Education/Newsletter/August 2015/On its third birthday, a retrospective of This Month In Education and proposed changes to the publication process

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By Anna Koval (WMF) - Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: This Month In Education is turning 3. On this occasion, we are proposing changes to the publication process and frequency.

This Month In Education is the monthly education newsletter of the Wikimedia movement. It has been written by the community and published every month since August 2012.

This Month In Education began three years ago, when Leigh Thelmadatter, an Education Program Leader in Mexico, first had the idea of a community-led education newsletter and spearheaded this volunteer effort. In May 2014, Anna Koval began working with Leigh to help grow the publication. Together they added several new features, including a subscribe by email option, single-page edition, and a Signpost-style article layout for the News page. In June 2014, they reported that these changes had resulted in new subscriptions, a significant increase in pageviews, and more submissions than any issue to date. The June 2014 issue featured 21 articles from 13 programs from around the world.

In November 2014, Samir Elsharbaty joined the Wikimedia Foundation’s education team as a Communications Intern and stepped in to publish the newsletter. Since then, many volunteers in the Wikipedia Education Program have participated in the newsletter, submitting stories and writing articles every month. We have enjoyed working closely with all of them. Their contributions have grown the newsletter's audience very quickly. Thanks to the combined efforts of Leigh, Anna and Samir, we feel the newsletter is now in a good place to be community-owned once more, and we wish to invite community members to join the newsletter publication team and participate in the publishing process.

The publication process is not difficult, though it can be time-consuming if only one person is responsible for all of the various steps, including writing, illustrating, copyediting, creating three different versions of each issue, distributing the newsletter to talk pages, archiving, etc. These steps have been documented on the newsroom's talk page, and there is a checklist to ensure that no step is skipped.

Because of the amount of work that is involved each month, we propose to modify the frequency of publication from monthly to quarterly from now on. This will be more efficient for everyone: publishers, authors, and readers. And this is in keeping with the frequency of other movement communication methods, for example, the L&E newsletter Evaluation Quarterly. If there is consensus for this change, a new name for the education newsletter might be appropriate, for example, Wikimedia Education Quarterly.

We welcome your thoughts about the proposal to make this a quarterly newsletter, as well as other ideas about the newsletter publication process. Please comment here on the talk page. You can help share your useful experiences by getting involved and joining the newsletter publication team. Please answer the call for volunteers here on the talk page.

This Month In Education now reaches more people and speaks for more programs than ever before. Hundreds of readers wait for the newsletter every month. We continue to think that is a really good thing! :)