FROM THE TOP: A Trend-Setting Magazine for a Fast-Moving Association

By Christian Hamaker, Editor

It wasn’t too long after I started at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association that the magazine you’re reading made some changes. Debuting with the January/February 2009 issue, NTCA’s flagship publication would no longer be known as “Rural Telecommunications,” but by the shorter “Rural Telecom.” With that new name came a new design—more white space, slightly shorter articles and a variety of graphical tweaks for a fresher, more easy-to-digest publication.

If you had told me then that it would be more than eight years before the magazine would be redesigned again, I would have been skeptical. But here we are, all those years later, ready for our close-up. Welcome to the redesigned Rural Telecom!

You’ll recognize some of the major changes even before opening to this page: a new logo to complement a strong photographic cover image and cleaner design, and a tighter Table of Contents. The cover date is “spring”; we’re now a quarterly.

As you move further into the issue, you’ll be greeted by several new departments. Those include “The Wire”—similar to what you’ve known as “Short Takes” but incorporating more infographics as well as the latest industry telco-executive transitions. We’ve also given that department more space, as we have for “#RuralIsSocial,” our roundup of tweets, Facebook posts and association-related social-media mentions.

Other departments have evolved as well. Our “Perspective” column, focusing on an individual in the rural-telco industry, has been rechristened “A Few Questions,” giving our interview subjects not only a chance to talk about their expertise but to show a more personal side via a set of quick-hit questions we’re calling “Fast and Furious.” Look for “A Few Questions” (on p. 16) right after our renamed column from NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. Now called “Connecting the Dots,” Shirley’s column provides a spectrum of updates on NTCA regulatory efforts, meeting highlights and social-media initiatives.

Behind the features you’ll find a new column from NTCA’s Training & Development staff, “Training Days,” highlighting upcoming speakers and sessions. And since we know benefits are a big draw for many NTCA members, we’re rolling out a benefits-oriented column, starting with a wellness piece from member telco CTC (Brainerd, Minn.).

That may be a lot of change to take in, but in an industry that’s setting the pace for connectivity and service, we wanted the association’s magazine to be its own trendsetter. We hope you enjoy paging through this redesigned issue of Rural Telecom, and through many issues to come.