I don’t think I’ve made any kind of official announcement that we are doing a massive rehaul of the blog, a complete rebuild. But I am now.
Official announcement: WE ARE DOING A MASSIVE REHAUL OF THE BLOG, A COMPLETE REBUILD.
Well, technically “we” are not. Steven Ray, my assistant from the beginning and mastermind of all-things-blog-related is. He’s been working on it for many months. It’s a major undertaking. For some years now he’s been keeping the current version running on duct tape and bailing wire, having started it over eight years ago when technology and life as we know it was different. Things have changed. Now we’ll change better with them.
We are using the new blog structure to implement lots of other changes that we think will make the blog much better for blog users and to attain the goals of the blog itself better. There have always been two goals: To disseminate scholarly knowledge about the New Testament and the Beginnings of Christianity as broadly as we can, in simple terms that non-scholars can understand and appreciate, and to raise money for charity. BOTH goals are really important to me. And the new blog design will do better at achieving them.
I will explain more about what all that will look like later. But for now, the most important thing: we will be moving to a tiered-membership. Some members are happy with a no-frills option, some want additional benefits, and we’ll have several options.
Here’s the point of this current post: The highest tiers will provide access to AUDIO versions of each new blog post, published weekly, a kind of podcast option available exclusively for members in these tiers.
I wish very much that I could record and produce that kind of podcast myself, but the reality is that it simply is not possible. There just aren’t enough hours in my week. (If anyone wants to loan me some of theirs, I’d happily take them….) And so we will be going with a second best option: other people, volunteers, will read the posts.
So, here’s the point of this request.
I NEED VOLUNTEERS TO READ POSTS for the audio version. This will require TIME and the ABILITY to read clearly and well. It will NOT require much technological skill or expertise. One blog member, an IT person with tons of technical skill, has already volunteered (incredibly generously) to do the actual work of publishing/posting the readings and taking care of the technological issues. So what I need are readers to record each post.
This will NOT interfere with or even compete with the fantastic project that my other volunteer John Mueller has so generously been producing since 2017, the Bart Ehrman Podcast. If you don’t know about it, check it out: https://ehrmanpodcast.libsyn.com/ John reads one current post that is already “public” (not for members only) and one archived podcast, with the goal of reaching non-members and drawing them into the blog. The podcast was all his idea and he does the whole thing himself. Fantastic. It brings in members and is growing and growing.
And it won’t be affected by the audio version available to those who are already members at the higher tiers. This new venture will be done as a service to those on the blog, not to outsiders to draw them in.
So, for producing new audio version of all posts for higher-tiered members: The IDEAL situation would be to find ONE person willing to commit to doing it, reading all the posts ever week. Period. Same voice, every post, every day. Perfect. But that’s a real commitment and I rather doubt anyone will be game. If you are, do let me know.
Second best situation: we find, say, three or four persons willing to do it on an alternating week basis. Same voice for all five weekly posts; next week a different voice; etc.
Third best (OK, not nearly as good; but we’ll take what we can get): a range of people alternating days, different voices periodically on this that or the other post.
We won’t know which option we will be able to pursue until we see what kind of response we get to this request. And so the request:
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING? We would need people to commit to the project, not until the end of the world (which, frankly, may be next Thursday, though I’m still holding out hope) but for, say, a month or two, with lead time to find a replacement if it doesn’t work out.
If you’re interested, you need to do two things.
- First: pick one of my recent posts. Most of them these days are about 1400 words. Read it out loud to yourself and time it. How long does it take? How long would it take to do five? It would take a bit more time than a once-thorugh, if you have mistakes to correct, etc. (But the good news: If you did an entire week’s worth, you would have all five to read at once: I would get them to you the week *before* I post them on the blog itself, so we can coordinate written and audio versions; doing five in one sitting will be much more time efficient than on five separate days). Can you see yourself doing this? A post a week? Five posts a week? Some weeks? Do the whole darn thing?
- Second: send me an email with the Subject Line: “Volunteering” Send it to my email address, email@example.com, not as a comment here. Tell me you’re interested. If you are, then I will send you a fuller description of the project and what your involvement might be. Equally important, I will be asking you to submit an audition audio of your reading one of my posts. We will obviously need to have volunteers who read well!
I’m very much looking forward to hearing from some of you. I’ll be taking requests to volunteer for a week, until January 31. So let me know!
Many thanks to all of you on the blog. You are why we do it and you are the ones who make it possible!