||What Does It Take To Start
Creating publications requires teamwork and meticulous planning. Half
of the work has to be done before you even start to write. Planning for
your publication means answering general and specific questions. Some
general questions you need to answer first include:
- Is your publication a one-time product or an ongoing one, such as
a monthly newsletter?
- What format do you have in mindposter, flier, brochure, booklet,
- Would you like your publication printed in black and white, in more
than one color, on colored paper?
- Do you intend to use photographs or other graphics?
- Does your intended format fit with the needs and interests of your
Once you have answered these general questions, you will need to focus
on the following specifics:
- Who is the intended audience of your publication? Although the document
may appeal to many people, the intended audience should be a specific
group of peoplea target group. The target group for a newsletter
about your crime prevention organization could include the organization's
members, funders, and other local supporters. Other people, such as
parents of the group members and school staff and faculty, may be interested
in the publication, but they are probably not the core group you want
to address. For a poster on personal safety, the target group might
be 9- and 10-year-olds. The poster could also educate high school students
but the message should be directed at 9- and 10-year-olds.
- How many copies of the publication will you need for your audience?
- How will your readers get the publication? Will you distribute it
to them or will they pick it up? Will it be for sale? If so, who will
advertise it? Where will it be sold? How much will it cost? Who will
handle the money? If your publication will be distributed for free,
you need to know who will stock it. Where will you hand it out and what
groups might include it in their mailings?
- What do you want your readers to do once they've read your publication?
Try to frame the answer to this question in terms of real actions. For
example, the goal that "readers over age 65 will know three ways to
say no to con artists" is more specific than "older people will understand
swindlers and how to stop them." Describing your goal in terms of what
your audience members will be able to do (whether it's to explain, to
promote, to describe, to demonstrate, or to communicate) or what they
will know once they've read your publication will ensure that you create
a publication with a purpose.
- What resources, e.g., cash or services, do you need and what is already
available to you? Do you have writers in your group or do you need to
recruit some? Have any services, such as printing, been donated or paid
for? What research is involved? What will design and printing cost?
How much money should you allow for postage? How much time is required
for writing, editing, and printing?
By making even rough estimates, you may learn that you need to narrow
or refine your message, revise your format, or find new resources. A journalism
or graphic arts teacher or local printer may be able to help you with
design and printing cost estimates. Consider asking the high school print
shop to produce your document, or ask the local printer to reduce costs
in return for your acknowledgment of the printer's support. Think about
who needs to review the document (e.g., advisor, school board, principal)
and who can help with editing and proofing it. The school newspaper staff
may be willing to pitch in.
With this planning completed, you have built a good foundation for a
useful publication. You are now ready to create your publication!
Planning a Successful Project
For more information on how to plan a successful project, see
the National Youth Network's Planning a Successful Crime Prevention
Project. This 28-page workbook explains the five steps of the
- Assessing Your Community's Needs.
- Planning a Successful Project.
- Lining Up Resources.
- Acting on Your Plans.
- Nurturing, Monitoring, and Evaluating.
The workbook includes six worksheets for you to take notes on.
You can get a copy of this planning workbook from the Juvenile Justice
Clearinghouse, listed in the "Resources"
section. Good luck!
|Youth in Action Bulletin