For ten years, I served as Director of Online Communications for a large religious organization—the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. While my role ended when the Archdiocese made budget cuts to free up desperately needed resources for Syrian refugees, I am continually grateful for the opportunities afforded to me in this position.
The work was dynamic, and my professional expertise deeply needed, as Internet publishing technology and social media transformed large scale organizational communication and influence during my tenure. This quote from an article I published in the monthly print magazine of the Archdiocese not long after taking on the role emphasizes that I served as publisher for a passionate cadre of citizen journalists, and had to continuously design and innovate in order to best present their collective efforts.
It is critical that we work to use the Web well, because it is fast becoming the most important method of public conversation in our society, particularly for those without a lot of money to spend. I’ve heard it said that much of the Internet is a collective exercise in citizen’s journalism, and it’s a useful metaphor for our efforts as an Archdiocese. We at the Department of Internet Ministry are the publisher, and you are our “stringers”, in newspaper jargon—the writers, recorders and photographers who provide us with the source material for us to publish on Antiochian.org. This is the model that we’re working to incorporate, one where we create and maintain a conduit or platform for your messages.
My ongoing work with the department was extensive, and included these highlights: