All roads lead to membership: DoR’s journey — Part 2 (Technology)

What didn’t work so well:

  • Finding the balance between planning and communication, says Mihai. We didn’t spend enough time on planning and as we changed the technology we were implementing, we assumed some things were already done when they weren’t. We could have been more efficient and not underestimate things so much.
  • Because the process was so new for everyone, we learned along the way how to organise, which meant we didn’t know the right questions to ask in order to evaluate our progress, says Cristian Lupșa, DoR editor. We didn’t know how to set benchmarks and ask questions about where we are, whether we are moving forward fast enough, etc. It’s easy to look back and say we could’ve got where we are now a lot faster.
  • We didn’t have all the stakeholders involved in the process early enough. We figured it out along the way, but if the technology is supposed to solve issues regarding distribution, billing, and community management, those actively working in those fields should be present in meetings a lot earlier than when we brought them into the process.

What worked well:

  • We answered the “should we have a paywall?” question with an elegant tech solution, says Mihai. We built a Community Page with several sections that are available exclusively for members, including behind the scenes content, playlists of audio versions of our stories and reading recommendations, while keeping our journalism available to all for free on the website.
  • The process was “freestyle” and this enabled us to always ask for opinions and integrate new ideas, says Mihai. Other tech projects are much more rigid. We surveyed extensively and organised focus groups with our community members, as well as tested the tools inside the newsroom.
  • The shop, the community page and our own editorial sections are on the same website and smoothly integrated with a cohesive design.

Three things we wished we knew when we started:

  1. It’s unlikely that there is one tool that will solve all of your problems.
  2. To be more mindful of the integrations with the payment processors, billing, shipping and other services. These are things you use every day, so even if there’s a plugin that seems to be working, test and test again.
  3. Ask whether you are advancing fast enough, and make decisions based on that. If you’re using a new tool, check in with others who have already implemented it. How did that process go? Where were they successful, and where did they get stuck?

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Quarterly magazine publishing narrative nonfiction from Romania

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DoR (Decât o Revistă)

DoR (Decât o Revistă)

Quarterly magazine publishing narrative nonfiction from Romania

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