By Ceri Pearce
Birdlife Northern Queensland’s newsletter, Contact Call, is changing, but not for the first time. Contact Call has been keeping Birdlife Northern Queensland members (and previous incarnations of BLNQ) informed since 1994. Over the years, the way the newsletter was created, its format and the number of people that it reached has changed. The images below outlining the evolution of Contact Call illustrate this.
The evolution of contact call
The inaugural edition of Contact Call, 1 December 1994. The newsletter comprised two black and white pages of news that was printed and posted to members.
Ten years later in May 2004, there were eight pages of news with artwork and thumbnail images. The newsletter was printed and posted to members.
Ten years later, May 2014. Contact Call was 16 pages long and in colour, with larger images. It was around this time that the format changed to electronic only. The newsletter was emailed to members and posted on our website. Although some members missed the printed paper version initially, the cost savings and savings to the environment (reduced use of paper) have added up, and most people are now used to the change.
This is the last electronic Contact Call newsletter: December 2022. Liberated from the need to print and post, the newsletter expanded. This edition was 27 pages of news: previous editions averaged 30–34 pages. The newsletter was emailed out, shared on Facebook, and on our website to members, supporters and to the world.
With the creation of our new website, and the success of our Facebook page, we have an opportunity to update the format of Contact Call again. Over the last 18 months, Renee Cassels, our Communications Coordinator, has been selecting and publishing Contact Call articles on our stunning new website https://www.birdlifenq.org/contactcall, and the result has been remarkable. This trial has shown how much easier it can be to publish articles in an engaging way and to communicate with our members more effectively.
So we are changing Contact Call to a new format – this will allow us to publish stand-alone news articles individually and directly on our website, and to advertise these through our regular monthly email updates and via our Facebook page.
This change will make it much easier for the Newsletter Editor and Communications Coordinator to publish timely news. It will also allow our members to dip in and dip out of the news articles of interest to them rather than having to wait for and read through the whole newsletter.
We hope that you are as excited about this change as we are!
We welcome our new Chief Newsletter Editor, Jenn Muir, who will be working with Renee to deliver the new format of Contact Call news to you.
On behalf of BirdLife Northern Queensland, a very big thank you to all contributors to Contact Call newsletters over the last 28 years. The newsletter is an outstanding success and much appreciated by all who read it. But just because there won’t be an old fashioned newsletter format, doesn’t mean that we don’t still want and need your articles, news, reports, and images. The only thing that is changing is that the deadlines for four newsletter editions a year have gone. Now you can send your content anytime.
If you would like to submit an article, news or report or to enquire about making a submission, don’t hesitate to email Jenn at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is looking for content now.
The future of Contact Call
From 2023, the old newsletter format will be replaced by stand-alone news articles, published directly on our stunning new website https://www.birdlifenq.org/contactcall. This will be a liberating change, that will allow BirdLife Northern Queensland to provide you with all the latest bird and conservation articles and news in a much more timely and engaging way. We will let you know when new articles are published in our regular supporter emails and Facebook page.