How It’s Made: A Week in the Life of EngagePhase Weekly!

As we’re getting ready to bring a couple or so more people on board to help with the production of EngagePhase Weekly, we‘re putting some documentation together in order for new team members to be able to jump right in. One part is our current process for assembling the newsletter, and we thought: why not share it here?

Below is the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes breakdown of how it all works.

Tuesday, October 31

It’s 12.33pm Pacific Time. Issue #33 just went out to 112 subscribers. The subject line: “IAP2 Australasia keeps growing, OGP on the evolving nature of participatory budgeting & digital democracy innovation challenge from Germany”

By our own method of counting, this issue included 86 items total, 14 of which we consider genuine news items (the rest is material that is more stable, such as events, training, employment opportunities). Pretty much where we want to be at the moment.

We were able to include most items we had identified over the course of the previous seven days (there are usually a few leftover items that might make it into the following week’s issue).

The immediate first step is to head to our email automation platform, duplicate this latest issue and then clean it up to prepare for next week:

  • Remove the subject line (the last thing that will be added just before the next issue gets sent)
  • In the header, update the issue count and the publication date
  • Remove all content across the core news segment
  • If the issue included a mention under “From the Blog” (i.e., our very own EngagePhase blog), remove that as well.
  • For newly-added events and job listings, remove the “New!” highlight
  • Remove all events (conferences and professional development) that will expire over the coming one-week period
  • Update the events listed under “Happening This Week” and “Upcoming Conferences”

That’s it, ready to absorb new content!

Wednesday, November 1

Via the fast-growing Civic Technology and Open Government Facebook group, we find out about the Democratic Cities conference in Spain, which must have previously escaped our radar. Very technology-focused. Promising agenda, great line-up of speakers/presenters. Added to the calendar and to the draft newsletter.

A look at our aggregator shows that IAP2 Canada has announced the theme for their 2018 conference: “Growing a Culture of P2”.

Otherwise, bit of a slow news day.

Thursday, November 2

Via that Scotland newsletter, Scotland steps up their participatory budgeting game big time!

Via the IAP2 USA newsletter, a link to their Greater Good Award page with updated information about this year’s inaugural recipients, plus another webinar with this year‘s Core Values Awards winners.

Via the NCDD LinkedIn group, their next TechTuesday has been announced.

Via our aggregator, PB conference deadline call of papers extended.

Friday, November 3

No monitoring.

Saturday, November 4

Light-weight monitoring, noticed a few potentially newsworthy items.

Sunday, November 5

Sunday has shaped up to be the day most of the latest issue gets put together. This allows for fine-tuning and last-minute additions on Monday and possibly even Tuesday morning before it goes out.

Going in, we are at three core news items and 79 items total.

Found a bit of digital engagement news, including a new e-book on smart cities. Plus, as seen earlier in the week on LinkedIn, Helen Christensen has started to share tidbits from the results of her recent practitioner survey in Australia.

Had to cut it short and didn’t get to dive into the hashtag feeds, so leaving that for the following day.

Not too big of a yield all in all, just four additional new items for our core news section.

Monday, November 6

Via Twitter, we see that MySociety has announced their 2018 TICTeC conference.

Also via Twitter, news about the continued growth of the PB Scotland Network.

As usual, a look at our more than one dozen hashtag feeds yields a few more interesting sources to follow and a number of additional items.

We’re up to 12 core news items (90 total).

Tuesday, November 7

Found five more news items during our morning review. Removed a few expired job ads. Content is done!

Now for some testing (mainly, if all the links work). Looking good!

It’s 9.50am, and the latest issue gets pushed out. Subject line: “Scotland expands participatory budgeting big time, ECAS paper on policy crowdsourcing in the EU & new book on citizens’ participation in Iran”.

Lather, rinse, repeat… on to next week!

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