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Monday 08 November 2010

Collective Thinking online transition halted

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News, HIV
By Daily News staff - 3rd November 2010

Plans to transfer the HIV positive peoples' publication online have been halted pending a re-think and a decision to consult more with HIV positive people and the magazine's readership.

In April Collective Thinking's publisher, the NZ AIDS Foundation, announced its preference for dropping the print publication in favour of an online facility. It was felt this would better meet the needs of HIV positive people throughout the country, would reflect issues in a more timely manner, and could be more cost-effective.

Rachael Le Mesurier
A tendering process was initiated which Foundation's Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says generated proposals "of a high standard." But she says there is a need for more consultation with the National Collective of People Living with HIV, and that the Foundation has now become aware of some positive people's preference for a print version.

Le Mesurier also believes the HIV Services Review, due to go public late this week after many months' delay, may have some bearing on CT's future.

Collective Thinking was originally produced in the early 1990s by a group of HIV positive gay men who formed the National People Living With AIDS Union. The NZAF eventually picked up oversight of the publication after the number of people living with HIV able to work on it dwindled.

The quarterly, and its Ministry of Health funding, were absorbed into the Foundation. However, in recent times Collective Thinking has been criticised as insufficiently independent of the NZAF's agendas and there has been a call for it to be extracted from the Foundation.

Le Mesurier says the NZAF  is contractually bound to publish another issue of Collective Thinking while the online project is in delay. It plans to use this month's issue to broach issues relating to any change to online publishing, and to generate feedback. The Foundation will be asking the readership, which includes people living with HIV plus their supporters and health professionals, "what they would like to see in an HIV-related publication, what the format would look like - as early feedback suggests some prefer a print copy - and what the best way to publish it would be," according to Le Mesurier.

She says says the NZAF is "committed to a more collaborative approach if both the readership and the HIV peer support organisations would like to participate, especially in regards to identifying relevant topics and submitting contributions from each group." The Foundation is, she says, "very aware" it must meet the needs of these groups "to be an effective vehicle for communication."

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