BCTF Communications - Summary
The Bushmeat Crisis Task Force is a collaborative organization with staff, steering committee, and members distributed across the globe. Communication is critical to any collaboration, particularly to BCTF which was created in large part to facilitate information sharing on the bushmeat issue.
Several mechanisms have evolved to communicate progress and threats, both within the BCTF network and to the general public. Here we highlight communications which primarily serve BCTF members and partners: listservs, newsletters and the BCTF website. For more information on our communications with the general public, please visit our Media Center.
External and Internal Listservs
The Bushmeat Listserv supports communications with the general membership, a 350+ member network of individuals with a professional interest in bushmeat (scientists, legislators, development agency staff, journalists, students, etc.). It is used for immediate dissemination of breaking news, announcements and questions, primarily from BCTF, with some discussion. BCTF also maintains smallers Steering Committee listservs, used for sharing documents in development, announcing opportunities, and organizing events. If you are interested in joining the general membership Bushmeat Listserv, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Staff publication for BCTF Supporting and Contributing Members (SMs), the BCTF Steering Committee (SC) and the general public, the Bushmeat Bulletin is a two-page color newsletter produced for electronic distribution (email and online) about ten times a year. The first issue was in October 2003, when the Bulletin replaced the informal “Monthly Highlights” report which had been prepared solely for the SC and SMs. The Bulletin presents summaries of prominent staff and SM activities during each month, and/or staff or SM projects which have achieved a critical goal. News reported here is designed to be useful to a wider audience (SM board members, their constituencies, etc. Features are accompanied by a calendar for the coming month, announcements, and information on work in progress as space permits. Bulletin articles are now featured on the Key Documents page.
The Bushmeat Quarterly (BQ) was a staff publication for all audiences, produced four times a year between March 2003 and Spring 2005. It was discontinued in favor of regular updates to the website.
The BQ grew out of and included the “Bushmeat Working Groups Around the World Update” (December 2000-September 2002), which was a listing of recent news from organizations entirely or partially focused on the bushmeat crisis (eg., most have a working group). The BQ was typically a 15-25 page PDF document which, like its predecessor, was distributed on the web and via email, and is also catalogued on BCTF CDs.
A typical issue of the BQ included features on Supporting Member efforts, important events, a policy update, a BCTF staff activity summary, a country or project profile, updates for Bushmeat Working Groups, announcements, and a calendar of relevant meetings. The format periodically changed in response to document size limitations and the relevance of various parts, but the BQ basically evolved into a ‘what’s new’ section of the website and included links to websites and publications of interest, a jobs and grants page, and a dynamic calendar (see BCTF Website, below). Contributions were generally requested from the supporting and general membership within a theme (priority solutions area) or membership category (animal welfare, ecosystem conservation, species conservation, zoos and museums). Staff members spent a substantial amount of time writing and editing contributions to this report.
BQ articles are archived in the Key Document section.
The BCTF website was created in 2000 with a goal of attracting 10,000 visits per year, but currently receives approximately 10,000 visits per month and is the most visited site for bushmeat information. The website was established to explain the operations and goals of the BCTF collaborative, acknowledge Supporting and Contributing Members and the Steering Committee, and share key documents and news developed by BCTF and partners related to the bushmeat crisis. It uses few graphics and virtually no dynamic elements to ensure accessibility by everyone regardless of connection speed. However, the website is increasingly the major means by which BCTF news and products are provided, due to the costs of other forms of publication and the wide distribution of people interested in the bushmeat issue. For all its popularity, the website has not changed significantly despite a growth in staff and output, and is in need of an overhaul. Towards this end, in 2004 the site size was expanded to accommodate the entire Bushmeat Education Resource Guide (BERG – see Education and Training in this report) and other collections of large files. Furthermore, dynamic elements of the Bushmeat IMAP are partially hosted on the BCTF site.
In 2007, in order to better meet the needs of researchers and staff, now and in the future, the BCTF website was moved to a portal-based system hosted by Conservation International, a founding member.