The Jilster makerspace helps pupils, students and teachers create their stories together. Want pupils or students to tap into their own creativity while learning specific skills? Then let them create their own magazine together.
Making a magazine involves several skills. These include: working together, writing, reading, photographing and gathering information. You work together on a story in your own role. Will you be the writer? Or perhaps the editor-in-chief? Maybe you are more of a designer, journalist or researcher? Every pupil or student contributes to their own creation in their own way.
You can make your creation as a (free) digital copy, as a PDF, as a sample, as a magazine or as a book. The makerspace in which you make this is free to use. You don't need to download anything to use the platform. There are no in-app purchases and there are no subscriptions.
You can use the magazine medium as an educational application for school assignments, internships, elementary school farewells, reports, papers and much more. We support this with online demos, guest lessons and teaching materials. The teaching material below is available for free in the form of worksheets, diagrams and additional explanations. Want to know more about how you can tackle this quickly and easily? If so, we'd love to hear from you. We'll do this together.
Lesson material for students
Start a magazine
**What does an editor-in-chief do?
**How do I finance the (first) issue?
How do I find interesting topics?
Staying in flow
Lesson pack with worksheets
Start a magazine
Are you still going to school? You love to write, are curious and ask a lot of questions? You love taking photos and will give anything for the perfect picture? You like to edit photos on the computer and your homework always looks tiptop? And your school doesn't have a magazine yet? Then it's high time you started your own magazine. A real newspaper needs an editorial team. So does a magazine. Your first task is to put together the team to edit your magazine.
Start a magazine - this is how it works
This article tells you what you need to get a magazine off the ground. There are three things you can think about: Who belongs on the editorial team? Why is the kick-off so important? And: What equipment do we need?
What positions need to be filled? - Team members and their roles
A magazine needs an editorial team, just like a newspaper. Your first task is to put together the team for editing your magazine. At least the following positions should be filled:
The editorial team
The editors take care of the content of the magazine. They are the ones who write the articles. They research information, devise questions for interviews which they then conduct, and write the texts.
The photographer is always on standby when pictures are needed for the magazine. For example, he can be found at school events where he diligently takes pictures. Are there new things you want to report on or a fun project? The photographer will take the right photos for the articles. He can also take pictures of the entire editorial team.
The design team
The members of the design team receive the texts and photos from the editors and the photographer. From this raw material, they design the entire magazine. They place the photos and put the articles in the right form. At the beginning of the magazine project, they design a layout for the magazine - this means, for example, that they determine fonts and colours that will recur in all editions of the magazine. This is called a "house style". Every newspaper and magazine has one.
The finance team
The finance team consists of students who are good at maths and are responsible. After all, all income and expenses have to be kept here. Finding sponsors and selling advertisements are also among the team's tasks.
5.The sales team
You have a great magazine with fascinating topics and professional photos, even the financing is in place - now someone just has to buy it. The sales team advertises your magazine so that it becomes known to teachers and students and sells the issues right after printing.
- The chief editor
When many people work together, it is important that one person keeps the overview. In an editorial team of a (school) magazine, this is the chief editor. In the makerspace, that person is called chief maker. A good chief editor is an organiser: he always knows who is doing what and reminds his team members when they are close to a deadline. He assigns tasks, leads meetings, notes appointments, does final checks... in short: the editor-in-chief is responsible for the magazine's success. If you don't think you can do this yourself (which is fine), you can ask a teacher or a senior student to do it.
Once you've found like-minded people, it's time for the kick-off. Invite everyone who is interested. It is important that someone takes notes at the meeting. That means someone writes down joje decisions. That way, you can read afterwards what was discussed in the team and what agreements you made. You could do this at every meeting.
The different functions of an editorial team, which we have already introduced to you above, will be filled in at the kick-off: Who will be the editor-in-chief? Who wants to write texts, who prefers to work on design? Some roles may not be able to be filled immediately. So it is fine if everyone takes several positions. Your photographer prefers to edit his photos himself and would like to be on the design team? You all want to sell the magazine? No problem, as long as you allocate enough time for all the tasks. If you find that the team does not have enough time for all the tasks, you can look for more members for the editorial team.
The equipment - everything you need
For the kick-off, you can also invite a teacher who supports the project. He or she can take over as editor-in-chief or offer advice so that your project is taken seriously. Together with the lecturer, make a list of the things you need. What things might you already have? What can the school provide? What things do you need to save up for? Where can you meet regularly and work undisturbed? The teacher can arrange with the school for you to use the computer room or for the school to provide computers or laptops. This allows you to edit texts and photos, do research on the Internet and design editions of the magazine in the makerspace. Often schools have a professional camera, which you may be allowed to borrow. If that is not possible, a good camera on a mobile phone will take great photos to start with. By the way, every mobile phone these days is equipped with a dictation device. You can use it to record your interviews. Then you don't have to write everything down and you can concentrate better on the interviewee.
Communication - talk to each other
Communication is the most important thing of all. If you don't communicate well and important information doesn't reach everyone, your journal will never get finished. To avoid missing messages, set up a separate WhatsApp group and a cloud folder for the journal. A cloud is a hard disk folder on the internet where you can store documents, photos and other data. The big advantage is that anyone who knows the password and has an internet connection can log in, download and edit files, no matter where they are. That way, all the information that editors need is available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. A well-known cloud that is free to use is Google Drive.
You have learned what it takes to start a magazine. You have met the key members of the editorial team and read about what equipment you need and how best to communicate with each other. Now just get to work and try it out in the makerspace.
What does a chief editor do?
Are you an organisational talent and enjoy putting things in motion yourself? Do you divide tasks in a group and make sure all team members hand in their work on time? Then you are the right person for the job of editor-in-chief of your magazine. In the makerspace, we call this the chief maker. But what are the duties of a chief editor?
What exactly is an editor-in-chief?
Every editorial team has at least one editor-in-chief. Just like your football or hockey team or your dance team, the editorial team has a "captain" who motivates the other members of the group, keeps an overview on and off the pitch and gives tips and instructions to his or her teammates. In this way, the editor-in-chief ensures that his team works well: On the football pitch, it means 'scoring goals' and in the editorial department, it means ensuring that the new issue is published on time. Like the captain of a sports team, the editor-in-chief is no more important than the other members of the editorial team. He just has different duties.
What are the tasks of the editor-in-chief?
As editor-in-chief, you have different tasks from your editorial team members. Let's see what exactly they are:
- Creating an outline
The chief editor's main task is planning. Of course, you don't do this alone, but together with your team. To start with, you sit around the table with the entire editorial team and draw up a schedule for the (school) year. It is best to plan backwards. This means you first decide when you want to publish the issue in the coming year.
Tip: It is best to get an overview of the main school events from the secretariat before the consultation. It would be a shame to publish your issue a week after the big school concert and thus miss a good opportunity to sell your magazine to parents as well.
Once you have decided when you want your magazine to be published, you can start calculating backwards: How long will it take to print and ship the magazine? When do you want Jilster to produce your order? Fortunately, at Jilster you can easily know this via the delivery times page.
That way you know exactly when to order, so that the magazine is delivered on time. Now think about how long you need for the final check of the magazine. Two weeks? This date is the deadline for joje team. We recommend you schedule an extra week as a buffer for each deadline. After all, it is always possible that other tasks come up and you and the editors will not be able to finish the texts on time.
- Plan the content
Also plan the content of your magazine early enough. Discuss this with the editors as soon as you know when the next issue will be published. Now is the time to brainstorm. Literally translated from English, that means a storm in the brain. And what do you do during such a brainstorm? - You just let your ideas run wild and collect them. Does one of the editors have a topic he wants to write about, but doesn't know exactly how? Then think together about what you find particularly interesting about the topic and how to find out more about it. Is there someone you can interview? Can you do some research on it? As editor-in-chief, you should think about topics for the next issue before the meeting and write down some ideas yourself in case the editors run out of ideas.
The finance team will give you a guideline for the number of pages the magazine should have. Once the editors have decided who will write which article, you can decide for each article how much space it will take up in the printed magazine. As editor-in-chief, you can then assign each editor the pages they need for their article in the makerspace. This way, you can keep an overview and see in the page overview how far the editors have progressed.
- Divide and check tasks
Of course, you don't divide up the tasks randomly, but in consultation with the team. The team members themselves often decide who will take on which task. As editor-in-chief, you make sure that no task is forgotten and write down who is responsible for which article or other task.
Sometimes you may have to decide who takes on which task, for example if two 'squabblers' cannot agree or no one wants to clean up the archive. It's best to make a note of when someone takes on a task they don't particularly like, so you can give them a nicer task next time.
- Final check
Final checking is another important task of the editor-in-chief. Take enough time for this. After all, before the magazine is printed, you want to check all the pages thoroughly. Is everything written correctly? Is all the information correct? Is everything legible and is the quality of the photos good enough to print? If you still have enough time, you can order a proof copy from Jilster at a low price. We especially recommend this for the first issue.
How does the chief editor keep track of everything?
As editor-in-chief, you always want to know who has taken on what task and when it should be finished. To make sure this works properly, you start each meeting with a team meeting. During the meeting, you discuss the following points:
- What was done last time? Did everyone achieve what they wanted to do? If not, why not?
- Was the 'homework' done? If not, why not?
- What is on the agenda for today? Who takes on what task in the teams (finance team, editorial team, etc.)?
- Where do the teams need help from another group?
- Are all teams on track? Will everyone be ready on time? If not, what remains to be done?
It is best to take notes at each consultation. If you do this at every consultation, you will never lose track.
And what happens next?
Today, you learned about the tasks of the chief editor: He plans, divides tasks and checks. In this way, he always maintains an overview and ensures that every issue is ready on time. He can only do this if his editors help, cooperate and know exactly what their tasks are.
Do you have questions about the tasks of an editor-in-chief or do you need help inviting editors? Just get in touch. We do this together.
How do I finance the (first) issue?
A good plan for funding helps enormously to make your magazine a success from the start. How do we find sponsors, how do we sell ads, and what exactly are the costs?
The job of the finance team: the members of this team ensure that the magazine's editors always have enough money in cash to print the next issue.
Help, nobody knows us yet
In the beginning, every magazine editor faces the same problem: how do we get our school's students and teachers to read our magazine? Nobody knows us yet, therefore nobody wants to spend money on our magazine. You can solve this problem by publishing a free introductory issue. That way, you will make the magazine known at your school and convince your classmates that the magazine is so interesting and exciting to them that they will want to buy the next issue. In the introductory issue, announce what the next issues will cost. Then your readers will be prepared and informed.
**Where will the money for the (first) issue come from?
An introductory issue is a good idea, but it also has to be funded somehow. That's the job of the finance team: its members make sure that the magazine's editors always have enough cash on hand to print the next issue. A few golden tips:
Many local businesses are happy to place an ad in the magazine, especially if the target audience is students. Consider the ice cream parlour or newsagent around the corner, the local cinema or swimming pool, or the stationery shop of a classmate's mother. Ask classmates which father or mother owns a business and ask for telephone numbers. Contact the parents, explain your concerns and also point out that not only students but also teachers and probably parents will read your magazine. So the reach of the magazine is greater than one might think at first glance.
Taking a look at old magazines can often be very instructive. This way, you can find out which companies in your area were willing to financially support your school in the past.
What is the difference between an advertiser and a sponsor? Both support you with money. The advertiser expects something in return in the form of an advertisement. For a sponsor, a mention on a page or in the editorial is often enough: "This issue was made possible in part by.... ." You can usually find sponsors in the immediate vicinity of the school, such as the clubs or the parents' association. They are also a good point of contact if the magazine editorial wants to make a larger purchase, for example a camera for the photographer.
Raising money yourself
Your editorial team should ideally not depend on just one source of money. You can also do it yourself. For example, organise a cake sale at the school fete, a snack stand at the school concert or sell chocolate Father Christmases to your fellow pupils at Christmas. Important: Coordinate your action with the school administration and others so that you don't get in each other's way. If the magazine and the drama group both sell cakes at the school fete to boost their coffers, an argument is inevitable. But if one sells cakes and the other drinks, one hand washes the other. After all, what is a delicious piece of cake without a hot cup of coffee or cocoa?
What are the costs?
Good planning and an overview of costs are essential to making the magazine a success. Therefore, there is one golden rule: never spend more than you have in your coffers and make sure you have reserves for unexpected expenses.
Most costs for a magazine are incurred when printing. On the site, you can calculate in advance exactly how much printing your magazine will cost. Enter the number of pages you want, the print run (that's the number of copies) and the design and the calculator will tell you exactly how much you will pay for printing and shipping the magazine.
In addition to printing costs, there may be costs for materials and equipment, such as a camera, for your magazine. However, you can keep these costs down if you negotiate smartly with your sponsors and advertisers. For an ad in your magazine, your classmate's mother's office supply store might donate writing utensils for the whole team. With a little negotiating skill, you can also give your editors free or discounted admission to school events or events in your city, such as concerts or theatre performances. In return, advertise the event in the magazine. If your magazine becomes better known, you can also apply for a youth press card, which often gives you (discounted) access to bigger events.
What happens next?
Now that the funding for the first issue is in place, the editors can start researching (slang for gathering information) for the articles in the first issue of your magazine.
Do you still have questions, for example about prices and versions? Just write us a note. Just get in touch. We'll do this together.
How do I find interesting topics?
Where can we find interesting topics for our articles? Who can we interview? These and many other questions are asked by new magazine editors.
**Where do I find inspiration for my articles?
Ideas for your magazine can be found everywhere in and around the school if you look carefully. The important thing is that the articles are interesting for your readers and not just for yourself. Three questions will help you find the right topic:
- What do I myself find interesting about current school topics?
- What do my classmates find interesting? What do they talk about and what would they like to read about in the magazine?
- What moves the school? What is "school talk" - between pupils and teachers?
These three questions are a good start. "Real" editors always carry a notepad with them to write down thoughts and new ideas. This is also useful for journal editors, for instance if you catch an interesting conversation between two classmates during break and want to jot down the topic. You don't have to start writing the whole article right away, and it is often useful to do some research beforehand to gather enough information for an article.
Inquire around at school
Our most important tip: Listen and look around the school. There is often so much happening in school that other classes or years don't hear about. Pity, isn't it? Here's how to find out about these topics:
Check the events calendar at the beginning of the school year.
It is always worth taking a look at the school calendar. Is the school celebrating an anniversary this year? Is there a school fete? When is the choir concert? Is the drama group planning a performance and what play will they perform? Is there perhaps a musical? Each event offers countless opportunities to report on it. It is best to contact those planning the event. They will be willing to give you an interview or a free ticket. In return, write a great article and promote the event.
There is always something new at a school that you can report on. For example, if a new teacher joins the school, you can introduce him or her in a portrait. Is a new working group being set up? Invite the new members to a meeting. Even if your school gets new computers, you can report on them. There is always something to do at a school. And who knows best? The caretaker, for example. A good editor builds a small network of informants.
Portraying someone means introducing them. Are you interested in what teachers do outside school and what hobbies they have? Your favourite teacher is retiring and you are curious what he is doing with his new time? Which students are particularly dedicated to the school and why? This is what a portrait is all about. Highlight your school's best teachers, the nice caretaker, the most talented athletes and budding musical stars, and present a different "secret hero(s)" of your school in each issue of the magazine.
A look behind the scenes
Other stakeholders also have a lot to do throughout the year. It is worth taking a look behind the scenes. How are the preparations for the new play going? Will the volleyball team manage to beat their arch-rivals this year? How much money did the athletics group raise, and what happens to the money? Your readers will want to know.
Collect texts from other students
An editor does not write all texts himself. Often, texts that do not come from the editor are also printed in a magazine. The editor then checks whether the text fits with the other texts in the magazine and corrects mistakes before publishing it. As an editor, you can collect stories, poems and comments from your classmates. For example, you can ask teachers to tell you if anyone in the class has written a particularly good text. Or the magazine can organise a competition where students can submit their own best texts, for example on a particular topic.
Thinking outside the box
Of course, what happens outside school is also exciting. So, as an editor, you also have to follow the news. There are programmes that explain the news in a way that children and young people can also understand. Which news surprised you? Which ones relate to your daily life and what would you like to know more about? These topics are also likely to interest your classmates.
With Jilster you can not only create your own magazine according to your wishes and ideas, you can also do this together with others in an editorial team. Collaboration is the key word.
Before you invite your editors into the makerspace and assign them each a page to design, we recommend reading these tips to get the project going quickly and effectively. If you follow them, you will create a consistent look for your magazine and reduce the pressure on the (lead) editors just before the print deadline.
- Making sure everyone knows what is expected of them
When you invite someone to Jilster, we recommend writing a short greeting and a few explanatory words for your editorial team. This could be a few words about how the assigned page will be edited (inserting photos, writing text, etc.) or about the project in general. Of course, it can also be sent by chat or email.
- Make the purpose of the magazine clear
Make it clear to your editors what the journal is for and what your common goal is. Making a magazine for someone (or for a special purpose) is not an everyday event. We find that the moment when creators hand over a magazine of their own design is a very special moment. There is excitement and anticipation among editors beforehand, and surprise and delight among recipients. Don't let your editors lose sight of the goal.
- Set a style
Before starting the project, it is a good idea to think about what you want the style of the magazine to be. This definitely includes the font and colours. Repeat both throughout the magazine. This will ensure a consistent look. You can communicate the colours, fonts and size for elements such as headlines, main text and captions to your editorial team via email or chat.
You can also create your own templates or select templates in the editor and set them for pages, which you then assign to editors. Then your team can immediately start working in the right layout and have an easier time.
- Add explanations
You can not only prepare the individual pages of your magazine with a layout, but also outline the content to be included with keywords. This makes it clearer to your editors what you expect from them and what the individual pages are for. At the same time, you have an overview for yourself with a page plan. If you click on a creation in the makerspace, you will see all pages side by side and below each other in small format.
All tips at a glance*
- You will give the editors an introduction about the project in the makerspace. Welcome everyone, explain how the assigned pages will be edited and, of course, explain in general what the magazine is for and what purpose it serves.
- Formulate a goal for your editorial team to work towards together. The moment when the magazine is handed over is a beautiful moment, a reward for all the effort and effort. It is empowering.
- Decide in advance what colours and fonts you want to use and communicate this with your team. This will create a uniformly designed layout. You can also design a template.
- Add short explanatory notes on each page that clearly explain to editors what needs to be done.
Now everything is ready and you can invite your editors to collaborate with you on your beautiful magazine.
Staying in flow
After a successful launch, it is important that the project progresses well and that you stay in flow. This will ensure that you stay well on track and that you always know what is left to do until you are ready to hold your beautiful magazine in your hands. That can be hard for you if you don't know where to start.
That is why we would like to share with you a few tips you can consider once you have invited your editorial team and assigned everyone their page(s). The tips are designed to make collaboration run smoothly and give the magazine a consistent style. Last but not least, you'll avoid deadline stress.
- Deadline(s) and a vision of the magazine
Make sure each editor knows when the deadline is before they start.
Make sure you enter the deadline for editors in the editor so that editors know what the deadline is. However, make sure you have leeway as editor-in-chief.
Unfortunately, the reality is that almost all editors miss their deadlines. Therefore, it is important to build in a buffer between the communicated deadline and the actual deadline you set for yourself. Also check the delivery deadline and consider ordering a sample copy of your magazine in advance. This is definitely recommended and keep this time in mind.
Make sure you communicate the purpose of the collaborative magazine to your team. Who are you designing a magazine for, or for what occasion? Is it a birthday present, a wedding present, or a gift for a colleague leaving the company? It is important that everyone knows what it is about and can imagine the end result. This is the basis for inspired and motivated work.
You also motivate your team if you have already created a finished (maybe only preliminary) cover of the magazine. That way, editors get excited about working on the magazine and have a small vision of the finished magazine before their eyes.
Consider allowing all editors to also view the pages of the other editors (of course, everyone can only edit their own page(s)). Often editors really appreciate this behind-the-scenes look and feel inspired for their own contributions. In the settings, you can specify that all editors can see the preview of the entire magazine. This makes it easier for editors to communicate with each other and supports the work on the magazine.
- Set milestones
When your editors get started, a blank page in the editor can be a very big hurdle. Make things easier for your editorial team by setting a day each week (or month) by which they should have completed certain tasks - milestones.
Alternatively, you can divide the work into small steps, which editors then work on in exactly the same order. Here is an example of three steps you can pass on to your team:
- The layout: choose from the templates in the newsroom or create your own. Experiment with different fonts, font sizes, illustrations and images. The page can always be modified.
- Select photos and illustrations and upload them to the editor.
- Add texts to your page. These do not have to be long, for example a short intro, explanations of illustrations and photos or captions, fun memories in story form or good wishes for the recipient. Just as it suits the theme of the magazine. Always keep in mind what occasion the magazine is designed for. Why are you invited and what can you best contribute? Do you have more ideas than you can fit on the assigned page? Ask the editor-in-chief for more space.
- Enthusiasm and appreciation
The powerful effect of appreciation is often underestimated.
Your editors are doing their best and naturally want to feel welcome. Use as many resources as possible for compliments, tips and motivation. Experience shows that this makes everyone more motivated to do something great.
If editors don't seem that motivated at first, don't worry. Ask them what they have problems with and help them on their way. Give them tips, send them links to solutions. Also from the Jilster website, and tell them about the possibility of emailing Jilster customer service.
Explain to editors that their pages don't have to become professional magazine pages. Keep in touch with them and make sure they let you know if anything goes wrong or there are timing issues. That way you can be sure that you are always in the loop and have the chance to resolve any issues.
All tips at a glance:
- Give two deadlines so that the magazine can be ordered on time. Make sure everyone knows the official deadline.
- Explain to everyone what/who the magazine is for.
- Divide the work on the magazine into small milestones. This makes it easier to get started and also ensures that the editorial team shares ideas with each other.
- Let the editorial team know that you are there to help them and that you appreciate their work. That way you are always in the loop, know early on when something goes wrong and can help.
- Working together produces the best results and makes everyone happy.
Still have questions? Just get in touch. We do this together.
Learning package with worksheets
All worksheets in one document 'making a glossy'
Teaching guide 'make a glossy together'