That is CharPo's primary goal: to get you news...fast.
The Charlebois Post was created because a journalist was abusing her power and was sniping at theatre people who were doing valuable volunteer work. I was recovering from a prolonged (and mildly ongoing) illness but realized a gulf existed between theatre craftspeople and commentators and, worse, journalists here in Montreal and across the country in the print media were a) overworked and b) seeing the space they were alotted in their papers slashed. (In favour of repetitive Cirque du Soleil and American celebrity articles.) Theatre creators were not reaching as wide an audience as they deserved (either they were not being reviewed or were not appearing in feature articles).
The artists answered the call and because of this the Montreal CharPo site now has some 6000 readers and is an intensely lively space.
I made one brilliant decision: asking Estelle Rosen to come along on the adventure with me. She and I, working on a volunteer basis, recruited other writers (lovers of theatre and, because of this, ready to work for nothing as well) and reached out to artists themselves to share their vision. The artists answered the call and because of this the Montreal CharPo site now has some 6000 readers and is an intensely lively space.
We have no budget. Our sites are on Blogspot because it costs nothing and offers options in terms of design and services which we find satisfactory. More importantly, the site allows me to put up content myself (and remove it) without dragging in a volunteer to do this and, more importantly, requiring more time between the writing of news and its posting. CharPo works because it, like the internet, is as immediate as possible. That is CharPo's primary goal: to get you news...fast. That news can take the form of a review of a show just opened (and soon to close) or announcements of changes in a current production or the death of an artist.
Though they are available, we have eshewed many bells and whistles...
Because our zero budget and dedication to currency imposes certain restrictions, we make do and move on. The site has the design it has - after several others were tried - and works the way it does. However, let me make a few things clear about some actual decisions we have made. Though they are available, we have eshewed many bells and whistles because they slowed download time for the site (slideshows, graphics, etc.), because they don't work on many mobile devices (Apple devices no longer accomodate Flash and favour html5), because they are cumbersome, ugly and pointless - even if we could cash in (Google ads or pointers to Amazon or eBay) and, finally, because they don't serve the purpose of the site (members and readers lists, international news feeds and email signups). The sites look the way they do because we have been trying mountains of options for nine months
Maybe some day we will hire a full time web designer and maintenance staff...
Maybe some day we will have our own dedicated site address...but it won't be soon. Maybe some day we will hire a full time web designer and maintenance staff...but not before we start paying the writers who bring you such terrific material. Right now, though, CharPo-Montreal, CharPo-Canada and our podcast - This Is The CPC - work very, very well together - so well that Estelle and I are still having a blast. We hope our dozens of contributors are too.
But, we suspect, our readers (and listeners) already are.