This week’s inquiry is to review a newsletter from the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) website.
After reviewing the lengthy publication, Volume 33 No.2 newsletter, it was evident that the newsletter considers a target audience to be scientists, specialist groups in fields of conservation, research and management and other such organisations that would ideally find the factual information contained in this newsletter to be newsworthy.
What kinds of stories are in the newsletter?
The newsletter contains information about the activities of the CSG and their involvement, news and events regarding crocodilians and information on the conservation and its current status.
The following stories were identified in the newsletter:
- Meeting overviews
- Meeting minutes
- Review updates
- Working groups
- Contributions and award recognitions
- Work field trips
- Scheme updates
- International conservation programs
- Science publications
- Recent publications
- CSG Steering Committee members
How do these target the organisation’s audience?
Newsletters should provide current information that affects the organisation and the information provided can’t be sourced easily from elsewhere (CQU 2015).
The CSG newsletter targets CSG members and other interested individuals and organisations. This publication is very informative and interesting because it contains comprehensive information relative to a specialised interest, ideally suited to individuals in the fields of science, biology and conservation.
Newsom & Hayes (2005) suggests that there are two types of newsletters organisational and subscriptional. The CSG newsletter uses organisational for the members of the association that have a general interest in the organisation. There is also reference to the subscriptional element because the CSG address those interests that will lead people to subscribing to the newsletter.
If you were a science journalist, is there anything you be interested in following up as a story, and why?
The newsletter provides a variety of factual information that a science journalist could find useful to create a newsworthy article. Such leads could involve the major contribution by pioneer researcher Ted Joanen, who was recognised with two outstanding research awards for his involvement in sustainable use management.
I would question Mr Joanen and his current conservation initiatives and primary goals. I would obtain quotes from prominent people to support the article and create credibility. This will create positive publicity for the CSG to encourage contributions and donations by informing the audience of their success stories and achievements.
What do you think is effective or otherwise about this newsletter?
Although this newsletter provided enough information necessary for it to be newsworthy to a target audience, I personally found the writing style lacked the ability to do everything possible to maintain any interest.
The use of businesslike language made it difficult to understand the context in some areas, particularly in the reports and meetings. This is probably due to the organisation using jargon that is most commonly recognised by their target readers rather than the general public (Whitaker 2015, 328).
The paragraphs were too long and the heavy use of acronyms made it difficult to recognise individual organisations without having to scroll back to identify them.
There were some positives that included, good use of font and vertical columns that made it easier to follow and read.
Crocodile Specialist Group 2014, Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 1-36, viewed 30 August 2015, http://www.iucncsg.org/content_images/attachments/33(2)%20low%20res%20Colour.pdf
CQUniversity Australia 2015, COMM11007 media writing: week 7 – newsletters and brochures, viewed 27 August 2015, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/course/view.php?id=1946
Newsom, D & Hayes, J 2005, Public relations writing: form & style, 7th edn., Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA.
Whitaker, R, Ramsey, J & Smith, R 2012, Media writing: print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn., Routlage, New York.