Start the Presses: An invitation to join the community

After half a dozen fits and starts, I'm happy to announce we are finally beginning our Community Advisory Boards.

It's been so long since I've written about this that many of you may not even remember what this board is supposed to be or what it's supposed to do. In a nutshell, I'm looking for locals to weigh in on the direction of the papers, both in print and online.

This group of between 12 to 15 men and women would meet on a quarterly basis to provide feedback on three main topics:

  • what the paper is doing well;

  • how the paper could improve; and

  • what the board would like to see in the future.

The board for the Glendale News-Press will have its first meeting in February, while the board for the Burbank Leader will convene in March. The exact times and dates will be determined once we have the membership set to make it convenient as possible for all involved.

Why are we doing this? Honestly, because I believe the papers are a community trust, and receiving this type of feedback allows me to create a publication that locals trust above all others. Additionally, I find it invigorating to discuss journalism with people that are as passionate about the subject — and their cities — as I am.

This coming April will make my fifth anniversary with the papers. A lot has changed since then, much for the better. But perhaps not all, and as I've said many times, there are few changes we make here that are irreversible. Taking the time to improve things, to refuse to do something simply because we always have, carries risk.

But I want to be more deliberate and more intelligent with that risk. This is the major reason why I want the community's input. There is no formal application, but if you're interested, please send me an email at dan.evans@latimes.com with the following information:

  • name and occupation;

  • how long you've lived in Glendale or Burbank;

  • how often you read the paper; and

  • the method you read it (that is, in print, online or with a mobile device).

I look forward to hearing from you.

On a related note, I want to talk about a few things we have planned for the New Year. First, I want to thank everyone for being patient with our new calendar system. The self-serve system has been extremely helpful for us in the newsroom, and it appears it's a good thing for the community as well.

Some people, however, still are unsure about how to best use. So, in January, Nicole Charky, our web editor, and I will be providing training sessions. We'll be holding several, so be on the lookout for that announcement.

Second, we're planning on having a regular live blogging schedule on our websites. This is tentatively scheduled for noon on Tuesdays, with myself and our reporters talking about the big news of the week, and inviting readers to weigh in.

And third, we're going to make a bigger push to get our local nonprofits, schools and government organizations involved in our public blog. The blog is designed to allow these organizations space to post announcements or news that we may not have the time or space to deal with. But it doesn’t get a lot of use, mostly because people don’t know about it.

All in all, 2013 has been a good year, but I'm looking forward to 2014 being even better. May the rest of the year be filled with happiness, family and love.

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DAN EVANS is the editor. He can be reached at (818) 627-3234 or dan.evans@latimes.com.

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