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The Mailbag, Vol. 2

Mixed feelings abounded (in my office) this week as the news came out that my Orlando Magic won the Rashard Lewis sweepstakes (good) but lost Grant Hill (disappointing). All in all, it’s an improvement, but we have a lot more work to do this summer. But because I know no one cares about that nearly as much as I do, I’ll move on to more pertinent items …

The Updated Site

Last week we launched a pretty big update to the front page of the website, which you know, or you wouldn’t have been able to find this page. The feedback has been coming in loud and strong, and we appreciate all of it. We are still working on some revisions to the site, including a pretty big one that went up a couple of days ago on the bottom half of the page. The new front page’s strength (and weakness) is that it has a lot more content on it than the old one. The reason for that is we need to make sure visitors can easily find the information they are most drawn to. For some people, they’re thrilled with the expanded Slices section and photos. For others, they love seeing the latest blog entries on the front page so they can quickly see which ones are being updated. We also added the Daily Dose section and Spotlight article simply to help you cut through the clutter and see the best content first. The modules showing the most read, emailed and commented on stories that day give you a short cut to see where the most activity is on the site. There’s a lot you can now see and do on our site, and the new front page is a better gateway to see what’s happening and what you want to click on.

Cara Davis, Jr.

In other RELEVANT news, our illustrious editorial director Cara Davis begins her maternity leave today. (Madilyn is due in one week.) Cara will be updating her baby blog here, and from time to time she’ll even post on her blog here at the magazine’s website. Podcast listeners know how vital Cara is to everything here, and even though she’s been working tirelessly to make sure the editorial team doesn’t implode while she’s gone, we’re still pretty freaked. Two months is going to be a loong time.

The Call, Creation Museums and Christian Trade Shows

Jesse, Adam and I are hitting the road this weekend to hit up The Call event in Nashville and then head up to Petersburg, Ken., to see the much-talked-about Creation Museum for ourselves. The guys will then drop me off in Atlanta for the Christian retail megafest known as ICRS on Monday, which is always entertaining. Talk about an eventful few days … We’ll of course have the audio recap on next week’s podcast, and the video recap on RELEVANT.tv. Stay tuned …

The Mailbag

From Logan L.: I’m interested in a career in journalism/magazines, and I was interested in what type of education/training either you, or someone you know went through in order to do something like Relevant Magazine. Which colleges, programs, internships, etc., were helpful or propelled you to heading up/working for a magazine like Relevant.

Cameron: It doesn’t really matter what school you go to; college is what you make of it. You can go to a great program and get little out of it, and you can go to a horrible program and get tons of great experience almost in spite of the school. When it comes to the media field, college isn’t about the academics; it’s about your ambition. The thing that will set you apart from the thousands of other recent graduates will be the internships you get and the stories you get published — not the grades you get. Learn the foundations of media in the classroom, but then use that to get into the field and do it, do it, do it. (But before you get into college, I do have one little tip for you: Cut down on the slashes.)

From Kirk Hayes: I’m sorry to have to ask, but what does “phish” mean, such as in the context of “Phish-loving hippies” in your 850 article on Matisyahu?

Cameron: Phish are are aquatic vertebrates that are typically cold-blooded, covered with scales, and equipped with two sets of paired fins and several unpaired fins. They are abundant in the sea and in fresh water, with species being known from mountain streams as well as in the deepest depths of the ocean. They are also a touring jam band (a la the Grateful Dead) from Vermont.

From Irl Ellis: Hey! Is there a way I csn add you guys to my friends list on MySpace? The buttons seem to be missing on the page.

Cameron: Well, we’ve actually programmed the page so everyone who we want to be friends with can see the buttons. If you can’t see it, there must be a reason.

(OK, that’s not true. You found a glitch, and we fixed it.)

See Also

From Fritz Schindler: Lovin’ the podcast as always. My question: It hit me today while I was listening to the end of the podcast that when Cara is on maternity leave, she won’t be coming in once a week to do the podcast. While we are all elated for her and her husband’s new arrival and all that that entails, on a bit of a selfish note, we (the masses of loyal podcast listeners around the world—from the lovable Siapannese to the alcohol-laden-candy-sending Germans) will really miss Cara while she’s out. Any plans you’d like to share with us about who’s gonna be taking her place while she’s out? I mean, what’s the Relevant podcast without Editorial Director Cara Davis, her slices, her laughter, and her snoring while the guys banter and she loses interest?

Cameron: Cara’s bon voyage episode is up now, and we, like you, are deathly afraid of what’s going to happen over the next two months while she’s birthing. We’ll probably mix things up quite a bit just to get out of our usual format. If we tried to just do things the way we would if she was there, you’d notice her absence more than if we do something completely different. So next week we plan on taking the podcast on the road (if it turns out), and after that we’ll have some guests fill in for her, ranging from other staffers to even my wife Maya. While no one can replace Cara’s wit and charm, hopefully we can make the next two months go really quickly until she gets back.

The Links:

It seems our talk about the dramatic rodent a few weeks ago on the podcast has started a movement. The following week it was featured on Best Week Ever (yes, he was having the best week ever), and now Facebook has added it as a gift …

Kai Elmer: “Hope this gets a chuckle…”

Andrew Steven (the man with two first names): “Seems the dramatic rodent has found its way to fame and fortune on the hit TV show LOST.”

Jeff Cruz: Now you too can talk like Optimus Prime: Transformers Movie Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet

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