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Casey Corr mug shot 2

O. Casey Corr

Welcome to the Good Fruit Grower issue themed on technology. On that topic, I’d like update readers on how we’re using digital tools to serve growers better.

Good Fruit Grower began in print in 1946. The magazine moved into the digital age in 1996 when it launched a Web site. The current site reflects a 2009 redesign .

Today, our Web site needs to change again. We need to think of the Web as not just a repository of printed matter, but another platform with unique benefits. That’s a big message we got from a recent survey of readers and advertisers. People love our excellent print product, with its gorgeous cover images, in-depth articles, and helpful charts and photographs. They don’t want our print product diluted by resources being shifted to the Web. Nor do they want our Web presence to serve as a mere depository of print articles shoveled into digital buckets. Make the Web site distinct and valuable, they said. Give us enhanced archives, better search capability, and galleries of video and still images. Give us a means for discussion and sharing.

I take this as a message to strengthen and extend our brand. To do that, we need to achieve online the Big Three. That is, make our content findable, searchable, and shareable. All this is made possible by several trends:

• Increasing bandwidth for desktops and mobile devices, via electronic pipes or over the airwaves, has made it possible for readers to tap large amounts of data.

• Devices are getting smarter and more portable. Today’s grower with a question no longer needs to call somebody or sit down at a desktop computer. In the orchard, he or she can tap a screen and access live weather reports, research, or Good Fruit Grower pages. Applications built for mobile devices perform dedicated tasks tailored to a grower in a specific location.

• Digital platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are making it easier for content creators such as Good Fruit Grower to push desired content to growers and allow them to share it with others.

Because of technology, a grower today has many choices, including access to information and services from advertisers. That presents an obligation and an opportunity for our magazine to seek and present quality content. Part of this obligation is our comprehensive presentation of advertisers. Online, we must continue and enhance services to readers who want information from respected providers of chemicals, equipment, rootstocks, and other products for growers.

So, how are we making Good Fruit Grower even more useful?

We hired a digital producer, T.J. Mullinax, to work with editor Geraldine Warner and production manager Nancy Jo Born to improve print and online content with better photographs and online content, such as videos, that strengthen how we convey information to growers. We’ve changed our delivery systems to make our content easier to read on mobile devices. We reworked our Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook accounts to make content easier to find and share. We revamped eFlash so it’s easier to access and read.

In the next few months, you’ll see a rollout of the centerpiece of our online strategy, our new Web site, goodfruit.com. Look for many improvements in presentation, navigation, and overall utility, including integration with our other digital platforms. We’re making a major leap in our services to growers, advertisers, and the overall grower community.

Our commitment is to relentlessly seek ways to improve. But the real test
is what you think. Let me know.

O. Casey Corr can be reached at casey.corr@goodfruit.com or (509) 853-3512.