EVENTS - EVENT04

Supporting our local information-providing periodicals.

This event focuses on hard-copy periodicals (magazines & newsletters) and so is distinct from EVENT03 which relates solely to the sharing of information online. However, it may well end-up overlapping with that event. We believe that identifying this as an Event in its own right, rather than treating it as merely a subject for discussion or as an adjunct to another Event, will increase its chances of coming to something.

@@ This page is DRAFT and is still being developed. It will certainly be amended between now and late November 2019, possibly very significantly, as discussions are held with some of those who are involved with our local periodicals. We are still researching the situation before we launch this Event 'properly' which will be done through an article in the Brochure we aim to produce in late November. That article, which will almost certainly take the form of an Open Letter to the Public (including producers, advertisers & users/readers), is likely to be based on (and quote from) what we show below. Please feel free to contact Peter@GoldenValleyGroups.UK if you would like to contribute to his research into this matter. @@

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We are fortunate in having a number of periodicals that provide information on what is going on in our region. Many of these are focused on groups of parishes and have a church-related focus, having religion-based motivations as well as being concerned with supporting the wider community. Others are secular, some being business-driven whilst others are operated by volunteers. We are interested in supporting the sharing of information around our local communities and, though secular & charity-minded ourselves, are not going to give one form of periodical precedence over another (although we reserve the right to make exceptions). We start with Parish Peridicals and then will look at the others.
N.B. The following has not yet been completed. It is shown in this incomplete stage to assist certain ongoing discussions.


Parish Periodicals (Magazines & Newsletters)
Historical links, and the fact that Parish Church Councils (rather than the secular Parish Councils) are responsible for some of them, have led some of these periodicals to emphasise the activities of local churches. However, they cover much that is community-supportive and so, we suggest, should be encouraged & supported by everyone living in the parishes they cover, even by those who have no interest in those churches. Indeed, even though GVGI is strictly a secular organisation, it is happy to support religion-motivated periodicals that are informative & useful to ALL members of the Public. [That view would change for a periodical that was too 'extreme' for us but, fortunately, that issue does not apply at present.]

We have so far identified the following 6 Parish Periodicals that are relevant to GVGI's Friendship Area. They are the Black Mountains Group Benefice Newsletter (here), Church Link (here), Golden Valley News Magazine (here), Good News Magazine (here), Parish News Magazine (here) and Village Pump (here).
[We know that this list is not complete. Please let us know what we are missing.]

One problem faced by some of these periodicals is the one faced by many of our local community-support groups: the difficulty in finding people to do the work. These periodicals are not easy things to produce and they require a lot of time, effort & expertise to do properly. The problem is even worse for (most) religion-motivated groups than it is for secular groups simply because their congregations are diminishing. That they continue at all is testament to the dedication of their supporters and to the needs those supporters are trying to satisfy.
 
Historical note: Many parishes were originally based on the territory of one or more manors but, in or about the 12th century, they were adopted by the Church as divisions within dioceses. In England in the 1860s, these church-focused ‘ecclesiastical’ parishes were adopted, often as they were but sometimes with some boundary changes, as 'civil parishes', the smallest administrative units of local government. Confusion can arise where there are differences between the ecclesiastical parish boundaries and the civil parish boundaries - but we will ignore them, for the moment at least. Our focus is primarily on the civil parishes so please make allowances should you find discrepancies that derive from the boundary differences.

Supporting these periodicals is a major (albeit not the whole) part of EVENT04. 2019 has proved to be a difficult year for several of them as they have faced (or expect soon to face) changes in their editorial teams. EVENT04 has been set up to see if it is possible to help them, perhaps by enabling them to pool their resources in some way. HOWEVER, we are sensitive to the need for us to avoid 'stepping on someone's toes'. We have no wish to interfere where we are not welcome. All that we are trying to do is to make sure that those responsible for the production of these periodicals do not forget that others face similar problems - and to encourage them to talk with each other! After all, supporting Communication so that it leads to Connection (and possibly even to Co-operation, Collaboration & Co-ordination) is what GVGI was set up to do.

Things been considered include the following:
* Even with ever-increasing use of the Internet, there will continue to be a need for hard-copy periodicals far into the future. This is partly because there are many people who do not use the Internet, particularly amongst the elderly, and partly because hard-copies can be easier to distribute & handle than their virtual equivalents.
* Advertising plays an important role in financing most of these periodicals. Even though some editors have reduced the task of obtaining & collating advertisements into little more than a once-a-year activity, that can still require significant time & effort. We would be interested to find-out whether or not the editors of different periodicals might like to work together on that. [We understand that some of them already do co-operate informally but we are thinking of something a bit more structured.] One suggestion we have heard is that different magazines could use the same 'advertising insert'. That could interest advertisers who could be offered a wider distribution area without having to deal with different editors.
* Another suggestion we have heard is that some of the parish groups could work more closely together on these magazines, perhaps sharing certain production costs. Care with this would be required to ensure that local parish identities are not lost. However, it could even be that partial amalgamation (of at least part of the magazines) would make aspects of it large enough to attract commercial support. Please note that is not for us to push or reject this type of suggestion, merely to draw attention to it.
* These periodicals are useful sources of information for people who are interested in finding out what is going on very close to them - but many in the area would like to have easy (cheap if not free) access to all such sources that might be relevant to them. [Many of us would think little of going into Hereford, Hay or Abergavenny to visit a cinema or theatre but would be just as happy to visit a nearby village hall for a similar or different type of entertainment but find it difficult to find out what is available.] We understand that some of those responsible for producing these magazines have already thought about supporting them online. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that, it could lead to significant additional work (and, without free help, not insignificant cost). There are many many examples of web sites (and Facebook pages) that have been set up and kept going for a while only for that to be found to be unsustainable so that they fail within a year or so. Having several periodicals come together to address this might lead to the finding of a sustainable solution. This could lead us to EVENT03 ('The development of an Online Shared Diary of local events') or something similar. Whatever it leads to is likely to be an improvement of the present position whereby the amount of contact between periodical producers is not negligible but appears not to be anything like as good as it could easily be.

 

INFORMATION SHARED IS INFORMATION DOUBLED.
PROBLEMS SHARED ARE PROBLEMS HALVED.

 

Other local information-providing periodicals
The following has only just been started. It will be amended significantly before the end of November 2019.
There are some very useful periodicals that are highly relevant to this Event. Please note that we are NOT seeking to compete with them but to support them. They include the following:
* Golden Valley & South Wye Magazine (here)