Rockford describing Zzap's QualitiesThe way in which a magazine is put together seems to fascinate readers. So we thought we would treat you to a 'behind-the-scenes expose' - the rarely glimpsed world of computer magazine people. Who knows, some one might even turn it into a TV soap? - something to which Gary Liddon is aliergic. So sit back for a few pages, fasten your seat belts, and find out from experts how it's all done...
1. The Editorial meeting

The birth of each and every issue of ZZAP! is an Editorial Meeting. These gatherings are vital, not only to ensure that Editorial meeting, left to right, Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon at the back, Gary Penn and cool dude ed, Roger Kean.everyone is familiar with what will go into the issue, but to determine what that material will be. ZZAP! Editor Roger Kean is in the chair, where he's no Slouch. His function is to clarify everyone's opinions about the biting issues of the month. Also present are Gary Penn who as Assistant Editor, is in charge of sorting out what's to be reviewed and when, Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon and Sean Masterson. Each person has their own opinions to he expressed as to the attitude the magazine will take to reviews. features and regular spots. Julian usually presents a breakdown on the ZZAP! Challenge for the month - who the challenger is, what game is being played and so on. Times must be arranged with Cameron Pound. the in-house photog rapher, to ensure pictorial coverage of the event.

Another vital aspect of the Editorial Meeting is to establish the schedule for the issue - always a tight one. Magazines are done to an unyielding deadline because of the distribution system. One day late out of the printer can mean a week late on the news stand. It's also at this first meeting that who will work on what articles is agreed, who is going off to do interviews, who will work on the news etc. etc.

2. Pagination Meeting

Gary Liddon - The lively discussion at Editorial Meetings are what make ZZAP! the magazine it is.Several days after the Editorial Meeting, it is time to decide how the various elements of ZZAP! are going to fit into the issue's page allocation. This is done at a Pagination Meeting and is where editorial meets art. Production Comptroller. David Wes tern joins Roger Kean and Gary Penn and between them they hammer out how many pages each item will require. By this time the number of games to be reviewed is hopefully clear, and some idea has been can- vassed as to their individual merits and therefore whether they need colour pages or mono, and how many pages. A Small contingency figure is allowed for late comer games. Similarly the features are allocated pages as are the regulars and the whole is totted up. David then goes away and, taking into account the requirement for advertising pages, plans the issue on a large 'tick off sheet'. It gets its name from the practice of ticking off completed pages, and it is used throughout the month by the layout artists in the art department.

Roger Kean and Gary Penn discuss a tricky matter.

The Production COMPtroller is David Western. - Caption 1

(Caption 1 : The Production COMPtroller is David Western. He's a very frightening man - he frightens us all the while with lines like 'I don't care how long it takes as long as the typesetting gets upstairs on time...' Some of the things he says are so frightening that shy editorial people like Julian Rignall leave his office in tears.)

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