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Publisher's Letter

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Do you have the feeling that you have been getting much more to read in PEOPLE lately? If so, you are right: Last year we published 6,974 pages—a record 3,317 editorial. That’s not only a lot of reading for you; it’s a towering responsibility for Dave Young, 59, our production manager, whose job it is to get all those pages to press in good order.

“Editorial production,” Young explains, “means service.” Once a story’s layout is set by the editors and the art department, Young takes over: “We process the layouts, counting the lines in each column, measuring photographs, adding photographers’ credits and writers’ bylines. Then we distribute copies of the layouts to the staff and put together five complete issues with dummy type, showing where the advertisements will fall.” The top editors need these books to avoid conflicts in content or pictures. This week, for example, the gallery of celebrity babies was moved to page 62 after it was discovered that an advertisement for a pregnancy kit was facing the story.

Every Thursday Young draws up the “mock-up,” which lists in order the stories scheduled for the next issue. On Fridays photographs are processed and sent to the engraver. Monday is a day of constant layout revisions as stories are added to keep current with the news, and newly arrived photographs excite or disappoint editors. The pace continues through Tuesday, PEOPLE’S closing day. Dave remains on the job until 3 or 4 on Wednesday morning—”until I’m sure the editors can’t change another picture.”

A Time Incer for 42 years, Young, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, started working in the mail room at 17. After a hitch in the Navy as a hospital corpsman, he joined editorial production at LIFE, moving in 1972 to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. On weekends he assisted on the dummies of a new publication, which became PEOPLE.

Young and his wife, Mimi, have three sons and live on Manhattan’s West Side, “three minutes from 30 tennis courts—we play every morning from 7 to 8.” That he can concentrate on his tennis at all is an achievement. “Years ago,” says Dave, “my boss told me never to go to sleep thinking everything’s all right. Somebody will call you an hour later with a problem.”