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Old 12-05-2006, 09:03 PM   #1
Gerad
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Default What type of software to use?

First off, I am not real familiar with any of this and I have alot to learn! I am trying to find out what I will need to start a very basic monthly newspaper. I'm not sure what type of software to use. I own and operate a Motocross facility and am wanting to produce a regional newspaper that can be distributed at local tracks and at area shops. I'm not looking to produce anything too complicated, just something that will get more people informed on what is going on. I also understand there will be a very large learning curve. Any help on what direction I need to go and what type of basic software to use would be greatly appreciated.

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Gerad
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Old 12-06-2006, 01:14 AM   #2
LoisWakeman
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Hi Gerad - if you want to learn, you've come to the right place - I hope you find this place as friendly and helpful as I have!

For a simple newsletter, you have three choices, I think:
  1. A word processor (e.g MS Word, WordPerfect, StarOffice), which will allow you to do simple layouts with columns, tables, graphics etc. Probably easiest to learn the basics - especially if you already use it at work! However, if you want anything other than standard double-sided printing on fiull-sized paper (e.g an A3 sheet folded to make 4 A4 sides) you need to do your own imposition: that is, work out which page needs to be where to print in the right place, back-to-back.

    An advantage of this is that most already come with templates for various newsletters that you can customise - or you can find lots on the web.
  2. A DTP program: there are lots of these from the very cheap to the fabulously expensive. They usually allow more fancy layouts, and the better ones have good typographic control - allowing fine precision on leading (interline spacing), character kerning (relative spacing of letter pairs), newspaper column balancing etc. Most will take care of imposition (I think? Please correct me, experts.) They come in 2 varieties:
    1. Page makeup: allows page layouts perhaps different on each page, text flowing round graphic outlines. etc. Probably what you need. E.g. MS Publisher, Quark, InDesign, Serif PagePlus ....
    2. Long document management: designed for books, user manuals etc. Indexing, tables of contents, cross-references etc. E.g FrameMaker, Ventura. Not what you want!
  3. A drawing program with paragraph text capabilities. Most people don't think of this option, but I have used CorelDraw very successfully to do newletters: it allows me to do all the things I need, like linked text boxes where text flows from one page to the next automatically, columns, justification, text flow round graphics, pull quotes, drop caps, and reasonable typography (I wouldn't say brilliant, but good enough). I don't know if other similar programs do this - comments anyone?
Anyway, I hope that's enough to get you pointed in the right direction, so you can ask more specific questions!
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:32 AM   #3
dthomsen8
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Default Paper, or Email, or Web?

Gerad,

Are you distributing this newsletter entirely on paper, or will some copies be sent with email, or posted on the web? It would be helpful to know how you plan to distribute.

The civic association in my neighborhood has switched from entirely on paper, to almost entirely by email, but also posted on a website, with a few copies distributed on paper to those who don't have email.

David
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:01 PM   #4
Gerad
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Default Distribution?

I plan to ditribute in paper form for the most part and possibly by email. My main goal is to be able to distribute at the local bike shops and at the local tracks. I know the tracks work really well because everyone has alot of free time while the races are going on. I also want to be able to offer it via email by allowing people to sign up for it on our website. I want this to be a place for the local riders to keep up with what is going on at other tracks and shops. I was also plannning on going to our local newspaper printer to see about having them print it for us. I want to be able to email the complete edition to them for printing. Where do I go to purchase the software?

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Gerad
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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Default DTP Software Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerad View Post
... I want to be able to email the complete edition to them for printing. Where do I go to purchase the software?
Look to the members of this forum who do DTP work for software advice. They will know how to deal with your intended publication and distribution procedures with appropriate software.

If there is email distribution, especially to Internet users who are on dialup, the size of the newsletter as distributed is important to consider. If there is only paper distribution, file sizes in the newsletter preparation process is not a significant factor.

My own work has been with email and web distribution of newsletters, so I am not going to give you software advice for your circumstances.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerad View Post
I was also plannning on going to our local newspaper printer to see about having them print it for us.
You may also find high-street printing shops (or internet printing shops) very competitive: they are here in the UK. They often take a wide range of common programs as input (via web upload/email): for example, the one I use takes CorelDraw, Word, Publisher, PhotoShop, Serif PagePlus, PageMaker, PDF, Freehand, Illustrator, as well as the Mac programs that used to dominate the print market till fairly recently (i.e. mostly Quark or EPS).
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Where do I go to purchase the software?
Most s/w is available directly from the manufacturer's web site, so Google is your friend! Popular titles are also stocked by computer chains and office suppliers etc: but you often pay more. You need to decide which program you want to use first before worrying about how to buy it: I strongly suggest you download a trial of your chosen one and make sure it suits you first.

Much to my surprise, you can even do this for Microsoft Publisher: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/pu...r/default.aspx
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerad View Post
Where do I go to purchase the software?
I think you have a good idea here, and will probably have fun publishing your newspaper. But first things first: you need to choose your software.

Unless you intend a very simple newsletter, don’t try to do this with a word processor. If you plan on having columns, boxes for ads, or any other reason to control exactly where things sit on the page (which is typical of newspapers, magazines, and other informative publications), you should use a page layout program.

The publishing world generally relies on QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign, and I would suggest you bite the money bullet and use one of these — printers are used to dealing with the output, it has all the function you will need to lay out your paper and create printable files, etc. (And there will be a learning curve, alas.) Many users here are adept with these programs, and can answer questions if your have them.

Are you in the U.K.? If so, not sure you can still get the relevant issue of Computer Shopper, but take a look at this recent thread here on the forum: QuarkXPress 5 for FREEEEE!!!! — that would be a way to get your feet wet with an older version of an industry-standard program. If you decided to continue, you would need to upgrade to the current version (the free version is for personal use only), but at least you would be able to learn how to use it without investing first.

Adobe also offers a free-tryout demo of InDesign (scroll down to the Print Publishing section and click on Try in the InDesign line — you will have to register, but there is no charge).

One final thought: If you have no experience or training in graphic design, layout, and typesetting you might want to buy a book or two just to get the hang of it. We can make some recommendations if you like.

   
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:50 AM   #8
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. . . going to our local newspaper printer to see about having them print it for us. I want to be able to email the complete edition to them for printing.
That is not a bad idea. Newspaper printers are accustomed to printing on newsprint, unlike many local printers, and they may have excess press capacity they would just love to fill.

But once you are far enough along to have an idea of the number of pages, issue frequency, and number of copies, you should probably make a rough mockup (just folded sheets of paper with a sketch of what goes on each page) and ask several different printers to quote on it. At the same time, let them advise you on page size, type of paper, etc. (Free advice from printers is pure gold — take advantage of it.)

The normal procedure these days is to create a PDF file from the layout software, with fonts and images embedded, and supply that (usually by e-mail or perhaps by FTP upload, depending on what the printer’s procedure is).

Good luck. It all sounds like a lot of fun.

   
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Old 12-13-2006, 09:09 PM   #9
Gerad
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Default Quark xpress or Adobe Indesign?

Since I have no training in this area I am going to have to start from scratch. The learning curve is not a problem but I am wondering if there are any suggestions to which one of these would be more user friendly. Will these programs allow you to insert photos? I have a Dell PC, wasn't sure if this would matter?

Thanks,
Gerad
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:07 AM   #10
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While I personally prefer the Mac platform, I would suggest going with the Adobe Creative Suite. That way you have your image manipulation software (Photoshop), logo and graphic creation (Illustrator) and your layout (InDesign). If you go with the premium edition you will get Acrobat. That is used for creating PDFs. I believe that is what you want to send to your printer and can distrubute through email. Both not being the same file because print has different requirements.
This may seem like a lot to bite off, but you won't outgrow what the software will do for you. Also, it comes with probably enough standard fonts that you will be pleased with the choices.
I work as a DTP tech. I would rather see fiels from InDesign than Quark any day.

   
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