Monday, June 8, 2009

Kindred Magazine's New Future


It was March 2002 when Kindred (then byronchild) first hit the newsagent stands. The challenge of midwifing a courageous and uncompromising magazine amidst the noise of mainstream media has been its own hero’s journey. It has required that I not only bend and transform with external changes, but yield to internal pulls of spirit and intuition as well. In the span of nearly 8 years, the world has changed dramatically—and the Kindred readership along with it. In that same time span, I have become even more resolutely committed to the vision Kindred represents, which has in turn, changed me.

The scope and speed of the global changes, both in play and required, make it apparent that in order for Kindred to be effective and responsive, it must remain nimble. Further, we must be exemplary in our commitment to our core principles, most significantly that of sustainability (leaders lead, after all). Knowing this has required that I deeply examine what sustainability really means, and how its three tenets—social, financial, and environmental—need to be ever more deeply investigated and implemented within this project.

It has become apparent, upon reflection, that Kindred is, at this moment in our shared history, poised and ready to make powerful, innovative revisions in the way we think about, and manifest, the greatest possible impact, for the greatest possible good in each of these three in the ways. Given this remarkable opportunity, we realise we must, if we are going to make a real difference – and be the very change we want to see – act boldly, decisively, and without delay.

Sustainability:

Socially,
Kindred will not truly be all it can be as long as its content remains channelled exclusively through media and methods accessible only to the relatively affluent. A by-sale-or-subscription magazine, combined with a website, draw a very clear socio-economic line between those we reach, and those we don’t.

For Kindred to make a difference, its information needs to be available to all...freely. In addition, Kindred readers are no longer satisfied to just read articles; they want to engage with the content, share it, upload their own ideas and stories, collaborate around them, make change happen through them, and deeply participate not only with the content, but with each other.

The traditional ‘top down’ approach to the sharing of information is no longer viable as the most vital and nourishing way to grow our Kindred community, and seed its message in the soil of a new generation.

Environmentally, the costs are patently obvious. Printing and distributing a magazine comes at a huge cost to the planet, involving vast investments of paper, water, and other printing costs, including fossil fuels. No matter how clean the stock, or green the printing process—and regardless of how many carbon credits we purchase to offset the damage of this activity—when examined through the lens of our carbon footprint per reader, this way of reaching our readership seems unnecessarily wasteful.

Financially, Kindred needs to consider its social and environmental responsibilities and outcomes and determine if there is a better way to meet them that is more financially responsible to the publisher, advertisers, and readers. As an enterprise, Kindred has been operating in a very traditional model that has required a level of infrastructure restrictive to its flexibility and profitability.

As much as this enquiry into sustainability is centred on Kindred, it has been of equal importance for me to consider the social, environmental and financial consequences that Kindred’s operational model has had on myself and my family

From Print to Web
In response to the changes I see happening in how people engage with information, as well as in response to the need for Kindred to be truly sustainable, I have spent the last two years developing an ambitious multi-platform web project. Our new website is a collaborative, community learning, community supported site, where discussion forums, blogs, expert columns, link-journalism and community-generated content are harnessed to support the worldwide imperative that we begin to live differently.

In the wake of this new online project, Kindred Magazine will no longer be available in a print magazine format. All of our future material will be available freely online. Additionally, printed versions of content will be made available to underprivileged populations that have no access to Internet, through values-shared charities and organisations. In this way Kindred can transcend any socio-economic limitations imposed by any barriers to Internet access.

For some, this may feel disappointing (and of course, sudden), but from where I am looking, I have never felt so clear about the direction of Kindred. I have seen—just through our previous very conservative website—the immense capacity of the online medium to be able to move, shift, collaborate, and be efficiently current. It is also the main medium of the new generation of parents, and increasingly a source of information and inspiration to grandparents (who, as we know, are returning to a more consistent role in children’s lives). Our new, soon-to-be-launched site—combined with a renewed leadership—positions the material Kindred has become so recognised for, to become more empowered and effective. Most importantly, it harnesses the real strength of the sustainable living and natural parenting movement—Kindred’s readers.

For an interesting read about the need for magazines to shift read this article.

The Future of Kindred and You
The new web project will enter pre-launch about three months from now, with the project going live approximately one month after that. Between now and then, I invite you to let me know about any projects, individuals, or initiatives that might be included in it. If you have any feedback, ideas, or concerns, I would also be pleased to hear from you. Below you will find a variety of ways, some familiar, others exciting and new – that you can use to stay in touch with how things are progressing, and offer several avenues for your much-appreciated feedback.

Prior to launch, you’ll be receiving updates on the project’s developments, and then a countdown. When we’re finally live, we’ll celebrate by diving in and exploring its many capacities. What this means for you is that Kindred will be able to provide, finally, a platform for hundreds of thousands of readers, and the potential that all of our voices, collectively, to be heard.

Where to now?
Now is an important time, not only for Kindred but for all of us. And I encourage you to stay in touch with us via the following methods if you haven’t already. This is not only so we can share with you the adventure of our transformation, but also so that you can give us your ideas and feedback, to help us shape shift in collaboration with you:
  • Newsletter – Our free monthly e-newsletter is filled with excellent articles, links, news, ideas and inspiration. Sign on now and don't miss a single issue.
  • Kali’s blog – Sign on to receive my blog that will not only enlighten you about the huge transformative process happening at Kindred, but allow you to share your thoughts and ideas as well.
  • Twitter - have you tried Twitter yet? It’s heaps of fun, and following Kindred lets you get all the inside scoop, as well as leads to great articles, links, ideas and amazing initiatives. Go on, give it a go and check out Kindred's Twitter!
  • Facebook – Become a fan of Kindred on Facebook.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Kindred - our work, our vision, and our community. You have been, and I sincerely hope you will continue to be, an inspiration to me, to the team at Kindred and to our growing community of contributors, and helped shape what Kindred is becoming.

Kindest regards,

Kali Wendorf
Publisher & Editor

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations on this bold new move Kali - We look forward to seeing & experiencing the new site in the near future!

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  2. i nod my head to everything you have said here kali. blessings for a bright Kindred future!

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  3. yes. thank you for all you do. i am moved by your realness and your commitment. with great love, kris

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  4. Congratulations on your new approach and for staying true to your vision....I look forward to seeing your new look site.

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