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Journal update: Opt-in for your printed LIJ

Journal update: Opt-in for your printed LIJ

By Carolyn Ford

Communication 

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Members are being given the choice to read the LIJ in digital or print format from April.

The LIJ will return to print with the April edition. To receive a print copy from April, eligible members will need to opt-in (see LIV website for details www.liv.asn.au/PrintLIJ) by 15 March.

The new opt-in for print arrangement follows the pause in printing from May 2020 caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and related uncertainty around production, printing and distribution. The LIJ quickly and seamlessly switched to digital-only delivery, ensuring members continued to stay connected and informed while working remotely. The interactive digital LIJ (PDF, flipbook) will continue to be emailed to members at the start of the month. No action is necessary to receive this. 

 The LIJ also continues to be accessible on the LIV website, which is to enjoy an upgrade later this year. For the LIJ, this will eventually see improved access, layout, design and functionality, as well as intuitive navigation with links to related material (articles, books, media releases) and other LIV offerings (events, submissions). Significantly, there will be the ability to add new, original and engaging content in real time making the LIJ more responsive and relevant to members.

 Further, new archiving arrangements are anticipated, making it easy for members to access LIJ articles quickly and efficiently. Already adding to the digital offering for members is a new archive of LIJ PDFs going back to 2016.

The LIJ is a highly valued resource. There is demand for the twin delivery model of print and digital, with a growing number of members and employers pursuing sustainability and preferring paperless. The Victorian legal profession’s long-time journal of record, established in 1927, joins publications worldwide in transitioning to the digital environment, carefully navigating to take advantage of digital opportunities while retaining the benefits of print and recognising attachment to it. 

COVID-19 lockdowns provided the opportunity to reconsider and improve LIJ processes, content, offerings and format options. As a starting point, we asked members for feedback about the LIJ in two surveys. In the August 2020 survey measuring the impact of COVID-19 on member satisfaction, the LIJ was the number one LIV resource, product or service used by members in the past year, and support for it was up on 2018. Significantly, online was becoming a more important medium. 

In the November 2020 LIJ survey of members' reading preferences, there was appreciation and high regard for the journal overall, revealing engagement with it and an appetite for print and digital.

LIJ survey 

There were 832 responses to the LIJ survey, which was emailed to the entire LIV membership. This excellent response was a statistically representative sample. Highest engagement was from members over 50 years, more from men than women and city-based practitioners followed by suburban then regional and interstate/overseas. 

Findings 

  • a majority prefer to read the LIJ in print 
  • one in three prefer to read the digital LIJ (PDF) 
  • of digital use, a majority prefer to read the LIJ on laptop/desktop followed by tablet device and smartphone 
  • content is very well regarded, with the majority rated 7/10 
  • peer reviewed legal features were the most popular content 
  • comments covered print and digital delivery and suggested changes 
  • hundreds of members took the opportunity to comment, with the overwhelming majority positive and encouraging. Many said the LIJ was there at the start of their careers, with their name listed on the Admissions pages, and continued to be collected, a fixture on office shelves. 

 Most comments addressed print versus digital, but also content, type size, paper used and more. One respondent suggested a podcast, another the (eco-friendly) plastic wrapper be abolished. More practical advice was sought across more varied areas of practice, and more substantive law features, the traditional pillars of the LIJ, published. All comments are considered and collectively valuable in steering the look, feel and content of the LIJ as it evolves into the future optimally engaged with readers.

You said . . . 

“I run a paperless practice and appreciate the ease with which I can search the PDF version.” 

“The paper version has been sorely missed . . . it is handy to have around for a spare moment. Complex articles are read more thoroughly than the invariable scan of the electronic version.” 

“Love the online.” 

“It’s great the LIV promotes LIJ articles through LawNews.” 

 “Print . . . is lovely to collect, store and refer back to . . .” 

“It would be nice to have the option to purchase a physical copy for new lawyers whose names are published when admitted. I consider mine to be a wonderful keepsake.”

“I like the print version because I can move away from my desk and read it over a lunch break, which encourages me to have a break rather than working through.” 

“Print version is excellent for those who have collected the LIJ since commencing practice.” 

“I really like the wellbeing section.” 

“I get eye fatigue with so much screen work so it doesn’t work for me as an online journal – sorry I wish it did to save the trees.” 

“Go back to print – I don’t have internet connection on V-Line and can’t read the online version on the train.” 

“Keep it in hard copy and keep it rolling, great journal.” 

“It has been a quality production for so many years and I appreciate it.” 

“Love the LIJ, keep up the good work.” ■

Inquiries to membership@liv.asn.au or edassist@liv.asn.au


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