Volunteering for Syncopated Media involves joining and working with a small team focused on a specific project or area, referred to as a “Working Group”. One person may join several working groups as long as they have the time to meet any obligations they take on. You will find a signup form at the end of this page. Please read through all of the available volunteer areas and carefully evaluate your interests, abilities, availability, and level of commitment before applying.
Working groups can be as small as two people and most will be five people or fewer, they are looking for doers, not advisors. Each group is free to internally structure themselves as necessary for task completion. All work is remote and groups may communicate internally by email, zoom, phone calls, or create a chat room or message board for themselves. Whatever works for comfortably getting the job done.
Working groups grow until no one is getting burnt out, but should never get so large that the work starts falling back on one person. If a group doesn’t feel they need another volunteer at the moment we can find you another role.
Below are the current working groups. Others will be created around specific tasks as needed.
Publications Working Group
The publication working group supports the physical production and delivery of The Syncopated Times newspaper. There are four roles that divide the workload, creating an infrastructure that ensures The Syncopated Times continues beyond the tenure of the current publisher, Andy Senior.
A Subscriptions Coordinator will maintain the subscriber rolls, mail renewal reminders, and create campaigns seeking new subscribers. This role requires only an hour or two a month.
An Advertising Coordinator will work with existing advertisers and recruit new ones. They will work with the layout editor to reserve appropriate space for ads and manage special requests for placement. They will send invoices to advertisers though they will not control any accounts. The print paper runs at nearly full ad capacity based on the annual schedule of festivals so this role does not require a significant amount of sales, it is primarily emailing with festivals about their ad needs.
The Fact Checker/Editor will read articles as submitted to The Syncopated Times and check them for factual errors. They can lightly edit for, spelling, grammar, and readability. In the future, this role may grow to include working with writers to choose topics and advise them on length and format, and to choose articles for inclusion in an issue, but for now, those decisions remain with the Publisher.
The Layout Designer will craft an attractive newspaper from the submitted advertising and articles. This role requires a commitment of a number of hours spread over a week on a strict printer’s deadline. A motivated person with a good visual sense and the ability to learn design software could ready themselves for this position with guidance from the publisher. There is already a template to follow.
Social Media Working Group
This team covers the social media needs of Syncopated Media. Volunteers will coordinate and schedule posts across Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Threads with a single person covering each platform. The volunteer on Instagram, for example, is encouraged to leave supportive comments on posts from musicians and fans, and the volunteer on Facebook can become an active member of relevant Facebook groups while acting as The Syncopated Times and adhering to certain professional standards.
These volunteers will have minimum expectations to complete which can be fulfilled in as little as five minutes a day, with the option of prescheduling all their posts up to a month in advance and then checking in every few days to respond to any replies. Going overboard will be discouraged.
Visuals Working Group
This group will make new visual content to share on social media. As an example, imagine a series of Tik Tok reels exploring jazz biographies or introducing current bands. This committee will also solicit audio, video, and photographs from bands to share as is or build social media content from. This material will bring quality information about jazz to millions of people, which is the primary mission of Syncopated Media.
Syncopated Radio Working Group
Syncopated Times Radio was a one-man operation run by Jeff Bressler who programmed over 30 podcasts and radio shows into a continuous weeklong schedule including recording the station breaks, and introductions between shows. He did so while working full time at his day job. We intend to bring the station back by dividing up that workload.
Someone will still need to be “Lead Programmer” and snip together and schedule the actual feed. This person will be the de facto head of the project but is encouraged to divvy up tasks with other working group members. The project cannot start until someone steps up for this ongoing and sometimes challenging volunteer role. This person should have some experience in broadcasting or podcasting. Other volunteers will help record filler and breaks, edit podcasts to fit the structured time slots of a radio stream, become prepared to step in during absences by the lead programmer, and do various other tasks to assist the lead programmer.
Podcasters are encouraged to bring their existing podcast or radio program under the Syncopated Media banner or create a new show. We are looking for interview programs as well as music shows. These may run on Syncopated Radio, or not. Until the station is up and running shows can be pushed to podcast platforms.
Article Readers will record themselves reading articles from each issue so that people who prefer listening or have limited vision are able to enjoy them. This working group will record all of the current issues and work through back issues to record significant articles. This is something that AI is rapidly becoming very good at, but, at least for now, nothing beats a human voice that knows whether to say live or live and lead or lead.
Syncopated Records Working Group
This working group will coordinate with bands to release compilation albums and eventually help bands produce full albums. In the short term, this group will be limited in scope due to fundraising constraints but it doesn’t hurt to get started.
Events Working Group
This team will help schedule and produce live stream performances. In the short term, this group will be limited in scope due to fundraising constraints but it doesn’t hurt to get started.
Red Hot Jazz Archive Working Group
Volunteers for the Red Hot Jazz Archive working group must be familiar with WordPress websites. We do not need any help finding, converting, or editing audio files. This is pure grunt work. Volunteers will perform repetitive copy and paste tasks to a strict set of standards with no personal input allowed. The soundtrack is great, and you are guaranteed to learn new things.
Fundraising Working Group
This working group will seek out grants, recruit grant writers and run fundraising campaigns. People with experience in these areas are strongly encouraged to participate.
This person will intake new volunteers and coordinate between working groups to see that their needs are met. The volunteer coordinator will handle HR issues arising in working groups.
Please very briefly explain which of the above working groups or roles you would like to volunteer for and if relevant explain briefly your qualifications for that specific role.