First Magazine?

A FIRST magazine…

Thoughts comments suggestions…
Is this a good Idea?

 What I envision is a resource for FIRST teams, it will probably prove more helpful for the Rookies.

 Different months, different articles. Mainly acknowledgments of how teams did and how-to guides to programming, wiring, drive train, time management, etc.

Would this be effective?

Please note this is for an International Baccalaureate [IB] Information Technology in a Global Society [ITGS] project. If anyone asks if you want to try for an IB diploma, say NO. Otherwise, watch your life slip away to sleepless nights.

As an online publication to a Website it makes sense. I’m guessing that there isn’t a enough ad revenue available to justify a printed magazine, though. It’s difficult to publish a magazine with only a few thousand readers (10,000 circulation is small for a magazine) and few deep-pocket advertisers. If I were you, and I wanted to lose lots of money in magazine publishing, I’d check out the business aspects before the editorial content.

i say an online Zine would be better suited, but the concept is great!

While I would love to see a FIRST only magazine on the news stands for so many reasons I think it is a bit much for such a small target market at the present time. Maybe in a few years we will be at that point. What about partnering with an established print magazine like “Nuts&Volts” or “Servo” and having a monthly FIRST Robotics column or article? I know I would subscribe to either magazine (which I currently don’t) if they had a monthly FIRST column or section. It would help the FIRST community by spreading the message to the masses as well as help the circulation of the existing magazine by increasing circulation. The articles could include not only FRC but Lego League and VEX as well. The existing magazine would probably like the paid advertisements that would soon follow from places like IFI and AndyMark and Radio Shack/VEX. Seems like a win-win to me. Nuts&Volts used to do something like this with the Parallax Basic Stamps years ago but I don’t know if they still do. It’s been a while since I have opened an issue of Nuts&Volts.

its been tried… go for it

While not monthly, they feature FIRST teams, a lot. I can remember 4 articles about last year and the year before’s challenge off the top of my head. Not to mention we made the cover this year. :ahh:

Cool. Was that Nuts&Volts or Servo? Shows you how long it’s been since I have looked at either one.

It would be really awesome to have an online newsletter… maybe an e-mailed copy to the teams. That would be really cool for the newbies. I wish I had something like that this year.

Remember, if it was a real magazine…it would cost money to make and they would have to hire on staff…a E-zine would be much easier.

aside from robotics, I’m a journalism person too–I’ve been on the school newspaper staff for four years and looked into the a countywide magazine, so I’ve taken on different positions on journalism staffs, etc. It’s a pretty stable trend that student-published magazines don’t fare well, especially compared to student newspapers.
My advice with what you’ve described is to generalize the magazine for not just FIRST teams if you want to paper publish it. Cover new news stories, feature thisgs and people; that makes it more like a magazine than a textbook in pieces. You’d have to cover a variety of topics about the engineering world, both the technical and non-technical areas. It wouldn’t be very big since almost every article needs to be timely to stay away from the textbook thing. You’d probably also take off several months when robot activity is low.
You’d probably also have to charge for it if you want to use color and glossy paper. Our county student magazine had a tough time getting it printed, and it was a very small publication.
Why not publish a how-to guide book for FIRST teams for your IB project? The former top-ranked newspaper in Maryland (was Rockville, now it’s my school for the under 1200 full-time student size division) has a published journalism style manual and some rights to a fundraising guide book. With your subject matter, that might be a better option if you’re focused on publishing something. Good luck!

The idea of publishing a monthly column in Nuts & Volts or Servo sounds like a great idea. They’ll often run stories on teams and events now but a dedicated column would be a great step forward. That being said the logistics behind deciding who wrote the articles, the editing of such articles and making what is limited to a single column an even handed piece would be dificult(but then again dificult things get handled by FIRST teams on a daily basis.)

A web-zine on the other hand makes a lot sense. I currently subscribe to a couple internet only webmags. They certaintly don’t have the impact a fully laid out and printed magainze does but they’re easy to recieve and show a lot of potential. Just as an example check out Artkrush is a webmag that covers art. Content or even quality aside its a nice format that is easy to mail out to people. Just as a note a webmag like a printed magazine costs a lot more to run than a regular website. Instead of glossy photos you have high quality jpegs chewing up bandwith. The emails they send, are just the text and the images get downloaded from the website.

I’ve been trying to help run Pit News, which is now working on it’s second try at becoming something. The problem being getting people involved. If you can get people involved to work on it, sign me up, I’d love to help. Otherwise feel free to try to help Pit News get off the ground as we have some people gathered already trying to make it work. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] to chat with me.


the four articles last year was written by my teammates about our first experience and now they have monthly collomns.

Look for articles by: Bryce Woolley
Evan Woolley
William Woolley

Another option is try to get a biweekly column in a daily newspaper featuring your team. It’s a great internship and would be very impressive on a resume. A combination of membership on a professional publication in addition to a student one is much better than two student ones.