Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On press for Alert Diver, Winter 2012

This week, as Alert Diver magazines begin arriving member mailboxes, I thought is would be interesting to reminisce a bit about the process that makes the magazine happen.

Of course, it all begins with the contributors, the photographers and authors who provide the stellar work that graces our pages. Regrettably I don't have their pictures to share here, but the outside contributors and the DAN medical and professional staff that contributes to our content is the very core of the magazine.

Once we have their raw materials our talented art staff in California and the best prepress house in the business do their thing, obsessing over every single page.

Then, there is our dedicated editorial and IT staff in Durham, NC, who take these editorial concepts to the printed page, strategizing where and how things should flow in the magazine, and making sure every single word is checked and rechecked. As my world is ever-more defined by pixels these days, our editorial staff is immersed in the words and the architecture of this magazine, and our companion website at http://www.alertdiver.com. I'm extraordinarily proud of their talent and dedication.

Months go into the process I've described in a few sentences above, and with every issue we thank the stars we are a quarterly magazine. For, without the luxury of time, we could not achieve the quality we seek in each issue of Alert Diver.

One of my favorite parts of the magazine production cycle is being on press. I don't know why that should feel so rewarding, as it is mostly about sleep deprivation, but it is absolutely necessary to see each page come off the press while working with the talented press professionals at Quad Graphics to assure the the words and images on the printed page are the very best they can be.

We pay special attention to the cover, both in terms of image selection and print quality. This issue's cover is a harp seal by Brian Skerry, in support of a Shooter article inside the magazine that speaks to his important work in photo-documenting issues relevant to marine conservation. As the harp seal is in dire difficulty at the moment due to habitat loss (the ice necessary for their pups to be born and grow to self-sustenance is in jeopardy from global warming) we thought this a timely and compelling image.

Finally, when every page is where we want it to be, I sign off on the pages, the press moves on to print 150,000 copies of the magazine, and it then goes to the bindery and the co-mail facility to begin its journey to member mailboxes.

Actually, even then we aren't quite done, for Alert Diver is also available as an iPad version which can be downloaded free of charge by any member of DAN North America by first downloading the free Alert Diver App from iTunes or the App store on iPhone or iPad, and then from "MY EDITIONS" in the device's "Newsstand" log on with your e-mail address on record with DAN as the user ID, and for the password use the last name (case sensitive with only the first letter of last name capitalized).

Those interested in subscribing to Alert Diver for a modest fee can do so, either as a singe issue or a one year subscription.

So, now that all this is done, you'd think it is time to kick back and relax for a few weeks? Not! Our editorial director in Durham already phoned this morning with a wish list for photographs to upload to the designer for the Spring 2012 issue. Here we go. Again. Loving the process, and the final result, so all good.