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Re: Endurance News

WOW!  Well said...sure hope they ruminate on this one :^)

Sally Hafkemeyer
AERC #536
Midwest Region

> From:
> To:
> Subject: RC:  Endurance News
> Date: January 11, 2001 1:17 AM
> I am going to try, one last time, to explain my position regarding what I
consider to the 
> appropriate direction for the _Endurance News_, since it appears to me,
from reading the 
> comments of Barb McCrary and Randy Eiland (both members of the AERC Board
of Directors) 
> that they are misguided, and I am misunderstood.
> In an attempt to make myself more clear, it is the BUSINESS of SELLING
magazines that I 
> think the AERC should avoid with respect to the _Endurance News_, and the
desire to become a 
> "premier magazine" that is wrong-headed.  And it is the magazine selling
business which the 
> current staff of the AERC are incompetent to perform.  And, no offense
intended (honestly I
> really DO mean no offense), Barb McCrary is probably incompetent to sit
on the board of 
> directors of a magazine selling business, and I have little doubt that
Randy Eiland is 
> incompetent to be the President of a magazine selling business.
> _I_ am incompetent to run a premier magazine, but even I know that
premier magazines do not
> intentionally leave the inside of the front cover blank.  Even I know
that they probably shouldn't
> convert part of their magazine to color and then increase their
advertising rates to black and 
> white advertisers with the excuse that they have to cover "increased
production costs."  
> Color production should be paid for by selling COLOR advertisements. And
even I know that
> it is wise to confirm that an advertiser has permission before publishing
a full page color ad
> that uses a third party's internationally registered trademark.
> Additionally, in the ~ten years that I have been a member of the AERC I
have not received my 
> issue of the EN about once a year (no, I am not talking about the fact
that Feb/Mar are the same 
> issue), last year it was the October issue, the year before it was the
September issue.  In the 
> approximately 10 years that I have subscribed to _Equus_ I have not
missed a single issue.  Since 
> both publications are sent out via US Mail Periodicals Rate, I have to
assume that the fault is 
> not with the US Post Office.  And since I don't consider myself to be any
different from the 
> norm, I gotta figure that every month about 1 in 11 people don't get
their issue of the EN.  
> Even I know that this is not an adequate successful mailing rate for a
"premier magazine" 
> (and isn't non-receipt of subscriptions one of the major complaints about
_Trail Blazer_?  
> Making sure that everybody gets their magazine is NOT a minor task.)   I
am not complaining
> about the rather poor delivery record of the EN, in fact, about half the
time I don't even bother
> telling the AERC office about it (this past time, I mentioned it in
passing when I contacted them
> about a separate issue), and they are always helpful and curteous about
sending it out to me
> immediately--but if _Equus_ did that, you bet I would complain, and if
they made a habit of it
> (as _Trail Blazer_ apparently does), then they wouldn't have me as a
subscriber for very long.
> If I look at other "premier" equine magazines and inspect their mastheads
(I have done a 
> little bit of research here--I even ponied up the $3.50 to buy this
month's issue of 
> _Western Horseman_ just so I could get that page; although I might read a
few of the 
> articles too) which list their most prominent staff, I find:
> _Equus_ has an editor/associate publisher, a senior editor, a medical
editor, an
> associate editor, an article editor, staff writers (2), a publishing
assistant, contributing 
> editors (2), and art director, and editorial director, a production
director, a production 
> manager, a production plannner, a prepress manager, a prepress
asssistant, and a founding 
> editor  (not to mention the army of advertising, marketing, circulation,
and administrative 
> staff that are part of their parent company).
> _Practical Horseman_ has an editor, a managing editor, an articles
editor, and editor-at-
> large, art directors (2), Production manager/graphic designer,
spoort-psychology conultant,
> contributing editors (7), and and administrative coordinator (not to
mention the army of
> advertising, marketing, circulation, and administrative staff that are
part of their parent 
> company).
> _The Horse_ has an editor, a staff writer, and editorial assistant, and
intern, an art 
> director, artists (7), a staff photographer, an administrative assistant,
and editorial
> advisory board (more people than I care to count), and advertising
manager, an advertising
> representative, an online advertising manager, and advertising production
manager, a 
> marketing manager and assistant, a promotions manager, sales support
staff (2), advertising
> copywriters (2), a business director, a personnel director, office staff
(8), a production
> director, production staff (4), a circulation director, a fulfillment
manager, circulation
> staff (6), a computer services director, computer staff (5), a new media
director, and 
> new media staff (7).
> And _Western Horseman_ has a publisher, and editor, a business manager,
an advertising
> director, a managing editor, an assistant business manager, an
advertising traffic manager,
> an associate editor, a marketing director, a classified advertising
director, an associate 
> editor, an art director, a circulation manager, a contributing editor, an
assistant art
> director, a production manager, a consulting editor, an editorial
assistant, a typesetting
> manager, an advertising department (3), an editorial department (1), a
graphics department (2),
> an order department (2), and a shipping department (2).
> Unless the AERC has members of the Media Committee volunteering their
services to 
> perform all the functions that these people do for these magazines, the
current staff 
> of the AERC just isn't there to do it. Is THIS where the AERC wants to go
> respect to the _Endurance News_???  Or does the AERC think it can run a
> magazine" without anybody doing all these things?
> Not to mention the fact that _Equus_ and _Practical Horseman_ are both
> publications (as is _Arabian Horse World_ and probably a whole bunch of
> _The Horse_ is published by Blood Horse Inc. (which publishes other
> including _The Blood Horse_ and a whole host of other equine literature).
> Illustrated_ and the _Thoroughbred Times_ are Fancy Publications (along
with a whole 
> BUNCH of other "niche market segment" publications).  I don't know about
> Horseman_ (I think it is an independent publication), but all of the
others can draw 
> upon the professional expertise, the broad staff and administrative
personnel of an 
> organization whose sole purpose is publication.
> So if Randy Eiland would like to be the President of a "premier" magazine
> I suggest he polish up his resume and apply for the job with a premier
magazine (but 
> I'll lay you odds, he couldn't get it, even if he tried). 
> And if Jim Holland would like to invest his money in the operation of a
magazine like 
> _Trail Blazer_ I suggest he contact Susan Gibson and make her an offer. 
If, instead 
> he wants to invest his money in a magazine to compete with _Trail Blazer_
then he 
> can put together a business plan, a staff, go find like minded investors,
and start one; 
> he's a self-proclaimed business man, should be duck soup for him.  He can
even (probably 
> for no cost) get a copy of the AERC membership list so that he can hit up
AERC members 
> for investment in his new magazine venture, and then use it as an initial
mailing list for
> soliciting subscribers.  Then he would find out exactly to what extent
the membership 
> of the AERC is interested in funding such a venture.  This may actually
be a successful 
> business venture (I am not claiming it wouldn't be, just that it isn't
appropriate for 
> the AERC to be expending membership resources in such a way).
> I do not make these comments merely to slam the AERC and the EN, but
rather to give an 
> idea of just what it takes to run a "premier magazine" (even if the
market were there for 
> it), and help people to understand that, as nice as the idea may sound,
in reality it is 
> unfeasible for the AERC to even consider pursuing it. And if the AERC
abandons this 
> fantasy, the EN could be an excellent publication well within the
resources of the 
> current AERC.
> Instead of focusing on pursuing a goal for which the AERC does not
currently have the 
> resources, it would be better served in evaluating the resources it does
have and issuing 
> a publication in line with them:
> It has a dedicated membership that are all pretty passionate about
endurance riding. 
> It has a dedicated, conscienciouss and well meaning staff who have worked
long and well 
> together. 
> It has among its membership world renowned vets who are more than willing
to share 
> their expertise. 
> It has among its membership nationally and internationally known riding
teachers, etc. 
> who are more than willing to share their expertise.
> It has among its membership some of the best and most experienced
endurance riders 
> in the world who are more than willing to share their expertise.
> It has among its membership individuals who are on the cutting edge of
technology in the 
> fields of horse conditioning, nutrition, and saddlery and are more than
willing to share 
> their expertise.
> Given this dedication and wealth of expertise that the AERC has
available, it should be 
> able to put together a monthly publication that is choc full of valuable,
narrowly focused, 
> endurance specific information which can inform, educate, and enlighten
its membership, 
> that also includes timely information that is of interest to AERC members
only (organizational 
> news, points standings, ride results, ride calendar, etc.).
> The EN doesn't need to be a "premier magazine" to be an excellent
publication for its membership.  
> And it doesn't need glossy color pictures and heavyweight paper either. 
It doesn't even need 
> to be "visually stunning" (although well laid out doen't cost any more
and improves the usefulness
> and accessibility of the information).
> And I think that many people are mistaken if they think that the EN needs
to be a glossy color
> production in order to promote the sport of endurance riding among
non-members (after all, the 
> EN is predominantly sent to people who are already passionate about
endurance...if the EN has 
> more than 50 non-member subscribers a year I would be very surprised).
> If the AERC wants to have glossy color articles about endurance riding
available for promoting 
> the sport to non-members it can still write the articles, take the photos
and submit them for 
> publication in magazines that are subscribed to and read by NON-members
(i.e. NOT the 
> _Endurance News_).  I first became interested in endurance riding because
of an article in 
> _Practical Horseman_about Lari Shea winning the Tevis Cup that appeared
not because of anything 
> that I might merely by chance have run across in the _Endurance News_ (a
non-member's chance of
> running across a copy of the EN are slim to none).  Then I showed up at
an endurance ride with my 
> horse...and I was hooked.
> And if the AERC wants to produce a high-quality color publication that
will "advertise" endurance 
> to people who contact them and ask about it, they can produce a very nice
color pamphlet, 
> leaflet, handout, whatever that can be mass produced and isn't dated. 
They can even (if they want
> to) saddle stitch this in as an insert into every issue of the EN that
gets sent out to every
> member so that the members can have it when they take the Endurance News
to their club meetings.
> Not only that, "premier magazines" do not have articles that are probably
of interest to endurance 
> riders only (about 7,000 the country--half of which don't
read :)), so if the EN wants to 
> broaden its interest, it loses in specificity to Endurance (and therefore
reduces its serviceability 
> to the membership).  The EN can serve the memberhip of the AERC much
better by concentrating 
> on publishing information that is specific to endurance riding, that they
cannot find anywhere else.
> There are TONS of things that can be done with the EN that are well
within the AERC's current 
> resources to make it into the best source of information on the planet
for endurance riders.  
> And by doing so, this may also generate interest in the publication from
people outside the sport 
> who find the information about managing the demands of a
high-performance, stressful equine 
> sport valuable for themselves and their horses (but this SHOULDN'T be the
AERC's focus, 
> the AERC's focus should be in providing the membership with the
information it needs), and the 
> AERC can then sell subscriptions to the EN for the nominal cost of the
postage it costs to send it.
> And in case you are wondering, what I have just described is what I call
a "membership newsletter."
> Let's have the AERC abandon the idea of a premier magazine and focus on
making the _Endurance 
> News_ an endurance newsletter that provides a wealth of endurance
specific information to 
> endurance riders
> know...
> the AERC's membership.
> And I bet you that everybody (including the AERC staff who won't be
expected to produce something
> that is beyond their capabilities and resources) will be much happier
with the _Endurance News_.
> kat 
> Orange County, Calif. 
> p.s.  Barb McCrary also asked why there was this sudden interest and
picking on the cost of the 
> _Endurance News_. To which I can only respond...because Steph asked.
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