Winter 2011 Texas Mason Magazine

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by My Freemasonry, Feb 18, 2011.

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    View the Winter 2011 Texas Mason Magazine



    In this issue:



    Page 1 Grand Master's Message
    Pages 2 and 3 2011 Grand Lodge Officers
    Page 4 Grand Master's Calendar, Name Badge Order Form
    Page 5 Results of the 175th Grand Annual Communication
    Pages 6 and 7 175th Grand Annual Communication
    Page 8 Message from the Deputy Grand Master, Good Search Update
    Page 9 Grand Master's Edict
    Page 10 From the Grand West, Grand Master's Emblem
    Page 11 Masonic Children and Family Services
    Page 12 Message from Grand Secretary
    Inside Back Cover 2011 Merchandise Sales
    Outside Back Cover Grand Master's Homecoming Banquet



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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2011
  2. ShadyGrove821

    ShadyGrove821 Registered User

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    I don't have a copy of the Grand Lodge Budget at hand, but I recall that this shiny waste of wood pulp eats up 12% of the budget. Someone please tell me that my memory is faulty before I choke on my own rage!
     
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Don't quote me, but I believe it was around $90-100k
     
  4. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Ouch! I may be mistaken but I believe Oklahoma's is online only which really cuts costs down. That's a lot of money to be spending.
     
  5. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Yeah ... maybe we should try that way down here in Baja Oklahoma.
     
  6. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    If it saved money and if I lived in Texas I would support online only. The Oklahoma Mason is published once every 2 months and it is a lot cheaper. If it saved money then maybe they wouldn't always have to push raising the per-capita.
     
  7. robert leachman

    robert leachman Registered User

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    Took all of about five minutes to flip through and then to the recycle bin!
    What a waste!

    GL needs to cross reference those signed signed up on the GL web page to get emails with those getting hard copies sent out them then quit sending hard copies out. If a brother still wants a hard copy he can pay the GL for it.

    This could also be posted on the GL web page, if it's not already.

    Those brothers without computers should still get their hardcopy.

    If a brother w/o a computer wanted the GL to save money, he could have the GL quit sending him his copy. He could then read his copy at Lodge, providing every Lodge gets at least one copy sent to them.

    Robert
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  8. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    I think the GL officers like to see their shiny pictures. The content is always substandard. This is an area they should really cut costs. Maybe go online only. People that don't have internet could pick up a printout at lodge. Can they give us some content that is educational? They have an entire library at their disposal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  9. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    They did cut costs in this area. It was in believe actually in this issue. They cut down from quarterly to 2 shiney mags and a newspaper issue a year. But yes, it's a big glaring waste of money IMO. There is next to nothing of benefit for education. It's mostly a reprinting of schedules on the website, the articles written by the Grand Officers, and advertisments. We have one of the largest Masonic populations of any of the states, I think we can do better.

    I beleive California does 6 issues a year. Each issue is at least 30 pages of material. There are 5 or 6 good articles. They give information on their history, Masonic Education topics, and a wealth of other information. Plus, it's an online only document.

    We already have a few lodges out there that put together their own newsletter that has more educational material then our GL mag. We have a Lodge of Research, why do we not put them to work? We have many able body brothers who present some very enlightening material already, why not include some of those? But there is so much that we could do with our magazine.
     
  10. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Very good points. The York Rite magazine is a good example. Either improve it or get rid of it. If you improve it deliver it electronically. Let's cut costs. This is the place to start.
     
  11. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Wow! I had no idea that it cost the GL that much for the magazine. Especially for as little information that is in it and also how small the number of issues a year are. I would like to see one that is as big as the California one is said to be.

    Maybe one way of cutting down the cost would be to have it entirely electronic as several of the Brothers have said so far. For the guys that don't have internet access and can't see it on the GL site or get it via email, maybe the local lodges can take a tally of the Brothers that don't have the internet but would like to still get the magazine and print it out for them. It might be a little bit of overhead for the local lodge, but with the number of members that do have access to the internet and with it only being a few pages for each of the few issues, it really wouldn't be all that much.

    I remember before I was initiated, I used to see my father's issues coming in the mail and I would collect them as it was something very interesting to me and I wanted them for sentimental value as I had made up my mind to petition to join. Funny thing is, to this day after being raised, I still have not recieved a single issue in the mail. And with every address that I have had I updated my home lodge and with the GL Secretary to verify my address so I could get the magazine in the mail. Even when I was deployed, I changed my address to my parents so that I could recieve the magazines there instead of it getting lost on the way to Iraq. Never got any of them...lol

    As for those that still want the hardcopy version for whatever reasons they might have, I think there should be some sort of subscription price. I really hate to say it, but times are tough financially and instead of the GL spending all that money to a magazine that barely gets issued and that has such a bad review of the content anyway, I guess they really need to evaluate the cost benefit here. Thats just me though, and I'm no pro...lol
     
  12. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I had a long, extensive post that was eaten by the internet when I clicked submit, so you get the extremely abridged version instead.

    My college fraternity had two publications, both significantly better than the Texas Mason mail out we receive. One was electronic, the other was paper, then it switched over to electronic. Basically, once they switched to electronic, 90% of the fraternity never read them, if not an even higher percentage. Why? I don't know. Seems like it would be more convenient, at least in some ways. But in fact, some of the members of my chapter had never heard of the electronic only publication, much less did they bother to check the releases of the fraternity's main publication once it went online. Instead of becoming more convenient, it just slipped into the shadows.

    Furthermore, the very first electronic issue of the former hard copy mailout was late. Without a 'must mail by' deadline, the editors got lazy, because they could post the pdf to the website whenever they darn well pleased. Having been in one fraternity with e-newsletters, that fraternity being MUCH more wired/tech savvy than Masonry, I have to say, my expectations would be pretty low for any e newsletter. And they're pretty low with the mail out as is.

    I am a member of the Percussive Arts Society (professional organization for percussionists, as I'm a percussion instructor) and they have an e membership option and a hard copy membership option, whenever you pay your dues. I always choose the hard copy for personal preference. My magazines don't need batteries, don't have cables, don't require an internet connection, can't be corrupted on a hard drive, etc, and I simply prefer hard copies. I pay extra for that option, but for me personally, its absolutely worth it. If we switched to an electronic newsletter, I would hope there would be an option like that left to us.

    That said, frankly, I wouldn't pay for hard copies, as much as I prefer them, with the Texas Mason, unless it was very cheap. The publication lacks anything substantial that can't be covered/isn't already covered by the monthly maintenance emails. What's the point? If they switched it to electronic format, I would probably just forgo it entirely in favor of the monthly emails, which are more concise anyway.

    My complaint is mainly lack of substantive content. It's a pretty pointless publication right now.

    ---

    EDIT:

    To be fair, I checked my old frats website, and they seem to have gotten their act together regarding the publication. I just remember the 'discussion' at our national convention. Basically the ones who wanted to go electronic (also to balance the budget) outnumbered the rest of us, and refused to hear any of our requests. It quickly became a steamroll of condescension. It's easier to cut any option of hard copy publication than to independently audit your budget, etc.

    I guess all this is to say, I think we need to find a happy medium, or some sort of compromise in the e/hard copy issue.

    And all of it will be for naught anyway if we don't elevate the quality of the publication itself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  13. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Bro. Benton- You are absolutely right about this. I am actually guilty of this myself and it happenned as recent as a few days ago and last night. A few days ago, I noticed that the magazine was on the GL website. I have always been a fan of reading it whenever I would see one. So, I downloaded the magazine and minimized it to remind me to read it before I got off the computer. Even last night when I was reading the thread about all this and making my post, I still had it minimized but did not read it. I planned to when I was done going through the new threads, but instead went to bed. I got to thinking about this whole thing today and got on the computer with the purpose of finally reading it today.

    So, I think that there is something that happens when we go completely electronic with things like this. You mentioned that the writers and editors tend to get lazy and start publishing it when they get around to it. Well, I don't think that I am the only one that has known I had access to it from the GL website and didn't go looking for it when it first comes out. Maybe there is a hint of laziness on the readers too without getting the hard copy in the mail.

    Another thing that popped into my head while reading the magazine today which seems to be something that almost everyone has commented on in this thread is the content of the magazine being pretty lousy. On the second page (page right after the cover in PDF format), there is a section that says the following:

    "The Texas Mason Magazine encourages submission of articles and photographs of general interest to Masons in Texas, reserving the right to edit and use the articles and pictures as needs and policies dictate. News and articles from around the state will continue to be published in a web based format on the Grand Lodge of Texas website The Grand Lodge website is accessible at http://www.grandlodgeoftexas.org/texasmasonmagazine. Please continue to send your articles
    and Lodge events and news to the Editor of The Texas Mason Magazine."

    Maybe the content of the magazine is somewhat our fault as well? Again, this is something that I am guilty of. I have not once submitted anything to the magazine. Of course, we can't expect everyone to have all the time in the world to do some research and submit an article for the magazine, but if there were more submissions maybe there would be more and better content inside it. Then again, I am sure that the magazine has a set budget they have to operate with and can only use so many submissions.

    Another thing I did notice is that the GL does charge a fee for "subscribers" for the hardcopy version. $6 a year, and $15 for three years. So, there might be some income coming in to support the hardcopy, but I don't think that it would be that much at all. Anyone know where to find those numbers?

    Just to put my position in the open, I am not being too hard on the GL or the overseers of the magazine. But I am in support of being frugal, especially when financial times are pretty tough. I do think that if there are some ways to cut some corners, then we need to go that route. Send the hard copy to those that pay for it and the Brothers that don't have internet access. Maybe even a couple copies to the local lodges to be passed around and read. I just don't really like to hear that 12% an organizations entire budget is spent on a newsletter.



     
  14. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Postage is one of the biggest contributing factors to the cost as well. I don't know of the breakdown for the Texas publication, but when we were discussing the publication of my college fraternity, we found out that the cost of each magazine to print (in color, at about three times the length of the Texas Mason) was only about 67 cents. Then postage was almost two dollars a magazine. Multiply that times 50,000 collegiate members, and you suddenly are dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So I do certainly understand the financial aspect of the situation.
     

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