International Therapist (IT) started life back in July 1994. Just 28 pages, it had a blue cover but was otherwise printed in black and white, with just the occasional, basic illustration. Nevertheless, this was an extremely exciting development for the FHT, as in the past, information and industry updates were communicated to members via periodical newsletters, which consisted of single sheets of coloured A4 paper. And, as is often the case with the FHT, IT was a ‘first’ – there were no other membership magazines for professional therapists until the FHT led the way with International Therapist 18 years ago.
Although International Therapist (IT) is published quarterly, every day someone, somewhere, is working on the next issue. Here’s a brief introduction to the people and processes behind FHT’s membership magazine…
Meet the team
Karen Young, Editor
Favourite articles: “Anything relating to or referencing therapy research, as there is a growing demand for members to provide ‘evidence base’ for the beneficial treatments they provide.”
Daniel Ralls, Deputy Editor
Favourite articles: “Dr Karen Pilkington’s article on the use of complementary therapies in anxiety and depression, State of Mind (IT July 2013). More generally - any that look at how therapy can be used to support people with mental health issues or terminal illnesses.”
Down to the content
Although changes to the content can be made up to the very last minute, these are usually only minor. Most of the main features and regulars are confirmed weeks in advance of the publication date.
For each issue, Dan and Karen sit down with a blank flat plan and start to pencil in potential features. Our main challenge is to ensure that there is always a good spread of articles and news items, which will appeal to as many of our members as possible – whatever stage they are at in terms of career progression, and whether they are multi-disciplined therapists, or specialise in complementary, holistic beauty or sports therapy.
Once the flat plan has taken shape we then call a meeting with other members of staff at the FHT, to run through the proposed features and other content, and to discuss any items that need to be covered in the same issue. These might include changes in therapy regulation or legislation; upcoming events; important meetings attended or activities carried out FHT’s Governing Council or senior staff; new FHT membership benefits and initiatives; and so on.
Once the majority of the content has been agreed, work then immediately begins on sourcing the relevant copy and pictures.
Straight to source and ship-shape copy
In terms of who supplies the copy that appears in IT, we use a wide range of sources. Some items are unsolicited submissions, others are requested by the FHT from a relevant member or industry expert if there is a particular topic we would like to see covered, and a number are researched and written in house. On occasion, we will also feature book excerpts or research papers.
While the FHT may not necessarily agree with opinions or comments expressed by contributors, wherever possible, we try to ensure that the information is relevant to our members, in line with the FHT Code of Conduct, and as accurate and up to date as possible.
When we receive copy at the office, it is reviewed by Dan or Karen and where necessary, further information is requested from the contributor, which often includes references for further reading. The copy is then edited so that it roughly meets word count for the space allocated in the magazine and to ensure that the content has a logical order and reads well.
While IT is not a peer-reviewed magazine, once edited in house, a large number of the features and news items are passed on to other FHT staff or Governing Council members for their comments. Contributors are also sent the edited version for approval.
The copy then leaves the FHT office and goes across to our subeditors. Their job is to fine tune the content – to double-check that the copy flows well and that nothing important is missing; that it fits the space allocated, trimming back where necessary; to check the spelling and grammar; and ensure the words fit the magazine’s house style.
Design and detail
The copy is then sent across to our designer, whose job is to make the text come alive on the page, ensuring that the overall look of the article is pleasing to the eye. This can sometimes be a challenge, depending on the subject matter – the medical A-Z showing athlete’s foot is one example that springs to mind!
Once designed, pages are then sent back to the subeditors, who edit the copy to fit the design if there is still too much text, and to double-check their earlier work. These pages are then passed back down the line to Dan and Karen for their comments and any amends. Once the pages have been checked and approved by the FHT, they are then returned to the subeditors who then pass them on to the designer, to make them ‘print ready’. Before the pages are finally sent off to the printers, they are given one last check.
As you can probably imagine with all of this toing and froing, each article published in IT is proof read and potentially tweaked a minimum of eight times!
Delivering the goods
Once the final version PDFs have had their pre-press check, the pages are sent the printers. The magazine is printed on responsibly sourced paper using vegetable inks, and the print quality is regularly spot-checked as it comes off the press. Each magazine is then polywrapped – sometimes with inserts – before being sent out to members.