MEI Releases Page Director ALS and AdForce Version 5.9

Managing Editor® Inc. (MEI) has released the latest version of its award-winning Page Director® Series: ALS, AdForce® and ALS for Magazines. Version 5.9 supports macOS® High Sierra and is compatible with Adobe® Creative Cloud® 2018 version of InDesign® when paired with the newly released Ad Import, Fido, and Split & Folio Plug-ins for CC 2018.

ALS lets you manage issue planning and ad layout for any publication. In just moments, you can have a fully paginated, accurate ad dummy that can be opened in Adobe InDesign. ALS for Magazines is built specifically for magazine planning and production. AdForce is the cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for small to mid-size publications. For more information on the Page Director Series, please visit the MEI software  page.

About MEI

Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), developers of TruEdit, helps publishers and creative teams maximize production performance through digital technology. MEI specializes in integrated digital publishing solutions that improve collaboration, automate content creation for multi-channel workflows, and manage digital experiences. MEI’s offerings range from ad layout software to enterprise asset and workflow management.

Over 3,000 customers in 53 countries count on MEI for publishing and workflow, digital production, creative services, custom development, system integration, and training and support.


For Additional Information
Courtney Feild, MEI Marketing Manager


Announcing New TruEdit Solutions: Studio, Team, and Pro

Transform the way you work with the TruEdit solution that’s right for you.

We are pleased to announce the release of TruEdit® tiers: Studio, Team, and Pro, the latest version of the content management and workflow solution platform.

TruEdit has always been about supporting the workflows of organizations that publish content as a significant part of their operations. Our new tiered solutions target the content creation tools that organizations use to create and deliver this content.

Those new to TruEdit will be delighted by our approach to content creation and workflow management. Those already familiar with TruEdit, will appreciate our latest updates, including advanced production intelligence and analytics and enhanced security.

Here is a brief overview:

STUDIO is ideal for groups seeking a collaborative content workspace for digital communications. Features include HTML Authoring with TruEdit’s TruAuthor™, a WordPress Connection and Workflow Management.

TEAM offers project management with optional digital-to-print workflows. It includes advanced production intelligence with Dashboard, for data visualization reporting, it supports MS Word workflows, and has the ability to integrate with Adobe InDesign, using TruEdit’s Adobe InDesign® Plug-in add-on. Team also offers the opportunity to have a workflow consultation with one of our Customer Success Specialists.

PRO provides the enterprise-level access controls and customizations our clients have come to rely on for their content management and workflow needs. This advanced package includes SAML based Single Sign-On, Integration with TruEdit’s Adobe InDesign and InCopy Plug-in, and fully customizable workflows.

Integration with over 750 apps, and add-ons such as Twixl Publisher for app building, TruEdit’s Adobe InDesign Plug-in for print workflows, and Enterprise Booster for those seeking concierge service, makes TruEdit the versatile tool your organization needs.

As the demand for content increases, TruEdit can help deliver your message everywhere it needs to be. For more information and to find the best version for your team, please visit our Solutions page.

Network Media Partners Shares Insight into Digital and Print Magazine Production

Above photo by Matthew Rakola

Network Media Partners, LLC is a business services firm for associations, specializing in: customized media sales, design, event planning and management, and marketing services. For more than 30 years, Network Media Partners has provided award winning design services. We sat down with Vice President of Creative Strategy, Jen Smith, to discuss their process for efficiently producing digital and print magazines.

Jen Smith, Vice President, Creative Strategy
Jen Smith, Vice President, Creative Strategy

Can you provide an overview of Network Media Partners (Network), and your publication design work? Certainly. Network works exclusively with associations. Our services include: advertising and integrated media sales, publication design, and marketing and event management services. We work with local, regional, national, and global clients. Most recently, we partnered with global organization MCI to become part of MCI USA. This partnership increased our capacity to meet clients’ growing sales, event, and publishing needs. Our design services are almost exclusively publication design. We do a lot of re-designs and new publication launches.

Right now we regularly produce nine magazines, in addition to the clients we provide initial set-up support and design for. We work in partnership with our association clients, from the early stages of content planning. Network is part of the content strategy discussions for the magazine, and helps develop the right content strategy for the magazine, be it an app or print media. The challenge for associations is how to produce content for all platforms, within a restricted budget. Our work is focused on multi-channel delivery, so we are thinking about visual communications for print and digital simultaneously. We are looking for opportunities to maximize all assets across platforms.

Are your clients focused on print or digital? There has been a big evolution for digital over the last four years. As an industry the idea that everything could be digital seemed really enticing, especially to our client base of associations. Now you are seeing a boomerang. The reality is that you need to be able to provide print and digital components. The questions are: where does your audience expect to find you, and how often do you need to be in front of them? We have one client that launched a magazine as digital-only, then moved to print. They discovered the print magazine was more successful in readership and revenue (i.e. ad sales). For many, the right strategy now is a strong print component with a strong digital component.

What is your workflow strategy? Each client has a different workflow, but from the beginning we are thinking about print and digital, and are involved in early content planning meetings. By being involved early in the process, we are able to identify opportunities to expanded on content from print to digital. For example, if we learn a photographer is being sent out to cover a story, we may ask for video, which we can use in the digital version. This gives digital consumers a little something extra, which is the expectation.

Templates are very important to efficiently produce content. There are certain rules to build consistency for a magazine, but there is also room for creativity. We use style sheets, grids, and grid options based on the components of the articles, any standing content or page elements.

Our process is to work through all the milestones of the print schedule, then while the issue is at the printer, the digital version is produced. TruEdit’s TruAuthor HTML content authoring component has been very instrumental in quickly producing responsively designed HTML content that can be plugged into the app. This allows us to easily have print and digital go live at the same time.

Explain the major difference in managing content for print and digital? This is something we consider a lot. It’s really about using the same content asset, but applying a different approach to suit the medium. The designer will use the same art and give it the same feel, but the presentation will be different. We are designing content for the way it is consumed. With a mobile layout, it’s much more templated so the text is easy to read. The smaller the screen, the more focus is placed on text.

Network’s publication design in both print and digital formats have won numerous awards, including Folio: Eddie and Ozzie Awards, The Apex Awards, and Association Media & Publishing Excel Awards. They are based in Hunt Valley, Maryland. For more information on Network Media Partners, please visit their website.


Upgrading to vjoon K4 Version 7 Offers Approval Process, Automated Template Elements and Storage Engine

Whether you’re installing from scratch or upgrading an older version, there’s never been a better time to make the move to the vjoon K4 Cross-Media Publishing Platform. From everyday end-users to behind-the-scenes administrators, your entire editorial team will see an increase in efficiency and productivity.

Here are just a few of the options available in version 7:

K4 Approval Manager and K4 Web Editor ICML Advanced

The K4 Approval Manager client license is a new option that speeds the review and approval processes in your workflow, with advanced capabilities accessible in a standard web browser.

Once the license key with the desired number of K4 Approval Manager licenses is installed for the K4 system and users have the corresponding access rights configured for them, K4 Web Portal is extended by dedicated menus, commands and panels, and the K4 Approval Manager functions are enabled. K4 Approval Manager allows users to log into the K4 Web Portal (from either their task list in a Query panel or from a URL in an assignment email), and accept approval tasks for articles as well as layouts.

Approval tasks can be incorporated into layout and article workflows, with rewinds built in to automatically set back the workflow to a previous task and assign it to the user/group that is responsible for the necessary corrections. For layout changes, the corrections are always made using K4 Layout in InDesign.

A user can also accept approval tasks for InCopy articles placed in the layout, and indicate approval or rejection for each text object in the article. Additionally, the user can make changes to the text (based on responsibility and permissions) within the K4 Approval Manager preview using K4 Web Editor ICML Advanced. By selecting a text object in the layout and choosing to edit it, a K4 Web Editor ICML Advanced window opens where the text – including tables – can be revised. Clicking away from the editing window to anywhere on the layout automatically updates the layout view to reflect the change to the InCopy text. Alternatively, the user can simply not approve and not modify any text object and rewind the article back in the workflow to the applicable user/group to make the corrections in K4 Edit in InCopy.

Related Post: Approval Management – Time saving new feature in vjoon K4 version 7

vjoon Storage Engine

vjoon K4 7.0 offers a new configuration option that stores your binary content files in a managed file system instead of in the K4 database – with automatic snapshots taken of the data. This reduces database sizes up to 90% or more, eliminates the long backup routines, and provides high data flexibility and availability by creating restorable publication states for speedy data recovery and business continuity.

vjoon Storage Engine (SE) allows you to flexibly determine for each publication where its data is stored, and where its snapshot areas are stored. Storage and snapshot areas can be in a local file system, in a remote file system, or in the cloud. It is recommended that snapshots should be on separate hardware and/or in a separate location. You can use snapshot rules to create snapshots automatically at certain points in time – for example, for daily, weekly and monthly snapshots – and assign them to a configuration and its associated publication. In addition, you can create instant snapshots any time on demand.

There is no downtime or performance degradation as the Storage Engine functions. If there is a need to roll back to a snapshot, data restoration is prioritized by the system, with working files restored first. Using the Storage Engine, there is no need to wait for a database backup to be fully restored before users can resume working with their files.

Related Post: vjoon K4 Storage Engine and Remote Hosting in the Cloud

K4 Universal Seat

When a K4 Universal Seat license is purchased, it allows a user to connect to one K4 server from any of the available K4 client application licenses – K4 Edit from InCopy, K4 Layout from InDesign, K4 Web Editor ICML, K4 Web Editor ICML Advanced, K4 Approval Manager, K4 Web Editor HTML, or K4 File Manager – depending on the access rights configured for the user. If a Universal Seat connection license is used when logging into the K4 Web Portal, K4 Web Editor ICML Standard/Advanced and K4 Approval Manager automatically include access to K4 File Manager and K4 Web Editor HTML.

K4 Universal Seats can be purchased as additions to expand client functionality in the system, and/or existing K4 client licenses can be upgraded to K4 Universal Seats.

More software and services available with a vjoon K4 version 7 upgrade:

  • K4 Integration with Single Sign On (SSO)
  • K4 Integration with Twixl Publisher
  • MEI Project Planning, Oversight and Administration
  • Upgrade Installation and K4 Admin Training
  • On Premise Storage Engine Installation and Asset Transfer
  • K4 Workflow Reconfiguration and Validation
  • End User Training for K4 Upgrade
  • Rollout Supervision After K4 Upgrade
  • Integrating K4 Publishing System with Amazon Cloud Services
  • AWS Cloud Configuration Consultation
  • Storage Engine Installation, Amazon S3 Integration and Asset Transfer
  • Amazon EC2 Installation/Configuration with S3 Integration and Asset Transfer

Download the vjoon K4 v7 product brochure

Request the vjoon K4 v7 Storage Engine White Paper

Brobel Design Relies on TruEdit to Create 88 Issues of Kids Discover Magazine in Less Than 10 Months

For over 25 years, the Kids Discover team of talented writers, designers, artists, and industry experts has been publishing award-winning educational reading materials for kids, including the print version of Kids Discover Magazine.

In 2016, Kids Discover decided to modernize their magazine archive to create relevant experiences that would increase engagement. Between 1991 and 2014, they had published 175 issues with production time averaging almost four months per 20-page issue. By partnering with Brobel, they hoped to create 88 issues in less than 10 months. It was a huge challenge, as it meant that over 1,000 pages would be in production at all times, with additions and corrections coming from many contributors at once.

Brobel’s Lead Designer and co-owner Ian Brown knew that, in order to deliver high-quality, error-free publications, his team would need an exceptionally smooth workflow that allowed for real-time content updates. They would also need a way to monitor progress and manage content and collaboration within a single system that worked with existing creative production tools like Adobe InDesign and InCopy.

He found the solution he was looking for in MEI’s TruEdit. The cloud-based solution could support concurrent web, mobile, and print content production from any web browser. It could integrate with InDesign, InCopy, and Microsoft Word, and it supported real-time updates, version control, and project management tools.

“We were excited to help Kids Discover take advantage of existing content, re-envision it, and make it accessible in print, mobile, web, and different languages to help kids learn,” says Brown. “But the aggressive 10-month timeline required us to work with a large geographically dispersed team that would have to track multiple issues and versions at once. And it would be prone to error when transferring so many large files. That’s when we knew we needed TruEdit to help centrally manage each project and keep content flowing.”


vjoon K4 Storage Engine and Remote Hosting in the Cloud

With the K4 Publishing System version 7, vjoon offers a new configuration option—vjoon Storage Engine— that stores binary content files in a managed file system instead of in a K4 database, with automatic snapshots taken of the data. Use of the Storage Engine can significantly reduce database sizes, eliminate long backup routines, and provide high data flexibility and availability by creating restorable publication states for quick data recovery and business continuity.

vjoon Storage Engine (SE) allows storage and snapshot locations to be determined for each publication. Storage and snapshot areas can be in a local file system or in the cloud. Snapshot rules can be set to create snapshots automatically at designated points in time—for example, daily, weekly and monthly snapshots —and assign them to a configuration and its associated publication. In addition, instant snapshots can be created at any time on demand.

With these options, K4 systems can now be partially or fully virtualized on Amazon Cloud servers, potentially reducing server hardware and maintenance costs.

There is no downtime or performance degradation as the Storage Engine functions. Using the Storage Engine, there is no need to wait for a database backup to be fully restored before users can resume working with their files. If there is a need to roll back to a snapshot, data restoration is prioritized by the system, with working files restored first.

vjoon Storage Engine is available as two modules:

  • vjoon Storage Engine (SE): The base module for defining storage and snapshot areas.
  • vjoon SE Integration with Amazon S3: An extension for adding cloud support for storage and/or snapshot areas.

K4 7’s integration with Amazon EC2 and S3 cloud, the vjoon Storage Engine, offers expanded configuration options with respect to deployment of the K4 system applications (including Adobe InDesign Server), the SQL databases and the storage and snapshot areas.

  1. K4 system applications and database(s) remain installed on local servers. Storage and snapshot areas are deployed locally using the vjoon Storage Engine.
  2. K4 system applications and database(s) remain installed on local servers. Storage and snapshot areas are deployed on Amazon S3 using vjoon Storage Engine.
  3. K4 system applications and database(s) are deployed on Amazon EC2. Storage Engine snapshot and storage area are deployed on Amazon S3.

To ensure full understanding of each available option and the optimum use and full functionality of the Storage Engine and integrations with Amazon Cloud Services, planning must occur that considers each configuration option with respect to goals, resources and costs. Further, implementation must optimize use of each component of the system to provide maximum benefit.

To get more information and see MEI’s considerations for a Storage Engine installation, download MEI’s White Paper on the vjoon Storage Engine.

TruEdit and Twixl Power New NEA Today Magazine App

National Education Association and Network Media Partners Launch New NEA Today Magazine Mobile App—with Workflow Powered by MEI’s TruEdit and Twixl Publisher

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. The Association has affiliates in every state and in more than 14,000 communities nationwide.

This spring, NEA debuted a new version of the NEA Today magazine app, which is now available to the organization’s 3 million members. This launch represents a major accomplishment, made possible by the Network Media Partners design team, and the TruEdit HTML content creation and Twixl Publisher mobile app platforms.

“NEA wanted to increase advocacy and engagement among our members, and we also wanted to reach new pro-public education audiences by expanding our digital footprint into the Apple and Android marketplaces,” says Earline Spence, who led the project from concept to delivery.

The original application was produced using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). That version lacked a number of components that NEA had envisioned, and with fewer than 1,000 downloads during the first 18 months of the apps existence, the project was minimally successful.

“Our annual survey readership results found that very few NEA members realized that an app version of the flagship magazine existed,” Spence says. “The need for a new approach was clear, so we launched an extensive RFP process, during which we selected Network Media Partners for development of the new application, and Weber Shandwick to build a cohesive marketing strategy.”

To boost results, Network created a new content strategy with NEA, and started work on a redesign of the NEA Today app using Twixl Publisher. Network also partnered with Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), provider of TruEdit and North American reseller and support partner for Twixl Publisher. MEI worked with Network to integrate TruEdit and Twixl Publisher to enable Network to develop and implement the new NEA Today app. The results have been exceptional, and more than 1,800 downloads occurred during the first 3 months alone.

“The new app is more intuitive, and we’ve been able to integrate content from many NEA Today vehicles—not just the print magazines. The redesigned app also includes a carousel on the home screen which allows us to continuously publish fresh content on a weekly schedule,” says Spence.

There have been additional benefits to working with Network and for using Twixl Publisher, Spence continues. “Network has been an incredible partner throughout the development process. They came to the table with fresh ideas and provided excellent support and expertise in a way that made things very easy on the client side,” she says.

“Plus, our costs are down 80 percent. The transition from Adobe DPS to Twixl Publisher with Network as partner has been a seamless, win-win situation.”

Jen Smith, vice president of creative strategy for Network Media Partners, cites her team’s intentional design process as key to the project’s success. “The technology allows us to publish continuously and integrate three NEA Today titles and audiences,” she says. “Also, we’ve built content that is specific to each device, so it’s pixel-perfect for iPads and responsive for smartphones.”

With the new digital app up and running, NEA has begun to use it for events, like the organization’s annual conference. Plans for an NEA podcast are underway, and the association will publish digital magazines more frequently, offering custom versions for various NEA audiences, including students studying to become educators, new K-12 teachers, and higher education professionals.

To ensure digital reader adoption rates continue to grow, NEA will continue to enhance the magazine app.

“Network’s creative design and app-building expertise, coupled with the power of the TruEdit and Twixl Publisher platforms, has drastically enhanced NEA members’ digital experience,” says Spence. “We are confident that Network will continue to help us deliver quality digital products to educators in the months and years ahead.”

Print vs. Digital: Finding the Right Balance for Associations

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AM&P NYC breakfast education seminar on April 7th  to hear about the challenges association publishing execs must consider to strike the right media mix between digital and print for their audiences. Michel Winkelman of Leverage Media moderated the seminar which featured Paul Tarricone, Editor and Publisher of Lighting Design + Application (LD+A) and James G. Elliott, President of James G. Elliott Company. Here are some of the insights they shared.

James Elliott emphasized that every media tool has a different purpose and requires research to understand the right mix. Look at your own association’s audience preferences and review what your competitors are doing.

Magazines are not dead and digital is not a panacea: digital magazines are viewed differently by ad agencies than print because of the different analytics used, so they may not be the most productive revenue source for your particular association.

LD+A is the flagship publication for the 8,000-member Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, publishing 13 magazines per year with digital magazine access provided to members-only via a “flip-page” replica. Paul Terricone said their research shows that members are “very loyal” to the print publication particularly with its design focus and older demographics.

LD+A embarked on a major e-newsletter program to increase their readership to new audiences and provide a vehicle for advertisers who were interested in more than digital banner ads. They are now producing 16 themed e-newsletters, three of which are tied to major industry events as well as advertising sponsored, on-demand video newsletters. Because the audiences are different, they are able to reuse content produced for the magazines in the e-newsletter, which helps keep their costs low.  The e-newsletters are being sent to a list of 40,000. Results have been impressive with an average 25% open rate and steady demand by advertisers. These programs have added additional revenue streams while introducing their content to new audiences.

The question to move to digital needs to be weighed by considering the demographic mix and reading habits of your primary audience while also considering your associations goals such as expanding circulation or recruiting new members. Bottom line: conduct research and use the tools that best fit the job—whether it is to increase readership, capitalize on new revenue opportunities or both!

TruEdit Overview

TruEdit Overview
MEI is excited to announce the release of TruEdit Overview, a new publishing application that instantly shows the visual status of your InDesign project. TruEdit Overview provides a display of InDesign pages for a specific issue, project or publication managed in TruEdit.

Whether you’re monitoring the pages of a magazine, the latest association newsletter, marketing materials or customer project, simply login to the desktop application to view realtime previews of your project, grouped by section, with color-coded status indicators. Instantly review individual spreads in detail, navigating page by page to see the latest updates.

TruEdit Overview simplifies production, quickly highlights unfinished pages, and gives your extended team a realtime view on every project. TruEdit customers can download and start using TruEdit Overview today or request a demo to learn more.

TruEdit President’s Day Webinar

In the spirit of the holiday, MEI’s Creative Director Will Steuber and Senior Director of Business Development Brett Kizner began our President’s Day webinar by acknowledging how White House communications and national media coverage have changed significantly in the age of technology. Harkening back to the days of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the audience of the American people could only receive messaging through one channel, at one time. Comparatively, in today’s world of mobile technology, presidential communications are as frequent and ubiquitous as any other content out there – and streamed through multiple channels, multiple times a day.

The frequent distribution and multi-channeled access to presidential communications today is not unique to the White House: there is a clear demand and expectation for content from all industries to instantaneously be multi-channel ready. To meet this demand, it is important for content to have adaptability built in during the initial production stage. This was conveyed to the audience by Creative Director, Will Steuber:

“To have an effective content creation plan, there are a few challenges that we must address: First, there’s distribution. You [need] to be able to distribute to multiple channels, different devices, different screens. Then there’s the production of content, that needs to transcend [a single] channel.”

Using a content production sample appropriately featuring the Gettysburg Address, Steuber and Kizner demonstrated how TruEdit enables your content team to manage all aspects of multi-channel content production in one centralized, cloud-based location. TruEdit allows your team to keep all elements, metadata, and various treatments of content pieces grouped together in one collaborative structure. All content produced with TruEdit is responsive, so your team can see how it will appear on each mobile device or output channel.

Can you imagine the even greater profound impact the Gettysburg Address would have had, with such multi-channel production capability? Watch the webinar and see the full TruEdit demo here.