Spotlight on Communications

The Communications committee serves as the main facilitator of information for the OTW. Since there’s never been a spotlight done on how the Communications Committee works, new staffers Veronica Pole and John Bayard have created a list of some questions and answers that they themselves had when joining the organization, which other people might have as well.

Veronica describes herself as your average, British, internet-addicted, teen into adult, although perfectly in touch with her inner child. She became a part of the OTW because of her interest in fan fiction, reading, and writing.

John became involved with OTW’s Communication committee because of his interest in Copyright law and its interaction with fandom. John works as an attorney and currently resides in the Philadelphia area in the U.S.

They worked together with Claudia Rebaza, one of the committee’s co-chairs, to provide the answers.

Q1: What is the Communications committee?

A1: Communications (also known as “Comms”) is concerned with organizing communication internally among committees and workgroups, and also between the OTW and the ‘outside world’. It serves various audiences including staff and volunteers in the OTW; fans and users of the OTW’s projects; international media; and contacts from the general public or other organizations.

Q2: What sorts of people work for Comms and what do they do?

A2: There have been many people involved in Communications, from all over the world, and from different cultures and backgrounds. Everyone plays their own part in the committee and they have different skills that they bring to it.

As in the rest of the OTW, one can be in either a volunteer or staffer role. Comms recruited for both positions in the past months. Volunteers generally focus on only one particular task (such as creating artwork) and have more limited responsibilities to the committee.

Staffers help guide the committee’s work, whether through taking on particular tasks such as drafting newsletters; doing beta reading; writing a Spotlight post!; working directly with other committees; or discussing broader policy issues in the OTW that involve communications.

Q3: How does the Communications Committee interact with other OTW committees?

A3: Communications works with other committees in the OTW in both short term and ongoing ways. For ongoing work there are liaison positions so that Comms can stay up to date on developments in those committees that should be publicized. These liaisons attend meetings or read meeting minutes of the committees they’re assigned to, and they help draft reports or posts for those committees. They may also be the person responsible for communicating on that project’s Twitter outlets.

Short term work may involve taking part in multi-committee discussions that involve communicating to the public; developing policies that relate to internal communication; or creating online events to celebrate or publicize an OTW accomplishment.

Q4: What recent projects has the Communications committee been working on?

A4: Some work comes to Comms and other projects are work that Comms develops. For example, in May OTW staffers were interviewed by news outlets about the OTW’s stance towards Kindle Worlds and similar efforts to commercialize fanfiction, and requests on this topic continue to come in. Comms is responsible for either answering incoming questions or forwarding them on to other people or committees in the organization who can provide the answer.

Comms has also worked with other committees to highlight Fanlore’s recent milestone and the OTW’s Annual Report, which Comms compiles along with the OTW Board.

Two projects that Comms plans to develop in the coming year involve celebrations for AO3’s 1 millionth fanwork milestone, and a podcasting project that will explain the OTW’s activities and internal functions.

Q5: If I want to learn more or join the Communications Committee, what is the best way to contact them?

A5: Comms is the default contact point for the OTW and you can message them through their contact form on the OTW website.

People rotate in and out of the OTW so there will be ongoing searches for new staffers or volunteers as new needs arise or positions open up. There is a “Curently Recruiting” box on the OTW website that lists any open positions, and posts are made through OTW News whenever new positions are available. So just subscribe to OTW News through your preferred online platform to stay up to date!