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Any organization that has a lot of members across a broad area, whether it’s a club, nonprofit, business or local government, can benefit from publishing a newsletter to keep lines of communication open between members. Many people can contribute to a newsletter, but every newsletter needs an editor to make sure the publication comes out regularly. At just a few pages in length, sometimes just one page, the newsletter is a miniaturized version of a newspaper. But this means newsletter editors have a greater overall number of duties.
Newsletter editors need to know what stories are out there by developing and maintaining contacts throughout their coverage area. If an organization is large enough to hire a full-time editor, that person will be able to devote most of their time to making those contacts. The most important tool an editor can use is a comprehensive and ever-growing list of phone numbers of important and relevant people.
Assign and Write Stories
If the newsletter is small enough, editors will write all the stories. Otherwise, editors pass assignments onto writers.Three types of content typically appear in newsletters: press releases, news articles and columns. As long as the editor keeps an open communication line for press releases, they should come unsolicited. News articles are actively solicited by editors, either by distributing assignments to writers or encouraging them to pitch their own ideas. Columns are assigned by the editor.
The gathered content needs to be compiled by the editor onto the page. A small one-page newsletter can be thrown together in Microsoft Word. A professional-looking newsletter will be created in Adobe InDesign. The editor is responsible for creating a consistent and appealing format for presenting information.
Printing and Distribution
Once a newsletter is written, the editor’s final job is to distribute it to readers. The smallest of publications can be printed from an office printer. A traditional print newsletter will be printed at a copy shop and distributed through the mail. A more economical option is to save the newsletter as a pdf file and distribute it electronically through an e-mail list. It is the editor’s responsibility to maintain an up-to-date list of readers.
- "The Newsletter Editor's Handbook, 5th Edition: A Quick-Start Guide to News Writing, Interviewing,Copyright Law, Volunteers and Desktop Design", Elaine Floyd, 1997
- IdeaMarket: What Makes A Good Newsletter Editor