Opinion: One Team one BIG project

By Mike Williscraft

So, now that it is done and out the door, let’s talk a little One Team. One Dream. Magazine.

That is the biggest, most work-intensive publication I have ever worked on as a one-off project. I worked on larger single publications, but they were part of a larger, ongoing entity.

The difference with the One Team. One Dream., though, and nearly everything else I’ve done in 35 years in publishing is there is only one kick at this can.

No mulligans. No do-overs.

Throw on the heap of pressure, the content, the reason for putting the whole thing together in the first place – West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

Absolutely nothing is in the same ballpark – for the vast majority of residents – as WLMH. Nothing is close.

Yes, there are amenities people think important. Our community centres, for sure, the YMCA say some, our waterfront and walking trails are all features that get a mention.

But healthcare, WLMH and its staff are sacred.

You don’t mess with sacred and I sure didn’t want to be the one to miss a fact, leave something out, make an egregious error…the whole publication deserved to be something that lived up to the facility’s storied history.

During the process, which started last November with a meeting with Andrew Smith, who chairs the Take It To The Finish fundraising campaign, to discuss the merits and how it could be shaped to maximize impact both on possible content and timing.

At that point, we planned to put it out right around Victoria Day, give or take.

A lot of stuff, not much of it good, happened between November and late April. We had one lockdown and were headed for another.

The impact of that altered the course of the WLMH Foundation’s planning for the fundraising campaign and certainly changed the potential for many of those who would want to be part of the advertising mix to support the initiative.

We agreed on a reset for early June. Then the third lockdown came. That almost killed the whole thing as it was pushing the project into the turf of our important Best In The West reader survey results publication. Our office is tiny and there are only so many hours in a day.

Best In the West is a six week project for us, so no way that and the One Team mag could overlap. So One Team was reset for last week of June, which nudged into July 1.

That timing worked out ideal all around as it coincided with a move from Stage 1 of reopening to Stage 2 – optimism, finally.

Five days of production in and around regular tasks, three days of proofing and it was off to press. I read that thing so many times I could have quoted any of the copy word for word.

The danger, copy gets too familiar. When there are errors, you don’t see them. Your eyes glaze right by. That is why the whole thing was a team effort.

I’ve gotten a boat load-and-a-half of great comments on the magazine. I really do appreciate every one. It is nice to know people see and feel the effort behind it. That does not always happen but, as I noted, people pay attention in a very different way with WLMH. It is all very personal.

I need to thank my team, Catherine for putting up weeks and weeks of late nights and early mornings as well as being part of the sales team with Erica Huisman. Donna Wisnoski did a great job on polishing up the graphic components. Tristan Marks took on everything to keep NewsNow’s pulse pumping while I dedicated weeks to nailing down all things magazine. Joanne McDonald, while juggling duties as a new grandma, proofed and fussed over every detail to ensure quality.

I can’t say enough about these folks. When you, good reader, send in nice notes and good wishes, don’t forget about these guys who allow and help me do these crazy things.

We are all there for the right reason. We love our community and we love WLMH!

Finally, the contributors: wow!

What a dream team roster of talent and commitment. The long list of those who offered all those varying points of view are owed a debt of gratitude. They provided insights, simply, nobody else could have conjured. They’ve been there, they lived the past and will usher WLMH into a long and glorious future. For that, I thank them and you, good reader, from the bottom of my heart.

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