Today, nearly all newspapers, advocacy groups and other organizations seeking to make an impact on their audience produce first for digital platforms. This approach gives them several advantages: rapid delivery to end users, with no delay for printing and distribution; lower costs; and easy integration with social media promotion strategies.

Producing first for digital platforms also fits with evolving habits of those who consume such communication and research products. People today are more inclined to read on mobile devices and computers rather than printed materials. The world’s ever-increasing engagement with social media fuses keeping in touch with friends and colleagues with becoming engaged citizens and activists who want to project and share their views about the communities they live in and impact.

Historically, the Chicago Teachers Union has produced a print publication, Chicago Union Teacher(CUT), eight times a year, in addition to various printed reports and white papers documenting inequality and corruption as well as best practices for teachers and unions. Generally speaking, these materials have been conceived as print publications, which are then given some digital distribution and promotion in the wake of their publication.

Now is the time for the CTU to flip the script by producing materials for digital publication and distribution first and foremost. CUT will be published in print for general CTU membership three times a year in September, March/April and June. For the remaining five issues, a limited print run will be produced for CTU retirees. In addition to reducing costs, this will  expand the reach of CTU messaging by re-organizing communications workflow to prioritize the media channels that our audience is already using to digest—and share—ideas that matter.

This article appears in the September 2018 issue of the Chicago Union Teacher.

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