Perhaps it’s fitting that my grandiose plan for making this announcement this morning on the site has taken this more subdued form anyway. I’d intended to roll out the redesign of The Terminal this morning while making this pitch to all of you about the direction and vision I’ve long hoped the site would take. One canceled flight and a night-long scramble to set up Plan B kind of slowed the effort down considerably. Luckily, I can still share the highlights with you this morning and flesh out the details for you some more as the weekend unfolds.
By the way, you’ll probably see that redesign reveal itself over the next few days. Anyway…
The flight in question will take me to Chicago, IL and CityCamp. The best way to describe this conference is one that may lay some groundwork for the future of collecting information and encouraging engagement. That’s why this topic has been on my mind for some time…
The Terminal at its core is still about having a conversation about Birmingham, AL and its metropolitan area with the hope that it would help change the way things are done in Alabama’s Magic City as well as the amount of people that are engaged in that conversation for change.
To stay true to my self-imposed deadline of having this up no later than 7:45 a.m. this morning, I can’t go into too many details except to say that the best way to achieve this goal of truly engaging Birmingham in a meaningful conversation is by being as transparent as possible about the process. So on Monday morning expect to have access to The Terminal’s business plan for the next 12 months. I hesitate to call it a business plan instead of a work plan – something that implies that progress must be made and tasks completed.
Here’s a simplified version of that vision:
- One where a true staff is developed – one that has both people who have a moment or two to share how they see Birmingham as well as those who are able to dig a little deeper into the issues and the fun that we’re interested in learning more about that makes Birmingham unique. A staff of five or six would be ideal.
- One where we can serve as a testing ground for journalism using all of these new media tools, allowing college students from area universities to have a chance to have some extended real world experience thinking of interesting ways to use whatever else comes down the pipeline.
- One where The Terminal occupies a physical space that expands on what we’d hoped to accomplish during our stay at Shift Workspace. My hope would be to one day have a facility facing or around the corner from Railroad Park giving folks using our city’s proposed “living room” a chance to engage for fun and for serious discussion. The staff mentioned previously would be able to use a portion of the space not just to prepare stories for the website but to work on outside projects as well.
- A website that becomes one of the first L3C corporations in the state of Alabama, enabling us to truly serve the city as our primary mission.
I’ll need the help of everyone that is able in order to move this vision for the future of The Terminal forward in the next 11 months. It may be a lot to ask, but all I’ll say is I want this to be much more than my site since that was my hope for it when it started.
A special section will appear on Monday morning that provides much more detail about how I hope this will be accomplished. I’ll hope that you stop on over when it does launch and add your thoughts.
Right now I’d ask for you to think about how you want this site to serve you as a reader. Then I’d ask for you to add your thoughts to the comments section below. I won’t be able to see them until after I figure out where I’m staying in Chicago anyway…
Thanks in advance for your comments and for the time that you take to check out this site from time to time. I sincerely appreciate it.
André Natta is the stationmaster of bhamterminal.com.