Colorado Springs, CO – "With a Christian population of 60-to-100 million, India’s Christian magazines have a huge market and amazing potential," says Sharon Mumper, president of Magazine Training International (MTI). "Nevertheless, this predominately Hindu country boasts fewer quality Christian magazines than some small countries in Eastern Europe." It is for this reason that MTI decided to offer a three-year training program in India. More than 60 magazine editors, designers, and publishers attended the first training event, "Bangalore 2011: Success in Magazine Publishing" held October 31-November 10, 2011.
Three separate events introduced Indian magazine publishers to MTI’s comprehensive training program. The Magazine Publishing Institute, a five-day training program, included three tracks: magazine editing, magazine design, and magazine management. The Institute was followed by a one-day Introduction to Digital Publishing Workshop and then a five-day course on Magazine Article Writing.
Participants from six countries including India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya, Nigeria, and France attended one or more of these events. Twelve trainers from India, the United States, and Lithuania taught established magazines new practices and technologies and laid a strong foundation for the upcoming generation and magazine start-ups.
"This conference gives me immense confidence to face the challenge of taking over the reigns of my magazine from my predecessor," comments Keerthi Kandregula of The Upper Room Telugu edition. Kandregula was not the only one who was encouraged at the end of Bangalore 2011 as he looked to a challenging future.
"It was the most fruitful week in the entire year," says Shruthi Joy who plans to begin a new magazine in Hyderabad, India. "I was finally able to sit down and plan for my dream. This would not have been possible on my own. The sessions were so useful and the trainers were helpful. I got the direction I needed."
While India offers university programs in journalism, many Christian publishers lack the time to enter such programs. Nevertheless, these dedicated workers want to improve their skills in the limited time available to them.
"I don’t think there is another training program like this anywhere else," states Joseph Benjamin, editor and publisher of Gujarati Christians in Gujarat, India. "This training program teaches the students in four and a half days what it would otherwise take years to learn."
MTI gathered information from the regional magazines in their database to create the first ever Christian Magazine Writer Guidelines in India. The booklet was distributed to those who attended the magazine article writing course. MTI hopes these initial entries will grow over the years as more magazines submit their guidelines. The guidelines booklet is available for download on MTI’s Web site.
MTI plans to offer three more training opportunities in Bangalore in 2012: a five-day Magazine Publishing Institute, a five-day Digital Publishing Course, and a three-day Communicating through Comics Seminar. It will be an eagerly anticipated reunion for some Bangalore 2011 attendees.
"A number of us are very much in touch. We share what’s going on with our ministries and we try to help one another by giving feedback or a word of encouragement," says Priyanthi Vijayanathan in her blog. "The fact that we will be meeting again next year [at the MTI training program] keeps us going."
For photos contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A short video on the conference is also available on MTI’s Web site at www.magazinetraining.com. The video and photographs are by Robyn Kejr, who served as a volunteer at the conference.