Wikipedia:WikiProject Magazines/Writing guide

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For advice on writing articles about scholarly publications, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Academic Journals/Writing guide.

This guide is intended to assist editors in the creation and writing of articles on magazines. After following this, you should have a "perfect stub", and bigger articles should feel a bit more "mainstream".

Getting started[edit]

Before starting to write an article on a magazine, it helps to keep a few things in mind.

  • First, search for the magazine's article on Wikipedia. It might already exist under a slightly different name than you were expecting.
  • Second, make sure the magazine is notable according to our notability guidelines, otherwise it will probably be deleted. A magazine will usually be considered notable if at least one of the following criteria are met:
  1. have produced award winning work
  2. have served some sort of historic purpose or have a significant history
  3. are considered by reliable sources to be authoritative in their subject area
  4. are frequently cited by other reliable sources
  5. are significant publications in ethnic and other non-trivial niche markets
This makes it hard for newly established magazines to get an article on Wikipedia, as they usually did not have time to become influential magazines.
  • Writing an article about a magazine usually is easier if you have an issue of the magazine next to you, or the magazine's website loaded in your browser, or both.
  • Tracking down the history of a magazine can be a bit complicated. Merges, splits, renaming, etc... are sometimes mentioned on the website, but are often omitted.

Title[edit]

  • Location: The article should be located at the official full name of the magazine (Aquarium Fish International, not AFI) unless it is universally known in an abbreviated form (FASEB magazine, not Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology magazine).
    • The: If the "The" is part of the official full name, the article should be located at that name (American Magazine of Physics, not The American Magazine of Physics, but The Skateboard Mag, not Skateboard Mag).
    • Subtitle: Subtitles are not part of the title. For example, use European Magazine of Physics, and not European Magazine of Physics: A magazine of the European Physical Society.
  • Capitalization: Use title case (American Magazine of Physics, not American magazine of physics).
  • Italics: Italicize the title of the page as appropriate and the name of the magazine everywhere in the text. Usually this will be done automatically by the infobox. Note that the {{italic title}} template included with the infobox does not work for longer titles. In these cases, one should place{{DISPLAYTITLE:''magazine of Foo With Very Long Title That Is Too Long For Italic Title''}} immediately below the infobox.
  • Sorting: If the page starts with a The (such as The Magazine of Foo), add the appropriate sortkey at the bottom of the page ({{DEFAULTSORT:Magazine Of Foo, The}}). See Wikipedia:Categorization#Sort order if you are unfamiliar with sortkeys.
  • Redirects: Redirect every likely capitalisation, alternative spelling and abbreviated form (dotted and undotted). For example, American Magazine of Physics should have the following redirects
  • The American Magazine of Physics
  • American magazine of physics
  • Am M Phys
  • Am. M. Phys.
  • AMP
  • A M P
  • A.M.P.
  • A. M. P.
These redirect pages should be tagged with {{R from abbreviation}}, {{R from other capitalisation}} or {{R from alternative spelling}}. Note that it can be best to have a disambiguation page for certain abbreviations. Tag these redirects on their talk page with {{WP Magazines|class=Redirect}}.

The infobox[edit]

Note: For academic journals, you'll want to use {{infobox journal}} instead of {{infobox magazine}}.

The first step of creating a magazine article is to add the {{infobox magazine}} template to a page, and fill as many entries as you can. An infobox does not replace prose, it simply presents key information (such as ISSN, language, editor-in-chief, publisher, magazine website, etc...) in a consistent manner from article to article. Filling this infobox will also help with the writing of the article.

Moving from the infobox to prose[edit]

Now after you're done filling the infobox, convert what you can into prose. For example if the Magazine of Foo is a Dutch magazine published weekly by Acme focusing on codfish reproduction and migration, founded in 1924 by John Doe, you can write something like:

The Magazine of Foo is a Dutch magazine which focuses on codfish reproduction and migration. It was founded in 1924 by the Austrian biologist John Doe and is published by Acme on a weekly basis.

Pretty much everything from the infobox can be included in prose, but leave out things like ISSN, OCLC identifier, website, and other "technical" information. Good descriptions of the magazines can usually be found in the first few pages of the magazine, or on their website, but sometimes they are overly precise and need to be "condensed".

Please reference everything you write. You can use a citation template to facilitate your task. The {{cite web}} and {{cite journal}} templates will usually prove particularly handy. If you use the same source multiple times, you can write <ref name="NAME">{{cite xxx|author=|year=|title=|url=|publisher=|accessdate=}}</ref> the first time, and <ref name="NAME"/> subsequent times (replace NAME with something you like, such as MFooWebsite). [diberri.crabdance.com/cgi-bin/templatefiller/ This tool] can facilitate filling out the templates.

Never copy-paste descriptions (or anything else) from magazine websites. These cannot be trusted to be neutral and are likely to be copyrighted material. Beware of weasel words, such as "is a leading magazine...", "publishes high-quality research...", etc...

What to include[edit]

magazine scope

The article should have a brief description of the magazine's scope.

Publication history

The article should have information about any of the following which apply

  • Year of establishment and disestablishment
  • Former title(s)
  • Founding editor(s)
  • Language of publication (if non-English, or in addition to English)
  • Mergers and splits with other magazines
  • Main magazine series or directly affiliated publications
  • Previous and current editor-in-chiefs (or equivalent position)
  • Previous and current publisher(s)
  • Previous and current frequency of publication
Official affiliations

If the magazine is affiliated with societies (i.e. is their official magazine), or is part of an independent network of publications, this should be mentioned.

What not to include[edit]

Aims, readership

A tropical fish magazine can be assumed to have the goals of providing information on tropical fish and other animals/plants kept in aquariums, as well as be aimed towards tropical fish hobbyists. If you correctly described the scope of the magazine, e.g. "magazine of Foobar is a tropical fish magazine with a focus on Asian and South-American fish.", then the aims of the magazine and its readership will be obvious.

List of authors and full editorial boards

Magazines often like to list well-known or prestigious authors, or to include them on their editorial board to add to their reputation. While magazines are free to do whatever they want on their websites, authors have little impact on the daily operations of the magazine, as do most of the editorial board. Therefore, in most cases, lists of contributors and full editorial boards should be left out of articles. Exceptions can be made in cases where the involvement with the magazine of (some) board members or authors (whether positively or negatively) has generated coverage in independent reliable sources.

Other things

Things like

  • Author rights and permissions
  • Contact information (emails, phone numbers, ...)
  • FAQs
  • List of articles published in the magazine
  • Physical address
  • Pricing and subscription information
  • Submission guidelines

are all best left out of the article. Anyone who truly cares about that can consult the magazine's website.

Cover[edit]

If possible, you should upload an image of the cover of the magazine and place it in the infobox. You can usually find low-resolution images on the magazine's website (or on the publisher's website) that can be uploaded under our non-free media use guidelines. For an example of a cover upload, see here.

Supplements and side publications[edit]

Some magazines have supplemental issues or side publications. If this is the case, mention them along with relevant information (editor, ISSN, year of establishment). If these publications are notable on their own, consider creating a standalone article for them.

External links[edit]

Here give the homepage of the magazine and its parent magazine if it has one. Something like:

Publisher homepages are usually of very little relevance, so do not include them unless they are of particular relevance (for example if the publisher was founded to publish that specific magazine).

Stub templates and categories[edit]

The finishing touches should be added (at the bottom of the page):

If any category is missing, contact WikiProject magazines and let us know that the category is missing.

Wikiprojects and planning for the long term[edit]

Note For academic journals, you'll usually want to use {{WPJournals}} instead of {{WP Magazines}}. However, sometimes both {{WP Magazines}} and {{WPJournals}} might be appropriate.

It is very important for the long-term development of articles that their talk pages be tagged with an appropriate WikiProject template. You should add the WikiProject Magazines template {{WP Magazines}} AND other relevant Wikiprojects templates when possible. This will ensure that the relevant WikiProjects will be contacted if the article is (for example) nominated for deletion (if they subscribe to the Article Alerts system), and will be categorized in the appropriate cleanup listings, on top of providing convenient links to WikiProjects for editors looking for help.

See also[edit]