16.02.2015 "The modern online magazine is user-friendly."

Five questions for Nora Grunder. February 2015 will see the launch of "spectra", the prevention and health promotion newsletter published by the Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH), in a new, attractive online format. What’s new, what’s stayed the same? We asked Nora Grunder, the project manager for "spectra online".

Pictures "The modern online magazine is user-friendly."


Why has the FOPH decided to publish spectra as an online magazine as well?

"spectra" is a calling card that the FOPH uses to inform its partners and other interested parties about projects, programmes and strategies in the field of health promotion and prevention. The more readers we can reach, the more effective this medium will be. The aim of the new online format in German, French and English is to expand the readership of this magazine. We want to increase the attention that our varied and interesting topics receive. In addition, a modern online publication offers new ways of networking the various stakeholders, for example by making it possible to share and forward articles. From the editorial office’s point of view, the option of being able to publish articles online at any time, and thus of providing up-to-the-minute information, is particularly attractive.
The newsletter will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in summer 2015. The addition of an online magazine to partner our established and popular print product is rather a nice birthday present, I think!

What obstacles had to be overcome during the project planning phase?

Compared with printed newspapers, the internet is a young medium. It was important to find a contemporary yet ser­ious format in which to present "spectra" online. "spectra" is a service offered by the FOPH. The online version needs to provide fast, user-friendly access to the required information, and at the same time the online magazine can have an attractive design and concept.
Apart from the concept for the content, there were a lot of technical, legal and formal questions to resolve. A project group consisting of the editorial office and other players was set up, and last year this group designed the online magazine from scratch and implemented it in conjunction with the external partners.

What new features can readers of spectra online look forward to?

The online magazine publishes all the "spectra" articles from the printed newsletter and supplements them regularly with additional material. There is also a cross-media approach to the information. For example, topics can be mentioned briefly in the print magazine and then dealt with online in more detail. The online platform also allows us to publish picture galleries, videos and sound documents.  The archive contains the texts that have appeared in the past three years and the editions of "spectra" from the past ten years in PDF format, and these form an interesting reference work that is growing all the time. Div­ision into nine main topics and a full-text search enables readers to find articles quickly and reliably. Meetings and new publications are listed in the "Agenda" and "Publications" sections. The ISSUU tool allows readers to leaf through "spectra" on their screen in the same way as through a paper magazine.

How do readers find out about new content in the online magazine?

An e-mail newsletter informs sub­scribers about new content that has been published on the platform between eight and ten times a year. To make sure they don’t miss anything, potential readers should put their names on the subscription list right now at www.spectra-online.ch. Those who want to know about new content as soon as it appears can order a personal RSS feed. Incidentally, all "spectra" content is still free of charge, both in print and online.

A wide-ranging project! Will the print edition be taken out of circulation?

No, "spectra" will continue to be available on paper. However, the number of editions will be reduced from six to four per year. Subscribers will continue to receive the printed newsletter in their letter boxes in February, May, September and December. And even though we’ll be using less paper, the expansion of "spectra" will both provide us with an attractive, modern online medium and enable us to publish more content overall.


Nora Grunder, Project Manager spectra online, Campaigns Section, nora.grunder@bag.admin.ch

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