Magazine Publishing: Editorial Process Structure and Environmental Impacts – A Case Study


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Malin Picha, Mohammad Ahmadi Achachlouei, and Åsa Moberg


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This study investigates the structure of the editorial processes at a Swedish monthly magazine for interior decorating and design, Skona hem, and assesses the carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emissions) of the editorial content production during one year. The objective is to define the processes using a computer based process modeling tool and to analyze the workflow in order to discover how the different steps in the production process relate to different environmentally related parameters. An additional objective is to present the carbon footprint of the overall editorial work and to identify the major reasons for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as any major data gaps and uncertainties. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken in order to identify the process steps involved in the content production. Environmentally related parameters, such as travel distance, mode of transports, and computer hours, were then collected for each process step. Life cycle assessment methodology was used to assess the potential greenhouse gas emissions of the editorial work at Skona hem.
A number of process steps were identified in the content production. Three overall phases were identified, into which the process steps can be grouped. Firstly, the planning phase consists of meetings with different key persons in order to plan the content of the next issues of the magazine. Secondly, the executive phase was identified. Here, all the articles and pictures are produced. Thirdly, the assembly phase includes text editing and page design. Finally, ready-made pages are sent to printing or to the digital publishing channels such as tablets and the web.

According to the assessment made, the editorial content production at Skona hem has a carbon footprint of 23 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year. The major reasons are the manufacturing of computers and screens used at the office, business trips by plane, and transports by delivery firms mainly used for transporting furniture and other objects to and from photo sessions. The use of computers and screens is mostly associated with the assembly phase, business trips by plane with the planning phase and transports by delivery firms with the executive phase.

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