Friday, July 30, 2010

From the Editor, The Very Existence of Kingspark News – By Francis Wann

Issue 02 - 2010.7.30

From the Editor

The Very Existence of Kingspark News – By Francis Wann

I was hesitating if I should contribute yet another editorial to kingspark News , knowing that its days are numbered, and that the snapshots will take over.

But I felt compelled to make a few points after reading remarks from Webmaster John and other members. I wonder if any members have read the last editorial on Council on Legislation, but it probably was the first time I got feedback from outside, and most of it not at all complimentary.

But any feedback is better than no feedback, if you would imagine Kingspark News has been in existence for years and if it's any good, it's only two or at most three articles including the President's Column. No frills, no visuals, no graphics. that's it. You can say people like us or hate us for the same reason.

I would not delve into details of the feedback which was relayed to me by YK who was our District Representative at the Council, but to be fair I owe him an apology for writing about his family which he was not amused. But apart from that, I stand by my words. There were those who thought I was not qualified to write about the Council, those who thought it was irrelevant , and those who claimed YK's official article was enough.

This indeed raises the fundamental issue of editorial, and it's all the more relevant as we see our bulletin at the crossroads. Webmaster John said he had high hopes on this article. The subject can be examined from various angles, and with different premises and arguments. The article did contain a few typos and factual errors. Yes, they were factual, not fatal, errors. I learnt afterwards that there was indeed some confusion regarding the $1 levy for the RI convention, and regarding the appointment of the district representative to the next COL.

Undesirable as these errors were, they won't affect the nature of the editorial. My focus was different, and readers can always make their own judgements.

It's unfortunate if my writings got on their nerve, but I am a writer-editor, not a reporter; and it was an editorial, not an interview. if some readers are able to read between the lines and get something out of it, then it has more than served its purpose. And if for that matter, they continue to read other materials or want to get involved with Rotary, it will be a bonus.

Pie in the sky? not necessarily.

Kingspark News has always existed as a platform for discussion, but sadly it's terribly underused. Some say we must move with the times which, in my understanding, means no articles but only messages. Perhaps the Facebook mentality has it all - now it won't publish anything with more than 140 words. Or shall we ask them to follow us on Twitter?

As Charter President, John has always been critical about club affairs. Michael Eyles once even used the term fearful. When Stephen showed me the new homepage of our new bulletin, it was clear he had the younger generation in mind. But would they take the trouble to click into our site and read? And if they do, what can we offer, spiritually and intellectually?

On the eve of our new publication, I would still wish to reiterate that it's important that our bulletin let members see a sense of direction. And for any publication worth a name under Rotary, it must be more than a calendar and event reminder. It's not a question of PR work, and it takes time to establish our credibility. When less than 10% of our Rotary clubs run a regular newsletter, the very existence of our club bulletin is called into question.