by Mike Conroy
As with many things in the Village, Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) is often challenged to straddle the line between tradition and bringing about the right amount of change at the right time. In a time when people consume news and information and seek answers in a variety of ways, MVF must work to reach as many residents as possible across a variety of platforms. In order to accomplish this, we find ourselves balancing time, cost, process efficiencies and information exchange.
And so, the time has come to foster an increase in digital news and information flow; with this comes a reduction in print media, specifically, printing the Village News once per month versus the accustomed bi-weekly editions. Beginning with the Friday, Aug. 10 issue, the Village News will be printed and delivered to residents once per month.
Fewer print issues per year does not mean MVF is cutting back on news. In fact, this is only part of the change—at the same time, we are relaunching the Village News portion of the MVF website to look and function more like a traditional news website. Residents will be able to find and read news and articles as they are posted—no waiting for two or more weeks! News in and around the Village will be updated on a regular basis, and the page will automatically filter the latest posted articles to the top.
General news, the MVF Board President’s Message, EVP’s Message, Homes Corporation news, School News, and other community news (At Your Leisure, Milestones, Community Service, etc.) will be featured on the site. Information from Recreation or Architectural Standards, as it relates to content already on the website, will be found under those pre-existing menu sections.
This replaces the previous three news articles and downloadable file of the entire Village News online. Being able to access all of the content—not just select articles—follows regular news site trends, and is much easier from a user perspective, especially on a mobile device. A full pdf of previous versions of the Village News will still be accessible from an archive page.
In addition, residents can still submit Milestones, Letters to the Editor, press releases or other news via online forms or e-mail to email@example.com as they have in the past.
On the news pages, residents will also find advertising in a number of standard website placements, as well as a Business Directory, similar to the existing printed Professional Directory. This area will contain expanded information about subscribed businesses, including websites, phone numbers and Google maps to their locations.
The monthly printed version will include relevant online information from the previous month, as well as upcoming meeting, event and community information; the regular calendar; Homes Corporation news; and regular special inserts such as the seasonal Recreation Guides.
This change in communications strategy has been a discussion topic of the MVF Board of Directors, Communications Committee and staff for some time. At the 2017 MVF Board Retreat, the Board asked that staff look at ways to enhance our digital presence while continuing to reach residents via traditional print media. After discussion and feedback from Village leaders, staff, committee members and residents, the decision to reduce print and increase digital news was made.
For the rest of 2018, the regularly scheduled first issue of the month will be printed. This includes Fridays Aug. 10, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7; any special inserts, guides or other materials will be produced with those issues. A 2019 schedule is being developed, but will follow a similar pattern, taking into account holidays, planned MVF Office closures and timing for special publications.
The decision to enhance our digital communication efforts through this change was not made lightly, and we are excited for the future of communication with residents in this manner. Additionally, we have expanded our social media output, and invite residents to engage with us on Facebook (MontVillageMD) and Twitter (@MontVillageMD).
If you have any questions or concerns, call Assistant Executive Vice President Mike Conroy at 240-243-2331 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support while MVF refreshes how we communicate with all residents.