Last year was great. After the results of our Silvision campaign back in early 2016, we started the process of bettering our content with the advice given from readers who took the time to let us know what they think. If you contributed to this, we appreciate it.
Most notably, your feedback helped us with the direction for two of our four current major print sections. Merging Lifestyle with ANDY to create a more conventional Arts & Culture section and refocusing the majority of the content to Hamilton helped raise the quality and relevancy of the paper.
The previously broad nature of Opinion was something that I agreed had to be changed as the section’s editor last year. We believed it was single-handedly bringing down the reputation of the paper.
The section hasn’t had bad or even average editors in the past, far from it, but it was an unfocused mess that meant nothing except an article or two to be embarrassed about publishing every week. Focusing on McMaster and topics related to McMaster students has resulted in a large deal of success.
We respect that this was only the beginnings of laying the foundation. You should expect those sections in particular to continue to improve in the future.
However, I anticipate there would be a few issues with doing a similar feedback campaign now. We might do it later in the year, don’t get me wrong, but hear me out for a second.
The main worry is that we have no real way of getting feedback from the average reader. If you have cared enough to reply about feedback in any situation, then you have cared more than the majority of people.
We received a decent number of responses, but it was low compared to the thousands of copies printed per issue and the stupidly high amount of people who use the website. Maybe investment in the product has increased since retailoring the sections, but I don’t want to get trapped continuously catering to our hardcore readers and forgetting a silent majority.
Let us experiment and take the initiative for a bit. The promises and plans for the upcoming year are based on a few educated guesses about what you like.
We swapped out a News Reporter position and added another Production Coordinator position. Our news content should not suffer as we can accept more volunteer pieces than last year, but the quality of our layouts will increase. The quality of articles should also increase as section editors will have more time to dedicate to writing, editing and volunteer management.
A full-time CFMU/Sil position will be hired. This person will aid in video, graphic design and online to increase quality and quantity across the board while increasing collaboration with partners around campus. You should expect more videos and lots of other multimedia to come.
Our online schedule will no longer be bound by our print. Instead of a mass of articles on Thursday, you will see new articles uploaded Monday to Thursday during the fall and winter terms. This one will take a bit of time, but we’ll get there.
Those are the big ones. We are not planning a complete revamp like last year, but we are going to improve on the fundamentals and see what happens. The bottom line is that you should continue to expect more.