By Mathilde Myburgh
You don’t have to work in communications to know that this year flipped the script as far as ‘the typical’ parts of a job like mine are concerned. Since joining the board’s professional team in January, the title on my email signature —writer and content developer— has become a mere fraction of what working from home, going digital and managing this organisation’s communication strategy and its execution has required of me.
Firstly, we now do everything online. I haven’t printed a single piece of information on paper since 15 March (conservatively speaking, likely earlier for this eco-warrior). While that’s pleasing, it does mean that our largely paper-based operation in the office was suddenly made unavailable in March.
We can’t refer to the past and thus have to invent the future based on current feelings and needs. While we work at home, we’ve learned to store our data in the cloud, and we’ll be faced with the mammoth task of archiving All. That. Paper. when we’re back in office.
Secondly, we had to publish a not-nearly-ready website, and fast.
Truthfully, we were in the midst of a website redesign project when the office was closed, and suddenly, having some digital real estate that could host all our content and information was our topmost priority, entrusted to this newcomer. I had to invent the tools my colleagues and the board members needed and develop new skills. Today, www.capesajbd.org is much more reflective of our work than it’s ever been, and I know this investment will continue to serve us well beyond COVID-19.
Thirdly, ‘media relations’ has been its own contronym in 2020. Working at your dining room table as part of the communal COVID-19 response team, then becoming the media link for Highlands House, then hosting an election has meant we couldn’t abide various print standards and deadlines (for the most part). Our digital presence was where we said it first, and I believe this is a forever change — a new normal.
That said, we’ll always be here in the Chronicle, and we’re strategising further print presence for 2021.
Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.
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