Editing TGO Magazine

In early May, I took a call from Emily Rodway, the editor of TGO Magazine. She had a simple request: for me to help get the June 2017 issue ready while she was on holiday. Of course, I said I’d do it.

My relationship with this magazine goes back several years, but until now I have strictly been a contributing writer and photographer. TGO has published some of my finest backpacking and hillwalking features. It’s a publication I believe in – and a perfect example of why I think print has a bright future in the UK.

My headline feature in this month’s issue, including photography from both me and my brother James Roddie

Although I have a couple of years of magazine experience thanks to my work at Sidetracked, my responsibilities were a lot more extensive this time and I had a learning curve to climb. My week and a bit working for TGO looked like this:

  • Researching and substantially writing two features – quite different from the storytelling pieces I’ve mostly been producing for TGO.
  • Copy-editing and proofreading features from other writers as they came in, along with the odd bit of copywriting where required. This is, of course, my bread and butter as an editor.
  • Liaising with contributors, company PRs and events coordinators to get copy and images in before the deadline. This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the work – I hadn’t realised how much of a magazine editor’s job is all about chasing people up, although it’s perhaps to be expected when you consider that many TGO writers spend a lot of their time up hills or on the trail!
  • Working with a designer to convert raw copy and images into magazine-ready layouts. This was new. I generally either work with Word documents or with final PDF proofs, but being involved with the decision-making process in the middle was very rewarding. It’s surprising how much difference the right image can make in a spread.
  • Generally keeping things afloat.

By the time you read this, the issue should be on sale. In the past, I’ve pointed my readers in the direction of one specific TGO feature in a given issue; this time I’m proud to be able to say that my handiwork is present throughout the magazine, and especially in two of the features. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it.

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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