Insider: Delayed Gratification

by Stine Fantoft Berg in September 2015
Current affairs

Anyone who has published their own magazine knows that it’s brilliant fun and incredibly rewarding, but also an enormous pain in the backside. So for our new series Insider, we’re asking top independent publishers to share with us the minutiae of what it took to put together their latest issue, giving a real insider’s view of what magazine making is all about.

And for our first post, we’re beginning with Rob Orchard, editorial director of Delayed Gratification. The new issue is out now, and here Rob shares the team’s production night listening, the miniature Osbornes they couldn’t stop laughing at, and why April fool’s day is different for them.

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In the making of this issue we…

Ate
A huge and beautiful pancetta, butternut squash, goat’s cheese and caramelised onion quiche made by our omni-talented Dutch head of digital, Loes. We christened it ‘Quiche Chegwin’. Loes did not get the reference.

Listened to
The only two songs everyone can agree on, and which have been production night staples since issue one: ‘Girl from Mars’ by Ash and ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet. This is literally the team’s only musical common ground. I appreciate it makes us sound like maniacs.

Got excited about
So many things. The cover art for the issue, by Evan Hecox. The extraordinary, powerful stories in which we sent journalists back to the scenes of the Nepal earthquake, the Tibilisi flood and the attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait. And an incredible feature in which Susan Schulman trekked though the bandit-infested forests of the DRC following a team of engineers bringing mobile phone reception – and with it security and economic development – to isolated towns.

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Argued about
Which booze to buy. Every three months we run a free infographics class for subscribers and we like to give them snacks and cold beers to accompany the data vis fun. There was a vocal faction in favour of Sierra Nevada, but San Miguel was on offer so we went with that in the end.

Subscribers infographics class

Got sidetracked by
The Butterfly Effect cartoon, in which we link an obscure event in the past with one in our period (April-June this issue). It always takes the most colossal amount of research and lots of false starts, blind alleys and red herrings before we crack it. In this case we ended up tracing the chain of cause and effect between a cheeky schoolboy sketch drawn in 19th century Utrecht and a legal victory for two men in Atlanta, Georgia, who had been accused of serial defecation around the factory they worked at.

Butterfly effect

Made sure that
We included a joke news in brief in the April 1st section. I love the fact that we are the only news magazine in the world that can legitimately play an April Fool’s joke in September,

Worked from
The terrace of Somerset House, where our office is based. When it was sunny it was brilliant: monster coffees at our elbows and proof pages flapping in the breeze…

Somerset house proofing

Couldn’t stop laughing at
The miniature George Osbornes our art director drew for one of the monster batch of infographics we created to cover the UK election.

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Got held up by
A break-down at the bindery. The pages were all printed and cut but they couldn’t be glued together. We emailed all our subscribers to apologise for the issue being out late, and quite a lot of them thought it was just a marketing stunt. This is one of the key advantages to having the word ‘delayed’ in your magazine title.

And you should buy it because
It’s our best one to date. I always say that, though. And also, if you subscribe and use promo code ‘social20’ at www.slow-journalism.com you’ll get this new issue for free.

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