Meet the Team: JCM
Within the Joomla organization, quite a number of teams are working on all sorts of projects. We at the Joomla Community Magazine are really curious about what each team is doing, who’s in it, how they work together, what the people are like and how all of us can help them. What better way than asking them? And since there are so many teams, we thought we’d make a series out of this, starting with our own team: the JCM. So if you’re as curious as us: pleased to meet you!
What is the team’s main goal?
Luca Marzo: The Joomla Community Magazine Team is responsible for preparing a monthly release of the magazine. The aim is to publish at least 10 articles per month, promoting Joomla as CMS and its Community. We started several initiatives and “series”, allowing people to discover Joomla core’s features, interviews to Joomlers and members of the leadership, interviews to extensions developers and template designers and case studies. The “new” magazine was founded right after the Forum For The Future in 2020, starting again to publish on a regular basis after 1,5 years of surrounding works, trying to reinstate the success of the old magazine.
How did the team develop over the last year(s)?
Luca: It all started with a Call for volunteers to re-establish the Team. The new team started creating a “celebrative” issue of the Magazine, collecting the Year-end reports from almost all the Teams of the project, so that the March 2020 issue of the Magazine served as a Project recap / status report. Since then, the Team has been able to collect, review and publish a total of 262 articles (until the October 2021 issue), written by team members, contributors, community members and outsiders, allowing us to keep the promise to include at least 10 articles at every issue and publish on a regular basis.
What is your place in Joomla’s ecosphere?
Luca: The Team was placed under the Operations Department in 2017 and benefited from the leadership and close collaboration of Wilco Alsemgeest, who served recently as Operations DC. The Magazine Team has always welcomed the cross-pollination and contributions coming from other teams and departments; also it tried to serve as a marketing and outreach tool. In October 2021, the Board of Open Source Matters decided to move the Community Magazine Team under the Marketing & Communications Department, as a first step towards the organization structure review proposed by the Board at the end of the summer.
What roles do you have within the team?
Luca: The Community Magazine Team offers different ways and roles in which volunteers can contribute. Roles include:
- Editors: Editors are responsible for overseeing content and quality of magazine publications and making sure content is interesting and informative, according to JCM’s editorial line.
- Authors: Authors are the content creators, who write articles for the Magazine.
- Proofreaders:The proofreader is in charge of making sure that the text of any product that involves writing is free of any errors.
Also, you don’t have to be a team member to contribute to the Magazine.
We welcome outsiders and one-time contributors who can submit their content / articles even without being involved in the daily operations / plannings.
Team members: introduce yourself please :)
Luca: I'm the one who starts the skeleton of every new issue and who “packs” the release, scheduling articles, defining the order and this kind of stuff.
Anja de Crom: I joined with the re-ignition in 2020. I write articles, edit, proofread and help authors who need a little guidance in the writing process, for instance because they don’t have much writing experience or are insecure about their English (so if you recognise yourself in this: yes, you too can help out with the JCM by becoming an author). I also have a tendency to want to interview practically everyone I meet. There’s a story in everyone, and it’s often beautiful.
Sandra Decoux: I’m creating the imagery for the magazine. I’m most probably the longest-serving member of the team. I’ve been part of the magazine team since around the beginning of 2013, contributing at different levels (co-editor of the international articles, translator).
Philip Walton: One of the newest regular writers. Mostly a coder and probably the least creative in the team. I enjoy being part of the creative process and the infectious enthusiasm that the other members bring to the mix. I'm in a lot of Joomla teams as a coordinator and this is definitely one of the most fun to be part of.
Patrick Jackson: I joined the new magazine team at the beginning of 2020 and jumped into the deep end focusing on introducing various Joomla 4 features. In the background, I've been helping with some technical support for the magazine too such as contributing CSS changes to improve the styling of the magazine site, as well as converting Sandra's imagery into square graphics for the Social Media Team to put out on Joomla's Instagram.
Andrea Gentil: I also joined the team with the re-ignition in 2020. After a couple of months, I applied as a Team Leader to work also on the administrative organization of the team. Part of a TL's job is to call meetings, post reports on the Joomla Volunteers Portal, and participate in departmental meetings. I have also contributed as an author and editor, and on the website maintenance. At the end of October I left the team, remaining as a contributor, due to new work projects. I will continue to collaborate as far as I can as an author. This was the first time I was TL in Joomla, and I couldn't have got a better team than this one, committed, eager to work and fun.
How often do you have meetings, and how do they take place?
Luca: We generally work “offline”, meaning that we are a team that uses meetings just to recap the status quo of the release. In addition to that we have a monthly meeting to plan the next month's issue. Meetings are generally 30 to 40 minutes long and happen in our Glip channel, in the written form, to welcome contributions independently of the country and surpass language (and accent) barriers, allowing members to review the meeting contents afterwards, when they can’t attend the “live chat”.
Anja: This works great. I’m still taken by the easy way we communicate, the friendliness, the good mood (and of course the animated GIFs). We laugh a lot, have fun and get the work done, all in a smooth, relaxed and respectful way.
What tools do you use to work together?
Luca: The Community Magazine Team uses:
- Joomla: our website is made with our beloved CMS.
- EasyBlog (in Joomla): We use it to write articles, prepare and schedule them for the release.
- Google Docs: to prepare / share drafts of articles and internal documents.
- GitHub (Issues): a private repository in which we create an issue for each article to plan the monthly release.
- RingCentral Glip: our team has a nice “continuous” chat flow to plan / discuss.
If you had three words to describe the atmosphere within the team, what would those words be?
Sandra: friendly, active, efficient.
Phil: fun, engaged, motivated.
Anja: relaxed, committed, pleasant.
Luca: enthusiastic, exciting, effective.
Patrick: global, eclectic, cohesive.
Andrea: committed, fun, reliable.
Do you need extra volunteers, and if so, in what capacities?
Luca: We always look for authors, regular or one-timers.
Any help is welcome!
And remember, we’re always looking for new articles and each contribution submitted before the 15th of each month is considered for inclusion in the release of the month.
Patrick: Luca undersells it a little there. There's a handful of simple things that readers can do to help with the magazine.
- Tell others about it!
- Share stories that you like with your social media networks.
- Provide authors feedback on their stories and create a conversation.
- If you like an article, and have a Joomla blog, particularly in a different language, translate your favourite stories for your audience.
If you're looking to write an article, it's easy to get started - check the FAQ page for information on editorial styles and creating your author account. From there, here's some other ideas for authors:
- Search the magazine archives for great articles on topics you're interested in… see if there's value you can add with an updated article for Joomla 4, or provide a different perspective based on updates or changes to the technology profiled in the past.
- Look at the back catalogue of foreign language Joomla articles. If the original article has not been published in English, consider translating and reviewing it so it reaches a different audience to when it was first published.
- If you're a website implementer, case studies on how Joomla's been used to create a solution will always be enthusiastically accepted by the editorial team.
The magazine aims to publish a dozen stories each month, but would happily put out 15 or more if they were available. If we had another 20 writers contributing 3 or 4 articles each year, we'd be hitting those targets, without the main editorial team sometimes each month needing to pump out that many articles!
Do I need to join the team?
Not necessarily. Authors can be casual contributors to the magazine and still be part of the process.
However, joining the team as a member means you have a few extra benefits and responsibilities.
Magazine team members:
- Meet twice a month for chat based planning meetings
- Typically contribute articles regularly to the magazine
- Are Members of Open Source Matters, the non-profit organisation supporting the Joomla! project, and as a result have membership rights including voting rights in elections for Team Leader, Department Coordinators and Board Members.
Wanted: Team Leader
The Team Leader role is currently vacant following Andrea Gentil stepping down to pursue some other opportunities post-pandemic. Though we have a variety of team members capable of taking on the role, several are limited by holding leadership positions with other Teams (which you'll read about in future articles in this series).
Among the responsibilities of the Team Leader:
- Convene and chair team meetings
- Coordinate the publication of the magazine with the senior editorial team
- Be a senior editor of the magazine
- Onboard new authors and recruit team members
- Prepare monthly readership statistics via Google Dashboard
- Attend monthly Department meetings
- Write an article every so often.