Post by Sharon Faulkner on Sept 10, 2005 18:44:33 GMT -5
Does anyone have any idea of how many grottos, regions, etc., are publishing their Newsletters online nowadays?
Every grotto I belong to publishes an electronic online version newsletter and a hard copy (print) format. Members can choose which version they want to receive. I know some grottos have gone to all electronic publishing, some use only print format, and some do both versions.
What made me think of this (assuming anyone might be interested) is that I had read an article in the June issue of the Maverick Grotto Newsletter, written by Butch Fralia. The article was regarding the various communication venues that we as cavers have available to us in now that were not available to cavers in even the recent past. Here is the link to that newsletter: www.maverickgrotto.org/PDF/mb200506.pdf
Post by L Roebuck on Sept 12, 2005 12:46:40 GMT -5
Many grotto's and caving orgs are publishing online these days, it seems. The Cave Conservation and Management Section: The Cave Conservationist, Southeastern Regional Association, SERA Newsletter, Greater Cincinnati Grotto, Electric Caver, to name a few.
Last Edit: Mar 11, 2006 23:58:08 GMT -5 by L Roebuck
My grotto is about to start publishing online while still offering a printed version. Many of our members were against it for a long time (me included) simply because the majority of our members work in fron of a computer all day... who wants to read more stuff on a computer? Plus, I love getting the newsletter in the mail! It's fun to get something besides bills and junk mail! But we've decided to go ahead with online publishing, but we're going to password-protect our site. Some grottos I think have one username and password for everyone... we're going to have an individual user name and password for each person (more secure). I believe that many of the articles we publish shouldn't be available to the general public... they mention endangered species, fragile cave systems, etc., that I personally didn't think should just be floating out there on the internet for anyone to read. We're going to do a test run next month and we'll see how it works!
What do you all think about having articles about sensitive caves (such as archaeo sites, bat hibernacula, etc). available to the public?
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Sept 13, 2005 7:36:34 GMT -5
Jennifer, I do agree that some caves do contain items that should not be publicized to the public at large, especially if too much identifying information is given, or already known, about the cave (i.e. general location, name of cave, etc).
Post by Azurerana on Sept 13, 2005 19:35:56 GMT -5
Specific locations? Yes. They are a big no-no. However, I don't have as many qualms about putting other info online, any more than putting it on a piece of paper--which you don't have any control over, either.
I once had an article of mine questioned because it contained a description of a cave trip to a well-known gated cave in a state park where any 4 people with the key fee could have access to.
I mentioned that it was in this state park. I successfully argued since it was on public land, and open to the public (although restricted access, which I also mentioned) it was pretty silly to have to hide a description of what was in the cave.
Naturally, it depends on what is in a specific article, and what the approach is. However, I think we'd be more successful at enlisting the general public in karst issues if we weren't so secretive about caves.
Just came from a conference of outdoor writers. Had a speaker who broke down outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, birding, hiking, biking, nature study, etc.) by percentages. Caving is such a small fraction of 1% it isn't even on the list, not even mentioned under other.
This is great when we want to keep the caves to ourselves, conservation of species, yada yada. But it is a royal pain when some cave or spring is threatened, and we have to start from square one, often with limited time to educate the public about WHY they should care if the cave gets bulldozed, or the spring filled in.
Good points, azurerana. I personally am not a fan of cave secrecy. I think it turns people off to joining organized caving. In my experience, hooking up curious new cavers with experienced cavers is the best way to educate people about cave conservation and stewardship, not to mention safe caving techniques. When people ask me about caving, I invite them to our grotto meetings and have taken tons of new people caving. Our grotto over the last few years has made a point of making sure we talk to visitors and make sure they feel welcome at our meetings. I hear that's not the norm around the country. I think that's a better way to approach new cavers that just saying something like "there ain't no caves 'round here."
I guess one point that I didn't make before is that I consider our newsletter a membership benefit, especially since it costs money to produce. We provide tons of information on our website about local caving, caving pictures, conservation, beginning tips and info, etc. We have a great webmaster. So that was one argument for password protecting our newsletter. If just anyone can read it, why would they pay to join the grotto?
Last Edit: Sept 15, 2005 9:18:07 GMT -5 by Jennifer
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Sept 16, 2005 21:54:15 GMT -5
I am not big believer of the "don't tell them about caves and caving, and no one will find out" theory. Many folks interested in caving are finding and exploring caves on their own. I too think it is in our (cavers) own best interest for these folks to find organizations that are welcoming and helpful to newcomers. At least then there is the opportunity to share conservation beliefs or some form of safety messages with them. Education has to start somewhere.
I think each grotto will have to make their own decisions regarding online access to their newsletters. There are simply too many variables to take into consideration for one option to fit all grottos.
Post by Brian Roebuck on Sept 20, 2005 20:59:49 GMT -5
The use of online newsletters sure is a cheaper alternative for small grottos though. I agree some sort of discretion is advisable since some newsletters contain a bit of contact info that may not be suitable for worldwide view. These are all good ideas and points to consider. Good topic!
Brian Roebuck NSS 34626 RL (FE) ----- Caving is far too serious to be taken seriously.
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Sept 26, 2005 7:14:15 GMT -5
I didn't consider the newsletter expense issue since our grotto publishes both online and hard copy. Online newsletters would be a great option for smaller grottos or even newer grottos, who have yet to build up their coffers, to have a newsletter for their membership.
In some cases it might also give them a leg up in the Graphic Arts Salon at Conventions. Newsletters have to be entered in the form they were distributed to the grotto membership, and some photographic covers tend to lose quality during printing, at least at the prices most grottos can afford to pay for newsletter printing.
I don't see the local publication around here going electronic any time soon. The grotto's in Colorado all pool together to help create enough articles to fill Rocky Mountain Caving. The grotto's donate money as well, to help keep it a float and have grotto reps. and such.
Northern Colorado Grotto was putting out a newsletter on line for it's members. It was pass word protected.
Last Edit: Sept 26, 2005 8:19:05 GMT -5 by madratdan
Dan Sullivan Member Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto Co-chair Colorado Western Slope Grotto NSS Youth Group Regional Coordinator
Post by Azurerana on Sept 26, 2005 10:51:31 GMT -5
[Reference the benefit of membership idea...
NSS Geo-2 Geology/geography newsletter is sent electronically to members, and is then posted on the web one issue behind what is sent out. Therefore the members get an incentive to keep sending in their $6, but the caving community--if they care to track it down--can read old issues.
Being geos, most location info isboth specific enough to be useful, but vague enough if you know where it is, you can find it, but if you don't, well...you don't., and you have to contact the author who makes that judgement.
From the examples given in this thread (albeit limited) I can spot a trend developing. The southern half of the country seems to be publishing online at a higher rate than the northern half. Perhaps a difference in cultures across the nation or maybe just another of the vast differences among cavers from different regions.
TAG cavers have always been seen as more open and high profile cavers, maybe due to an over abundance of caves in the region. Back in the early nineties, several Indiana cavers (who shall remain nameless) that regularly visited TAG caves frequently referred to groups of TAG cavers as "the barbarians". ;D
Last Edit: Sept 23, 2006 13:59:54 GMT -5 by Taylor