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New AN Website to Launch in September

The following article appears on page 11 of the May Anthropology News.

I’m excited to announce our plan to create the new www.anthropology-news.org. This added service of Anthropology News will help members get more of their work, ideas and analyses published on a faster timeline. The new website is the first step in AN’s long term shift to a news source about anthropology by and for AAA members.

AN is already uniquely situated as a source of anthropology and association news, providing articles about research that are accessible to a wide range of readers. AN has a print outlet for this and will continue to provide print copies to our members who do not explicitly opt-out of this benefit. However it’s time for AN  to take the next step and develop a dynamic website that both complements thematic print content and offers additional ongoing opportunities for members to present their work and share analyses in a more timely fashion. The need for this expansion has been particularly clear throughout the current events of the first few months of 2011: Tunisia, Egypt, Japan, Libya. Whatever news lies ahead, www.anthropology-news.org will provide an outlet for AAA members to quickly publish anthropological perspectives on current events.

In particular, the new AN website will offer the following benefits:

  • Publication is reserved for members
  • AN content will be open for anyone to read until it is archived
  • More articles can be published online from each thematic series as well as additional news features, columns and articles from throughout AN
  • Fast publication time
  • Flexible word count
  • Opportunity to use multimedia content and hyperlinks that are unavailable in print
  • Opportunities for members to become columnists or contributing editors for online content
  • Place for members to contribute both articles and comments
  • Articles published online will be archived onto AnthroSource

Beginning in September, the website will share current AN content from the print issue and provide additional content throughout the publication month. This additional content will include articles from the thematic series, columns from AN contributing editors, news features and pieces from new AN columnists and contributing editors (see below). Contributors and authors will be able to take advantage of many things print AN cannot provide: multimedia content, hyperlinks, color photos, interactivity and flexible lengths. Comments will be moderated to ensure that the discussion is by members only.

Contributing Editors and Columnists
AN will continue to rely on member volunteers to create and solicit content. AN  staff will continue to develop thematic series for each issue, but to keep the website fresh and active, more member essays, articles and features will be sought. AN’s current contributing editors from the AAA Sections and Committees have shown dedication and commitment by providing a continual flow of columns that showcase the work, interests and concerns of their group. With 47 columns managed by contributing editors, AN gratefully does not lack for content. I will continue to ask the current contributing editors for their regular column, which will appear in print and online. If any of the contributing editors wish to publish an additional article for the month, they may do so online. As with AN  now, they may solicit an article from a member or write their own. The major difference will be that their managing editor will not need to be as restrictive about the word count or number of photos for online publication. The Section and Committee contributing editors will of course continue to be selected by their respective organizations within AAA.

To take full advantage of the online possibilities, we are seeking additional volunteers to be contributing editors and columnists for www.anthropology-news.org. These volunteers will commit to a one-year term, beginning September 2011, and will be an integral part of shaping the online content and conversation. As with the Section and Committee contributing editors, anthropology-news. org contributing editors will be responsible for a column that either they write themselves or they edit a piece they solicit from an author. AN is seeking contributing editors for the following columns, tentatively titled: Teaching Strategies, Field Notes, Multimedia Matters, Media Notes, Review Roundups.

We are also seeking columnists to commit to one year of monthly op-ed essays. These essays are written by the columnist and the topic depends on each columnist’s expertise and experience. There is great opportunity for creativity and fruitful discussions. If you are interested in being considered as a columnist or a contributing editor, email a brief proposal of your column theme and summary of your qualifications to agoldenberg@aaanet.org by June 8.

 In the interest of keeping AN timely and to make this expansion manageable with limited staff time, the editing of AN content by AN staff will change. Each contribution will be reviewed for overall clarity and to be sure the piece is consistent with AN’s editorial policies (no ad hominem attacks, nothing litigious or libelous, and only accurate or supported facts). This review gives contributing editors more control over their online content, and AN will encourage contributors to submit columns that are ready to publish.

AN is moving strongly ahead to increase its value for AAA members. As we do so, please note that AN’s print publication—which continues as a primary member benefit— is an expensive investment. To avoid even higher costs to AN’s overall services, www.anthropology-news.org will have limited archival space. Fortunately, AAA has continued to invest in posting AN on AnthroSource, so all www.anthropology-news.org articles will be archived there, along with the rest of AAA publications.

All print AN articles will be openly available online for the publication month and one month after. Non-members, media and other interested readers will be able to access the articles throughout this time. Due to the limited space—which can fill up quickly if contributors add large multimedia files—articles will be removed from the website once they are available on AnthroSource. This ensures opportunity for timely reading and commenting, keeps www.anthropology-news.org within our space constraints, archives all the articles on AnthroSource, and allows for uninterrupted access by AAA members. When the articles are taken down, the page will redirect to information about and links to our archives.

As we move forward with this project, I am excited to see what AAA members do with this publishing opportunity. This, like with so many projects, will be a work in progress, and we will solicit feedback in the summer of 2012 to make adjustments to AN so that it will continue to meet members’ changing needs. In the meantime, I invite you to participate in the new AN website when it launches in September as a contributor, columnist, commenter or reader.


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