Letter from Rachel Williams, Director of Content Operations

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

Hello Newsela Contributors!


I am writing to you from our headquarters in New York City. Some of you may remember me from the year I spent building and managing Newsela’s contributor community back in 2015. Since then, the Operations team has grown from one to four (with a few more on the way!) and our pool of contributors has grown and evolved, as well. We have more types of assignments than ever before, even though we aren’t necessarily publishing more articles per day. The Content team is finding new ways to organize, create, select, and support content and I am thrilled to see that translate into new Wire assignments. My team is working hard to come up with creative ways to recognize the most outstanding freelancers and give them more responsibility. You all have pushed us to innovate in ways I could not imagine in 2015.

So first and foremost, it is important to me that you all know how much we appreciate you. We truly value your time, commitment, persistence, work ethic, and drive to get high-quality content in before the eyes of students. I know that we could not be where we are today without all of you. You inspire us everyday. It’s also important to note that it’s not just my team that understands your value. Leaders at the company often talk about the work coming out of the content team “machine” and we all know that we could not do what we do without you, our dedicated contributor community. I also want to share that we so regularly hear how much our users love the content, they come to Newsela for the content, they rely on Newsela to supply interesting and engaging articles and instructional supports that will capture the attention of their classroom and spark their students’ imaginations. I am not confident that this gets passed down the telephone chain to you all enough. Our teachers and students LOVE the content you produce.


We had a very busy summer in the Newsela offices. Last week we launched four new features or products that position Newsela well on the path to achieving our goals of providing an unparalleled reading experience and providing the right content to our users. First, we launched a new content platform for our users who have purchased Collections. Second, we launched our three Social-Emotional Learning collections, Elementary, Middle, and High School. These are premium collections that schools and districts purchase for a school year. Third, we released the first batch of Custom Collections. Newsela now provides customized solutions to districts’ curriculum needs. And fourth, we launched Lesson Sparks. A new instructional support that we provide with collections that helps teachers find ways to use our content in their classrooms. A huge thank you to everyone involved in these four projects (hint: most of you were involved by leveling and editing articles, writing quizzes, and creating power words activities!). We are very proud of the work and are excited to embark on the second iterations.


We are full steam ahead on the 2018-2019 school year. For our team and you all, this means we are ramping up our daily article publishing calendar again, and we are juggling this against some of our longer term projects. Newsela is prioritizing content production more than ever because we have some very large 2018, 2019, and 2020 goals. This is a very exciting time for us, we have big plans for our product development to make our content production tools smarter, the process more seamless, and the experience more delightful. On the roadmap we have:

  1. A new article editor for those of you that level or edit articles.

  2. An invoice feature in the Wire so you only have to go one place to submit and manage invoices.

  3. An improvement to let us and you track your non-article work or side projects on the Wire instead of in spreadsheets.

  4. A new units editor that decreases the number of clicks required, increases transparency of organization throughout the content structure, and makes the overall creation and editing experience easier.

  5. A new homepage on the Wire so you can better organize and manage your work.

  6. A mobile feature that will no longer restrict you to checking your email for new assignments.

Lots to work on with you all! Our team is growing and we look forward to introducing you to some new members soon. You know where to reach us if you have questions or feedback. We hope you all have a wonderful rest of 2018. Thank you for being part of the Newsela family.


Cheers,

Rachel

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