The print media has undergone unimaginable changes in the last few decades, but here I will talk only about magazines as my message this month is on Rotary News. Magazines, we all know are generally financed by a combination of advertising, sale on the racks and prepaid subscriptions. We know that mass circulated magazines became much more common after 1900, some with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Some passed the million-mark in the 1920s. It was an age of the mass media and thanks to advertising, the cover price fell sharply all over the world.
But for print magazines, times are tough. According to Oxbridge Communications, New York-based publishers, between 2008–2015, 227 magazines were launched; and 82 magazines closed down in North America in 2012. Furthermore, according to MediaFinder.com, 93 new magazines were launched in the first six months of 2014 and 30 closed down. According to statistics, by end-2013, subscription levels for 22 of the top 25 magazines declined, with only Time, Glamour and ESPN The Magazine gaining numbers.
Looking at this data, I wondered — are we at Rotary News ready for tomorrow? Yes, we have our online e-version available as well. So has the popularity of Rotary News been affected? The answer is Yes in positive terms; it has grown from strength to strength, especially in the last three years. We must wholeheartedly compliment Rasheeda and the entire staff of Rotary News for a splendid job.
But do you know that we have a big problem? Rotary News dues are not coming in on schedule and the total outstanding amount has gone up to over Rs 40 lakh, with many districts lagging behind. This is a serious issue. Some people told me that Election pilots D 5 and D 7 were good, and during those days all clubs were paying their magazine dues on time. I wonder, is this true? Are we governed by laws alone… and that too only for Elections?
Friends, is Rotary not a society of the ‘invited ones’ with integrity? Ask your conscience whether you are following the 4-way Test that you recite in every meeting?
I request you to attend to the Rotary News dues at the earliest. I know my message will be read by many senior leaders too. But the fact is that our magazine, the Rotary News, must continue with more vigour and improvements. Let us endeavour to reach the heights of Time, Glamour and ESPN magazines. And please remember, that subscription to at least one Rotary magazine — either The Rotarian or the regional magazine — is mandatory.
I also appeal to you to appreciate your Club Bulletin Editor as these publications take a lot of effort and hard work. And please grant my request to pay up pending dues of Rotary News and be a true Rotarian. Good Luck!
Director, Rotary International