Teaching Practices, Model Assignments

Creating Digital
Items From
Print Newsletters

Literacy: creating and curating faith-based media artifacts
Literacy: navigating hybrid and digital cultures

This in-class activity by Kyle Oliver lets students try out a practical approach to a thorny church communications problem:

How do you adapt print content for online publication in ways people will actually engage with?

Participants will find an interesting article or other item from a print newsletter and redesign it, in whole or in part, in ways appropriate to a social media platform of their choosing.

Excerpt:

Most churches spend a substantial amount of time and energy creating print newsletters and/or announcement flyers, which they then upload (usually as giant PDF files) to their websites. However, most people don’t like reading PDFs on smartphones, which is how an increasing share of Internet use happens. What’s more, PDFs, and collections of multiple articles generally, aren’t very shareable on social media.

Online content from church websites is much more likely to do well if a single article or story is its own “item” with it own URL (and its own link preview or promotional image on social media).

Your challenge is to repurpose content from the provided print newsletters to create a draft/prototype of a “digital item” that could be shared by the organization. This kind of quick drafting is characteristic of the planning/storyboarding process many communications and creative professionals use as they develop their ideas and refine them for publication.

(This link requires a Google account. It will prompt you to make a clean copy of the document that you can then edit according to your needs.)

Newsletter item screenshot photo

Sample social media post pointing to a standalone online article adapted from a church print newsletter.

Background image: “Print is Alive” by Bank Phrom via Unsplash (CC0)