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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 01, 2003

    Inside the Bar

    ETraditional production is a thing of the past. Today's Wisconsin Lawyer embraces electronic publishing technologies.

    George Brown

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 76, No. 6, June 2003

    Untouched by Human Hands

    ETraditional production is a thing of the past. Today's Wisconsin Lawyer embraces electronic publishing technologies.

    by George C. Brown,
    State Bar executive director

    George BrownLast month, a State Bar member from Phoenix told me that the Wisconsin Lawyer is the best state bar magazine in the country. A bold statement. However, he is licensed in four states, reads numerous bar magazines, and said he derives more information from the magazine you have in your hands than from any of the others.

    First, you have to start with excellent authors and topic selection. Not every submission is accepted. The Communications Committee, which is the magazine's editorial board, sets rigorous standards for acceptance. Committee members, representing a wide range of practice areas and settings, review substantive articles that are submitted for publication. Authors work closely with editor Joyce Hastings, who also serves as the Bar's Communications Director, and with associate editor Karlé Lester. Once articles are edited, they are sent to design and production manager Jean Anderson who works with the editors to develop a visual concept for each issue, and then combines copy, art, advertisements, and all the other elements into a magazine.

    The Wisconsin Lawyer celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. For the first 67 years, every issue was laid out by hand. Manual production involved staff and several outside vendors, including typesetters, photographers, and others. It was tedious and time-consuming. Decisions to make late-breaking changes often depended on the expense, because a typesetting change of even one letter had the potential to affect several lines, paragraphs, or pages of layout.

    Those days are gone. Briefly, every article is edited on a computer then sent electronically to production, where digitized copy, ads, and graphics (often using inexpensive stock art purchased and downloaded from the Internet) are placed and the layout completed. Final pages are scrutinized and last-minute changes are made without the previous cost considerations. When staff are satisfied, the entire magazine is sent electronically to the printer who returns a proof within 24 hours, not five days as before. The printer "sprays" addresses on each copy (from a list sent electronically only a few days earlier to capture most current addresses), and mails the magazine.

    Today, the Wisconsin Lawyer leads state bar organizations in using computer-to-plate publishing technology. Articles still receive the same level of editorial scrutiny, but now electronic editing and production gives staff greater graphic design flexibility and control over the final product with faster turnaround time. Most important, today's technology allows authors and editors to deliver information as current as possible. The result is the high-quality, nationally respected magazine you have in your hands.

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