial control..
Define Magazine's Mission
The central job of a magazine publisher is to define the mission of a particular publication. For example, the publisher of a magazine such as Mother Jones has committed the publication to left-leaning investigative reporting, while the publisher of Vogue has built a magazine around cutting-edge women's fashion.
In order to see his vision for the magazine fulfilled, the publisher must hire staff that will help him shape the magazine's content, including its articles and its overall look. This will include writers, photographers, editors, and graphic designers, as well as production and administrative staff.
Make A Budget
Publishers are the parties chiefly responsible for making sure a magazine is financially viable. Some publishers will own a significant share of the magazine, giving them a stake in its success. Most publishers will lay out a yearly budget for the magazine, which balances expected revenue from advertisers, subscribers and other sources against expected expenses, such as staff, production and distribution.
Oversee Editorial Content
The publisher will usually work closely with the editor-in-chief to define the kind of content that will appear in the magazine, including its regular features and sections. This can include approving or nixing photos, articles and certain types of layout, and even assisting in the editing of individual articles.
Most publishers choose to oversee the production process of a magazine, making sure that staff are doing the jobs assigned to them and that production is proceeding apace. If there are any major hangups, it often falls to the publisher to sort them out. Some publishers will choose to review much of the content of a magazine before it goes to print, while others will delegate this job to their editors.
The publisher is usually the public face of a magazine. When the magazine needs someone to appear at a major public event to represent the magazine, it is usually the publisher who will stand in. When the magazine feels the need to speak directly to its readership, the publisher will often sign the letter. For example, when the New Republic discovered that one of its writers, Stephen Glass, had been fabricating material, its publisher at the time, Marty Peretz, wrote an open letter to readers apologizing for the magazine's errors.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.