National Education Association (NEA) hired vjoon’s American business partner, TrazerEdge, to implement vjoon K4, to allow editors, designers, and production professionals to collaborate more effectively. The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional employee organization in the United States, committed to promoting public education. NEA’s 3 million members work at every level of education — from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
NEA Today magazine is the flagship publication of the NEA. Delivered quarterly to educators nationwide, the publication explores today’s toughest teaching challenges and solutions. Additionally, the organization publishes NEA Today for NEA–Retired Members, NEA Today for Future Educators, Higher Education Advocate, and a number of other distinct titles. While some of the magazines' content is shared across publications, the majority of content is different for each title.
As demand increased with the addition of new titles and more content both in print and in digital editions, the NEA needed to optimize editorial and production workflow. Additionally, NEA needed a way to improve its remote collaboration with Groff Creative, the organization‘s design and production agency based in Bethesda, MD. NEA sought a workflow management system that would allow Groff Creative an optimal way to create layouts in InDesign with associated article ‚shells‘ that NEA staff writers and editors could then pass through internal workflow concurrently to Groff’s design and production process.
TrazerEdge consultants met with the NEA’s editorial, design, and production staff onsite in Washington, DC to review existing workflow and discuss the team's challenges. The TrazerEdge team gathered requirements for the system, helped identify impediments in the current publishing workflow, and offered suggestions on how to improve the process with a vjoon K4 status-based workflow. Next, TrazerEdge partnered with Scott Dunn of Flux Consulting, Inc., a longstanding colleague, to install vjoon K4 onsite at NEA. Scott also provided vjoon K4 administrator training to the NEA IT staff charged with maintaining the platform onsite.
TrazerEdge then configured the vjoon K4 system in accordance with the publishing requirements. Based on the publishing staff’s feedback, TrazerEdge progressively modified the configuration until NEA staff agreed that it would meet their needs.
Mary Ellen Flannery, editor at NEA: “Pre-vjoon K4: The writer writes (that’s me!), the editor edits, the designer designs, and the spaces between each of these steps are vast with inevitable stumbles and falls. Post-vjoon K4: In the shared space that vjoon K4 provides, we actually can talk to each other! I love how vjoon K4 enables me to ‘see’ my story unfold on the page, as I write it. And I appreciate how it provides an easily accessed platform for collaboration between writers, editors, and designers, which ultimately creates a much more efficient, much better publication.”
TrazerEdge ensured excellent support by returning back several times to NEA’s offices to provide vjoon K4 training as well as on-site and remote support as the editors produced their first issues of NEA Today with vjoon K4. Additionally, TrazerEdge created reference sheets that editorial, design, and production staff could use as guides when first learning vjoon K4. Thereafter, TrazerEdge helped NEA refine configurations for all other titles in publication, including NEA Today for NEA–Retired Members and the Higher Education Advocate.
vjoon K4 provides NEA staff with the much-needed visibility into what other team members are working on throughout the editorial production process. The vjoon K4 platform is flexible, configurable, and scalable, allowing NEA to use the same tools and technology for the production of all of the organization’s magazines. Editorial staff can now work seamlessly with Groff Creative to publish the organization’s magazines more efficiently through the use of vjoon K4.
Jay Groff, Creative Director at Groff Creative is enthusiastic about the result: “The interface is seamless within InDesign and works like any other design process we are used to. From a design standpoint, I can easily check on the progress of copy input as well as see what the layout is looking like as the copy is input. vjoon K4 allows the writers to know if their copy is running long as it highlights overset copy. This helps cut down a bit of production back and forth to address the overset. K4 also allows a copy to be easily routed to other writers or edits as questions arise and to annotate the question in the history of the article. This helps everyone see what is happening and what happened, etc.”
Looking towards the future, TrazerEdge and Flux Consulting, Inc. continue to help support NEA and Groff with end-user and technical support as well as software and feature upgrades of vjoon K4.
“We had a great experience with TrazerEdge throughout the project, from requirements meetings to system prototyping, training, and rollout of vjoon K4. We appreciate the ongoing attention they have given us and look forward to continuing to get the most out of our investment in vjoon K4”, mentions Earline Spence, Production Manager at NEA.
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