One of the facets of employment is attending regular meetings. Some meetings are rather routine, such as the editorial meetings we hold near the start of each two-week production cycle to begin assigning and mapping out stories for the next issue of Catholic New York. Other meetings may be more informal, happening every day, between just a couple of staff members, either to discuss wire service copy, story approach or page layouts in a given issue.
Every once in a while, though, we need to get more of the staff involved in a project. One such current project is the “refreshing” of our website, cny.org. For the past month, or maybe a bit more, the staff of Catholic New York has met four times to discuss how our site should be updated. We’ve gathered eight or nine staff members representing almost every department at Catholic New York—editorial, production, administration, and both display and classified advertising.
Depending on the size of your workplace, eight or nine people may or may not sound like a lot. For Catholic New York, it represents most of our 13-person full-time staff. When you bring that many people together, the last thing you want to do is to waste people’s time. Fortunately, we have good people who have worked on this project with a cooperative spirit.
If you have recently looked at Catholic New York’s current website, one of the things you may have noticed is that it does not feature what is called “responsive” design, that is, the ability to correctly adapt itself to the format of any digital tool, whether the site is being displayed on a computer, a tablet or, increasingly, a cellphone. We have, of course, known about this for a while now, but the problem is that it costs money to make the adjustment, unless your website company suggests it is time for a free “refresh,” which ours recently did.
While the responsive design is one of the priorities in this updating, we would not have needed four one- to two-hour meetings to accomplish that. We have spent most of our time looking at samples of the best practices of other publications and working on what qualities we would like our refreshed site to feature.
When the site makes its debut, most likely within the next month, you will see a more streamlined design and color scheme, thanks to our staff designer and production manager Leah Bossio. The relationship with Catholic New York newspaper will be more pronounced.
You will also see a more layered look and a deeper home page that reflects the work of our staff as well as the templates provided by our website company, Creative Circle Media Solutions. While the site’s back end is very similar to what we currently have as far as inputting stories, photos and advertising, the front end that readers will see will be quite different, hopefully in a vibrant and appealing way. (Enough said there, because I want you to enjoy the reveal when it comes.)
That gets us back to those meetings. A lot of the ideas for how to present our material, what should be highlighted, where it should be placed and what kind of labels should be used were discussed in the group setting. Everyone contributed toward the eventual end product, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.
Do things occasionally go off track? Yes, they do, but they can be brought back in line with a little nudge.
This rapidly evolving media landscape in which we live teaches us that you have to attempt to keep up with changes, even though budget considerations are no small matter. At Catholic New York, we have always felt that the solution to our challenges can be found in the people who work here using their God-given talents and abilities. Never has that been more apparent than in this process.