Vol. 76, No. 6, June
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
Last 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
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.