I remember the moment I agreed to take on the Newsletter. It was at the National Council Face-to-Face meeting in 2012.
Fiona Tennant from ICS had been editing the Newsletter for a long time (and doing a brilliant job!) and felt it was time to pass it on – new blood, new perspective and all that. She scanned the room and lighted on me. “Canberra hasn’t done it before” she said “What do you think?”. Put on the spot I could not think of an argument against the suggestion and I secretly wished to try my hand at editing a publication so I said yes. Smiles all round!
I took the suggestion back to the Canberra Committee and Prue McKay – a whiz at editing and Celia Cramer – a whiz and networking agreed to help – we had a team!
The procedure was already well established – four times a year an email went out to the membership asking for content. This duly came in – always at the last minute! These were the days of hard-copy newsletters so I had to learn the procedure for getting copy to our printing and distribution contractor.
Our first newsletter was Issue No 1 of 2012. I quickly learned that our membership is very engaged. There was never a question of too little content. We always had plenty! People were keen to give reviews from workshops and conferences and most institutions were happy to supply institutional news. The job was to knock all of this into some shape.
In 2013 we went from four issues per year down to three.
From day one there were discussions about moving to an electronic format. Although as object-centric conservators, this was a difficult for us to contemplate. However, there were many arguments in its favour. One key one was economics; going electric would save us significant money, which we could use better elsewhere.
There was also the realisation that the online world is becoming the norm for the delivery of information and a well-produced e-newsletter would be more easily utilised – for example the way advertising is included, and that it is searchable.
There were many angst-ridden discussions at National Council meeting about the change with arguments on both sides championed by various council members.
In the end, the arguments in favour of the change became too great to ignore and so from issue three of 2015 we went electric. The change was quite painless and the membership accepted it as inevitable, embracing the new format.
So now instead of supplying the content to our editor/printer we supply it to our web manager – the wonderful Zora. She waves her magic e-wand and lo! we have an e-newsletter. The online newsletter has all the content of the old paper-based version but in an attractive and easy to navigate form.
So I pass the baton to Rose with some sadness. I have enjoyed the editing process immensely. It also allowed me to be very well informed about who had been to what conference, who had moved jobs and even who had a baby. And so much else more! I will now have to look out for that message in my Inbox saying the newsletter is out and read it like every other member.