Recent complaints about the timeliness of the newsletter, sometimes due to circumstances under our control but much of the time due to outside influences – but that’s a topic for another editorial – have caused us to question just what roles a newsletter currently serves, or more importantly, what role it should serve in the months and years ahead. In years past, the newsletter was a key communications channel, frequently the only communications method apart from face-to-face contact at meetings, club events and races, for club members to reach one another, to discuss what was happening in running and multisport, and to catch up on regional and national news items that may not have made the local newspapers. Now we have instant news available at our fingertips.
If I can’t look up this morning’s race results by 2:00pm this afternoon, I’m likely to send an e-mail to the race director suggesting that they hire a new timing company. E-mail lists, newsgroups, bulletin boards, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and website updates keep us constantly up-to-date on, or some may say inundated with, all the club news, gossip, national, regional and world news that we can absorb. So what becomes of the staid newsletter on a bi-monthly publication schedule that at it’s best is always at least 4 weeks behind and more likely 2-3 months behind the web and the rest of the world? We offer these likely possibilities: 1) the newsletter ceases to exist and becomes an amalgamation of photo gallery, blog postings, and Facebook entries on a club internet portal; 2) the newsletter ceases to be an active news source and becomes an archive of club happenings, stories, trivia, member results and other items, committed to print and destined to survive beyond an inordinate number of computer crashes which will occur over the next many years; 3) the newsletter becomes an adjunct of the website, exploring stories and news items in more detail, providing insightful commentary on races and the local personas behind them, supplementing and feeding off of website content; 4) the newsletter becomes a purely creative endeavor leaving news and rapid updates to the website and concentrating on longer stories, in-depth news items and other material which can’t be easily encapsulated in on-line format. While we can’t discount option #2, having recently scanned the past 30 years of newsletters to be posted on the website (isn’t that ironic!) we recognize the tremendous historical significance of these archival records to the club history, a combination of alternatives 3 and 4, with a little bit of number 2 for posterity’s sake is the healthiest direction for a newsletter to pursue. And that’s where you, the membership, come in. All those creative meanderings, those explorations of unknown races and trails, those dreams, triumphs and defeats, have to come from you. And as the gatherers of those stories, we’ll do our best to get them published and shared to the rest of the world as soon as our busy lives permit.
Our print vs. on-line debate isn’t unique to our club or the world. What is intriguing to us is that the Cape Cod Athletic Club should be dealing with these issues at the same time as major media organizations all over the world struggle with the exact same questions. That suggests that the club is progressive, healthy, actively engaging new methodologies and technologies, and always looking for better content and better means of delivery. We want you to be a part of it. Weigh-in or contribute at firstname.lastname@example.org.