Membership Annual Report
Alice Pepper
Special Libraries Association Annual Conference 2004

The numbers - New
The numbers - Old
March 20042003: 739SLA HQ membership liaison Diana Gonzalez says our losses are in line with other divisions and chapters.
138 new members2002: 686
703 total2001: 774
2000: 800
1999: 900

New News Division Members
April 20031277
Jan 2004064

Thank you to ...

NewsBank has once again generously supported the Division by publishing our membership directory. Thank you Linda Paschal and Becky Meland for your hard work and dedication to our group.

And a "tip of the hat" to the Detroit Free Press for paying for copying and mailing 138 "new member" packets for the last 12 month period.

New business

During a brainstorming session in the Fall of 2003, it was decided that Membership should contact people who had left the News Division -- only if they were from news organizations -- to find out why. These "exit interviews" (just like the circulation department) might reveal whether people are dropping out because of the economy, job changes, lack of interest, etc.

Between January and March of 2004, SLA named 33 people from the News Division who became "inactive." However, from that group, eleven appeared on next monthıs list as "reactivated." The majority of those who remained "inactive" were students or from non-news organizations. All those who returned were from news organizations.

This lag in the reports made it difficult to implement the "exit interview" plan.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Pepper, Membership
June 2004
News Division SLA

Membership Addendum

Why are we losing members and can we do anything about it?

How critical is the dip in membership? Is this a temporary dip related to the bad economy? Or is it likely to be more permanent?

What else could be done to increase membership?

What weıre doing now

SLA HQ sends names/address labels for new members
Membership sends the new members

What else could we do?

Add people to Membership so it is actually a committee

(Many of the following ideas have been on the "to-do" list but could not be implemented)

Ask new member if his/her boss should receive introductory letter

Create a new brochure or a single 8x11 page, targeted at people unlikely to go to our Web site (a.k.a. bosses) that highlights the benefits of membership

The Web site continues to be a great marketing too and information resource for students and new members. It is easier to update than a brochure with no printing costs. There are opportunities to "add value" to the Web content and perhaps attract membership.

Recruit new members from a bigger pool.

Doing more with our resources ­ our members

Publicize News Division committees. Help members be more active in the division. Perhaps less likely to drop out.

Develop short-hand tools (nut graphs) to help members communicate with their newsrooms and managers about the high price of not having an information professional on the team.

Persuade current members to be more aggressive in adding value to our most visible resource, the News Division Web site

This is a lot of work. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluating our committee chair assignments and other appointed positions.

For example, the "technology" chairıs main responsibility would be to maintain a page on the site which includes some up-to-date summary information on the various technology trends affecting our industry,

We work for news organizations so we understand the importance of providing up-to-date information for our (Web) readers (apologies to our broadcast brethren for the print metaphor.)

Keeping members

In the Fall of 2003, there was an e-mail discussion about getting and keeping members. Linda Henderson also "put out the call" in her NLN column at that time. Participants included, but not limited to, Linda H, Jennifer E, Michael J, Liz D, Ron L, Jessica B, Jim H and Marcia M.

Making the Web site "members only"

Consensus, however, that NewsLib should stay free

Marketing the benefits of membership

"Even at a small paper there is a reasonable chance that the librarian's boss might approve the membership fee if she can make a good case for what the benefits are" / Marcia McVane

Name dropping: Librarians at the largest newspapers, popular magazines, and major television and radio networks are all members, shouldn't your staff belong, too?

Special Libraries Association 2004 Annual Conference
SLA News Division Home

Last Updated: 07/26/05