It’s Deadline

The Making of a Magazine…

It’s late afternoon, nearing deadline, in the tiny office behind Enjoy the Store. The editor-in-chief peers into the 27-inch screen of her iMac. Her right hand moves the mouse, the left clasps a list of more than a dozen last-minute changes. She checks the time: four o’clock. Only one hour remains before she is supposed to email the entire February 2023 issue of Enjoy Magazine to the printer, who, she knows all too well, stands waiting right now.

Ronda Alvey sighs and smiles and quips, “Think I’ll make it?”

“Yes!” comes a cry from behind. Michelle Adams, co-owner of Enjoy the Store and Enjoy Magazine. She’s passing by now, and will work with her editor via email this evening to deliver their precious payload.

Yvonne Mazzotta, Ronda Alvey and Michelle Adams finishing up the February Enjoy Magazine. Photo by James Mazzotta.

Generally, deadline night for an editor-in-chief can quickly escalate from filling white space by rearranging text, ads and photos to fighting white-knuckle tension built by time-consuming repetitions, while the clock moves merrily along. This issue was due at the printer yesterday, and, as she works, Alvey can list factors certain to push delivery to a later-than-desired hour.

“Stories came in late and photos came in late because people were still not home or weren’t back from the holidays,” Alvey explains. The February issue is usually the hardest, since the writers’ deadlines are 60 days in advance, meaning that contributors faced their stressful nights coming out of Thanksgiving weekend and going into the start of mall stores filling with Christmas music. Or they missed their Dec. 1 deadline.

At 4:42 pm, this editor-in-chief reset her deadline to 5:30 pm.

Adding to her stress load, Alvey needs to contact contributor Jon Lewis to confirm a photo credit, and she finds a story that had not been edited yet, so she has to send that to copy editor Kerri Regan who was out with her son on his birthday. Not to mention February is always Enjoy’s love month, and this issue swelled to an unusually thick 92 pages because of a special bridal section.

“Yes, and the nice thing about this issue is it’s going to be handed out at the Redding Bridal Show that’s taking place next month at the Civic Auditorium,” says Alvey. “So we are working with the owner, Paul David. We have a story about him here.”

She adds that David designed Enjoy’s website and that he maintains it along with Enjoy Store employee Catherine Hunt, who is also responsible for assembling
and submitting the calendar of events, which is next on Adams’ list of last-minute changes. The Enjoy co-owner watches over the process as Alvey emails screenshots of each item on the list as it’s checked off, and Adams replies in real time. If an item is deemed by the supervisor to be not quite right, the editor must return to it.

As the clock figuratively ticks, Alvey’s email becomes her lifeline.

Lewis responds promptly, assuring proper identification of a photographer, something important to Alvey. Adams’ fine tunings send her from the calendar back some pages to center an ad, then back to the calendar. And so far, no word from the copy editor Regan who is still out with her son on his birthday.

Through all this, Alvey appears to be in a good mood. “I appreciate Michelle’s attention to detail. I don’t design the layouts. This is all her work,” she says, referring to Adams. “I do really love the work we do, and I’m very proud of it. I’m never one to say, ‘Oh, it’s good enough,’ if it’s not exactly what I want. OK, that’s done. Now to page 58…”

Yvonne Mazzotta, Ronda Alvey and Michelle Adams finishing up the February Enjoy Magazine. Photo by James Mazzotta.

At 5:20 pm, Adams walks in and the two women greet each other as old friends. They met as employees at a business in Redding back in 1998 when Alvey was hired at KMS Haircare. The pair worked there with the former Yvonne Harlis, who would become the other co-owner of Enjoy, and James Mazzotta, who would become Yvonne’s husband. KMS was owned by James’ father, and the Enjoy quartet, along with sales representative Michael O’Brien, worked in research and designed labels and marketing materials. When they all lost their positions in 2005, they continued working for the company on retainer, and that’s how they financed the first issues of the Enjoy Magazine, which hit the stands in October 2006.

Adams, with 10 minutes to go, takes command of the iMac and begins rapidly finishing the table of contents for Alvey. “That is my gift,” Adams says. “My gift is just to be speedy.” Alvey adds, “She’s a really good designer.”

Adams returns the compliment. “Ronda has a plethora of gifts. Ronda keeps us on task and keeps us organized. She’s got a great eye for pagination. She keeps everything flowing. We depend on her for pretty much a little bit of everything, and definitely a lot for the magazine. Yvonne is more creative than I am. She’s always researching and always trying to find different ways of promoting businesses and things like that.”

At 5:30 pm, Adams dashes off to a meeting. Alvey has the proof back from copy editor Regan and begins packaging the magazine for emailing to the printer. As she works, she says James Mazzotta came up with the idea for Enjoy Magazine and today he runs the Enjoy Store. Yvonne Mazzotta has a full-time job outside of Enjoy as executive director of Redding Fashion Alliance. According to Alvey, both are founts of ideas that continually shape Enjoy.

The clock drags as the finished February 2023 issue slowly uploads to Journal Graphics in Portland, and for the first time, Alvey shows signs of a little wear. “Yes, I’m tired,” she says with a sigh. “I spent so much time on this issue.”

Three days later, boosted by the release of all deadline pressures, she is fully back up to her cheerful, upbeat, enjoyable self, gathering pieces for the next issue. “I’m excited for this issue!” she exclaims with her glowing signature smile. “We’ve got some really good stories!” Then she’s out the door, on her way to be interviewed for a segment called Enjoy Exceptional Living on radio station KKRN. •

About Richard DuPertuis

Richard DuPertuis is a Redding grandfather who writes. His stories and photographs have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. He strives for immortality not by literary recognition, but through diet and exercise. He can be reached at [email protected]

Related Posts