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Feb 18, 2007

Who reads government newsletters, anyway?

This cash-strapped government can do away with newsletters regularly published by government agencies and offices. These newsletters are just gathering dust on government shelves, reception areas and offices. See for yourself.

The money spent on paper and printing press services should have been better spent on more critical government services like health and safety. The time and effort spent by government employees in compiling materials for these newsletters should have been spent on more critical tasks. What do these newsletters contain anyway? Portions of these newsletters were lifted from the Internet, like tips on how to do this and that. Other more important information like new government services, equipment, office, new hires and so-called "accomplishments" can be printed instead on a piece of paper and posted on government or commercial establishments' bulletin boards. Why need to print a newsletter that's costing thousands of dollars? If the information are that critical, why not tap into the mainstream media for press releases, news coverages or letters to the editor? If these newsletters would only carry the photos of government parties or workshops, it seems there is a real disregard for helping the government save its limited resources.

If this government is serious in cutting unnecessary spending, then the printing of newsletters should be reduced if not totally eliminated. Why not?


jaded said...

A journalist such as you should be the last person to say things like this to a publication--in this instance--newsletters. It is our governments way of telling the people that they just don’t sit around wasting away (or writing blogs such as this and do nothing but bicker & complain about things that they pretend to understand but in fact don't). It takes a lot to complete a newsletter, I hope you know that! And you don't know that nobody reads them. Not as a fact. This place lacks informative publications already, so go set your angst against something else.

Saipan Writer said...

The newsletters I've seen come from CUC and the Resident Rep.

The CUC newsletter is often aimed at encouraging less energy consumption (and trying to restore CUC's tattered image). I'm not sure they do much good on either count, but I doubt that they costs "thousands" of dollars. I'm betting they are not the worst of the economic blunders CUC makes.

The Resident Rep's newsletter contains a mix of what's happening in DC (where's he's testified or sent letters, etc.) and photos of who's visited. The RR's duties include helping CNMI residents in their varied quests in DC, and representatives from the several states also greet constituents with advice on getting around the Capitol. So the photos and articles just document that he's doing his job. I sort of like the RR's newsletter, like getting it, and feel it helps keep him accountable in a small way.

I'm sure there are other government newsletters, but I'm not familiar with them and can't comment on them. I do think it's a mistake to lump all government newsletters together and rail against their publication.

The U.S. Government Printing Office has an abundance of printed material, much of it informative and helpful. The CNMI government can do worse things than write and publish.

Angelo said...

I know that DEQ has a newsletter and I think Reina does a very good job with it.

As for the snyde blogger comment though, I think it would be cool if the government took a cost cutting measure and posted the same newsletter that they print on paper to a blog. The blog is free and is available to a much larger audience. Sort of a win-win, don't you agree?

haidee said...

Not everybody has access to the internet, there is only a handful of people who has the means, the time or even the desire to web browse and read blogs. But I do know that DEQ intends to post their printed Environmental newsletter as well--specifically to serve that market. Print advertising is still the best means to inform the public of what's going on.

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