Everett True’s been retweeting old links about how magazines work.
Charlie Brooker started out as a writer at PC Zone, a magazine I stopped reading because I just couldn’t trust the reviews any more. They smacked of the editorial bias of a publication that lived in fear of pushy PR agents threatening to pull advertising or restrict access to interviews for anyone who didn’t toe the party line. Chris Morris started out working for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and – like Brooker – has been spoofing and satirising from the get-go. So you can imagine how effective it was when Brooker and Morris teamed up to write the truth about what writing for a magazine is really like. This, more than any other sketch I’ve ever seen, captures the experience.
Personally, I think just not taking the assignment is the best call: if you say it’s good and it’s not, you’re a liar, and if you savage it, you’ve still got to experience it which is too masochistic for my tastes.