Edinburgh students set themselves 24-hour magazine challenge

THE challenge is to design, produce and publish an online magazine within 24 hours. And so far, students at Edinburgh University have tried and succeeded three times.

Published on the digital publishing platform, Issuu, each magazine has a different name and its theme is chosen ‘out of a hat’ during the morning that production starts. Barely any planning is done prior to the 24 hours during which the magazine is produced.

The current issue is titled, Change.

Admits editor, Lydia Willgress, a third- year English Literature student: “In the last issue, because we had professional journalists from The Guardian contributing, we obviously had to do a bit of planning before.”

The next magazine is scheduled for April.

Adds Willgress: “Being forced to finish in 24 hours makes you much more creative. It forces you to work a lot harder and make your ideas more concise. You have to really think about the readership.”

The first issue of the magazine, which was published in November, attracted 8,000 viewers within two days. And the last issue recorded a readership of 20,000, again within the first two days of publishing.

“This magazine is a good platform in a time when print journalism is more and more uncertain. It’s a good way of getting your work and name out there.”

The last issue was produced from the editor’s living room and completed in 23-and-a-half hours.

“We met at 9am in my flat. We start with brainstorming ideas and then we plan accordingly how much space in the magazine we got available. Then, we approach the writers with the theme and let the designers know. The first 12 hours are usually dedicated to getting all the writing in and updating social media, which is really important.

“The remaining 12 hours we spend editing. The last time we were finished with that around 4am the next morning.”

The 24-hour format fits perfectly in the student’s schedule. “We all have other monthly or weekly publications to work on. So this fits better in our day-to-day schedule. And this way, a lot more people want to get involved because it is a lot more short-term”, adds Willgress.

A total of ten students were involved in producing the last issue. The deputy editor is Oliver Giles, who is also a third-year English Literature student, and the senior design editor is Josh Peter, a post-graduate student from Edinburgh College of Art.