One of my students asked me a very interesting question. So interesting in fact that I thought I’d share it with you today. Here is the question followed by my answer.

What advise can you give me to start a local newspaper/magazine besides having a registered business -which I already have? My wife and I would love to start something like that for our small community. 

Aside from any local regulations, I will speak more to the technical and creative side of the business. A good place to start is to make contact with several local print shops who are willing to give you a good deal for their services. It is very common to make barter agreements where they agree to give you heavy discounts if you print their ad for free. It is unusual for local papers to give their printers a full-page ad in exchange for free printing, which is not too shabby at all.

Technically speaking, you’d want to have an Adobe CC subscription and a good computer system to produce both the newspaper layout and advertising design. Adobe Creative Cloud also provides TypeKit and Adobe Stock which are great services for publishers. The first one, satisfies a very important need which is to provide solid quality fonts for print and digital publishing. You don’t want to rely on cheap, virus infected fonts from the internet. You could always opt to buy Adobe FontFolio which is the mother-load collection of typography with over 2000 professionally designed fonts. However this will set you back 2K so it’s not the most “affordable” choice. This is when Typekit begins to look very attractive.

Adobe Stock Photo

Adobe Stock Photo

Regarding Adobe Stock, this is a brand new service Adobe has launched with their CC (2015) updates. Buttons to access the stock service are all over the InDesign interface and I’m guessing it won’t take long for the service to be splattered all over all Adobe apps. The jist of it is that for a monthly subscription of $29.99 you get 10 high resolution, royalty-free images to download (Note that CC subscribers get 40% off.) I must say that this is a little steep, given the fact that there are much more affordable services out there that offer good quality images. I personally use dollarphotoclub.com.

If your wife wants to get involved, maybe as an editor, know that she can use Adobe InCopy, which is InDesign’s little brother in the way it handles certain publishing workflow tasks, and is also part of the Creative Cloud subscription. The idea is that:

  1. You design the layout using InDesign
  2. When it’s ready for editing you then export the content for InCopy
  3. Your wife opens it in InCopy and gets to edit the text without having to deal with any graphic elements.
  4. It rounds trip back to you, where you get to update any changes in the InDesign layout.

That’s the jist of it. Of course there’s much more to it than that. So much so, that I created a whole course about it and you can see it here. (Be advised of the fact that it’s in Spanish so make sure you take your High School Spanish with you.)

You will also want to think about creating a Website where you can post news. This will help you sell ads as advertisers like to know they can get double exposure (both print and digital). Another business model is to sell digital ads at a discount. But regardless of what sales model you decide on, the key will be to have a solid Website. Adobe offers GREAT tools for Website creation. Dreamweaver for instance is the tool of choice for hard core, front-end Web designers. The latest update allows you to use the Bootstrap framework to create beautiful responsive layouts, which means your web content will look great in every and any device. Of course the “beautiful” part is up to you.

Adobe Muse

Adobe Muse

There’s also Adobe Muse, which allows you to quickly design a Website in an environment very similar to InDesign. The whole reason for Muse is so that designers can “do their thang” without having to write a single line of code. Muse is tightly integrated with Adobe Business Catalyst which is both a hosting and development platform. Know that as an Adobe CC subscriber you’re entitled to 5 free sites in the BC platform. Here’s an example of one I did for the ArtMonsters App. Mosey on over, check it out, and tell me what you think. ArtMonsters.club

For exposure, you can visit schools and let teachers know that you’d be happy to cover school events (sports or academics). Kids love to see themselves published! :) Mingle! Let people see your face. Some people make the mistake of ONLY relying on social media, and forget that a small town is about being active and showing that you care about contributing something positive to the community.

Hey, I wish you the best!

Jose Ramos