Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Two Years on the Web, by John December

Setting Deadlines for Consistency

I've never released this magazine any later than 12:01am on the first of every month for the past two years. I have sometimes released the magazine earlier than midnight. For example, on Halloween last year when I was in Chicago for the Online '95 conference, the only Internet access I had was on the Internet terminals provided at the conference, so I switched over the issues at 5pm on the 31st before the conference closed down for the day. But I've been strict right from the start about having a regular release day on the first of every month for the magazine and sticking to it.

[]Brain also advocates a consistent publication schedule

Why would I be so obsessive about a deadline such as that--when, after all, the Internet lets us break the artificial bounds of time and distribution that traditional publications have always been forced into. My reason is simple: reliability and consistency. I've seen many, many Web publications put out one or two issues, then start to fall behind in their publication schedule, and then disappear completely. For example, O'Reilly & Associates Global Network Navigator (GNN) Magazine--among the earliest Web publications--published one issue (October 1993), won an award for it ("The Best of the Web"), and then it was many months before its second issue, and then the GNN site was reorganized without the magazine at all. I don't see that editorial schedule as consistent.

I also wanted to create a reliability for the readers that was even more consistent than paper publications. Because of distribution, sales, and marketing strategies, paper magazines routinely put out an issue months in advance of what the date on the magazine's cover says--you'll probably find the July 1996 issue of a magazine like Internet World on your newstand today. The editorial cycle of a paper magazine already makes the content of an issue three or four months old when it hits the newstands--placing a date on it months after that can give an historical feel to what should be current information. I don't think that helps the reader know what they are getting when they buy the publication. -

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