Should NSS NEWS go digital?

NSS News, other caving publications, and books.

Moderator: Moderators

Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby ohiocaver » Mar 20, 2013 1:47 pm

According to Wm Shrewsbury, president of the NSS, the powers-that-be are considering taking the NSS NEWS digital and, while preserving the paper copies for those who want them, giving a discount for those who get an e-copy.
This is just what the Cleveland Grotto does with its CLEVE-O-GROTTO NEWS publication…offer a discount for those who take a digital copy. It works for us, but barely. If the goal of the NSS is to save money, it is a reasonable proposition. If the goal of the NSS is to stay in touch with its members, create good will, and give a feeling of community, the idea stinks.
I think it is a bad idea for several reasons:
1- The print copy of the NEWS is the one regular, constant way the NSS touches every member. It shows up in your mailbox regularly, whether you are thinking about it or not. It shows caving is alive and active. With pretty front and back covers, it is almost impossible to ignore…to open. Inside, it inspires us to get out and get underground. It keeps us up to date on events and friends.
2- A digital copy, even of our Grotto NEWS, is too big to email to many members - their service will not handle it. NSS NEWS would be a bigger challenge. So we send a link. However the e-version comes through, the potential reader has to respond to a URL and go out and get the NEWS. Not a big deal to many – but it’s a lot easier to click “delete” and move on to something else than it is to download it. Even if it is downloaded, a second action is required to open the file and start to look – a lot of work on the reader.
3- Email addresses, even for the 60+ members of the Cleveland Grotto change constantly. I can’t imagine how many members’ addresses will be lost and the enormity of the challenge of finding them again. Just this month’s Grotto meeting, 3 members complained of not getting their Grotto emails. That’s over five percent per month who are suddenly out of the loop!
4- It is a mistake to see the NSS NEWS as a cost. It is an investment in the members and the membership. If we have money for a Taj Mahal office, we have money to print and mail the NEWS. Taken on an elementary level, the present proposal is akin to a parent telling the kids to give up good food every day because funds are tight since they must support a couple of distant relatives who live in a mansion.
Consider: This is an active caving forum. How many people (as a percent of the NSS) actually are active on a monthly basis? There are a few frequent posters. A few, like me, who are occasional. And there is an entire ocean of cavers who never even peek in. Restricting the NEWS in return for a few bucks is a sure way to lose touch with even more members and make the NSS less relevant in many cavers’ lives. It's a bad idea. :down:
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 286
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Mar 20, 2013 3:40 pm

I think a digital copy is an excellent idea and something we should have done five years ago.
However, I'd like to see it as an opt-in for NSS members who prefer to receive it that way, not an end to the print edition.

Frankly, with the costs of ink and paper, I'd imagine a disproportionate amount of the NSS operating budget goes toward producing the mag.
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
User avatar
Jeff Bartlett
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Jun 29, 2007 12:19 am
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Jeff Bartlett
NSS #: 59325
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Tennessee Cave Survey
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby BenS » Mar 20, 2013 4:24 pm

I would love a digital copy. I was actually hoping for one when I joined the NSS and was disappointed to find that it wasn't available. On top of that it saves money and helps the environment slightly. I would assume that most of the younger generation of cavers would appreciate having a digital option.
BenS
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Jul 12, 2012 5:34 pm
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Ben Skinner
NSS #: 64281
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 20, 2013 4:29 pm

curt@curtharler.com wrote:I think it is a bad idea for several reasons:
1- The print copy of the NEWS is the one regular, constant way the NSS touches every member. It shows up in your mailbox regularly, whether you are thinking about it or not. It shows caving is alive and active. With pretty front and back covers, it is almost impossible to ignore…to open. Inside, it inspires us to get out and get underground. It keeps us up to date on events and friends.

Seems like an electronic copy does all the same things. Maybe there are people out there without email or internet access, but then there are also people out there without mailboxes.

2- A digital copy, even of our Grotto NEWS, is too big to email to many members - their service will not handle it. NSS NEWS would be a bigger challenge. So we send a link. However the e-version comes through, the potential reader has to respond to a URL and go out and get the NEWS. Not a big deal to many – but it’s a lot easier to click “delete” and move on to something else than it is to download it. Even if it is downloaded, a second action is required to open the file and start to look – a lot of work on the reader.

All those mouse clicks do sound daunting. With print copies you have to get dressed, go outside, and risk tornadoes, lightning, and mountain lion attacks. Electronic distribution is far safer.

3- Email addresses, even for the 60+ members of the Cleveland Grotto change constantly. I can’t imagine how many members’ addresses will be lost and the enormity of the challenge of finding them again. Just this month’s Grotto meeting, 3 members complained of not getting their Grotto emails. That’s over five percent per month who are suddenly out of the loop!

People move also, and sometimes change their phone numbers. Email is pretty portable these days.

4- It is a mistake to see the NSS NEWS as a cost. It is an investment in the members and the membership. If we have money for a Taj Mahal office, we have money to print and mail the NEWS. Taken on an elementary level, the present proposal is akin to a parent telling the kids to give up good food every day because funds are tight since they must support a couple of distant relatives who live in a mansion.

This analogy makes no sense whatsoever. I agree that the NSS News has great value, but the value is in its content, not the mode of distribution. I seem to be in the minority on how much I value print media over electronic, but there will always be those who resist change. I think there could be many advantages to an electronic version including 100% color, expanded content, active hyperlinks, searchable content, etc. I would prefer to see it move to an opt-in system for print distribution rather than opt-out for electronic. Opting-in could be as simple as adding a check box to the membership renewal form - really not that involved.
User avatar
Extremeophile
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Dec 7, 2009 7:37 pm
Location: Littleton, CO
Name: Derek Bristol
NSS #: 34941
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Colorado Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 20, 2013 7:47 pm

The Indiana Karst Conservancy also offers a E-letter. it is an opt-in with no discount. You basically say sure, ill let the IKC save a few bucks and not send me paper. 1/3 chose to. across 10,000 people for the NEWS thats a big number.

The NEWS *IS* a big cost out of the budget. It is also a even bigger percentage of why people have memberships in the first place.

The thing to remember is that the NEWS has traditionally been a PICTURES magazine. Yes there are articles, but the pictures are what sets it apart. That is why National Geographic sends paper...nice glossy fancy paper.

I certainly think a digital version should be available, but essentially eliminating print is a mistake. Of course, the other possibility is that it will drive many people to get life memberships (who get a print version). Then when the budget gets worse, they can shaft the Life members since they already have their money and are using it for the HQ.....
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby BenS » Mar 20, 2013 9:35 pm

Nobody ever said print was going to be eliminated.
BenS
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Jul 12, 2012 5:34 pm
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Ben Skinner
NSS #: 64281
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby trogman » Mar 21, 2013 6:29 am

wyandottecaver wrote: Of course, the other possibility is that it will drive many people to get life memberships (who get a print version). Then when the budget gets worse, they can shaft the Life members since they already have their money and are using it for the HQ.....


I think you misunderstood something about the use of Life Membership funds for the HQ- I suspect your dislike for the HQ has tainted your perception of all things related to it. :argue: Unless I misunderstood, the life member dues are not directly used for this purpose, only the interest generated from those funds.

As far as the NSS News going digital, I am not opposed to it being an option. However, I personally wouldn't choose that option, for several reasons. The bathroom is one of my main reading rooms, and the place where I most often peruse the News. (TMI, I know :grin: ) Since I don't own a tablet or other thin, portable digital reader device, the only way I can read the News in there is in paper form. Paper also allows me to take it anywhere I want; to work, to a doctor's office, on a plane, camping, etc. Electronic versions of any document (at least for me) are limited to my desktop at home and at work.

Trogman :helmet:
User avatar
trogman
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 906
Joined: May 2, 2008 8:35 am
Location: North Alabama
Name: Stephen Brewer
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Gadsden Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby LukeM » Mar 21, 2013 7:40 am

Extremeophile wrote:
curt@curtharler.com wrote:
2- A digital copy, even of our Grotto NEWS, is too big to email to many members - their service will not handle it. NSS NEWS would be a bigger challenge. So we send a link. However the e-version comes through, the potential reader has to respond to a URL and go out and get the NEWS. Not a big deal to many – but it’s a lot easier to click “delete” and move on to something else than it is to download it. Even if it is downloaded, a second action is required to open the file and start to look – a lot of work on the reader.


All those mouse clicks do sound daunting. With print copies you have to get dressed, go outside, and risk tornadoes, lightning, and mountain lion attacks. Electronic distribution is far safer.


You can mock it all you want, but the sort of behavior curt is talking about is real. People are inherently "lazy" (or maybe I should say have a low tolerance for annoyance) when it comes to digital media, and with each extra step you ask someone to do you will see a drop off in participation. This is especially true when it comes to people's inboxes where many people are in a constant battle to reduce the number of things calling for their attention. We also place a higher inherent value on physical objects. There's guilt associated with discarding a glossy printed magazine, but deleting a bunch of 1' and 0's is impermanent and intangible. It might seem ridiculous, but I have no doubt that the number of people who actually open and read the News would be higher for the physical version.

Also, how many people keep copies of the news out on their coffee table? I've had a number of guests have their interest in caving be piqued by absentmindedly flipping through what I keep around the house.

With that said, I'm not against the idea. I just think the NSS should be realistic about what the results will be. I don't think there's any doubt that the News will have to offer a digital version eventually, so why not now?
User avatar
LukeM
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Jan 30, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: Albany, NY
Name: Luke Mazza
NSS #: 59317
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby David Grimes » Mar 21, 2013 9:52 am

I personally like the electronic option but then I have stated that many times in the past. I might be reading into it differently than others but I don't see it as a big deal. From my understanding, membership prices are going to decrease from the current rate, members who chose to keep the print copy will pay something near the current membership rate, and life members wil still receive print copies unless they opt out.

I think that sounds pretty reasonable. The goal is to save money and add new members by reducing the cost of membership, the logic being that lower membership dues will bring in new members who could not afford the $40 a year (or whatever the current price is).

I will not get into the rest of the budget concerning the building and so forth. I do agree that lowering the cost of membership alone will not be enough. I do feel the NSS could/should do a better job representing its members interests when it comes to caving and cave access. I also think there is real improvement needed to allow more input from the membership concerning NSS business.

I do think that the IT changes in the works now will help with communication but more work will need to be done to address this.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Scott McCrea » Mar 21, 2013 10:09 am

Just about every magazine is available in a digital form. I believe that those that are easily viewed on a tablet actually get read. It would be great if the NSS had an app for that.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 21, 2013 6:56 pm

trogman, not to derail the thread, but yes I understand they arent using dues directly. I was mainly referring to the transfers of "excess" and the fact that while LIfe would get print under the current proposal, things change and we could easily see a time ahead when there was no print option short of your desktop printer.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby ohiocaver » Mar 21, 2013 9:21 pm

Well, I guess I stirred up the pot...and I'm happy I did. To clarify, I have nothing against those who want the NSS NEWS digitally being able to opt in for digital. That is different than having the membership be put on a digital list and have to request a print copy. I'm all for the former. I'm opposed to the latter.
Aside from Luke's fun tornado/mountain lion comment (which sidesteps the difference between burdensome -- requiring someone to open email, click through, and download before reading -- and dangerous like storms, etc)., only one post strikes me as contrary to my main point that the print version of the NEWS is a vital link between the association and the membership. That is Derek's observation on the NEWS: "the value is in its content, not the mode of distribution." That is simply not correct and the main reason I oppose mass digital mailing. If it were true, NSS NEWS would enjoy a great future in news stand sales. In an average issue, 80%-90% of the written content of NSS NEWS is irrelevant or of no immediate value to me. It deals with someplace far away or someone I do not know. The value is in the physical "touch" between me and NSS...not in my knowing the info is out there somewhere in cyberspace for me to fetch if I want it. It is the one tangible thing I get in return for my NSS dues and I don't have to do a blessed thing to get that info. Again, I'll point to this forum which is full of good, relevant info. How many NSS members are on-line here regularly (ie, monthly)? Few. Digital's time may come...it is not yet here. My taking my real, physical copy of the NEWS out of my mailbox is proof that NSS is still willing to reach out and touch me rather than me being driven to find it. Being asked to go fetch an e-copy of the NEWS from somewhere in cyberspace is like being told of a digital photo of a pretty cave formation or a lovely woman...if I bother to follow the link, it may be nice, but it is not as good as the real thing. Is the digital info real? Of course. Would hyperlinks be of value? Yep. But the NSS NEWS is not only about information (heck, this website does a better job for the few that are here). NEWS is about a link between the association and the member. Any advertising pro will tell you that most ads for established brands are not about getting new customers...rather, they are about keeping existing customers glued to the product -- in this case, reaching out and keeping the NSS membership "sticky." Digital is not a good way to do that. Ask anyone whose spouse is in Afghanistan whether Skype or NetPresence is as good as the real thing. The words are the same. The picture is the same. The tactile touch and embrace are missing. A void is felt.
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 286
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby ohiocaver » Mar 21, 2013 9:21 pm

sorry for hitting send twice
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 286
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 22, 2013 12:33 am

curt@curtharler.com wrote:Digital's time may come...it is not yet here.

I read on the internet that digital's time has come.

by taking my real, physical copy of the NEWS out of my mailbox is proof that NSS is still willing to reach out and touch me

You really need a girlfriend.

Being asked to go fetch an e-copy of the NEWS from somewhere in cyberspace is like being told of a digital photo of a pretty cave formation or a lovely woman...if I bother to follow the link, it may be nice, but it is not as good as the real thing.

More like internet porn instead of Playboy ... sorry, but both are virtual forms of the real thing. The real thing in this case is going caving and no one in the NSS is proposing taking that away.

in this case, reaching out and keeping the NSS membership "sticky."

I'm glad you're way over in Ohio.
User avatar
Extremeophile
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Dec 7, 2009 7:37 pm
Location: Littleton, CO
Name: Derek Bristol
NSS #: 34941
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Colorado Grotto
  

Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 22, 2013 1:13 am

Here's a trial ... click on the link. NSS Members only. You need to enter your member number and zip code the first time, but then your browser will remember in the future.

https://secure.caves.org/nss-business/publications/NSS_News/2011/December_11.pdf

There are over 700 issues of the NSS News, 16 years of Speleo Digests, 4 Convention guidebooks, all the ACAs, NSS Bulletins ... all available digitally for NSS members. I can't imagine carting around all those boxes of publications is more convenient then a few mouse clicks.

Just to be clear, I am also against elimination of the print edition. It has it's uses. I just find digital versions of publications to be more useful. Most newspaper and magazine subscribers are also finding this to be true.
User avatar
Extremeophile
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Dec 7, 2009 7:37 pm
Location: Littleton, CO
Name: Derek Bristol
NSS #: 34941
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Colorado Grotto
  

Next

Return to Publications

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users