Click, click, tap. Click, click, tap. This is the soundtrack to our days — the click of the mouse, the tap of fingers, the rat-a-tat rhythm that accompanies our online wanderings. Everyone has their go-to destinations for news or a social fix, but why not make room for one more? Come, click over in our direction: CCT online is doing something new.
There, for the first time, we’re publishing original, web-only content between issues. It’s easy to find — just look on our home page under “The Latest.”
We cheered when our inaugural post went live in May, and the glow still hasn’t worn off. Original digital marks the start of a new era for CCT. Yes, we’ve put our issues online for many years, and will continue to do so. But we are now a publication that truly bridges print and web, with a richness of offerings in both spaces that befits the way most of us read today. Want to curl up with a longer feature? Pour a cup of coffee and page through the print magazine. Want a quick alumni hit while you’re on the go? Click on the website; we post our most frequent feature, “Take Five,” every Friday. Other stories go up biweekly, monthly and quarterly.
When we were mapping out plans for “The Latest,” we talked a lot about what its aim would be and how to differentiate the new online content from the print while remaining true to the spirit of CCT’s mission. Time and again, we returned to the idea of creating a place for your alumni voices. We wanted to find more ways to put you in conversation with one another, to invite reflections on your time at the College, to share your professional expertise and to express your opinions. Ultimately, we wanted to capture the diversity of viewpoints and experiences that characterize the Columbia College community.
In the end, our desire to hear more from you — along with a commitment to diversifying the types of stories we produce — served as our guiding principles. “Take Five” and “Lion’s Den” are two expressions of this. The first features reminiscences from alumni about their College experiences, prompted by five questions, a fascinating exercise in revisiting our younger selves, the things we most remember and what we’d choose to do over (or not). The second is a monthly column by a guest writer sharing their perspectives on culture and current events (former New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff ’90 penned the excellent debut).
Alumni expertise and experience also figure prominently in the sections we call “Think Tank” and “Like Minds.” In “Think Tank,” we pose a topical question to a small group of alumni experts. (When President Trump pulled out of the Paris Accords, we knew that climate change would be the first topic.) In “Like Minds,” we ask two alumni to interview each other about a subject that’s important to them both. The tone here is more personal — like a coffeehouse chat that we all get to listen in on.
The monthly section “Where Are They Now?” is what it sounds like — a catch-up with the subject of an earlier CCT profile. (Fun fact from the most recent installment: that glitzy Cher-inspired outfit Vanessa Hudgens wore to host May’s Billboard Music Awards was by 5001 FLAVORS; Sharene Wood ’94 is the company’s CEO.) And because our alumni so frequently make headlines, we’ll be posting regular updates in a biweekly version of “Alumni in the News.”
Developing this roster of recurring web features, and working on the stories, has been an invigorating — and just plain fun — addition to our days. Special thanks go to deputy editor Jill C. Shomer and associate editor Anne-Ryan Heatwole JRN’09 for being the creative forces behind most of the content. We hope you’ll visit often. Go ahead and bookmark our page. Or if you haven’t already followed Columbia College Alumni on Facebook or Twitter, I encourage you to do so; we’ll be sharing there whenever a new “Latest” post goes live. And please let us know what you think. Jill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you’re always welcome to write me at email@example.com.
Thanks, and happy clicking!