GUI Bytes

Electronic Distribution of Newsletters, part 2

we should not introduce any obstacle that would stand between members and the information in the newsletter

part 1

part 2

part 3

 

The chapter newsletter is a basic member service. Any organization owes its members a certain amount of information about what it is that they are doing, and how they are spending their money. On the national level, we do get that information - we have the Construction Specifier, the NewsDigest, and various mailings throughout the year. However, local information must be handled locally, and printed newsletters are the most common and familiar way to convey that information.

Last month I mentioned a publications workshop at the Great Lakes/North Central Bi-Region Conference; I also mentioned that I had no evidence to support my concern that people would be less likely to read newsletters that are not in the traditional - printed - form.

Two people at the workshop offered anecdotal evidence that strengthened my suspicions. One reported that chapter meeting attendance dropped sharply when the chapter switched to e-mail newsletters; presumably the members did not know when the meetings were because they didn't read the newsletter. The other said that he had sent out an invitation by e-mail and heard nothing in return; when he sent the same invitation by fax he immediately received several responses.

Members may choose to not read the newsletter, but we should not introduce any obstacle that would stand between them and the information that is in the newsletter.

Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with sending newsletters by e-mail or by making them available on websites; in fact, I think it's a great idea - as long as they are still delivered in hardcopy. Maybe the next generation will be comfortable reading everything on a monitor, but as long as most of the readers have grown up with books in hand, hardcopy will remain the best way to get the information to the members.

p.s. Last month's article elicited several letters from readers, most of them in favor of printed newsletters. What do you think?

2001 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, swolfe@bwbr.com 
on the web at www.CSI-MSP.org 
November 2001


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