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Real life: Diary of a guest editor

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By Rosie WardenYear 4 teacher, Vale View Community School, Dover

Rosie Warden, a Year 4 teacher from Dover, won the chance to join the Junior Ed PLUS team and guest edit her own issue. Here, she shares the secrets behind the pages in her guest editor’s diary

Rosie Warden, guest editor

Rosie joined the Junior Ed PLUS team to edit her issue

Part of the team

The new year is a time for resolutions, so when I came across the invitation to be a Guest Editor for the December issue of Junior Education PLUS, I was determined that instead of just thinking ‘that sounds good’ and turning the page, I would actually do something about it. A short while later, I was sitting at my computer enthusiastically tapping away at my application. I sent it off and then promptly forgot all about it. It then came as a really nice surprise when in May, I received a call from Junior Ed PLUS Editor, Michelle Guy, inviting me to Scholastic’s offices at the end of July.

Secret dreams

Since my teens I have harboured a secret dream to work on a magazine, but as I boarded the train to Leamington Spa, I felt a bit apprehensive. Would the experience live up to my expectations, and more importantly, would I actually have the skills the team were looking for? Luckily for me, the Junior Ed PLUS team were a far cry from Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada! In fact, they couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming.

The new year is a time for resolutions, so when I came across the invitation to be a Guest Editor for the December issue of Junior Education PLUS, I was determined to do something about it

On the first day, Helen Freeman, Publishing Director for magazines, introduced me and the guest editors for Child Education PLUS and Nursery Education PLUS to the rest of the team. We had a tour of the magazines department, and it was really exciting to see the current issue being designed and put together. Then it was time for lunch. Scholastic had laid on a champagne buffet – quite a change from the usual snatched ten minutes in the staffroom! ‘This is the life…!’ I found myself thinking. (The Junior Ed PLUS team just want to add that this isn’t a usual lunch break for them either!) During the afternoon, members of the marketing, design, sales and production teams talked us through their roles in more depth, and we were also given a tantalising preview of Junior Ed Plus’ new supporting website.

Down to business

On day two, it was down to the nitty-gritty of planning out the December issue, which in July, seemed a long way off. The team work with a storyboard layout, so that they can see exactly what content has already been agreed – for example advertising space, an ongoing series or regular columns. The theme for the issue is also decided well in advance. I was pleased that the December issue was going to be about meeting the needs of gifted and talented children, as this is something that I would like to improve on. We discussed ideas and then decided who we could commission to write the various articles. I was to draft some commissioning emails and then follow up with some of the potential writers.

During the first half of the Autumn term, Michelle kept in regular email contact, and I was able to suggest editorial changes to draft content. I spoke with some of the freelance writers over the phone to discuss the brief for their articles and I also worked with my class on writing their book reviews (see pages 50-51). They were so delighted with the box of books that Scholastic had sent, and really enjoyed being filmed for the accompanying video reviews (available to view for subscribers only). One of the best moments was being sent the planned cover design, as I could really see my issue start to look like a real magazine.

One of the best moments was being sent the planned cover design, as I could really see my issue start to look like a real magazine

Coming together

My last visit to the Scholastic office in Leamington Spa came at the start of the October half term. We started the day laying out colour print-outs of the magazine pages in order on a large table, so that we could get an impression of the look and feel of the magazine as a whole. It was fascinating to see how the designs had evolved, and how different the pages could look depending on colour choices, the photos selected, or the way that particular elements of the text were highlighted. I proofread the various articles, and as a team we were able to discuss final amends. It was then time to finish this diary, and draft my ‘Editor’s letter’.

I think the Guest Editor programme (now in its 3rd year) is absolutely fantastic. During my time with the team it has become really clear how hard they work to make sure that Junior Ed PLUS articles are not only interesting and inspiring, but also relevant and practical. Do look out for the invitation to be next year’s Guest Editor – I can promise that it will be an experience you will never forget!

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