A Vehicle Born Via the Internet
As we mentioned previously, the monthly newsletter morphed into the weekly newsletter when it became inexpensive and efficient to send it out via email on a weekly basis. In the process, some Shuls no longer use postal mail to distribute newsletters.
Where Did the Columns Go?
In the monthly newsletter it wasn’t uncommon to see a Rabbi’s column, a President’s column and perhaps columns from the Women’s league and other groups in the Shul. Although it was often hard to keep the columnists to the monthly deadline, it was achievable. Moving to a weekly publication makes it almost impossible and some Shuls have eliminated the column, while others have managed to keep it, sometimes in a less frequent basis then weekly.
A weekly newsletter creates a weekly deadline which makes the Shul secretary’s job harder. Every week (s)he must email the newsletter to the members on Thursday night or early Friday morning. It’s helpful to keep the deadline as late as possible to include as much late breaking or arriving news as possible, but it has to be early enough so the secretary can edit it together. Deadlines considerations must include the fact that some (or many) people will send information after the deadline. In addition, if there’s somebody who is helping with proof reading, time has to be allotted for the editing-proofing cycle.
In addition to emailing, some Shuls print hard copies to distribute in Shul on Shabbos morning. This creates another task for the Secretary, but keeps people who are not so Internet active, more informed.
The Announcement Dilemma
The last issue to consider is which parts of the newsletter will be announced on Shabbos morning by the president or the gabbai. On one hand you want to wish Mazal Tovs and condolences and publicize Shul and community events where appropriate, but on the other hand people get impatient if announcements take too long. Practice in delivery is helpful here. If you can keep the announcements in the 2-4 minute range you will be able to minimize making the members feel burdened.