What’s in a Name?

By Jim McCloskey

I was juggling the content of the newsletter you have before you the other day when something hit me:  When it first appeared in May 2010, it made perfect sense to call this digital entity “WaterShapes EXTRA” because that was what it was – a bonus package of information designed to complement and extend what we were doing with our printed magazine.

After WaterShapes the magazine was sidelined in July 2011, it still made some sense to call these newsletters “WaterShapes EXTRA,” basically because we were feeling our way through the digital experience and the newsletter’s goal was mainly staying in contact with you.

But the situation has changed.  The process of digitizing back issues of the printed magazine is complete; we’re rolling forward with a fresh head of steam; and our sights are set on ambitious plans for the future.  It is, in short, an opportune time to announce that, with our next edition on July 23, our digital newsletter is stepping up and assuming the unadulterated title of WaterShapes.  No more EXTRA, no more qualifiers, just the real deal:  We’re determined to make it a worthy successor to a magazine that has helped shape its industry for more than 15 years.

That’s why, for the past couple months, we’ve gradually been inserting more WaterShapes-style content into this newsletter and onto our web site – the kind of big, photo-rich project profiles you enjoyed for all of our years in print.

Earlier this year, for example, we published an all-new, digital-only feature by Bruce Zaretsky on a tropically themed backyard he’d designed for a property in New York.  In our current issue, we publish the first of a pair of articles on a major project in Texas, where the folks at Roman Fountains joined forces with, among others, the staff at Water+Structures to place a magnificent sculpture/fountain composition in front of the Dallas Cowboys’ football stadium.

These two features (along with the Zaretsky piece) amply illustrate some of the advantages offered to all of us by digital publishing.  First, where the physical constraints of the magazine made it almost impossible to include as many large photos as we would often have liked, digital presentation puts up no such boundaries.  The result is that we’ve included many more photos than we likely could have used in print.

(Don’t worry:  We won’t be slowing you down with huge galleries of images:  We’ll continue to focus on selecting pertinent images that tell a story in parallel to the text instead of pointlessly showing off our bandwidth by including dozens of marginal photos.)

Second, the possibilities aren’t limited to text and images.  Our experience with videos offered by Eric Triplett, Randy Beard, Mike Farley, Mike Gannon, Lew Akins and others shows just how much immediacy motion and sound bring to storytelling.  In fact, I see this as the new communications frontier for WaterShapes and will work with our contributors to get them to include videos with their articles whenever possible – particularly in cases where water moves and makes sounds that define and enhance the experience of the space.

I’ve written it before:  This is a brave, new world – and the new WaterShapes is gearing up to give you full access to it.

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