Your Turn: How Are We Doing?
As we race past the half-way mark in the publication season I can scarcely believe it. The past few months have been an exhilarating time filled with debate and drama: the stuff of great publishing. Our readers, Board Members, and the Executive Board of the Bar have all patiently allowed me to speak through my Editor’s Pages about various topics including technology, the Internet, and what Web 2.0 means to us here in DuPage County. But as I look ahead and see the end of my tenure looming, the time seems right for me to listen. So let me take this opportunity to ask readers, Board Members, and everyone else, for their input on the direction of the Brief. How are we doing? Do you like the changes we have put in place? Maybe you prefer that we leave this venerable institution alone. After all, why fix what isn’t broken? Allow me to suggest some ways to frame the issues from the perspective of one who’s seen the debate develop:
To Blog or Not to Blog. Blogs are either a blessing or a curse. They consist of terse nuggets that spring from the mind of the author as often incomplete thoughts. Should we encourage the use of such devices in legal dialogue? Would a blog belong on say the Brief website?
Reader Comments. This issue has caused the greatest controversy by far – the prospect that readers could comment on an article directly so others could see what they thought makes some authors feel naked (if not squeamish). But is instant reader feedback a damper on author creativity or a way of keeping writers accurate and on-message?
Open the Process. I’ve long advocated allowing authors to send articles to a central repository to be edited by any member of the Board. The more editing a Board member did the more credit they would get — and credit would count for something very specific (see my next point).
Digg It. One of my favorite innovations of the Web 2.0 wave is the ability to poll and redirect discussions instantly to suit the reader. The preeminent site in this regard is www.digg.com. There we see the magic of instant communication literally plucking democracy from chaos. In an open editorial process like the one advocated above the Editor in Chief would be the Contributor in Chief, which makes a lot of sense.
Beyond the Written Word. File this one under "Maybe Someday," but this year the Board has set the stage for more than just distribution of articles via the Web. As the Brief moves online its website can incorporate video clips, sound bites, images, and more. The only limitation on the future content of the Brief will be what our contributors want to give us and what our viewers want to see.
So at long last, it’s your turn. I encourage each and every one of you to take this opportunity to speak your mind. Don’t be limited by the topics I’ve put together. Let it all out. I promise to respond to each comment and to respect all points of view. Sound too good to be true? Try me by sending your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, thank you for your support.
Mazyar M. Hedayat, Editor