Several changes are in the works involving how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) communicates with people at the grass roots.
Kathy Francis, the denomination’s communications director, outlined some of the changes for the executive committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board on April 15. Among them:
Presbyterians Today will move to a bimonthly publication schedule beginning in June.
Mission Yearbook for Prayer will become a digital-only publication starting in 2016. Part of the reason is financial: Orders for the print edition have dropped from 80,000 to 8,000, raising the cost from $6 per copy to $35. Change to a digital format will mean the stories in the yearbook will be more timely, relevant “and most important, free to everyone,” Francis said. The print edition “is a beautiful book . . . But it’s not sustainable and it’s not good stewardship. It’s losing too much money.”
Website. Work is beginning on a redesign of the Presbyterian Mission Agency website, using the consulting firm DBS Interactive. “Who likes our website? Nobody,” Francis said. The new design “has to be simple, it has to be intuitive. Pretty much everything is not right now.” The current website has about 100,000 pages. Of those, 54,000 got just one page view last year, she said – or none at all.
Newsletters. When she began working for the denomination early in 2014, Francis said, the PC(USA) put out 101 monthly electronic newsletters. “It seemed like that was the only thing people did.” She’s streamlined the system – now only 26 newsletters go out. With that change, “our subscribers have skyrocketed.”
Presbyterian News Service. Gregg Brekke has begun work as the new editor of Presbyterian News Service, succeeding Jerry Van Marter, who retired in December. Some years ago, a decision was made to create an editorial advisory board for the news service, “but that never happened,” Francis said. “I want to put it on your radar,” she told the executive committee.