For six years the "every household Banner" has been privileged to serve as our denominational kitchen table—a place where church family and friends talk to each other about matters of communal interest. We've had everything from good-natured banter to the occasional fist slammed down in frustration. But we've spoken together in love for the Lord, for the church, and for each other.
For Banner staff it's been a privilege to "direct traffic" in this flow of conversation around our table. But because of limited editorial space, we've had to turn down far too many good articles and thoughtful responses that our readers submitted.
During these six years we have been on the Web as well, at www.thebanner.org. But our webzine has only "mirrored" the print magazine. Now we've started to change that. With last month's issue we've added another leaf to our kitchen table by expanding the website. That allows more folks to participate in the conversation and to engage in more sustained dialogue.
We've also shifted our publishing paradigm. Up until now the print version of The Banner has been our main "engine," and the Web version was drawn from that. That helped us to widen the reach but not the content of the print version. We have now begun to allow the Web Banner to serve as our basic platform of discourse and to draw from it the best of its content for the print version. Key advantages of that approach are that we can
- offer more content (news, feature articles, reviews).
- allow for more reader participation.
- and offer content in real time instead of waiting until the print version is published.
The Web allows us to expand our offerings because, unlike print pages, electrons are cheap. So the e-zine can offer more at lower cost. Will this move erode the quality of your print Banner? Not a chance! We'll just have that much more fresh content to choose from. We've already implemented some of the enhancements to www.thebanner.org:
- We offer more news stories, and they're updated weekly.
- We offer more feature article content, and readers can now comment on articles.
- Tuned In now offers more media reviews and allows readers to contribute their own.
- We offer links to the denominational website (www.crcna.org), to CRC News, to the CRC Network (network.crcna.org), and to suggestions for further reading.
As we continue to expand thebanner.org, we also hope to offer
- bilingual corners on our site featuring content and dialogue of interest to and from our Korean, Hispanic, and Chinese churches
- advertising that allows our denominational agencies and other advertisers to promote their messages using a variety of formats (flash video, sound).
Given the ever-increasing migration of our readers to the Web, we believe this is a timely move. We hope you'll find the Web Banner a welcome addition. More important, we hope you'll engage it and, through it, each other in meaningful conversation. So draw up that virtual chair and set a spell. We've got some more jawin' to do, pardner.