A little more than 10 years ago we launched Stanford Social Innovation Review. Five years ago we updated the design and changed some of the departments. With this issue we have tweaked the magazine once again. Our new look is bolder, more energetic, and more contemporary, better reflecting the tenor of today’s social change movement.
We have also rearranged the order of the departments and renamed some. What’s Next, Field Report (née What Works), and Case Study—our most popular departments—were moved from the back of the magazine to the front. And Viewpoint (née First Person), Research, and Books (née Reviews) were moved from the front to the back. Features, our most important department, remains at the center of the magazine.
But this redesign is more than just a new look and a new ordering of departments. It also involves one small, but important, change to the content. We have replaced Letters with the new SSIR Online (starting on the page to the right). Online content is becoming a more important part of the mix of the overall content that SSIR provides, and we want to make sure that our magazine readers know about it.
Dropping Letters does not mean that we are no longer interested in reader feedback. Far from it. It’s just that the way that readers provide feedback has changed radically, and we are adjusting to those changes. Before the World Wide Web, readers provided feedback about articles primarily by writing letters to the editor.
Today almost no one writes letters. Feedback now happens online, which is as it should be. Online we have unlimited space to run comments, allowing everyone’s opinion to be heard. The change in medium also allows readers and authors to respond to one another’s comments, a more immediate, productive, and democratic process. The Community section in SSIR Online brings some of those online comments about magazine articles back into the magazine.
SSIR Online also features several other sections. Digital Highlights draws attention to some of the numerous online-only articles we publish. In this issue, they include an excerpt from a provocative blog post by Mulago Foundation Managing Director Kevin Starr, titled “Dump the Prizes,” along with several reader responses. The section also alerts readers to two in-depth series we ran exclusively online, one on gun control and the other on philanthropy.
The Magazine Extras section provides a list of content appearing online that supplements an article in the current issue of the magazine, in this case “Social Innovation From the Inside Out.” The Books section draws attention to an excerpt that we ran online from a new book titled Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. And Podcasts highlights one of the hundreds of podcasts that we offer free online.
The content highlighted in SSIR Online is only a taste of the content that SSIR publishes online. We encourage you to explore our website (and, we hope, bookmark it) and read some of the thousands of original articles that you can find only at ssireview.org.
Read more stories by Eric Nee.