COMMUNICATIONS TEAM ANNUAL REPORT
The Communications Team is comprised of the editor of the Tar Heel News, the state webmaster, branch communications representatives, and team chair. The Team has been actively seeking input from state members regarding the refining and refocusing of our communications efforts. Two surveys were presented to the members to give new direction, if need be, to our printed and online communications efforts.
AAUW/NC Communications Survey results are based on 23 responses from a possible 1100. The response alone is telling.
1. Most respondants (18 of 23) say they always read the printed version of the THN.
2. Most respondants (11 of 23) say they never read the online version of the THN. The other responses were evenly distributed among “sometimes”, “often”, and “always”.
3. Articles of most interest are almost equally read: reported events (19), opinion pieces (16), meeting announcements (15), and general (18); with none (1).
4. Articles most likely read are state (20), local (13), national (10), only AAUW (8), some non-AAUW (6) and none (1).
5. Twenty-one (21) respondants feel the Tar Heel News is published often enough to keep all informed of important upcoming events. Two (2) were not sure.
The team thanks everyone who took the time to respond to this survey and give their valuable input.
The two AAUW NC websites (www.aauwnc.org – launched in 1996, and news.aauwnc.org – started in 2005) were merged into one integrated website, www.aauwnc.org which includes historical and current information. The site is base on a modern software platform which allows multiple members to take responsibility for posting information, allows branches to post information about their activities, includes headlines from AAUW without manual intervention, and provides an RSS feed that makes it easy to generate the e-newsletter that is sent out once or twice a month. The next issue of the Tar Heel News will be primarily a collection of articles that have already been posted to the web: branches and others with information for the newsletter are urged to post information directly, though submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org will still be considered and arrangements may be made for information that cannot be submitted by e-mail.
At the Fall Meeting 2007 in High Point, the Communications Team presented a workshop about getting media attention for the branches. A challenge was issued to the branches to submit letters, articles, and pictures to their area media outlets by June 2008. A wall of “Branches’ Media Success” at the convention in Greensboro will showcase how well the branches have met that challenge in the last 6 months. A sample news release was made available to the branches to further promote media attention for the up-coming convention.
With the retirement of Marty Folsom as editor of the Tar Heel News, we are seeking additional members of the Communication Team – those with the technical skills required to produce the print edition of the Tar Heel News, and those with the AAUW NC knowledge and editorial skills to edit the publications and assist the president and other officers in prioritizing the information published in the newsletter. While the results of the survey indicate that we will not drop the print edition in favor of an e-newsletter, the very low response rate to the survey indicates that we may consider publishing a less comprehensive quarterly publication, not only to save printing and production costs, but also to save time in producing the publication and the time for members to read it. This issue will be presented to the board for discussion on April 19.