Your u3a Magazine

By | March 23, 2020

If  you have not yet received your u3a Magazine through the Post, please email:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Bill Evans, the u3a Magazine Editor, has written a very interesting article about how your u3a Magazine is printed and also, for this March issue, ‘why’ it was printed:


Usually, this is the ‘timeline’ of the u3a magazine:

  • I work on it for approximately four weeks or so, before the Distribution Day – sometimes in Ormskirk, occasionally in Spain, and for this issue, in ‘Center Parcs’ near Penrith.
  • Feature pages and photographic pages are created first.
  • The ‘group copy’ is read by one or two ‘volunteers’.
  • Then the group copy is inserted and made to fit. This is the part which can take a considerable amount of time. Sometimes I have enough group copy to fill 22 pages – other times only enough for 17 or so.
  • Hopefully it leaves me on the Wednesday or Thursday before ‘Distribution Day.
  • Production then takes place.
  • It gets delivered to either myself or the Scout & Guide HQ on the Friday, or over the weekend, or perhaps the Monday before Distribution Day.
  • On (and around) Distribution Day (a specific Horizons meeting), Magazines are distributed by various methods. These include:
    • individual members turning up at the Distribution Desk at Horizons to pick up their own and maybe one or two for friends and neighbours
    • Hand delivery at members’ addresses by a team of local Deliverers
    • Handover by Group Leaders or others during Group Meetings
    • Mail Posting for the remainder

This current issue was a little different:

  • I had it virtually ready for printing but waited until our Management Committee met on Monday, 16th March
  • A decision was made to ‘go ahead and print’ . . . but I needed to completely re-jig the front cover. (Obviously lots of our meetings and events are postponed or cancelled . . . but hopefully some of the later ones may take place.)
  • This time round, our magazine left me on Saturday afternoon of the 21st March
  • The platemaker came in on the Sunday to compete his part of the job
  • Our printer delivered the job to the Scout & Guide HQ in the early evening of Monday 23rd. Here they joined the already printed labels and stock of envelopes
  • For this print issue, isolated at the Scout & Guide HQ through Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the Magazines were put in envelopes along with Membership Renewal Forms and then Beacon address labels were stuck on and stamps added from our pre-purchased stock
  • All the magazine were delivered to the nearby very helpful Post Office by early afternoon on 24th March ready to go out.

How our magazine is printed:

A little technical ‘info’ on four-colour printing:

  • If we printed only 250 or so, it could probably be printed ‘digitally’ i.e. no film or metal plates.
  • The ‘copy click’ charge wouldn’t be too excessive.
  • Most companies ‘rent’ from Canon, Xerox, etc, etc, and pay a ‘copy click’ fee for each print – usually between 5p and 10p per sheet.
  • This is because hardly any ‘local’ printer would actually have their own digital printer – they are enormously expensive.
  • Our print run of around 1,800 would cost a fortune printed this way.
  • We use two companies to produce the magazine ‘lithographically’.
  • Using the ‘hi-res’ pdf file I send them, one company makes the 40 ‘plates’: 10 pairs of A3 pages x 4-colour: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
  • The other company collects the plates, prints the magazine and delivers them.
  • The companies are extremely efficient and they do a great job for us. Unfortunately, both these companies are being ‘hit’ like most firms are, with the Coronavirus. Jobs being cancelled, or printed and then not required, etc, etc.