July 27, 2012 update: Newsletter is now out of beta and in full production on LDS.org. You can view it from the LDS.org Tools menu. See the help information for current details about newsletter: https://ue.ldschurch.org/ldsapphelp/newsletter.
Newsletter, a new tool on LDS.org, is now open for beta testing. Newsletter provides an interactive site that wards and stakes can use to provide local news to members. The application replaces the “News and Information” feature on the classic local unit website and provides a digital alternative to the paper newsletters that organizations typically create.
You can access the Newsletter beta at beta.lds.org/member-news.
Once set up, articles for Newsletter appear in one column of news on the Newsletter homepage, arranged in reverse chronological order. Members can view the news they want to see by selecting the category on the right. The selected category filters the news.
To view a single article, click the article’s title. You can send the article to members in your ward or stake by copying and inserting the URL into an e-mail message.
When you sign in, Newsletter will be blank until an organization publishes news. Administrators for Newsletter include bishoprics, stake presidencies, clerks, executive secretaries, and website administrators. As needed, administrators can also add publishers (such as organization leaders) by calling or name. Organization leaders are set up as publishers by default.
If you’re an administrator, click the Create Article button to create a new article. In the article body, you can style the text with basic formatting, insert links, and add images. Newsletter automatically resizes the images you upload to optimal sizes for the Newsletter display.
Below the article, type a category for the news, such as Relief Society or Sunday School, and then press Enter. You can select as many categories for each article as you want, or even add your own.
When finished, click Submit. Longer articles will automatically be truncated with a Read More link after about 200 characters.
To create an article that always appears on top of the list of articles for a specific category, select the Featured article check box when writing an article. Designating an article as featured means the article always remains on top of the category (not on top of the homepage), regardless of newer articles that are published.
Featured articles are a good option for highlighting particularly important news, such as an upcoming conference, or a need for volunteers, or perhaps the stake president’s message.
To submit feedback about Newsletter, post your comments in the Newsletter sub-forum in the LDSTech Forum. Project leaders and other members will respond more abundantly to comments in the forum rather than to comments below this article.
Joining the Local Unit Application Beta Testing project
It's helpful for project leaders to periodically send instructions and announcements to the group of beta testers. To stay updated with messages from project leaders, join the Local Unit Application Beta Testing project. Project leaders can keep you updated about beta testing not only for Newsletter, but other local unit applications as well (such as Lesson Schedules). To join the Local Unit Application Beta Testing project:
- On LDSTech, click Projects on the top navigation bar.
- Sign in with your LDS Account.
- If you haven’t already signed the license agreement, you’ll be prompted to sign it.
- Click the Projects subtab.
- Scroll down and click the Local Unit Application Beta Testing project.
- Click Join.
Once the application becomes official, Newsletter will appear on the Tools menu (on LDS.org) along with other tools for wards and stakes, such as Calendar, Directory, and Maps.
In its first release, Newsletter’s functionality is simple. With simplicity do come some limitations, but the hope is that members both tech-savvy and not will find it easy to read and publish news.
As you can expect, later releases will provide more advanced functionality, such as the ability to save drafts, send broadcast notifications, add comments, and more.
Newsletter helps complete some of the last remaining tools needed to retire the classic local unit website.