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As group production director for Condé Nast Publications, Robin Carter is primarily responsible for the manufacturing of the company’s three golf titles, Golf Digest, Golf World and Golf For Women. She also oversees the production services department at Condé Nast’s Third Avenue office in New York.
Carter first joined Condé Nast six years ago, the last three of which have been spent in her current position. Her career in publishing began 24 years ago with a position in finance. “When I became a production finance manager, I knew I found my passion––manufacturing,” she says.
What are some of the challenges that production professionals such as yourself are faced with today?
Robin Carter: Expediency. The digital environment allows for later closes and faster turnaround. It is amazing to compare the time [of] conventional preparation to the electronic workflow of today. Electronic files can be updated and transmitted via FTP or portals in possibly minutes, whereas [the] conventional process took days. [It] required film to be pulled, shipped via courier and manually registered at the plant before plates could be shot.
Keeping up with technology is a benefit. It is this technology that allows print publications to compete with TV and [the] Internet. We can now accept files, both ad and edit, up to press time. We can also personalize messaging to a subscriber while binding their issue. These are all benefits that help our industry meet competitive challenges.
What are your primary duties and responsibilities in your current position?
Carter: Managing the production department, which is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing: book layout with publishers and editors; processing and shipping digital files for press; issuing manufacturing instructions for press and bindery; coordination of special advertising sections and gimmicks; and managing several hundred demographic editions per issue. I also work directly with department heads on various projects to fully utilize the technology available. It is important for me to be attuned to what is next, both for our publications and the industry in general.