Get Your Multimedia House in Order
“It’s also important for the content people to have a good understanding of and respect for what developers do and vice versa,” she says. “Their work must be collaborative.”
Rob Cleveland, director of development for Atlanta-based August House—a multimedia publisher of children’s stories and folktale anthologies, agrees. He adds, however, that staff-training decisions often hinge upon how up-to-date the current staff is already, and planning for a long-term vision for the company can help.
“When we started [the company], we knew what we were going to do. So, the in-house artists we hired also [were] online animators. It wasn’t like we had to train them on digital endeavors,” he says.
One of August House’s most digitally advanced line of books is its Story Cove Collection, which is simultaneously released in print and online with animation movies and downloadable PDF lesson plans available on the Web.
Cleveland notes that all of August House’s staff is in a continual state of training and adds, “Of course, we want people on staff who are hungry to learn.”
Avalon was progressive as well. In fact, for the past 10 years, it has published text from one of its best-selling travel guides online. “‘Road Trip USA,’ by Jamie Jensen, has lived on various Web sites and has been updated with every new edition. That kind of work was being done in-house already by knowledgeable staff,” says Cox.
Who’s Responsible for What?
Producing print and online versions of “Road Trip USA,” says Cox, has always been a collaborative effort among all employees. And, such a blending of responsibilities, rather than a division of them, is often the secret to multimedia success.
“My experience has been that clients with real success do not have a separate electronic group,” says Trippe. “If they do, it is a very market-focused group, but for the most part workloads among editorial, creative and production are blended.”