Rochdale, Oldham & Bury

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

How More Beer is Produced

If you have ever wondered how More Beer is produced? What behind the scenes work is done on each edition? And how you could be involved in this production process? Then read on!

1. Usually each new edition starts with me as editor speaking to branch members asking if they have any articles they want to submit or pub and brewery news this normally occurs over a pint or two but these days most "conversations" are done electronically by Email, but I try and get to chat to as many persons as possible when out at branch meetings and branch socials.

2. Next step is to arrange a meeting of the editorial team to decide on what could go into the next edition and is there some articles that must go in also what the lead or cover article should be. This cover article could be of a local focus or a national campaign/concern for example, 24 hour licensing. At the meeting we decide on the provisional launch date - when the Mag is available to go into the pubs. This now gives me as editor, a framework and schedule and I can now plan when certain tasks must be completed by.

3. With the schedule decided, I can now approach people who regularly submit material and inform them when I need their articles in. I can now also speak to other Branch members, Blo's and others who might wish to contribute to the next edition and inform them all of this submissions date.

4. The date between the More Beer meeting and the final closing date for articles to be submitted is not wasted time; there is a lot to do, even if it's only sending out reminder messages to people. One common problem is someone may write up a piece on a pub but wish to illustrate their article with some pictures, which all sounds well but if they have prepared the text and submit it to me, I can then get these proof read and I can see how their pub article will `fit in' then get them to submit the pictures later nearer the dead line. The more preparation work I can do early the less of an avalanche of articles/news after the final date.

5. As the final date for submissions closes I once again send out reminder e-mails and now clarify with the printers' timescale for the magazine to be printed and delivered. For example, if the magazine was required to hit the streets say a week before a branch festival, and on average it takes about 5/6 days to be printed and delivered this would give me a date in mind when I can say as editor to the printers "that's a go for print" that results in a date that is now SET and can not be moved.

6. With these two dates now decided the closing of submissions and the date for "Yes" go to print, a lot of work goes on for me as editor. I spend an increasing amount of time in my spare room staring at a PC screen checking articles and writing and responding to emails. The basic procedure is, I check over any submitted material, it is then sent off for proof reading, to a small but dedicated band of proof-readers. The proofed articles are then returned to me. They are now forwarded onto our printers with accompanying notes on how the style of the magazine should look, where some articles should be placed and if there are photos to accompany an article which I feel best suit the words submitted (some might submit a dozen photos and I try to pick2/3 which I think go best with their words). The printers now do all the type setting (layout, colour and font style) and re jig pages as necessary. This first final set of proofs are returned to me, they are then forwarded onto the editorial team for their comments and thoughts (corrections, alterations and typos) these observations are then typed up and sent down to the printers for them to make any corrections. (Sometimes when an article is substantially changed I re-edit my original proof checked copy inserting the changes or removing words and then re-submit the whole article) Hopefully there aren't to many corrections to be done usually about 50/60 per edition, that might sound a lot but some of these could be as simple as a missed full stop or a capital letter. A second and final set of proofs is sent for me to check and if all the corrections have been done and any articles been amended then a phone call to the printers saying YES is enough to having another edition of More Beer rolling off the presses.

7. Now after all that activity you might think that's it job done and basically you are right, but there is one final part of the process to complete and that is the distribution to the pubs and bars in the Branch area. Usually all the boxes are delivered to a central point and I deliver them from there to area co-ordinators who take their allocation and then assume the responsibility to get the magazines out to the pubs and bars in "their patch". This is perhaps the one area of the whole process that is really the most crucial yet gets the least attention from the membership.

As with any branch magazine, (there are nearly 200 throughout the country) it is only any good if it gets to the readership in the pubs on time. It takes grass roots volunteers to give up some of their spare time, perhaps only a couple of hours once every 3 months to take 20/30 magazines to 4/5 pubs in their home town locality. If I could get another half a dozen persons in each of the branch's towns to take 30 magazines shared out between 5 pubs, (6 per pub) that's over 500 magazines out there to 90 different pubs, just this small increase in active members results in a big leap in our readership.

If reading this article has made you think that you would like to be involved in the production process or the distribution of More Beer around the pubs and bars within the branch area then please contact the Editor


Peter Alexander