Agora reaches out via newsletters, social media and television

(from left) Claire Bacarella, Hanna Nadeau, assistant editor Betsy Brockman, editor Lauren Werlinger, Emma Marion, Marie Underwood and advisor Matt Bird-Meyer.
This semester’s staff members are (from left) Claire Bacarella, Hanna Nadeau, assistant editor Betsy Brockman, editor Lauren Werlinger, Emma Marion, Marie Underwood and advisor Matt Bird-Meyer.

The Agora has seen quite a few changes over the years.

This coming school year is no exception.

Various editors over the past several years have changed the newspaper’s format from a large broadsheet to a tabloid that’s about half the size, back to a broadsheet and, again, back to a tabloid.

But even before the pandemic chased us all into isolation, the Agora was recycling quite a stack of newspapers between publications. This public health crisis forced us to quickly get more creative in finding new ways to reach our audience. Printing a regular paper made no sense after classes moved to remote delivery.

We mailed a printed issue last year, but we also experimented with emailed newsletters to share our digital issues and online content with the campus community.

This year, we will continue our digital evolution by focusing more on social media, multimedia content, and weekly emailed newsletters. We are also going to start producing regular short news segments on Monroe Public Access Cable Television.

Leading the Agora through this exciting time for journalism is our new editor, Lauren Werlinger.

“In the digital age, flexibility is key,” Werlinger said. “There’s a lot to be gained by embracing technology, and one of those benefits is reaching students where they naturally get a lot of their information.”

Her assistant editor this year is Elisabeth Brockman. Together, the pair have quite a challenge in front of them given how short-staffed they are this fall. With a staff of four, the Agora has ambitious plans to first learn more about the information needs of our campus community and then meet those needs in a suitable format from written stories to photography and Instagram stories to television.

The editors plan to host a meet-and-greet with the college administration. They also plan to reach out to the various club leaders on campus. Again, the idea is to make connections, learn more about what’s on everyone’s mind, what information they need and the best ways to deliver that information.

“I’m excited for what this semester has in store,” Werlinger said. “I’m hoping to strengthen the connections the Agora has within the community.”

In the meantime, the staff plans to keep the college and surrounding community informed through weekly emailed newsletters. These will be distributed on Mondays.

“By focusing on creating weekly newsletters, we’re making sure that the MCCC community is able to have access to the most current stories,” Werlinger said.

This will be a challenging semester, and the Agora is not going to meet everyone’s information need. But this crew is eager to try.

I’ve seen them at work, and I’m confident that the storytelling they produce will be interesting, useful, and exciting.

The Agora is open to all students. You can earn college credit through the workshop courses, or you can simply join the crew by volunteering your skills and creativity.

And of course, anyone can write us a letter for publication. We’re certainly open to a wide range of submissions, including photography, illustration, cartoons, opinion writing, and reviews.

Send me an email and we can talk: mbird-meyer@monroeccc.edu.