Thursday, December 10, 2009

To join or not to join...

...that is the question.

We've had some slight "restructuring" in our division of the company recently.

The publisher for my newspaper was moved to another office to fill another role. In interest of the bottom line, the "publisher" position at this location will not be filled at this time. According to upper management, we're a pretty self-sufficient crew in this office and should be fine without a publisher.

I'd rather have a publisher here, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

Among the publisher's unofficial job roles, as is the same with me, was to be face for the newspaper in the community and enhance networking for the company. I do this by being a reporting editor and attend events, meetings, etc. The publisher did this by attending an occasional event, but mostly be joining groups. He was a member of Rotary and a local business networking group. He invited an ad rep to step into the business networking group role and she has done so (it provides good networking for ad sales).

The question left to me is do I want to join Rotary or another similar organization. Rotary is really the big one. There's Lion's Club, too.

Rotary is much more social. They meet for lunch once a week and typically have a presentation. They do some planning, usually a service project once every other month or so. Rotary is full of the younger- to middle-age business professionals int the community.

Lions Club meets monthly in the evening to plan their next service project or fundraiser. It's also a much older crowd.

Here's the problem: I am not a fan of the Rotary organization. I mean, I like what they do. They do some great service projects in the community and fundraising for some good local, national and international things. I just hate their meetings. And you get roped into doing so many things you don't have time to do or care to do.

I'm also worried about the conflict of interest. Both Rotary and Lions Club do several things throughout the year that are newsworthy including briefs, wild art and full-blown stories. This would all have to be taken on by the part-time writer. And it would be hard to make sure it wouldn't seem like things at Rotary or Lions Club would be covered on the editor's whim because he's a member.

The positives: it would be great PR for the paper, good networking opportunities and an avenue to find more story ideas or sources. It could also create some good fodder for columns.

Any suggestions?

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