Numbers: Mastheads, postal IDs

June 26, 2008: Issue 245

Gum. Hypodermic needles. Toilet paper. Mastheads. Postal ID statements.

Some things should never, ever be reused. Gum, needles, and TP need no explanation. But here’s the deal with mastheads and postal IDs.

They might look the same from issue to issue, but this language changes, and often. If you copy an old masthead, there’s a good chance you’ll get your boss’s boss’s boss’s name or title wrong. While that might be a poor political move, it’s nothing compared to running afoul of postal inspectors.

If you get your postal ID statement wrong, the Postal Service can demand that we reprint the magazine. We’ve had a couple of close calls in the past six months, and the inspectors won’t let it slide again.

Here are the basic rules:
1. Always start with a clean masthead template (ask a CE if you don’t know where to find it) or fresh postal ID language (it’s at BHGStylebook.com/Tools & Resources/Administrative). This goes for every title, including reprints.
2. Don’t work too far ahead. Masthead templates change every four to six weeks, so this is a case where it’s better to wait until a week or so before your Imaging Center date.

If you have any questions, please ask a CE. We’d much rather spend a few minutes explaining the process than spend hours and hours telling Steve Lacy or the U.S. Postal Service why we messed up.

Back to Style on the Go Archive
Back to BHG Stylebook Table of Contents