Springingtiger's Blog

Newsletter! Who’s Stupid Idea Was That

Well mine actually. This morning lying in bed after an arnica bath, sore muscles after yesterday, I began to reflect upon the idea. I have been responsible for newsletters in the past, they are a good idea as they allow members of an organisation to keep abreast of what the organisation is doing. A good newsletter can give members a platform to express their opinions and ideas about the organisation and its activities.It can provide an opportunity to participate and that’s got to be good. Right?

In theory a newsletter is a good thing. However in my experience it too often ends up being the work of one person, because of a lack of contributions by the deadline for publishing. I have said there will be a newsletter and there will be, but I don’t intend to write this one alone. Oh no, I’ve been down that road and it led to a dead end.

So how am I going to avoid writing the whole thing myself. In the first place by asking for contributions and setting a deadline with a reasonable cushion in which to chase contributors for their pieces.

Secondly extracting commitments from contributors and letting the readership know what to expect. Is it wrong to expose people to this pressure? No, sod it, it’s not! Having been in this position before I feel there are few depths too low to stoop to in the pursuit of completed content.

The third thing is providing support and encouragement to contributors and potential contributors. Many newsletter contributors are not writers and some may have difficulties in communicating their expertise. It is the job of the newsletter editor to make helpful suggestions to get the best from them while encouraging them to continue to contribute. These are not paid pieces, but voluntary gifts from the membership and the contributors should be and feel appreciated, this means that edits and corrections should be made (if possible) with their agreement and they should be in no doubt that the editor is serving both them and the readership.

It is important to remember that a society newsletter is not a literary work. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as it is informative and entertaining enough to make members want to read it and to encourage their participation in the organisation then it’s good enough. It is far better when contributors express themselves honestly, the point is just to share with each other.


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