Objective of Survey
The Anglicanis a quarterly magazine produced by the Diocese and sold for at least $100 per copy. Given the value of this document as an instrument of communication in the Diocese, a Survey produced by the Communication Board, was conducted at the recent Synod in April 2017. The objective of this was to determine interest in and use of the magazine by church members. Additionally, it was important to find out how our churches operate in its distribution.
Some 7,000 copies ofThe Anglican are printed quarterly and batched at Church House. Distribution to Churches and Missions around the island depends on collection of the publication, usually by clergy. All Churches are invoiced for the number of copies taken, with the expectation that the magazine will be sold to members in order to recover costs.
The Anglican, which has evolved through different titles since its first publication in 1880 as Jamaica Churchman, has been edited and produced in recent years by Mrs. Barbara Gloudon. Content ranges through – messages, news, reports, personal profiles, submissions from Diocesan organizations and youth groups, special Diocesan-related events, including the annual Synod. Regardless, it continues to be very challenging to gather information from individual churches.
Analysis of Survey Responses – Your Perspectives
There were 230 registered members at the 2017 Synod, including 100 clergy and 130 lay persons. Some 175 Survey responses were received. Of these, 41 identified themselves as clergy. With minor exceptions, all knew about the publication and 150 persons admitted that they read it.
Distribution– In some churches, the magazine was distributed free of charge, but in about 130 churches, it was sold to members and, in most instances, someone was specifically assigned responsibility for distribution or sale.
Content – About 60 persons claimed to find the magazine interesting and another 40 thought it covered current topics. Some stated that it was dull. Additional observations were that there was not enough news, that it needed more about people, and a few stated that there were too many messages. In response to the question “Have you considered writing an item for The Anglican?” 50% said “YES” and 50% said “NO”. Some persons expressed dissatisfaction that articles submitted had never been published.
There is the assumption that because the magazine is quarterly, the news is already known and no longer current. A recurring sentiment was that there was too much focus on city churches and less on those in rural Jamaica. Persons also suggested that the emphasis on prominent personalities be reduced and an attempt made to broaden the scope of coverage across the Diocese. They also said more information was needed on upcoming activities and not simply a report on past events, valuable as these may be for the historical record. It also was recommended that a standard format be established for submission of articles.
The inclusion of more topical issues, personal stories and educational items was proposed as one way of boosting interest among readers. Other proposals included targeting children and youth; and including health tips, as well as a Bible quiz, among other content. It was also suggested that much of the information in The Anglican could be published online on the website.
Presentation– Some 90 persons felt that the presentation was just right. Interestingly, responders pointed to the need for more photographs and more colour, although in a response to the question “Have you ever submitted an item/photograph for this publication?” 120 persons said “NO”.
The Anglican is the responsibility of each church, especially given the fact that the Church is required to pay for the copies it receives. Every member of the Church has a right to a copy.
- Greater participation by members of the Diocese is necessary to ensure balanced content from both rural and urban churches. Unless and until persons across the Diocese become aware of the value of sharing their information, the content of the publication cannot be changed. Members are encouraged to submit articles, news items, photographs, etc. for publication. This will effectively put an end to the perception that the publication focuses only on city churches.
- A stronger editorial approach is being adopted to broaden the scope of the magazine.
- Format for submission – because of space limitation and production deadlines, the editorial process is under constant challenge. Some submissions are far too long and cannot be published in their entirety. Some activities are planned and finalized at the last minute and may not make a printing deadline. Prior to submission, it is recommended that documents be shared with, say, two other persons, for comments.
- Activities/events – Members should ensure that detailed information is provided: what is the event/activity – where it will be – when it will take place – why it is happening. Also include – Target audience, contribution/cost, arrangements for transportation, parking, security, etc. Consideration should also be given to use of the Diocesan website to promote these events
- Items should be submitted to The Editor, c/o Church House by mail – 2 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Given the comments coming out of the Survey, the Observations included above are aimed at guiding efforts to improve the content of the publication. The Communication Board is grateful for the response to this Survey and feels strongly that Synod Representatives deserve feedback to their comments. Further, the Board solicits your views and ideas for the most appropriate ways of sharing information around the Diocese. The Board cannot do it alone and much, if not all, depends on the input of each church.
Prepared By: Elsie Aarons
June 26, 2017