SLU Newslink and Grand Connections (Saint Louis University)
When Saint Louis University hired me in 2002, the internal communication channels weren't all that robust. A daily email and website for faculty and staff members existed, but they largely lacked images and relied upon reader submissions -- submissions that weren't even edited. There also was a faculty/staff newspaper that was separate from the news site, and while it had a few original features, it broadly reused items from the digital product.
So I got to work.
I began adding photos to stories for both Newslink (the website) and Daily Newslink (the email newsletter) -- file headshots at first, but then original photos from my campus wanderings. Then I began editing the news submissions, often following up with folks to get more details or figure out an angle to gain more interest. Readership increased. News item submissions increased. People started telling me about events and ideas before they happened so that I could preview or cover them. Newslink and Daily Newslink started as only 20% of my job, but they soon became 85% of my job.
It wasn't long before the undergraduate and graduate students demanded access to these outlets. We went from digitally serving 5,000 faculty and staff members to sharing news with 5000 employees, a dozen board members, I-don't-know-how-many administrators/university partners/community members, and 12,000 students. It's kind of funny to look back at the changes -- so simple, but so progressive, especially for that era (2002-2007 was a long time ago in Internet years, kids).
So why not take on the newspaper, too?
I was promoted to internal communications editor a couple of years later, with both digital and print communications to faculty and staff under my purview. Grand Connections was a great monthly paper, but it was a bit stale in both the design and the content departments; there hadn't been an update to either in the ten years prior.
So after putting out a few issues the old way, I worked with a designer, consulted senior staff and conducted employee surveys to reformulate the newspaper to make more sense for that era. This meant more feature stories, larger photos, recurring departments and almost all original work (not reruns from Newslink). Again, the readership boomed and we increased our monthly printing production.
I led or wrote for Grand Connections and Newslink for five great years, until I moved into student recruitment marketing and shaped the brand voice for a new blockbuster, super-effective campaign. But that's a story for another day.
Sadly, the digital archives are now gone and I'm left with only a few hard copies and screenshots.