Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The newsletter - part 1

After discussion with Marketing we came to the agreement that the newsletter and the Intranet should be combined.

In order to do this we would need to:

  • Establish a new publishing process.
  • Change the current culture surrounding the newsletter including the way content was generated and edited plus encouraging people to read it at work.

  • The newsletter was a print document delivered over the Intranet in PDF format.
  • There was a plan to convert this PDF into a website but other business took priority.
  • As an interim solution the design of the PDF was changed from being black and white and laid out according to department entries to a ‘magazine style’ layout. Bright colours were used to try and make the publication livelier and the content was placed randomly throughout the PDF instead of according to department. Unfortunately this was done according to print layout rules and was not optimised for screen reading, this forced people to continue to print the newsletter.
The editing and submissions process changed too. Instead of sending edited items back to authors for a final check things were amended and then published directly.

Unfortunately this became more than temporary (it has been in use for over a year) and caused the following to develop:

  • The enthusiasm amongst the company for making an online newsletter died down.
  • The processes for publishing to the newsletter were not public, transparent or documented and they contained no review stages.
  • The transition to online delivery was never properly made.
  • People stopped sending in content to be published although submissions by department heads were mandatory. The mandatory nature was enforced.
However the items sent for publication in the newsletter were sometimes so brief they didn’t say anything. The problem was people were sending in content because they had to not because they had something important to tell the company. The content that was received was not sufficient to publish straight away so the editor had to write articles based on the items received.

Part 2 of the newsletter will be in the next post.


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