For the most part, publishing a newspaper or magazine probably doesn’t look terribly difficult.

Pictures. Stories. A few more pictures. A few more stories. Hey, it’s not exactly brain surgery.

But a lot goes into what we do, and relatively few people bring you this newspaper — well, this magazine — every month. In publishing a free-distribution magazine, just about everything starts with advertising.

Four sales representatives work day in and day out convincing a rather skeptical bunch of advertisers that 1) Lake Highlands residents read the Advocate, and 2) Advocate advertising generates lots of response for a fair price.

Account Executive Ellen Hutter joined the Lake Highlands Advocate shortly after we started, and I can still remember her daily, dazed look from hitting the streets day after day trying to market what was then a brand-new publication.

Lisa Smith began selling for us in 1993; she handles agency and large-account advertisers. Brenda Sanchez began selling classified advertising for the Advocate in 1994. And Lake Highlands native Amy Durant (formerly Amy Royal joined our sales staff several months ago to round out our group.

As a point of information, we could use another sales representative. So if you know of anyone who might fit the bill, have them give me a call.)

While the account executives are selling advertising, Lake Highlands Editor Carol Walker is talking with readers every day, sifting through what’s happening in Lake Highlands and making sure much of it winds up in each Advocate.

Once the stories have been written and the advertising has been sold, art director Niki Gulley makes sure the package is attractive, readable and worth keeping around.

Niki is a trained artist of virtually every medium, but the medium where she makes her living is computer graphics.

You would be surprised if you knew how many thousands of bits of information comprise every Advocate. Niki keeps track of every one of them, and it can be a pretty frustrating task, particularly near deadline-time. Something else you should know: Our new magazine began taking shape six months ago, and Niki is the person most responsible for the way it looks.

If you like our new look, thank Niki. If you’re not so sure, well, of course, the publisher does have a tendency to get in the way every once in awhile…

And then there is a slew of freelancers and volunteer writers who keep us, and you, up-to-date on various topics. You probably didn’t know that Randy Russell, Julie Clapp, Bill Keffer and Gloria Johnson don’t earn a penny writing their monthly columns, but without them, our magazine wouldn’t be the same.

Our freelance photographers — Robert Bunch, Linda Lux and Jennifer Davis — earn a few bucks for their efforts, but probably not enough relative to their contributions. And illustrator Brad McMillan keeps turning out remarkable cartoon after cartoon, all at a price we can afford.

There are plenty of others who lend a hand each month — delivery people, special columnists, even regular readers who call with news tips. (Most of us are neighborhood residents, by the way.)

This may seem a strange time to wax sentimental, what with all the excitement of our shiny, new format.

But with all of the changes, the biggest excitement to me is that the people who make this magazine possible just keep making it better and better every month.