The Callout Has a New Format

Technology is changing nearly evey aspect of the world around us, and The Callout is no exception. If you're reading this article, you can see the team newsletter has evolved to a new, online format. There are a number of reasons for the decision. First and foremost is the ease of updating. For a volunteer organization, putting out a quality publication month after month is a daunting task. For the newsletter staff, that last week each month before publication is a stressful time. That problem has now largely been solved.  Working on the newsletter no longer requires  specialized skills or expensive desktop publishing software. In fact, the tools used are free. (The new format is actually created with blogging software called WordPress.) That means anyone interested in helping with the newsletter can participate; all that's necessary is a connection to the Internet. 

A second important reason for putting the newsletter online is the expanded functionality. It's now much easier to search for past articles or other specific information—especially as content accumulates over time. While still maintaining the look and feel of a newsletter, the new format also gives The Callout more of a progressive flare. The newsletter itself is now directly connected to the World Wide Web, making it much easier for the rest of the world to find us, while providing the user with a richer, more engaging experience. With what amounts to a bottomless page, articles aren't limited to what fits on an 8½ x 11 sheet of paper. One great benefit there is that now more photos and larger images can be incorporated into the newsletter. And when a particular topic warrants coverage in more detail, the space is there to do it.

Interactivity is a final key feature of the new newsletter. The new format makes it easy to create slideshows of trainings, searches, and other special events. For the first time, videos can easily be embedded into the newsletter. Watch for more of that interactive content appearing in the coming months. Another possibility under consideration is opening up some of the articles for comment and discussion, the same way readers can post questions or comments after a blog post. This type of two-way communication is much more in alignment with modern trends toward social media.

At this point the new format for The Callout is still experimental. The months ahead are likely to see a variety of changes as we experiment with various ideas . In the meantime, try it out, click on the links, and explore the site. Tell us what you like and what you don't. Your experience will help us improve the newsletter to an even more important means of communication. Please send your thoughts to the editor at newsletter@contracostasar.org.