What Does the Crowd Say?
One association publisher uses crowdsourcing to give members a voice in its redesign
By Bridget Murray Law
When I joined the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2011 as the managing editor of the association’s flagship publication, the time was ripe for change.
The ASHA Leader was a 48-page tabloid published every three weeks. The editorial tone was scholarly, with features written in the dry style of an academic journal (research citations and all) — an approach we suspected was off-putting to busy members seeking an accessible read. And the rest of the publication emphasized straight news — though with a three-week publishing cycle, the news was no longer news when The Leader dropped. The publication was simply missing the mark.
The association leadership recognized this and was ready to change the title’s voice and appearance to better engage our readers — over 190,000 audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Management assembled a team to execute this task, and it included me, our director of publications, our assistant managing editor, the Washington, D.C. design firm Bussolati, and the balance of The Leader staff.
Our team caught onto something early in the project that proved critical to our success: Our opinions weren’t the ones that mattered.