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Magazine Writing


ENGW 4342.01

Beth Eakman Re


Office: Andre Hall 302

Hours: MWF 1-3,  TTh mornings by appointment

Note: I will be moving from my current office in Andre Hall to Sorin 208 at some point this semester (when the Facilities people tell me it's ready). Your best bet for meeting with me is to email or text me first so that I can make sure we don't miss each other. 


Text and Materials (things that cost money)

Magazine Writing, Benson *Required*

ISBN # 9780415892773

If you want to do any kind of writing for magazines, this book is essential. It is the most current book on the subject (2015), engaging, easy to use, and is written by professors who know the industry. 

Plan to buy magazines. I recommend Book People for variety and Half Price Books if you are looking to save some money and buy back issues. The SEU library has a good collection of magazines, but you have to sit there to read them.

Printing costs. Plan to spend $15-$60 on printing your final magazine. We will discuss this in class. 


About the Course

This course is designed to prepare students to write articles for publication in magazines and other periodicals. Students learn to analyze markets, write queries, conduct interviews and other types of research, and write effective articles for targeted audiences. Prerequisites: WRIT 2320, WRIT 2325, WRIT 3335 and junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor.


Course Overview

This course will not only give you experience with the process of magazine writing, it will prompt you to generate several pieces that you can use as writing samples if and when you decide to actually do magazine writing. Plan to generate a lot of text. See the assignments below. Because you will be working toward a feature piece at the end of the semester, I encourage you to start thinking about publications, topics, and interview subjects right away. Time management is critical to your success in this course and as a professional writer.​



The grading scheme is very simple for this class. Five deliverables, one exam, homework/daily work, and your final magazine project have point values that together are worth a possible 1000 points. To determine your grade, just move the decimal point one place to the left. 


Deliverables: 5/500 points (complete/incomplete)

To give students the most authentic experience of professional magazine writing, deliverables will be graded only on meeting deadlines and submission guidelines. In other words, if the following assignments are submitted complete* and on time, they will get 100. Late or incomplete submission can earn up to 50 points, but will not receive feedback. *Complete means that your submission is not missing any of the requirements described in the assignment; make sure you read your assignments carefully and check your work against the descriptions before submitting them. 

Deliverable Assignments

Audience Analysis Presentation

Feature Analysis 


McSweeney’s (or other column or department submission)

Feature (with query letter and letter of transmittal) 

Exam: 200 points (numeric grade)

The exam will be mostly short answers and definitions from class lectures and the textbook. 

Homework/Daily Work: 100 (percentage complete/incomplete)

Homework/Daily Work includes in-class projects and peer editing workshops. The number of these fluctuates so that we can customize the course content to meet the needs of individual students and classes. These will be graded as complete (100) or incomplete (0) and an average will be taken from the ratio of complete to incomplete assignments. For example, if we do 10 and you submit 9 complete and on-time, you will have a 90 for this category. 

Magazine Project (200)

Using the deliverables that you have created for this class as content, you will create, design, edit, and publish your own magazine on You may choose to work in groups or individually. See the note on revisions below. 

Attendance and Participation

According to the feedback that I get from former students, one of the most helpful components of this class is its emphasis on collaboration, the sharing of ideas, and the public asking of questions. No question is stupid. In most cases, if you have a question, at least five of your peers have it too but aren’t asking because they are worried it will seem stupid. They will be mightily relieved when you gather your courage and ask. Witness them frantically writing the answer in their class notes. Some of the best ideas exchanged in this class have been student-to-student. Plan to bring your A game and participate.   


What does participation mean?

We will treat this classroom very much like an ongoing editorial meeting. This means that you should be ready to discuss the relative merits of the readings, generate ideas, and provide meaningful feedback to your peers. You will present your ideas, research plans, “angles,” “ledes,” and “hooks,” to the group on a consistent basis. This means that you will be responsible for (1) keeping up with the reading, (2) casual public speaking, (3) taking notes, and (4) networking with and supporting your peers.


The purpose of submitting your deliverables on time and complete for a simple completion grade and feedback is so that you can spend the rest of the semester revising your work for the final magazine project, which will contain all of your revised deliverables along with an explanation of why and how you revised them. This is how publishing your work happens in the real world: you submit your piece, the publication accepts it and kicks it back to you for changes, you make the changes, and resubmit it, often more than once, for final publication. 


Extra Credit

Find information about extra credit at the bottom of the calendar page.


Academic integrity

St. Edward’s University, the English department, and I expect you to practice academic honesty in all of your work.  Please consult the SEU student handbook if you have any questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty. As an upper-level student of English, you are expected to know and practice the appropriate use of sources and documentation.


SEU takes academic dishonesty very seriously. Penalties include a zero for the assignment, a failing grade for the class, and expulsion from the university.

Support services

If you have a medical, psychiatric, or learning disability, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that your professors make appropriate accommodations. Please bring your documentation to me as early in the semester as possible. Student Disability Services is in Moody Hall 155, in the Academic Planning and Support offices.


Your student fees entitle you to a wide range of support services. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources.

Writing: The Writing Center 

Research: Librarians 

Computers/IT: Academic Computing in Moody Hall 

Tutoring: Academic Planning and Support in Moody Hall

Personal issues: Psychological Services in Moody Hall or Campus Ministry



Just as I encourage you to take advantage of the other resources that SEU provides, I encourage you to take advantage of the resource that I offer as your professor. If I can help, do not hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to come by my office or send me an email. I get paid to help you learn. Use this resource.


Check your email and this website daily. You are responsible for information that I send by email. Let me know immediately if your email address changes during the semester or if you are not getting messages that the rest of the class seems to be getting.















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