The editorial team, consisting of five fulltime workers for the Socialist Party based at our national office in east London, meets four times a week. We discuss what the priorities are, taking into account what's in the news, what big events are covered by this paper, what events happened last week that we should get reports of, what the big questions being discussed by workers and young people are, and what other articles we have been sent or offered. Sometimes we might have to change the plan mid-production because of the pressure of events, and may have to hold some articles until a future issue or put them on our website only. We also have meetings to review each issue and discuss what we could do better, look further ahead at feature planning, and to decide our front page headline together.
Each page editor contacts members around the country, at our national office, or in our sister parties internationally to write the articles needed. It's also really helpful for branches to arrange articles on local issues and to let us know about people who are willing to write for the paper. We'll offer some guidance on the type of article we're looking for, a word length (we aim to keep each page to 8-900 words) and a deadline (usually by the Wednesday before publication for feature or comment material and first thing Monday or Tuesday morning for news or reports from weekend events).
Don't be daunted by the task, even if you haven't done something like this before. We believe that working class and young people are the best experts on the topics we cover in the Socialist. Other Socialist Party members in your area are likely to be very willing to advise you and if you're not sure about anything, the editors are always happy to offer assistance. You can contact us by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 8988 8777 and asking to speak to an editor.
The most important work is done by our members and supporters around the country. We want you all to be 'journalists' for the Socialist - and think that anyone can do it. If you struggle with writing, we can even speak to you on the phone and type up what you say for you. You provide us with the insight into what's going on in campaigns and workplaces near you, into the mood among working class people, and the effects of austerity and capitalism.
Our job is to help you produce the best article you can, but the editors will always try as much as possible to maintain the article as you've written it. We want the paper to reflect working class voices in all their variation. We often have to cut words for length, we make changes for 'house-style' - to make sure there's a consistency to spelling and grammar throughout the paper - and may make changes or additions for clarification. We aim wherever possible to send the edit back to you in enough time for you to be able to check you are happy, although deadlines can make this difficult. Once the page editors have an edit they are happy with, it's looked over by the editor of the paper who may make small further changes. The editorial team works closely with the executive committee of the Socialist Party and others at the national centre to check the content of articles when necessary.
Once there's an agreed edit of a page, it can be laid out. All of our editors can use the layout software. We try to have plenty of space for nice big photos and to pull out interesting facts, figures or quotes to be highlighted around the page. It really helps if you send us good quality photos with reports - most modern phone photos are fine, just be sure to send us the full-size file. If you have lots of photos to send, you can upload them to our FTP server, get in touch for details of how to do this. Try to get photos close enough to see faces, smiling if possible, and always from the front rather than backs of people's heads! Often if you ask at a meeting or protest, people will be happy to pose for a photo for you, which can often come out better.
The laid out pages are given to two proof-readers who look for any mistakes that have been missed or crept in during layout. Once they've compared notes and everything's been corrected, the editor looks at the pages together to have a final check of headlines, dates and the overall look, and gives final approval. The files are then uploaded to our printers, Trinity Mirror.
The physical papers are delivered first thing Wednesday morning to our print-shop, also in east London. There our circulation and printing teams package the bundles to be sent to Socialist Party branches, as well as the smaller packs for individuals to sell and for subscribers.
At the same time we're also getting the paper ready for online distribution. Two of the editors upload the content of the paper to our website and add appropriate links and photos. Our website editor then checks the homepage of the website and moves things around to make sure the most important articles are highlighted. Once everything's live on the website, we share the image of the front page of the Socialist to our Facebook page and schedule other key articles to be shared over the following few days.