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I have been the Editor of "The Schoharie Valley Rambler" since 1994 and, quite frankly, am starting to tire. My question is..... "When do you quit?" confused.gif" border="0 <P>My original intention was to bring my (our Region's) publication to meet the highest standards of AACA.... the Master Editor Award. When I found this forum, earlier this year, I asked and received info about what it takes to become a "Master Editor". I had already received 4 "Awards Of Excellence" but couldn't quite break into that final category. frown.gif" border="0 <P>After all the posts, I had renewed interest and confidence and was determined to better my (our) publication.I began exchanging newsletters with several of you and have tried to take ideas from each one I received. Unfortunately, my fellow members didn't share my interests in making the list of authors more diverse. Heck, I couldn't even get Committee Chairs to report on their own activities! shocked.gif" border="0 <P>Before this post gets too long, I'll simply say that I am seriously considering giving my Region notice that this will be my last year as Editor. As replies are posted to this thread, I'll post more info about my impending decision. wink.gif" border="0 <P>Any input to my decision will be considered and appreciated. Those of you who have read "The Rambler", constructive criticism would be appreciated. I am NOT "thin skinned", so tell me what you really think. smile.gif" border="0

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Ron,<BR>I have never read your newsletter so no comments for you. I can tell you when I decided to quit though....<P>I had worked on this newsletter for 6 years in various functions. I was a columnist, photographer and finally Editor. It was fun for the first 5 years. The last year was pure misery. Complaints about the columns I ran (someone wrote about fishing with worms... you think modified cars will get you letters), the photographs I took, and the layout changes the editorial board decided to make.We just wanted to bring the paper into the 20th century.<BR>After that year I declined to run again and quickly grew away from the club. <P>Now, I dont hear that in your story but I bet you are not having fun like you were in the beginning. Usually that is a good sign that its time to take a break from it before you get so discouraged, disgusted or fed up that you never want to come back. You dont want that to happen.

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Ron,<P>I have been Editor of the Harford Horn only since January 2001. Our region is 29 years old. The editor I replaced retired at the end of 2000 after serving 28 years as editor!<P>Sounds like you are discouraged because it seems that the members don't value the newsletter or appreciate your work. I think a lot of editors feel that way because its so hard at times to get members to contribute or show an interest.<P>I've been through that already. If I had quit when I experienced such things..my editorship would have lasted a total of about 4 months!!<P>Our newsletter needed help when I received it. It got to a point where members were receiving it and had not yet bothered to look at it even 2 or 3 weeks later. I knew I had to rejuvenate the interest so I made myself a promise to make a newsletter that the members would want to read as soon or shortly after they received it. I worked on improving the newsletter even if no one else seemed interested in reading it. And from the reports I get they ARE reading it and enjoying it. <P>Don't be discouraged.. you are not alone. <BR>Keep trying and I am sure you will see a change. However, I must admit that Bill has a point. You can't let it affect whether or not you want to be in the club. If it does that then the position may not be worth it.<P>As far as constructive criticism, an editor that has consistantly won the Award of Excellence probably can't be helped by a newbee like me with less than 12 months in the job. But I do like the SV Rambler! Its a great newsletter! smile.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0<p>[ 10-12-2001: Message edited by: BruceW ]

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Ron,<P>I think Bill had a very good answer for you. You quit when it is no longer fun. Each one of us start because we think we can add something and make it better. In a small Region (and I am speaking from personal experience), it is hard to get articles from other members. You have such a small pool to pull from and often people feel put upon when asked to contribute -again. I, therefore, contribute most of the articles and pictures. This can lead to burnout.<P>I do exchange newsletter with you and enjoying reading your newsletter. I will look at them again next week in a differnt eye and see if I can offer any suggestions. Nothing comes to mind right now. Your newsletter does what it is intended to do and that is keep you Region informed.<P>As for the Master editor, I can not help you there. Like you, I have received Award of Excellence three years in a row and not been able to move up. I work very hard in putting in the Brass-Nickel newsletter several differnt type of articles that will appeal to all the family - member, spouse and child. Often I have a Kids page, automotive history, a time emporium article where I highlight car items that are either being reproduced or are still available, antique postcards, ladies fashions, etc. I must be doing something right because I have seceral non-BNTR AACA members that subscribe to our newsletter for content. In my heart, I believe a lot has to with the size of your Region. National I know tries to ignore size but it does matter. The larger Region has more people willing to write articles thus providing more variety. The larger Region can afford to get their paper printed or use (more) color photos. Perhaps, the contest needs to be broken into several groups depending on Region size. It sure would be a lot easier to win against other Regions of the size with the same financil resources. That way it would be a lot easier to see the cream at the top of the pitcher. <P>Sorry to have rambled on. Again quit when it is no longer fun. <P>24T42

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I just announced at the Sept general meeting and October newsletter, that I was quitting after 5 years. I took over, because we had 3 editors in a little over 3 years. The club needed to be revived and unified. I could handle the lack of articles, photos, complaints about timeliness, rude treatment by tiniboopers at Staples and all the time. The last straw was when a board member critized me for giving him second billing for running an event, when he was the one incharge, big deal. I have won AACA awards for 4 out of 4 years and was editor of my independent club for 5 1/2 years and was also editor for my region for 3 of those years (Yes, I did two newsletters at the same time.) My life was based around the production schedule, but I did it. I work full time, I often work on Sundays in the summer. I have a life outside of the old car hobby, some people forget that. I am also younger than most 38, and not as well off as some, who base all their leasure time around old cars. Now they are trying to figure out what to do. The thing to do is give them a final date for the last issue, or people will just assume the newsletter will always be your job. mad.gif" border="0<p>[ 10-12-2001: Message edited by: SalG ]

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Thanks to all for your input. grin.gif" border="0 <BR>Here is my predicament... Our Region is 11 years old, I am a Founding Member, have been Editor for 8 years and I really care about our club. When I took over it was 1 or 2 pages, cut+pasted and fed to a copy machine. It now averages 5 double sided pages printed by me on our color printer. I am afraid I have improved "The Rambler" to the point that no one feels they can continue my work. I'm not tooting my own horn... that's just the way it seems.<P>For the last couple of years I have asked for someone to come on board as Associate Editor who could lighten my work load and learn the ropes but there have been no takers. frown.gif" border="0 I am afraid that if I quit and nobody takes over, the Region will find itself with no newsletter and membership will suffer. shocked.gif" border="0 <P>As far as the "Master Editor" thing goes, I agree with 24T42 that the competion should be divided into large & small Region categories. I also think the competition should resemble that of the AACA show vehicles... that is to explain to the Editors where they lost their points. My understanding is that car owners who didn't earn a Senior Award can find out that they lost points in the Engine, Chassis or other categories. Why can't Award of Excellence Editors be told they lost points for poor photo quality, not enough whitespace or for whatever reason? confused.gif" border="0 <P>I will be making my final decision soon on how to word my resignation. Please keep the input coming to help me make the right decision. Thanks! wink.gif" border="0

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Ron,<P>I have found that if you ask for volunteers no one will. H--- will freeze over first. However, if you ask someone they usually will do what is asked. I found this out, again, recently. The Brass-Nickel had scheduled a tour the weekend before the 2001 Vintage Tour. My husband and I were the tour organizers. Since we had planned to go on the Vintage tour, I asked for volunteers to take over for us or the event would be cancelled. Guess what? Yea, no one volunteered so we cancelled. Shortly after, two members approached me and said why didn't you ask me. I would have done it. I thought I did in the newsletter. Wrong? People I guess what to be asked personally. In another case, as most editors do I always ask for articles. Usually nothing happens. The other day I approached a member who is very well educated, able to write, and very knowledgeable about early cars. I asked him if he would like to write an article, content and length his choice and he could submit the articles when he wanted to. He agreed. I am sure I am going to get a wonderful column. The other day, he told me he had his first column written in his head and just needed to put it on paper. I asked him directly not through the paper.<P>I would suggest that you find someone that you have confidence in and can work with and tell them that unless someone helps you will have to quit. Ask them directly and personally. Maybe just ask them at first to be responsible for one article. He/she will be responsible for content and length. He can write it or find someone else. Are there some responsible school age kids that would be interested in helping? They love to help and it would make them feel a part of the club.<P>Bottom line if you decide to quit, stick to your guns. Someone will take over. Trust me.<P>I liked you idea about feedback from the Publications committee. It would be helpful in trying to improve your newsletter. My quest about the Master is not for the Master's per say (although that would be nice), it is an attempt to find out what others are doing right and what I am not doing wrong. National sees the full spectrum of newsletters – good and bad. What are the determining factors in deciding whom wins – content or presentation? I have sat in at several Publications seminars in Philly and I am still not sure. This issue never seems to be addressed. To me, presentation seems the determining factor and once again Region size would be crucial here. I think it is difficult to get any answers because I think National does not want to be perceived to be telling you what is right or wrong with your newsletter. But in fact, don’t they when they rate and separate the newsletters into the categories of Award of Merit, Award of Distinction, Award of Excellence, and Master’s. I personally would rather be told up front that a Masters is awarded to a newsletter because their newsletter was published on slick paper, used only color photos, offered supplemental articles, etc. then be soft pedaled. At least I would know why? These are just a few thoughts I had.<P>Good luck!<p>[ 10-13-2001: Message edited by: 24T42 ]

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I may be way out of line on this one, but here goes.<P>Shouldn’t the newsletter be a way for the members of a region to get information about<BR>there local club and not a personal thing for the editor? Sure, the Holy Grail ,“The Master Editor Award”, is great, but if that is the only reason you do this, maybe you should quit being editor.<P>I think that the newsletter competition sends the wrong message to the folks that put in all their time publishing a newsletter. It has gotten to the point that instead of trying to get the news of the region out, there is too much concern about the fact that there may be an award in for the editor. It appears that this lure of an award has hurt the entire thought about what the newsletter should do for the regions and AACA.<P>I am an editor of a newsletter and I do not send the newsletter that I put out in to be<BR>judged. I think that the compliments that the members from the region give me about the<BR>newsletter is all the recognition needed. <P><BR>Dan Binger

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Dan,<P>I agree with you in a sense. <P>I have nothing against the Newsletter Contest. It honors the highest quality newsletters in the organization.<P>However I personally feel the same way you do in regards to the editor. When I sit down each month to create the newsletter, I am not thinking about needing to make sure I do this to impress a committee or doing this "required" action just to be eligible for an award.<P>My thoughts are "What can I include that will benefit the members, what they will enjoy reading, and will make them glad to be members of the club?" My award is when I find out that member are reading and enjoying the newsletter<P>The members should be the first priority. Worrying about whether ot not you might get a Master Editor Award will only give you anxiety and a headache. I believe that if the editor puts his/her heart into the newsletter with the member's interest in foremost mind, then a high quality newsletter will result that the editor can be proud of, the members will approve of, and most likely the Publications Committee will recognize as an award winner.<P>B24T42,<BR>Breaking the contest into multiple categories such as club size may e a good idea but may also make it too complicated for what it is worth. I would like to think the committee would recognize that good writing, quality articles, and information beneficial to the members would be as important..if not more than whether splashes of color are used or if it looks like Hearst Publications published it.<P>Its a coencidence that you mentioned earlier about small club finances. My newsletter budget is less than $1,000 a year. This amount the treasurer thinks is sufficient for publishing a newsletter. I recently received news that I was going overbudget and broke down the costs. From my budget...<P>subtract 40% for copier service contract (not my idea but already paid)<P>subtract 32% for postage<P>subtract 20% for copying all the rosters, membership information, and all the flyers from every activity committee chairperson<P>The remaining 8% I have left to use for paper, toner and actually creating the newsletter!<P>Boy..isnt this fun! grin.gif" border="0

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As always Dan you provide food for thought. <P>But I have to disagree with you somewhat. I do not know of any editor that has taken the job just to maybe win an award. It is too much of an investment in time and energy. Each one takes the job because they feel that they can offer something to their mother Region. As great as this DF is, it is at times such as this that it lacks. When you try to discuss an important item such as this, it is very easy for misinterpretation. There is no chance for a spontaneous exchange of ideas. An idea must be posted and answered. This is a slow process. It takes time and often a thought gets lost before it can be posted. One must rely solely on the written word and is not privileged to hear the tone of voice used or see facial expressions. That is way this is a very difficult medium in which to discuss serious topics.<P>I can only speak for myself when I post anything here. So here goes. I took on the editorship of the Brass-Nickel newsletter because I thought I was a creative enough person that I could provide an interesting newsletter for my Region. I think I have succeeded. Except when at Philly or a post is made here, the Master award never enters my mind. It is not motivation for doing the newsletter. To me the Master award is a barometer. National recognizes these newsletters for whatever reason as the best of what is submitted. There is obviously something in them that sets them apart. I just want to know what that is. Because I do I think some people perceive that my questions are motivated solely so that I can duplicate them and win an award. This again is the fault of the medium in which we are exchanging these ideas. I will admit that yes I would duplicate whatever they do but not so that I could win an award but so that I can improve my newsletter and give my Region the best product that I can for their financial investment.<P>If the determining factor were presentation, it would be nice to know. Our newsletter because of our size and financial resources will never be able to publish a glitzy newsletter. If this is how and why the winners are chosen, that’s fine. I do not have a problem with that. If it is content, I would like to know what is different so that I might use the same concept in improving my publication. Perhaps someone else has a better way of getting an idea across to the readers. Perhaps someone uses graphics in a particularly appealing way? I would like to know. I am always trying new things in order to make On The Road, Again! do what it is supposed to do and that is inform the Region. This is my only motive in addressing the topic of Masters.<P>Ron had a good point in his proposal for getting feedback from the Publications committee. When you take you car to a show you have the right to write National and request information that will tell you where your weak points were. You do this because you care and want to improve your car for which you have invested so much time, energy, and money. You then have the option of taking this information and improving your car in its weakest areas. The end result might be an AACA Senior award. Can you say that the information was solely requested so that you could win an award? I do not think so. It takes to much time and money for that. I think this is what the editor’s want -the opportunity to find out what your weakest points are. Yes, a Master’s like a senior award would be great to receive. But if that is your sole motivation, you need to find another hobby. Your award will be shallow.<P>Bottom line for me is – I am an editor because I think I can offer something to my Region. I enjoy the creative process that I must go through with each issue and am proud of the end product. I exchange newsletters with other Regions so that I see how they use the print medium to convey information to their members. I think you are right Dan in that the reason that National established the newsletter contest has shifted for some. It should be used as a barometer of creativity and effectiveness. Nothing more.

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Wonderful topic! I just wish I had some answers.....<P>Our region has been fortunate enough to win the Master Editor Award frequently over the past 20 years. Each editor has been gracious about sharing with the subsequent editor what he/she thought were the key points to winning the award, but no one was ever sure that what he/she mentioned was really what did it. The winners never really know why they achieved that particular award, but they never turn it down!<P>Occasionally, in a bleak moment, I have wondered whether I won because of our publication's history and reputation, not because of anything I, personally, have done.<P>My husband and I have been editors for at least eight years. We do it because we feel we are good at it, we enjoy it, and we believe we are helping the club when we perform this role. Since our club is set up so that the editor is a Board member, we have been able to have breaks between stints since we don't want our family to be a continuous presence on the Board. These breaks are good for recharging the batteries and avoiding burnout.<P>I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has said to stop when it's no longer fun. Believe me, if you aren't having fun, it will show in your publication.<P>My advice, if you decide to stop (for a while <g>), is to give them an end date and stick to it. Promise them you'll consider a return engagement down the line, if it makes you feel less like you're leaving them in the lurch, but don't let guilt make you do something your heart isn't in.<P>I receive copies of the Rambler, and you do an excellent job. I haven't seen anything obvious that would disqualify you from MEA contention. Maybe this is your year?<P>Jan K.<BR>Wis Region<BR>Editor/Web Editor

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Bruce,<P>To make you feel better about your budget, I have less than 50% of yours. This is because we are a touring Region and do not host a show to supplement our treasury. Our only income is dues. Oh wait - this year we did have one ad. Now don't you feel better?<p>[ 10-13-2001: Message edited by: 24T42 ]

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Judy took the words right out of my keyboard!!! rolleyes.gif" border="0 The Master Editor award is not the reason I became Editor... it was a goal. Just as my restoration of our '37 Chrysler has a goal of someday earning a Senior. tongue.gif" border="0 <P>I believe the reason the newsletter contest was created was to reward Editors for their work but also to improve the quality of ALL the newsletters out there! At the same time, I think it is human nature to wonder what it takes to win that next level of award when you've already gotten part way up the ladder.<P>If my car was a trophy winner at local shows I might decide to take it to an AACA meet. If I came home without a trophy, I'd want to know why so I could fix its faults. If I returned and earned a Junior, I'd want to know what was required to get a Senior. Once that goal was obtained I could be proud to own one of the finest cars of its type in the country but then I would have to maintain it at that level.<P>Before this thread gets to be more about awards than when an Editor quits, let me shift gears. I have directly asked several members who are computer literate for help but they are all too busy. It's not that my job isn't fun any more, it's that it's taking too much time. frown.gif" border="0 I've wondered if going to a bimonthly publication would be less time consuming. Any of you had any experience in this? I realize the news wouldn't be as timely as a monthly publication but it might be better than no newsletter at all. Comments? rolleyes.gif" border="0

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Ron,<P>Here is an idea that you might want to try. Go bi-monthly with a full newletter and on the off month just mail a postcard reminding the members of that month's meeting. I did this for another chapter and it worked well. If you get complaints, you can simply state that without help this is all you can manage. Your postage budget will also decrease.

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The bi-monthly idea sounds like a good option for editors that have trouble getting input for the newsletter. It would seem better to have six issues of good strong material than 12 issues of some good, some bad and some mediocre content.<P>I've looked and relooked at the copies of the Rambler for possible "magic bullet" ideas for you. Unfortunately I don't have any words of wisdom but I still think its a great newsletter.<P>I'd hate to see you leave the editor position as you give your club a great asset... however, as everyone else has said..you can't let it get to you. The ultimate decision is up to you.<P>I was not (and I don't believe Dan was either) accusing anyone here of being editor just for the awards. I just agreed on the priciple of what a newsletter's prioritys should be. Our region has a "Member of the Year" type award voted by members for the person who 1)did the most in contributing to the club over the year and 2)making other members feels glad to be part of the region. One year we had a member that made it known he was going to win that award. Sure he attended every event and helped on committees just enough to be noticed that he was there. However when the votes were cast, he did not win...and did not understand why. I believe he didn't win for the same reason I did not vote for him...because he was going through the motions for his self reward and not "for the club". This did not make other members feel good to be part of the same club. And it showed through to the other members..just as the work of an editor would show in the newsletter if its being done for self reward and not from the heart with the club members in mind. Perhaps I just wanted to make a warning to my fellow editors that they should not to let the prospects of awards go to thier head to the point that it adversely affects the publication....because it will. <P>Judy<BR>I like your idea on the post card on alternating months for bi-monthly newsletters. It would still give the members contact with the club between newsletters. <P>BTW..Thanks for your attempt to make me feel better....but if I remember correctly.. you also put out only 50% (bi-monthly) of the monthly issues too. wink.gif" border="0 I probably shouldn't have made my budget woes part of the earlier post but I was having a really bad day after hearing the news and I needed somewhere to b****. smile.gif" border="0 <BR>Thanks.

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John,<P>Thank you for those words of wisdom. For me it is always good to over the basics every once in a while to maintain focus. <P>Unlike you, I have had good like with my digital camera. I use it exclusively for the newsletter and web page. I never have to touch up the pictures, adjust brightness and contrast, etc. The only thing I do is resize the pictures to fit. I think success with using a digital cameras is a matter of luck and budget. Were you lucky enough to get a good camera for the money you can spend! I did.

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This thread is getting quite interesting! Although there have been posts that have cast a shadow on the newsletter contest as being THE motivation for Editors, I find Judy's comments interesting. Why are Editors discussing the Master Editor Award looked down on while it is perfectly acceptable for car owners to pursue a Senior Award after receiving a Junior Award? rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P>For Bruce, if your budget is that tight, something has to be done! If your Editor position is not a part of your Board of Directors, you should petition for a change in your bylaws. If your Region is like most, fewer than half your members are "active" and the newsletter is the only contact those other members have with the Region. Point out this fact and, if it's necessary, hold additional fundraisers to increase your budget. wink.gif" border="0 <P>For John, I find your mention of content, attitude and quality a little amusing. No disrespect is intended but it is funny to me that several years ago I had a problem with our newsletter and wrote the V.P. Publications for some answers. His response was to pay close attention to "content, attitude and quality" in the newsletter. It's funny that these "buzzwords" are passed around with no definition of the terms. "Content" with inside jokes that might be entertaining to my members may be viewed as inappropriate by the judges. Without definitions, these categories become very subjective. frown.gif" border="0 By the way, John, I commend you on holding down the position of Editor as well as the office of President! Talk about a glutton for punishment! grin.gif" border="0 <P>One thing John pointed out that I think is very important is to turn a "negative" into a "positive"! A few years back, I would whine about how only a few members and/or cars would show up for a Region activity. I soon learned that it is much better to point out what a great time those few of us enjoyed and participation improved in following years. smile.gif" border="0 <P>Oh yeah, I did catch the fact that a few of you closed your posts saying that you've rambled on long enough. For those of you who don't know, my monthly column in "The Rambler" is under the heading of "Ramblin' On". grin.gif" border="0 <P>I still don't know what to do. I want to have a little more free time but I don't want to leave my Region with no newsletter.<P>I'm so confused!!! confused.gif" border="0

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If all else fails, then scale back. If you want to continue as editor, but your time is limited, figure out what you can deliver and then do it. The first duty of any newsletter is to benefit the membership that pays for it. The awards are great for the recipients, but if the newsletter is of no use to the locals, then you're just going through the motions.<P>I receive a number of newsletters courtesy of the exchange that National has set up. I have found that the smallest newsletters sometimes contain the most beneficial chapter/region information. Don't let size be your guide, look to content instead.<P>Vern and I have the luxury of being in a region that DEMANDS a quality publication, and they're willing to pay for it. Our newsletter is the heart of our region, and they recognize its value. As a monthly publication, it does become burdensome on occasion. With two of us working together, we find a way to bolster each other through the rough spots. We've found that the newsletter really is a two-person job, and we suggest that finding that willing partner is crucial to making it through each issue. It's unusual for TWO people to be having a downturn at the same time, so the enthusiasm of one should buck up the other. The hard part is finding that person to work with. I happened to be married to mine...others may not be that lucky. wink.gif" border="0 <P>Jan K.<BR>Wis Region

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Jan,<P>I had to read your statement over and over a few times:<P>"Vern and I have the luxury of being in a region that DEMANDS a quality publication, and they're willing to pay for it. Our newsletter is the heart of our region, and they recognize its value. "<P>I am very happy to see that you have the region's full support. You are very lucky to have such a region. If every region saw the importance of the newsletter, then a lot of editor's problems, including Ron's, would probably be solved. Unfortunately I don't believe a lot of members do see the worth of the nesletter. Sure they think its a nice thing but often don't see its importance.<P>Tell us.. what is your secret???

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Bruce,<P>That's OK. B*******ing is one of the things best suited to the DF format. I have taken no offense fron what either you or Dan said. I hope I can take critisms and differences of opinions better than that. <P>I have been editor for 4 years now. It has been my observation that everyone goes crazy and gets defensive when you mention the Master's Editor award. I wonder why? After all, it is just a senior award for editors. I do not know about you but I can't wait for the web contest to get started. But, I guess that will be covered in next year's post.<p>[ 10-14-2001: Message edited by: 24T42 ]

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My first comment is that this is probably the best thread yet for this 'Editors' forum. I agree that when the job of editor ceases to be fun, it is time to quit. I was fortunate to receive the Master Editor award for three consecutive years from 1995 to 1997. Then I failed to send in my registration form and did not get evaluated. I have maintained the Award of Excellence status. My first term as editor was in the early 70s. I received the Award of Merit for those efforts. I don't really know why my earlier efforts were judged differently from my current newsletter. I don't think it is the production techniques. <BR>I believe that the emphasis is on content, attitude, and quality. Having attended several of the newsletter seminars, that seems to be the primary message given. The newsletter should inform the local membership and report on region events. I encourage members to contribute; but not in the newsletter; rather face to face. A member tells me that he went on a tour. I ask for a report and pictures. Frequently they are forthcoming. I try to acknowledge their contribution in the newsletter. I have a simple test for content: What is the first thing you as editor do when the current issue arrives in your mailbox? I open it and read every page even though I have lived with this material for 20+ hours! If it is interesting enough to hold your attention, then it should do the same for the majority of your members.<BR>As for attitude: be positive in reporting. Don't complain about lack of participation, rather emphasize the good time that everyone had. Make the articles inform the membership that they missed something great without being explicit about it. I find in our region a tendency to whine and complain. I made the mistake two years ago of publishing some of that stuff in the mistaken idea that it would generate constructive discussion. It worked just the opposite: it generated rancor and discord. Avoid this if you can. Edit it out of the material that you receive or restate it in a positive vein.<BR>Quality: I started using a digital camera to get timely photo coverage of our meets. The reproduction quality was poor. What good is a dark, low resolution photo? People was to recognize themselves. If you use photos make them good ones, apply titles, and place them in a pleasing format. Unfortunately, I'm still not satisfied with my photo quality. I resist the temptation to use copyrighted material, both articles and graphics, that members submit. Much of the humour that I read in the newsletter exchange is in my opinion in poor taste. Take extra effort to ensure that the material printed is accurate. I absolutely hate doing the activities calendar for this reason; because obtaining accurate information is difficult and time consuming. This might be a good task to ask a detail oriented member who attends a lot of activities to do for you. Apply quality control to all material received, however. My own experience is that this is tough to do at 1 AM when you are trying to complete the project. Limit your job to editor. Let someone else collate, stuff, mail the newsletter. I have never had to do that. Anyone with an interest in the club can handle the production side.<BR>Well, that's enough ramblin' on from me for now. One final thought: the newsletter is the lifeblood of the region.<P>jnp

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Hmmmm.....I'm usually the keeper, not the teller, of secrets, but I'll try. wink.gif" border="0 <P>1. The size, glossy cover, and layout of the Beam has not changed appreciably in over 20 years. This is what the members are accustomed to seeing, and any suggestion of change has been met with clear resistance. (No one in the region seems to like change...)<P>2. New members have never seen anything different, so they don't question the production of the newsletter. They might, if other members voiced a concern, but since they aren't hearing anything negative from the other members...<P>3. Members regard this publication as one of their membership perks. (Note: Our membership is $30/year for a single/joint membership. How many of you are charging anything near that?)<P>4. I don't think the people in the region stop to think about what the Beam costs, since they don't see the bills. Only the Board members are privy to the expenses of the region. The members see totals for income and expenses but not the breakout. If asked, we tell members that the price of membership covers the cost of the Beam and the roster. All other events are underwriten by the fund-raisers we participate in and donations from members.<P>5. Because we know what it costs to produce each issue, we try to give them the most bang for the buck. Yes, it requires some creative effort on our part to give them content some months, but we'd feel like we were cheating the members if we didn't try. This is where the "Do you like what you're doing?" comes into play.<P>6. We are fortunate to have a number of people who will willingly provide content when asked. We have one retired gentleman, for example, who attends a lot of meets as a judge. I asked him to write about his experiences at these shows, in the hopes that his reports might induce other members to attend meets outside our region. He's a folksy kind of writer, and I have to do a light edit on his material, but his enthusiasm for judging shines through. That and his eternal hunt for the perfect ice cream parlor make his articles well worth reading. <P>Our Board members are told early on that we expect them to do a cover story for one issue during the time they are on the Board. (The upside is that one or more of their cars appears on the cover. I think that's a fair exchange, and not too hard to sell.) We also expect them to provide -- or delegate to someone else willing to provide -- the write-up for any event they host. The first time is sometimes a bit difficult, but it's brought us some repeat contributors because we try to make the effort painless for them. We've accepted submissions on napkins, spiral bound notebook paper, and murky faxes. We make no comment to the author or anyone else about anyone's spelling, grammar or writing, but we always reserve the right to edit articles as we see fit. And we always try to keep the "voice" of the author in place through the clean up. As a result, we get a lot of "thank you for making me look so good" from people who had been apprehensive about their submissions (instead of "what did you do to my article!?!").<P>Whew, that was longer than I intended, and I still don't know if I really answered your question. I guess the REAL answer is that it's harder to set something up and fund it, than it is to maintain the status quo. smile.gif" border="0<P>Jan K.<BR>Wis Region<BR>Editor/Web Editor

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Jan,<P>Thanks for your reply. My request was an attempt to see how you convinced the membership the importance and usefulness of your newsletter. However it appears that it has had strong support by the members for many years. It gives me something to work towards smile.gif" border="0

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Thanks for all your input that helped me make my decision! grin.gif" border="0 <P>Prior to our October meeting, I made our President aware that I would serve one more year as Editor but, without any help producing our newsletter, that would be my last year. For the past two years I have asked around, both in print and in person, for some help but came up empty. frown.gif" border="0 <P>Apparently our President is more convincing than I because, after making a plea for someone to help me, two of our newest members stepped up and offered to take over some of the chores. smile.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0 <P>In the upcoming year, I don't know if one of them will take over as Editor or if their help will be enough for me to consider continuing. rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P>My problem has not been that the job isn't fun, it's that it has taken so much of my free time. I'll let you know how much this new help affects my work load. wink.gif" border="0 <P>Thanks again for all your posts to this thread! grin.gif" border="0

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Don't make them simply stamp lickers and you might have some people continue to help. You might consider assigning certain artilce sections to each of them to fill. You probably know all that. Just a reminder. cool.gif" border="0 New member might have some new ideas for you too.<P>Glad you found some help.

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Don't worry! I'm not dumb enough to recruit "stamp lickers", I'm looking for some serious help! wink.gif" border="0 <P>What I got was one lady willing to take over the calendar of car shows. This always took a lot of time for me to review the various flyers I received as well as searching "Old Cars" and the "Hemmings" website for shows in our area. By the way, does anyone know of other websites that publish car show dates?<P>My other helper is considering taking the Secretary's notes and editing them into a readable report. If this works out, it will be another relief on my workload.<P>If both these helpers prove reliable and can do the job, it's very possible I can consider staying on as Editor. rolleyes.gif" border="0

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It sounds like your getting the help. I didn't realize (at least the way it read to me) that these people were coming to do a certain job. My comment was basically just to help remind you that they need to feel important at what they are doing. Figured you knew that but just reminding. cool.gif" border="0 <BR>Good luck with your new help.

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I guess I didn't include it in my post, but at our meeting I mentioned a few specific areas where help would really be help.<P>I mentioned that I wasn't looking for "stamp lickers" or "staplers", I was looking for some serious help! rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P>I also thought that if I got some people who became accustomed to producing an article each month, maybe there would be someone in line when I hang up my keyboard.<P>Now if I could only get members to volunteer the stories behind their old cars..... frown.gif" border="0

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I have a car of the month on our <A HREF="http://www.aaca.org/alamance" TARGET=_blank>Alamance Chapter's website.</A> Trying to get members to give me photos and a brief paragraph or two about whys and hows of getting the car and what they have done with it, along with some specs (which I have made samples so everyone would know what I'm looking for) is like pulling teeth. rolleyes.gif" border="0 I have enough cars at the moment to get me into January.

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