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Interesting Times – Online with Spectrum in 2010

It has been a very good year for Spectrum. Thank you to all our interesting contributors, readers, and commenters.

This site’s traffic is up 73% over the last year. Additionally, we’ve had over a quarter million visitors, 600,000 visits and 1.7 million pageviews.

Spectrum began this interesting year breaking the news of the Ugandan union mission president supporting anti-gay legislation. And the General Conference released a statement distancing the denomination for his views. Within days that January, we also extensively covered the Seventh-day Adventist response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Some of our increase in readers comes from our reportage of the General Conference Session this summer. Thank you to those of you who supported Spectrum at the Georgia Dome. We broke some significant stories, and with the help of Larry Geraty and Keith Lockhart among many others, Spectrum provided sharp analysis of the political and theological happenings.

After moving our focus from Atlanta, our readership remained high. In part, because throughout the year Spectrum stood strong for Adventist academic freedom. And we reported on developments and discussions on social justice, spirituality, scripture, pastoral life, denominational news, and Adventists in pop culture. This year we weathered some bizarre attacks, but we stayed accountable to even higher authorities and with a growing host of thoughtful contributors, Spectrum continues its 40-year legacy of fostering serious discussion of controversial topics. That tradition was in fine form in the recent remembrances of Neal Wilson by Brian Bull, Larry Geraty and Roy Branson and Jan Long’s ten part series, The Search for Common Ground on Genesis, which will be concluding with a final post this weekend.

Major cities where Spectrum was read online in 2010.

As we look forward with interest to the new year, the Spectrum online team will be meeting early in 2011 to evaluate our work and strategize about how to do better. We have already initiated a three phase technological refresh to this site to take advantage of better technology, create a better user experience, and better allocate resources.

Phase I – move to Drupal 6. This change in our content management system (free and open source) on the back end will allow us to update the design that you all see as well. There will be more images and less empty, wasted white space. This upgrade will also improve the viability and integration of sections like Spirituality and Café Hispano. The Spectrum Blog will go back to functioning more like a traditional blog on the front page, which will allow for more short posts aggregating Adventist news and views. And it will set us up well for future upgrades.

Phase II – consolidate the store. This will save the Adventist Forum a lot money in processing fees and make the buying process more seamless and increase our ability to handle subscriptions online.

Phase III – creating a new Adventist Forum section of our site, and increase the comment writing and reading options.

In addition, the annual Spectrum|Adventist Forum conference will address issues in science and theology. And questions remain about how the new General Conference leadership will impact not only educational institutions, but all parts of Adventism. In the comments below, let us know what you liked in 2010, what we should keep an eye on in 2011, and what you’d like improved about this site.

As a part of these interesting times, please contribute a quick and very appreciated tax-deductible donation to keep the Spectrum legacy strong in the new year. Spectrum does a lot with a very small budget, and each dollar donated compounds with interest many times in the valuable conversations that Spectrum fosters online, in print, in churches, and in the offices of Adventist leaders around the world.

Our mission is to create community through conversations about Adventism. Thank you for being a part of the Spectrum tradition.

Image: Umbo (Otto Umbehr), The Roving Reporter, photomontage, 1926

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