Today I launched a new website for Lambda Chi Alpha: crossandcrescent.com. But it’s much more than just a website — it’s a dramatic change in how our company communicates with its members.
For 90 years, the Cross & Crescent magazine was printed and mailed to almost all members, alumni and undergraduates (~115,000).
One man, Linn C. Lightner (Franklin & Marshall 1918), served as editor of the magazine for 50 years. I had the honor of being editor for just five years, starting in 1995. Now I’m back.
Less than two months ago, my co-workers and I were tasked to find an elegant way to make drastic cost-cutting measures in the production and distribution of the Cross & Crescent magazine without killing it altogether.
Naturally, electronic distribution was the way to go for many of the reasons I stated here. But it was also about finding more efficient means of production.
Some of the pieces were already in place, others were not yet developed.
The most important piece, a new content management system for a yet-to-be-redesigned website (www.lambdachi.org) was not ready for prime time.
My first step was to build a wiki to hold and develop all of the content. By engaging some key volunteers, we were able to remotely write and edit the content for this issue.
I also leaned heavily on Flickr, the company’s online photo repository. It worked so well, I ended up not only using it to organize an manage incoming photos, the live site pulls images directly from Flickr and gives users the ability to add tags and descriptions.
All in all, it was a tough project that isn’t over. Because the magazine is online and there is an immediacy to electronic communications, we decided to make it monthly. So I got to go, I have a December issue I need to produce.