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Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

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Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Scepcop » 31 Dec 2009, 17:04

Dear all,
What do you all think about the idea of starting a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine, like CSICOP's Skeptical Inquirer? We have many articles already that could be used, and content that could be utilized.

The questions I have about it though, would be:

- Should it be a real print magazine or just an online one in a PDF file?

- What are the startup and publishing costs for a printed magazine?

- Do most magazines make their money from subscription fees or advertising fees? How would you decide what to charge for both?

- I would imagine that since subscription fees tend to be low, that magazines must make most of their money from advertising. But how would you find advertisers? Must be damn hard.

- Would it be better to do it just in an online PDF format? That would eliminate any publishing costs or overhead of course. But I couldn't charge much for subscription fees of course.

- Anyone know of any software I could use that can publish magazines in template formats?

Anyway, we have a ton of material. But something tells me that I can't do this kind of thing alone, and that it'd require a team of people, since it'd a lot of work and involve a lot of projects.

We could feature critical thinking articles, spiritual stories and lessons, discoveries in quantum physics, wise quotes, etc.

What do you all think about this idea?

I love it personally, but there are so many obstacles to it.

Winston
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 01 Jan 2010, 04:07

I think that it would be worth the time to check out sources to find out your answers.

I do a montly newsletter for a group through a free service. I'll PM you with the information so you can check it out. It might be a good way to start off slow and see what develops.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby ciscop » 01 Jan 2010, 08:18

well personally
i like this site

but i wouldnt pay for a magazine supporting paranormal stuff.. not again

i used to buy those magazines when i was a child and even in my teens.. but i wouldnt go back to that
is fun and all.. but nah..
way better things to spend my money into

but please
dont let my comment bother you
go ahead if you want
is a new year! :-D
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby The Warrigal » 02 Jan 2010, 14:03

I like the idea and think that it has possibilities.

A print magazine would be nice, but the costs of such a venture would need to be researched closely.

However, I agree with Ninja, it's an interesting enough idea to justify doing the homework.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 09 Jan 2010, 20:04

I did a teeny tiny bit of set up for a 3 page freebie 'magazine style' website to see if my usual venue could be modified enough to get us started on line.

Since I am not a writer I am naturally lacking articles to make it resemble a magazine. If anyone here has original material that they would like added to this freebie, please... either copy and paste, PM me or link to your information so that I have some meat and potatoes to see if this will get us started.

Once I have a bit of reading material, I'll post the link.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby jakesteele » 17 Jan 2010, 06:54

I think that an Inquirer type emag is essential for a site like this. I would like to see it combining everything from the scientific method applied to the paranormal, UFOs, etc., and having a lot of things like the site Unexplained Mysteries (http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/). I find this site to be a true skeptic site in that it is full of hard core skeptics to 'woos' and all points inbetween. What I like is that the skeptics are giving fair and just consideration to things the JREFers ridicule on site.

I have already posted my "Rules of Pseudo" list and it is only part of my writings. If you get this rag started I would be very happy to contribute in certain areas such as UFOs in particular. If you want to PM me so we can talk, please do. I would like to start out with you requesting certain topics that you think would round the mag out and then I could complete the assignment.

So please, feel free to harness my enthusiasm.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Scepcop » 20 Jan 2010, 14:00

We definitely have enough material for many issues. I'm sure that the writers of other counter pseudoskeptic articles, such as the ones on skepticalinvestigations.org, would not mind having their articles used in a SCEPCOP magazine. Eteponge and I have lots of material on hand as well.

Material isn't the problem. It's cost, time and manpower. It'd take a staff of people to do that, not just one person. So at this point, it's just a speculative venture. It would definitely be something to aim for, as that would raise our influence to a more respectable and formidable level.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby ProfWag » 20 Jan 2010, 21:49

Scepcop wrote:
We could feature critical thinking articles, spiritual stories and lessons, discoveries in quantum physics, wise quotes, etc.

What do you all think about this idea?

Winston

You already have articles on critical thinking? :shock: I would LOVE to read those!!! ;)
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 20 Jan 2010, 21:54

Well then you will just have to subscribe to the magazine.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Scepcop » 22 Feb 2010, 18:39

Check out this magazine publishing service. What do you think? Is it worth it?

http://www.magcloud.com/about
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Kevin Kane » 22 Feb 2010, 23:01

Scepcop wrote:
The questions I have about it though, would be:

- Should it be a real print magazine or just an online one in a PDF file?

I'd begin with PDF.
Scepcop wrote:- What are the startup and publishing costs for a printed magazine?

Staff + Printing costs. Range varies depending, but prebudget for the thousands.
Scepcop wrote:- Do most magazines make their money from subscription fees or advertising fees? How would you decide what to charge for both?

Advertising .. cost is determined by size per page, recurrance and format.
Scepcop wrote:- I would imagine that since subscription fees tend to be low, that magazines must make most of their money from advertising. But how would you find advertisers? Must be damn hard.

That's why you should determine who it's targetted towards, who would benefit from it. But I could see a range of advertisers, from psychic and astrologer services, books, tourism, merchandising of all sorts. Generally, advertisers come to the magazine, but it's good to let them know about the magazine.
Scepcop wrote:- Anyone know of any software I could use that can publish magazines in template formats?

I'm sure Adobe has a product that does this.
Scepcop wrote:- Would it be better to do it just in an online PDF format? That would eliminate any publishing costs or overhead of course. But I couldn't charge much for subscription fees of course.

Trial run .. build a brand name and reputation. My suggestion would be to build the web side first. Hire a professional web designer to give it a pro look and feel. Look for advertisers who would help build resources for a magazine.
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Scepcop » 28 Feb 2010, 01:47

Rupert Sheldrake doesn't think it's a good idea to start a magazine. Here's why:

Dear Winston,

I’m pleased you’re taking so much initiative with the Skepcop project. But I don’t think a print magazine would be viable. It wouldn’t sell on news stands because it too specialist a topic and getting it known and advertising it would be almost impossibly difficult. Even Skeptical Inquirer has a problem with falling circulation, I believe. One reason people subscribe to sceptic magazines is that it makes them feel part of a community of people fighting for science and reason, however deluded that seems to us. I don’t think that Skepcop would have a similarly loyal and committed readership, nor do I think you’d get much advertising revenue. So I think the best thing is to stick to the website, and if you want to branch out into other areas, think about new media like Facebook as a way of drawing more people in..

Best wishes

Rupert
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Re: Should we start a SCEPCOP Inquirer magazine?

Postby Scepcop » 28 Feb 2010, 03:46

Some interesting responses:

Hi Winston,

About your questions, my opinions are:

-Should it be a real print magazine or just an online one in a PDF file?

If it's possible, both of them, because it will reach a wider audience. If it's not possible, in PDF file would be better, because it's cheaper and reach much more people.

-What are the startup and publishing costs for a printed magazine?

I have no idea. But in any case, it has a higher cost in comparison with a PDF file.

-Do most magazines make their money from subscription fees or advertising fees? How would you decide what to charge for both?
I guess it depends on the success of the magazine. If it attracts important companies, perhaps the adversiting fees would be the higher source of income. However, it's not likely that a magazine about the paranormal will attract so many important companies.

-Would it be better to do it just in an online PDF format? That would eliminate any publishing costs or overhead of course. But I couldn't charge much for subscription fees of course.
I guess at the beginning, the magazine will have to published online for free (to draw the interest of many people). If it gets enough interested readers, then you could think in subscriptions fees, because the readers will want to continue reading it. If you begin with subscription fees, only a handful of people will read the magazine and it's not the idea.

-We could feature critical thinking articles, spiritual stories and lessons, discoveries in quantum physics, wise quotes, etc

In addition to all of that, you should add a section of book reviews (wth special emphasis on critical reviews of skeptical books), and a section of reader's letters to comment on the magazine. Also, the magazine should include a section on "recommended websites".

Given that the magazine is thought to be an effective counter to professional pseudo-skepticism, perhaps you could include a section entitled "Skeptical Fallacy of the Month" (where a logical fallacy is explained and illustrated with an example of some prominent skeptic using it) or "Skeptical Misdirections" (where any dishonest method used by skeptics is explained and refuted) or something like that.

Each issue of the magazine could be published quarterly (4 issues per year) because it gives more time to prepare each edition.

Another suggestion is that the magazine should be popular (to reach a wider audicience), but at the same time it should be serious and rigorous and include articles by scientists and academics. Think in the Skeptic Magazine or the Skeptical Inquirer. They're not scientific journals, but they're widely read by scientists because they include popular articles on science or social topics written by scientists, philosophers and other academics.

Guy Lyon Playfair has written excellent articles on pseudo-skepticism, perhaps he could be a permanent contributor to the magazine.

Also, Richard Milton (from Alternative Science website) is an excellent and well-read journalist and critic of pseudoskepticism. His contribution to the magazine would be very good.

These are some ideas or suggestions, hope they help.

Happy new year,
Jime
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