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Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Department of Communications

Report to the Archdiocesan Council
September 27, 2002



I. Department Update

Since the establishment of the Department of Communications in May 2002, attention has been given to the following areas:

  • analysis of the scope of the work of each office of the Department
  • analysis of immediate budget concerns related to special and on-going projects
  • implementation of new technology to enhance quality of production and resources
  • establishment of procedures and policies to facilitate workflow
  • development of new communication resources for all levels of the Archdiocese

All of this has been aided by the quality work and high level of cooperation among the directors and staff in each office. Together we have addressed significant issues, shared ideas and opinions, and agreed on methods and responses.

Scope of Work

Each office of the Department of Communications has the responsibility to provide quality resources and services to the people, parishes, dioceses, departments, institutions, and organizations of our Archdiocese. Significant progress has been made in the past year, and careful evaluation and planning are being implemented for the coming years.

Major projects and accomplishments of the past year

Office of News and Information/Public Relations

  • Enhanced media coverage of 9/11 related events and Patriarchal visit
  • On-line Yearbook
  • Publication of September 11 Memorial Brochure
  • Expanded use of Internet for information on the Greek Orthodox Church, the Archdiocese, the Archbishop, News, and Special Events

GOTelecom

  • Introduction of "Illuminations" a quarterly video magazine
  • 9/11 Hallmark Special on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
  • Production of numerous resources for institutions, departments and organizations

Orthodox Observer

  • 10 issue publication schedule for 2002
  • Layout and color enhancements
  • Special Clergy Laity section distributed in every June issue

Internet Ministries

  • New web site launched that now averages 1.2 million hits per week
  • Extensive special feature for 9/11 anniversary
  • Addition of numerous resources to the web site for parish ministry



Budget Concerns

The budget for each department is being analyzed carefully to ensure that our resources are being used in the best possible ways. Several major projects, such as "Illuminations" and some facets of the web site, are being funded by grants from Leadership 100.

Attention is currently being given to the revenue sources of the Orthodox Observer. With a subscription list of approximately 130,000, the Observer is provided to the members of our parishes without individually paid subscriptions. Therefore, a proper and consistent program of sponsorships and advertising is being examined to assist with production costs that are averaging $60k per issue.

The plan is proceeding to eliminate all but emergency fax distribution by the Spring of 2003. When we are able to communicate with every parish of the Archdiocese electronically, we be able to discontinue faxing and mailing. This will result in savings of $15k to $20k per year.



New Technology

With the launching of the new web site, the work of communications on behalf of the Archdiocese has not only entered a new phase, but it has been enhanced in numerous ways. The use of the Internet continues to grow rapidly, and the Archdiocese has responded by having the dynamic tool of our own web site and quality technological tools to enhance our work at all levels.

  1. New Content Management System — This has been in place for a few months and is enabling the proper production and publishing of news releases, encyclicals, advisories, etc. The system has been set-up to assist the distribution of information for the Dioceses as well, and we will be offering this service in the coming months with adaptations to the needs of each Diocese.

  2. Journey of Faith — This section of the Archbishop's home page is now in production and offers a view of the pastoral ministry of Archbishop Demetrios, and of the Hierarchs, Dioceses, and Parishs of our Archdiocese as the Archbishop travels throughout America.

  3. Home Page "Spotlight" — This special section on the home page of the web site allows for weekly features related to special events (e.g. 9/11 Anniversary, Enthronement Anniversary, etc.)

Establishment of Procedures and Policies

In order to ensure the timely and proper communication of the work and ministry of the Archdiocese, new procedures and policies are needed. This is also necessary due to the increasing availability of different types of media in both electronic and print formats.

Internal policies are being established that clarify the workflow of communications between offices and departments of the Archdiocese (e.g. Publication schedules for timely submissions; use of resources of one department by another; proper editorial procedures; clarification to parishes, departments, organizations, and institutions of policies on issuing releases; etc.)

These issues will be address in a concise guide on Archdiocesan Communications that will be issued by the end of the year.

New Resources and Services

Constant attention is being given to providing new resources and services to the dioceses, parishes, institutions, and organizations of our Archdiocese. Below are a number of programs that are being or will be implemented in the coming months.

  • Weekly E-bulletin through Listserver and Web site (launched 9/27/02). This service will provide direct links via an e-mail message to news items or special features on the web sites or page of our departments, dioceses, organizations, etc.

  • Enhancement of Ministry Resource section of Web page. Most of the workshops offered at Clergy Laity were audio taped. These are being digitalized and will be made available with presentation materials. This will add 30 new topics to this section.

  • Parish Bulletin Builder — This resource will be launched in the coming months and will facilitate the production of weekly parish bulletins.

  • On-Line Observer — This resource will provide information on the web site in a format similar to other newspapers, allowing access to stories, special features, and news in a timely manner.

  • Publication of PR materials that will enhance the visibility and witness of our faith.

  • Work with each Diocese to adapt technology to Diocesan needs.

  • Request for presentations at Diocesan assemblies to increase knowledge and use at the parish level of the communication resources of the Archdiocese