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Newsletters,Societies,and the Internet

In a message dated 12/7/00 12:19:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
sussextreeinc@ce.net writes:

One area ripe for Internet usage is the Newsletter Exchange Group. I know
the Carol B. works hard at her job as the coordinator for the newsletter
editors and I don't want to step on her toes, but sometime soon this kind of
exchange needs to be done on the Internet. The Delmarva Hosta Society
currently send 40 or so extra newsletters to other hosta societies'
newsletter editors via snail mail. We only have 125 members and these extra
copies and postage add significantly to the cost of our newsletter
production. On top of that only the newsletter editors get a copy and that's
about as far as these newsletters go. I have not seen another local
societies newsletter in at least a year.

Not to be overlooked in my above discussion of the newsletter editors and
their use of the Internet is the fact that some people stated that they
never wanted anything they had written to appear on the Internet.

Dan Nelson

Hi Dan,

I don't know where to start and I don't have the writing talent of our
"long-winded friend" Andrew....but I will give this a try...

Firstly, I want to say that I don't feel trod upon. I welcome your
constructive ideas. Secondly, I MUST say that I am FAR from perfect and I
know there is someone 'out there'  who could do a MUCH better job than I as
the volunteer AHS Newsletter Exchange coordinator.  That being said, I will
try and address some of your well taken points.

I too, see that as we grow larger in local society numbers, we need to get to
the point where the newsletter exchange is done electronically via the
Internet.  And while you can't know all that goes on behind the scenes, I
have been collecting the URL's of locals who post their newsletters on local
web sites.  Kevin Walek (AHS Board member and head of AHS publications) also
wanted what info I had collected on the subject before the fall board
meeting.  The subject of using the AHS web site for sharing newsletters is an
ongoing one. It is not a dead issue! In fact if you visit the AHS web site at
www.hosta.org , right on the home page you will see:
coming soon to this site:
a special membership site for Limited on-line access to AHS publications 
A full, searchable hosta registration database with photographs
AHS national & regional editor news exchange service 
updated FAQs

So while it seems to you that your pleas are falling on deaf ears...I can
assure you that they are NOT!

As I said before, I am probably not the best NLE coordinator volunteer, but I
am the only one we have.  I have a personal interest in the newsletters being
exchanged and I am often the one contact for new societies to get information
on how to "get on the AHS train" and start taking part.  So again, while it
seems to you that I don't realize the expense involved in sending 40
newsletters out to the 40 societies that are signed up for the newsletter
exchange, I DO realize the expense, and I am trying to make it easier and
cheaper to exchange information for everyone.

Now Dan, I have gone back into those curse-Ed 33,000 Emails, and let me just
let you, and anyone else who is interested, see some numbers.

1. I am a horrible bookkeeper!

2. I collect newbies, change oldies, and sometimes have to hunt down
ever-changing names, addresses, phone numbers, Email addresses, web sites and
personal preferences as to what information is and is not OK to share and
where and with whom.

3. My correct use of the English language is in question a lot of the time
(who/whom,  which/that, his/her/their) ....which seems ironic for a
newsletter editor, and coordinator, and probably makes the hair on some
peoples neck stand on end!

4. If you call me and leave a phone message, you may be eligible for Social
Security benefits by the time I return your call. And this is an optimistic
estimate if you left the message when you were say, ...30 something!  My
'real job'  takes me out of the country, so I may be gone, or you may be
subject to my " duh" responses when I have either had to leave for work at
3AM or I am returning from work at 3AM. The phone is not my best tool.

5. The same applies to the above if you want or need something from me in
snail mail!  FORGET IT!

6. I am probably NOT the best volunteer for the NLE but I'm all we have.  

7. I often repeat myself.

8. I sent out or received 50 or more messages regarding the NLE in 2000.  And
each of those required some work in an area that I do NOT excel at!  I.E.
bookkeeping, phoning, mailing, database changes (see bookkeeping).

9. I was the stand-in at the national convention when the VP of my AHS area
was not able to be there...and in doing so, I missed an opportunity to meet
with Bernie Diesen, the web master, to further discuss setting aside space
for the electronic exchange of newsletters, BUT gained a lot of insight into
how much the AHS needs people to VOLUNTEER in areas of particular interest to
them. i.e.. New Societies, slide sharing library, information sharing so that
everyone is not having to reinvent the wheel every time they do
something....like insurance, legal matters, fund-raising ideas, etc.

10. Only 7 of the 40 societies who participate in the NLE have local websites
where they could post their newsletters.

11. When this ( going to sharing newsletters electronically exclusively) was
discussed more than a year ago in one of my NLE updates, only a few responded
with their preferences. And many who responded commented that they would
still prefer to get the newsletters in the mail so that the clip art and
design and creativity of the various editors would not be lost in just the
black and white text on a computer screen.

12, And there are the issues of some not wanting ANY of their newsletter to
appear ANYWHERE on the Internet, some societies not having a website, some
local editors not even having an Email address, some new locals not having
enough seed money to send BACK  to the more financially solvent NLE partners,
and even though they can't send out newsletters the FULL participants mail to
the newbies for a year, to help out the up-start groups get some newsletter

13. And as far as you not seeing any others society's newsletters in a
while.... "On top of that only the newsletter editors get a copy and that's
about as far as these newsletters go. I have not seen another local
societies newsletter in at least a year."    The whole idea of the AHS
newsletter exchange is for each local society's EDITOR to receive the various
newsletters, decide which articles might be of interest to THEIR readers, get
permission to reprint the article, and disseminate the information to their
local society members that way.  Sounds like a great concept doesn't it?   
And I'll bet that Ralph would LOVE to be relieved of the title of newsletter
editor for The Delmarva Hosta Society, after how many years(?) by someone
like you who has some GREAT ideas about setting up the electronic exchange of
newsletters, saving your society some postage and printing costs, and then
you would get to read ALL of the newsletters of all the societies which/that/
who (sorry to those who know what to use there!) participate in the AHS
Newsletter Editor's Exchange!  What a great idea!

So Dan, you can see that we are a very diverse group, with different ideas
and different needs. And while I appreciate you/your (my bad grammar again!)
wanting all the news to be available electronically, that is probably a ways
off. And as always, I appreciate your constructive input. And I will continue
to work with Kevin and Bernie to work out the website exchange issues.

And I can't resist, while I don't mean to step on YOUR toes, going back into
those curse-Ed 33,000 you-know-what,  and quoting you, in response to a
request I made of you for my NLE bookkeeping:

" I am very anxious to get as much of the newsletters as possible in an
electronic form (Don't take this as a push for you to do more work because it
isn't.)  If you do send anyone electronic copies please copy me if you would.
I still do not have a
scanner and I rarely see Ralph to get the hard copies. I keep telling myself
I will help Ralph but never seem to get around to it. I will not offer lame
excuses."   Your hosta buddy, Dan Nelson    9/08/00

So Dan, no hard feelings. No offense intended, and none taken.  As it turns
out...I can be as long-winded as Andrew, tho not as eloquent. And, BTW, while
you couldn't know this, because I am collecting information quietly, or was,
ANDREW saw a need for his local society, The Russ O'Harra Hosta Society, to
have a web site, so he set one up!  I suspect he may even post their local
newsletter there in time. You will be getting this information via the next
NLE update...and thank you for being the ELECTRONIC contact for your society,
since your editor doesn't have Email yet.

I regret having no more time to chat with you about this now, but I have
gotten phone calls from 3 new start up societies asking about the newsletter
exchange, I have to update my data base with new information for them, return
phone calls (oh dear), write up a NLE Update that is overdue because I keep
getting new information, I have a Tri-State newsletter of my own to get out,
an article that I volunteered to write about voles for the next Journal to
work on, ( and BTW I will be contacting you for your permission to include
your VOLE DESTROYING GIZMO),  a regional meeting to help put together that I
hope will knock everyone's socks off and get them excited about hostas again,
a plant auction to help organize, a photo contest (sponsored by the
HostaLibrary.org)  that Bob and Barbara and I have discussed to put together,
and just a few other fun and exciting activities to work on besides my
'regular' life which was lifeless and dull before HOSTAS! ...that brings to
mind all of the hosta friends I should be keeping in touch with!
...oh yah, I forgot about setting up the 12 step group for hostaholics that I
have been asked to preside over because I am one of the worst abusers!

So Dan, gotta run! But rest assured that while you are sleeping Santa's elves
are working behind the scenes to make the AHS a better place to have fun,
enjoy yourself, and BE POSITIVE!

Luv and Kizzes,
Your Hosta Buddy,
I regret I have but one life to give to hostas,
Carol in CT z6/5

Newsletter editor coordinator AHS
Carol Brashear
16 Mackay Farm Rd.
Woodbury, CT  06798

Carol in CT

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Carol Brashear
American Hosta Society  
Eastern Region One Director

Carol Brashear
Tri-State Hosta Society
of NY, NJ & CT
VP and newsletter editor

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