Monday, April 14, 2014

Big News! PRA Announces Newsletter to Start and Pedigrees to End

The Board of Directors met recently in a special meeting to discuss the Pennington Pedigrees.  The Pedigrees has been the major publication of the PRA since 1968 but the past few years the cost of printing and mailing it to our Members as well as keeping an Editor on staff have challenged the Board.  The Pedigrees went digital in 2010 being distributed at first on a CD to our Members.  Then the Pedigrees were made available to our Members by a direct download from our website.

With the recent resignation of the Pedigrees Editor, the Board decided it was time to once again discuss the future of the Pedigrees.  An open forum to discuss the future of the Pedigrees was recently held via an online meeting.  Many outstanding comments and suggestions were made.  These were shared with the Board of Directors who met on April 12, 2014 for the sole purpose of deciding the future of the Pedigrees.

Here is a summary of my notes from the Board meeting held on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  I’m sure there are some things I left out but Betsy has the exact wording of the motions, etc.

The Board voted to NO longer publish the Pennington Pedigrees effective July 1, 2014.  That means the current issue for Spring 2014 will be the last Pedigrees.  The Board accepted Melinda’s offer to continue to be the Editor of the Pedigrees and to publish the last issue.

The Board voted YES to start a newsletter.

The Board decided to publish a newsletter quarterly with the first one being issued for the 3rd quarter 2014.  The newsletter will be distributed via our e-mail blast system on our website.

The Board approved moving the News (blog) to the Members-only section of our website and to rename it.  It is now called “Members Only Blog”.  This means only current PRA Members can read and/or post to this blog.

The concept is to encourage members to post their material to the Members-only blog and/or to their own personal blog, and then for a yet to be determined person to select which material they think should be published in the next newsletter.  They will then copy/paste just a summary (or snippet) of the blog message (post) into the newsletter.  We’ll use links as much as possible to minimize the size of the newsletter. 

The Board approved moving the Discussion forum to another location in the website and to rename it.  It is now called “Public Blog”.  This means that the public can read and/or post to this blog (same as before).

I told the Board Marsha Hanson-Smith had offered to “play around” with the newsletter templates on our website and I demonstrated the templates.  From my testing (brief) it appears that each template layout is different but they all appear to allow you to either type or copy/paste into each topic/subject area on the template.  As you add more text and/or pictures, the section expands.  It does not appear that it flows over onto additional pages.  So it looks to me that we could have a long (due to stretching of the page by adding content to each section) newsletter but each newsletter does have a content section with links to each section.  We want to keep the newsletter to as few as 3 – 6 pages.

There was much discussion on the “nuts and bolts” of how to do the newsletter, formatting, links, content, distribution to libraries, etc.  We also discussed, briefly, the role and responsibility of members to submit material to our blog and how an editor would be responsible for selecting material from the blog and posting it in the newsletter.  We all agreed that we’d have to use links to other’s blogs so we don’t fill up our own newsletter with their material and thus make the newsletter too long, etc.

We agreed we have to all work together to discuss and work out the procedures and details to make the new blog (with the new title) and the newsletter work well for our members.

I added a paragraph to the Members-only blog and to the public blog to cover the consent to publish issue so we don’t have to worry about obtaining a consent to publish form from each person who posts/publishes on either blog.  I’ll will probably have to modify the wording as we move through the process to make sure we cover as many of the circumstances as possible with regards to copyright and posting material that is not appropriate.

Melinda will write an article for publishing in the Spring 2014 issue of the Pedigrees explaining the Board’s decisions and how the PRA will now publish material.

We will send out additional information on some of the procedures as soon as we can.  If you have any suggestions or comments, please use the “Reply to All” feature so all of us are kept up to date on the discussions.

I hope this helps to clarify our meeting and the direction the Board has taken with regards to the Pedigrees, using our blog and the newsletter.

Please let me know if you have any questions.