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A FACE LIFT DISCUSSED

Windpower Monthly has had a face lift. A more dynamic cover, a new typeface and a more elegant layout are just some of the changes introduced with this issue. Editorial content and the organisation of the magazine remain unchanged though. We will continue to report the news accurately and impartially, to the best of our ability, and our feature articles will continue to provide incisive analysis of the major trends of the wind industry and its market. The logical organisation of the contents, starting with opinions (the leader article and readers' letters), followed by short news, major news and features, is also retained.

A great deal of thought went into the face lift, which has been undertaken by a major Danish design studio. Our main considerations, in this order, were: clearness of presentation, achieving the right image, and the practicalities of getting as much late news as possible onto pages in as short a time span as possible, given staff limitations.

Our aim with clearness of presentation is to make the magazine reader friendly. We have changed the type face of the body text to one which is known to be far more legible; typographic tests have shown the letters and words to be easier to decipher. Headlines, too, have been given a new treatment. Only major stories will now be given banner headlines. Too often in the past we found the design dictated the size of headline, rather than the strength of the story. On occasion this caused understandable irritation among readers.

Image is important to Windpower Monthly. We feel we have an important role as the showcase publication of the wind energy community. A tatty laser-printed news-sheet would be sufficient for distribution of wind news, but we feel that wind power deserves something better. It also needs a forum for showcasing its technology through professional advertising. In the past eight years since Windpower Monthly's last major design overhaul, the image of the industry has changed dramatically. Back in the 1980s we concentrated on presenting big bold statements: "We're here. We've arrived. And we're not afraid to be different." This was reflective of the status of the industry at the time. Since then there can be no doubting wind power has arrived. What's more, we are now sitting at the table with the big boys. The new image we sought was one of bold seriousness, with a touch of class. We'll let you judge whether we have achieved our aim.

The phrase wind "community," by the way, is chosen with care. We do not regard Windpower Monthly as an "industry magazine." If we did, our hands would too often be tied when there was bad news to report, whether this was of technology failures or reports of bureaucratic incompetence in government administration departments. Industries keen to attract government funding have to tread far more carefully than an independent press.

The practicalities of production is not an area we will bore readers with. But it should be noted that with an easier layout to work with, production time can remain the same. This means that even though the magazine has grown enormously over the past two years there is no added time lag between when the news happens and when you can read about it. The new typeface, too, allows for about 6% more text per page -- and with headlines taking up far less room than before, the total increase in content is about 10%. Value for money indeed, even though we have had to increase the price of the magazine to cover the rising overheads of our expanding editorial coverage.

The organisation of Windpower Monthly retains its well known format. As always, each issue will start with a review of the contents, although the "In This Issue" page has had a major re-vamp with the aim of making it clearer and more comprehensive. Page four will house the leader column as before and if there are readers desirous of sharing their opinions with others, page six is reserved for letters to the editor. Moving on to the news content of the magazine, the popular wind wire articles have their usual position among the advertisements in the first third of each issue, followed by the major news stories and up to 20 pages or so of features and analysis rounding off each issue. The purpose of the wind wire short news notes is three-fold: to keep readers up to date with fringe news, not desirous of more lengthy treatment; to run updates of ongoing stories in-between full news reports; and to report "Stop Press" news which breaks so late in the month that the correspondent is unable to gather the full story.

But it is the news pages which are this magazine's bread and butter. These are the stories our existence depends on. First and foremost, Windpower Monthly is a news magazine. Its overriding aim is to bring to readers timely and accurate news of new developments which will directly or indirectly influence the exploitation of wind energy throughout the world. This month's crop of news stories -- on pages 16-23 -- proves the point nicely.

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