JTC 361 - Writing for Specialized Magazines

  • 3 credits

Overview: This course is designed for students who would like to explore the possibility of writing for trade magazines (they cover everything from raising potatoes, to quilting, to marketing port-a-potties), small ad-driven publications (the free ones you find stacked in public places packed with “news you can use”), all the way up to the glossy regional/national publications (where the competition is fierce). Life experience is a benefit here, but anyone with a special interest and a zest for writing about it will get the knowledge and coaching to help that story make its way into print. It's not unusual for a student to get a paid writing gig from a story created in this class.

Course Objectives (summary)

Upon successful completion of course requirements, you will be able to do the following:

  • Match the hatch”: a fly fishing term, which in this context means matching what you want to write about to the editorial needs of a publication.
  • Write an effective letter of inquiry: is the publication interested in your idea? It saves time to find that out before you devote your precious hours to creating a spectacular story.
  • Write three kinds of magazine stories (trade, small, national) and craft the letters of inquiry to pitch them.
  • Draft, revise, draft again, revise, draft, revise, rejoice and send it off.

Course Organization

The course will be broken up into three units for ease of handling.

  • Unit One covers the basics of magazine writing and introduces the trade publication.
  • Unit Two explores the role of local publications in dealing with topics of local rather than professional or national interest.
  • Unit Three pulls together the research and interviewing skills you will need to develop a general interest article.

NOTE: Although each of the three sections will have a particular focus, the topics of discussion within those parts (research, interviewing, writing, revising, ethics, managing a career, revising, query letters, cover letters, revising, etc.) are designed to apply to any kind of magazine writing (including online).



JTC 210 (Newswriting) or instructor permission.

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • A Pocket Style Manual, 8th Ed.
    D. Hacker & N. Sommers
    ISBN: 978-1319057404
  • On Writing Well - 30th Anniversary Edition
    Zinsser, William
    ISBN: 978-0060891541

Students will need access to Newsweek Magazine, either through a subscription or through the library.

Both textbooks are suggested, but not required.

The Writers' Market (to buy: consider a year-old edition; to use: the library)

Elements of Style, Strunk and White (still a classic after all these years)


Jane Albritton

(970) 491-6310 | jane.albritton@colostate.edu

Jane Albritton is an award-winning journalist and the president of Tiger Enterprises Writing Consultants. She is the creator and series editor of four books of Peace Corps stories published in 2011 on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps. In 2011 the series won the Peace Corps Collection Award from Peace Corps Worldwide. As a business journal writer, her beats have been the hospitality industry and food. Among other publications, she has written for Edible Front Range Magazine, The O&P Edge (orthotics and prosthetics), Southwest Art, and the Northern Colorado Business Report. She finds the world of magazine writing endlessly interesting and rich with topics to explore.

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