I’m sure many of you have noticed that it’s been a while since we released a new print edition of our magazine. Well, we have some good news to finally share! We here at A\J have been working hard as ever and have a total of four finished issues ready to share. This brings me to even better news, all of these magazines will be posted online to our website, available for all to read! This is being done as A\J shifts away from traditional print media, and more towards online, digital media. There are a myriad of reasons we believe that now is the time to make this big change.
The first of these changes is due to logistical issues. As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic that seemingly never ends has had huge impacts on supply chains of all kinds. One such impact was felt in the print and publishing industry as supply from the pulp and paper industry was diverted towards creating PPE, such as the masks we’ve all been wearing these past two years. This unfortunately resulted in printed publications, like A\J’s magazine, being unable to be printed as more print businesses were shut down, or simply could not process orders due to limited supply. This is of course, one of the reasons we have decided to make this switch to digital. By requiring less paper, we are also inherently more environmentally friendly as online content requires no printing. Using less paper is a positive to us as well, as we believe environmental communication should also be sustainable in itself and in the medium used to communicate, thus aligning more with our values.
The move to digital first also provides more opportunities for wide reaching content. Stories that are hosted online can be shared via social media, or shared between peers, and allows for our content to be more accessible to all. The move also allows much more social media interaction and can lead to some amazing connections. For instance, this past month A\J’s own Siobhan Mullally’s piece “In My Life” was retweeted by none other than Margaret Atwood herself. Print magazines act as a barrier for instances like this, as they cannot be easily shared online. Digital also allows for more interactivity within the articles themselves. For instance, useful hyperlinks can be included within bodies of text, videos can be embedded, and authors may be linked to their work, providing a more fulsome reading experience. At our core we remain a magazine, though less traditional with the launch of the online series, it will be as though you are picking up and putting down a magazine. The plan is that a batch of new articles will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday, and this is more in line with how I read magazines – a little bit at a time. If you enjoy reading the whole thing at once however, PDFs will be available at the end of each series, allowing for all content to be found in one package. Digital also allows us to run supplementary content to these magazines on the website, or to run a completely different theme, providing readers with a wide array of content to choose from.
Finally, a brief aside from myself – I am a 25-year-old recent graduate of a Masters of Environment and Sustainability degree. As such, I consider myself to be ‘in the know’ and up to date with environmental issues and communication. I will admit however that I am not currently subscribed to any print magazines, and in speaking to my peers, the majority of them aren’t either. The majority of content that is consumed by myself and those of my generation is done so through digital media. As such I believe that for all the reasons listed above it is necessary to switch to digital, but also because I believe our number one priority is ensuring that environmental stories, voices, and news are easily and readily accessible to all readers. By making the switch to digital I am confident that we will be able to have our stories read by more people, as well as allow us to uplift the voices of even more environmental communicators.
So dear Reader, I hope you feel the same excitement that I do as we begin our rollout to a digital first strategy, and I hope you are equally as excited as I am for the beginning of our online magazine rollout next Tuesday, 22 March.