It was an exciting meeting this morning for the small local newspaper whose editorial board I sit on. Firstly, we had a new format (less copyediting, more discussion about future story planning and drafting bylaws). And the other noteworthy thing was that I finally got to stay until the end of the meeting.
Our meetings have always been at 8AM, every other Thursday. Being that I had to make it to work by 9AM I'd have to leave the meeting by 8:35 or 8:40, thus missing any discussions or votes that happened towards the end.
Today I was there long enough to have gotten myself appointed to the sub-committee in charge of planning our new website. There are some on the board who do not seem to understand the importance of having a website for a newspaper that only comes out two times a month. I feel that a website is important for us because it can help bring in a younger demographic. If large newspapers like The Washington Post are having trouble reaching younger readers, you can imagine how tough it is for the rest of us. With a website we suddenly have the ability to reach every kid who grew up here and is now away at college. Sure they can stay on our mailing list and receive the paper a week or so after it's published, but with a website they can have their news now. The same goes for people who have since moved away but would like to keep in touch with what's going on in our quaint New England community. With such a small staff and the a paper only coming out twice a month we can do so much with a website during that interim time between publications. We'll have more room for obits and wedding announcements and pictures of new grandchildren. And dare I hope for some sort of web exclusive?
I have to admit that I have reservations about the fact that they want to premiere it on July 22 and then go back and tweak it as needed. I'm not certain that I feel confident in the release of a product that may or may not be ready (in my opinion). As a member of the editorial board my name is attached to this website, whether or not it is of good design quality and usability (I'm fairly sure that the content will be fine). Such a quick launch gives our sales people no time to sell it and there is less time for working to ensure that the branding and identity of it are something that we, as a board, wish to stand behind.