Every day, the editorial staff at the UK wonders: What are we writing about, why are we writing about it, and how are we writing about it? A weekly look behind the scenes.
Every week, over the course of Wednesday afternoon, we distribute the Universiteitskrant weekly newsletter via email. It contains an overview of the stories and news reports issued by UK over the past days.
The newsletter is an important line of communication with our readers. Even though we went online four years ago and publish 24/7, the weekly character of the paper version of the UK seems to have become part of the RUG’s genetic make-up. We have by far the most visitors/readers at ukrant.nl on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday after the newsletter reaches the virtual doormat.
The idea that the latest edition of the UK once filled the newsstands on Thursdays and the rhythm of the lost paper publication turns out to be persistent even in the online era. And it is, admittedly, maintained by means of the newsletter. For now, we simply have to learn to live with it – we will return to that discussion at a later time.
‘Look and feel’
So. The newsletter. For as long as anyone can remember – bar minor changes here and there – it has been drafted based on a fixed format. And now, in 2017, it is time for an overhaul; time to give it a different look and feel.
We have been working on this for some time now behind the scenes by creating different formats and trying them out. Often, these are not major changes; it usually regards details. One format is quickly discarded as being deemed too ugly or not functional (or both), the same thing happens to some other attempts.
Other formats are worth moving forward with; these are the ones we continue working on. It is a matter of exploring, rearranging and seeing the bigger picture: what if we do this, leave that, remove that and add this?
It seems like an easy task, but it is not that simple. We are looking for a format that is clearer and more intuitive, does justice to the content, invites people to read it, feels good graphically, looks fresh and retains a familiar feel to it. That is quite the list of conditions to meet, and they sometimes conflict; it can be a bit more ‘in your face’, but it should not be showy.
One of the formats we are working on is presented below. The biggest difference with the current version: the narrow ‘frame’ on the right-hand side has disappeared. We will now publish along the full width of the page. We have not decided whether this is the one, because we are still doing a lot of work on it. One thing is clear, though: the newsletter will soon have a different look.
Rob Siebelink, editor-in-chief