Letter to the Editor

I am disappointed that OWAA has chosen to not print a directory since the 2014-15 version.
I have been an OWAA member since 1985 and have attended eighteen annual conferences, including this year’s.
My well worn OWAA directory has always been on my desk with other references. I considered the directory a big benefit paid for by my dues and one which I mark up and use on a regular basis.
It is on line, but I live and work in rural Vermont and do not have the luxury of high speed internet.
Perhaps another reason I want a hard copy is that I am old. I read three newspapers a day in the print version which I can hold in my hands while I seldom read other newspapers online. I want a directory I can thumb through, not click through.
— Gary W. Moore, Bradford, Vermont
OWAA responds …
Dear Gary,
As a professional organization we occasionally have to make decisions that will inevitably disappoint a few of our members. The decision to no longer print a directory is one of those decisions. Here is some of the thinking behind why we moved this valuable member benefit online.
The purpose of the directory is twofold. The first, and more important, purpose is to provide members with the current contact information of their fellow members. OWAA routinely adds new members (70 as of this writing) who often join after the directory has gone to print. Depending on when they join and the print cycle we are in, it could be more than a year before their information was available in a printed directory. With the online directory we are able to update it twice a month, and members can change their information at any time. As a professional journalism trade association having accurate and up-to-date information is essential and the printed directory could be out-of-date by the time it reached members’ mailboxes.
The second purpose of the directory is to provide members with important organizational information such as current bylaws, leadership, award winners and committee assignments. We want members and supporters to have the most current information readily available. Here again the limitations of a printed directory come into play. Our leadership changes during our annual conference and our conference dates are different every year so synching publication of a directory to try and keep it current was often difficult to achieve. The printed directory was often incomplete and inaccurate because of the print deadlines.
The online directory is not only up-to-date, it’s also portable. You can check it wherever you travel. As a reminder the link is https://owaa.org/directory.
The costs of production of the directory in time, resources and money were significant and when the end result was a product that was not accurate or current, the change to the online form was the sensible course of action.
We are constantly looking at better ways to improve our services to the members whether it is Outdoors Unlimited, our annual conference or the directory.
At headquarters, we enjoy and appreciate hearing feedback from our members and the opportunity to share our thinking. We encourage you all to keep in touch.
— Tom Sadler, OWAA Executive Director
Feedback guidelines
Members are encouraged to write about issues and topics. The executive director and editor will decide whether opinions are appropriate for debate or if the comments promote a personal cause; if the “cause” is unrelated to OWAA’s mission and potentially damaging to the membership, the letter might not be printed. Word limit: 400. Longer letters will be returned for revision. Letters are not edited for grammar, spelling or style. Send letters to editor@owaa.org.

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