I won’t make it alone

It is early December and the deadline for the master thesis gets closer and closer. We all know this feeling of being close to the goal and thinking “how am I going to manage all of this”. My only answer is those kind of moments is: talk to people, best with people who know you and your project. After three e-mails to my mentors, here is what I found on my table: a very short but very meaningful note, giving me exactly the feeling I needed. I will make it! Thank you Arne.

 

 

PS: It has been im my bag since then, reminding me often that it’ll be all right ;).

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Mentoring session with Maximilian Stern

A few notes on the talk I had with Max on December 5th:

The target group are people who aren’t that interested about politics but are educated and should be interested. Our message to them: it is important and it is a privilege; think about politics, it is about your future!

My main goal with the project is to make politics and votes exciting.

At the beginning of the magazine, they discover a story, at the end they’re interested.

My message: go vote!

Max thinks we should be a sort of “terror group for political engagement”.
– go vote for god’s sake!
– act with that necessity feeling from my guts. There is a need for change!
– “vote or die!”

Talks about the example of the group “Zentrum für politische Schönheit” (arts and politics together)

Magazine could also be distributed in pop-star and design magazines.

Team:
My projet will get the interest of similar people-profile when it gets to create a team. I should ask myself with whom I want to work. Definitely needs a second person who is as passionate as I am about the subject and has a design background. A third person for the journalistic part is also very important.

Start by organising an event to talk about the project and find people who want to work with me.

Contacts:
– Larissa Bollmann, student Master Design/Trends ZHDK
– Marisa Suppiger, Kosmos Zürich
– Anja Wyden-Owelpa, Stiftung Dialog

Possible partners (a financial sources):
– Jugendparlament
– Stiftung
– Swiss Democracy Foundation

Thinks of crowdfunding as a good option beside foundations.

 

He would insist on the service aspect of the project (reminder that we have to vote) and thinks that in order to be attractive it has to take a clearer position to the themes. That is where I am not so fit. I would need people who challenge me on this point. The magazine has to provoke in order to make people understand that it does matter.

This project is my business card. It is the reason people will know me for.

 

Mentoring session with Arne Scheuermann

Sketch from Arne Scheuermann on the position of the magazine regarding the target group

 

Yesterday, we discussed about the position of the magazine (who should read it) and the design proposals I made at the last colloquium. From Arne’s point of view, I have to be careful on not designing a magazine that is too design-oriented. He insists on how important it is to think about what the targets reads and to position de magazine where most people are likely to read it.

From my perspective, the hard part is to get a distance from my taste and dive deeper into other possible “styles”. On a longer term I think that it is only possible while working in a team of like-but-different minded people.

Phone call with Maximilian Stern

Yesterday, I talked wit Max over the phone about the feedback I received after the last colloquium. He previously had a look at the paper and the presentation.

On the idea of getting even preciser with the target group, he mentioned the so called creative economy as an interesting target (with others, of course). The creative economy involves all people working in ways that are not replaceable by automated processes and robots. He insisted on the fact that there are a lot of creatives who aren’t that familiar with votes (to be proven with studies if available).

Regarding the importance of creating an online community (comment from Frederike Asael, Impact Hub Bern), he argued that the goal is for people to be more active politically and not to look for a community who is active about the magazine. By giving “Reportage” as an example, he thinks of a community in a sense of a group of “fans”.

We evoked the possibility of creating a twitter account today to start sharing articles and contents related to the magazine. I personally like the idea, nevertheless I think I need the time to focus on the business concept and be clearer on other aspects before I get “public”.

Third colloquium

 

The third and last colloquium before the examination in January 2018 was a good opportunity to show the actual status of the project, explain the processes through which I am going and ask questions regarding the aspects I am unsure about.

 

Here are the relevant comments/questions I got as feedback. I will take them into consideration for the following steps:
– how does the magazine solve the problem?
– is the design suited to the personas (target group)?
– should the “attraktive” topics of the content be part of the cover (title)?
– the magazine needs a strong community. Think in detail about what type of people I need to be working with. An important aspect is that of the digital one. Look for people who are as passionate as I am and have more knowledge about the digital aspect of building a community.
– for whom am I putting the business concept together? (associations, potential partners and co-workers)?
– about the distribution. Since I am not sure yet, state different scenarios and rate them
– ad research and findings on how I am adding something to the existing offer on the market
– become even preciser with the target group (education, etc)
– don’t use the argument of talking to everyone with the name since it isn’t true
– state the risks and alternative scenarios

Why NZZ Campus and NZZ Toolbox failed

NZZ Campus and NZZ Toolbox – source: google search

In a conversation with Ronald Schenkel, former manager at NZZ, I learned about the experiences made with the magazines “NZZ Campus” and “NZZ Toolbox”. Both magazines were made for the younger generations and both stopped being produced in 2016. The former had the goal of giving insights on how to organise the everyday life to university students whereas the latter intended to create a conversation on global topics like big-data or fair-trade with and for teenagers.

Based on the information I have been given, NZZ Toolbox was created by the NZZ Campus team and was not supported financially by the NZZ. As the NZZ direction required a raise of revenue from NZZ Campus by cutting its budget by half, former manager Ronald Schenkel left the editorial department, intending to save the magazine and his team’s jobs. His successor tried to make it happen and unfortunately failed after six month. Both magazines were stopped by mid 2016.

Focusing on NZZ Toolbox was interesting to learn that the distribution of the magazine in high schools was the most expensive part of the project. While they could add it as a supplement in the Saturday edition of the NZZ, they also distributed it for free in high schools. Trying out ways of distributing the magazine, they noticed that the most successful way to have high school students taking and reading the magazine was to hire people to physically give the magazine away. This explains the high costs of the distribution.

This talk and the contact with Mr. Schenkel help me dive into realistic knowledge on costs, distribution and risks.

Mentoring session with Maximilian Stern

Giving feedback to today’s project update, Max insisted on the importance of creating a visual concept that has no fear of being extravagant and flashy. In his opinion, it would be interesting and important to use images and/or illustrations regarding the subjects put to vote without fearing the fact of stating an opinion.

Regarding the online presence, he isn’t sure about the idea of having the magazine’s content repeated online. The core object is the printed magazine and that is what the readers should look at. The digital sphere is an important actor in building up the community.

Mentoring session with Arne Scheuermann

On our last meeting, Arne and I talked about the structure of my presentation, techniques to respect the timing, build good arguments and good answers.

At the start of our talk, I felt overwhelmed with everything I still wanted to have achieved before the colloquium and couldn’t get a clear view of how to calm down and structure my work. In these moments more than others, the possibility to exchange and have someone reflecting with me is very important and precious.

As discussed, building up a magazine is the work of an entire team. I couldn’t imagine coming forward without the inputs of Arne and Max.

Mentoring session with Arne Scheuermann

 

Brainstorming
Content:
– dig deeper into the stories and show how they are built without layout
– example of stories topics: forget, ballot counting, history of voting, polling stations around the world
– part of the magazine is fix (columns stay at the same and at the same page)
– part of the magazine is flexible (columns are the same, content and the way they interact is always different)
– photo stories must not always have texts
– not everything has to be content-driven – people enjoy visual columns

Concept:
– magazine goal is to diffuse and entertain (diversified and engaged)
– people like the magazine because they can’t wait knowing what’s in their favourite column. From time to time, they may have more or less interest on the voting subject (but they are aware of it)