Week 9 – Crocodiles? Oh my!

Inquiry: Review a newsletter

For this week’s inquiry activity, I had to visit IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group’s (CSG) website and review one of their newsletters.

At first, all I could think was… Crocodiles? No thanks. Too scary.

However, as I read their newsletter, I found myself more and more intrigued.

Who knew there was so many positives things about crocodiles?

The newsletter’s topics include crocodile:

  • Conservation
  • Research
  • Management
  • Captive propagation
  • Trade
  • Laws
  • Regulations.

The stories were directed both internally towards organisational members and volunteers, and externally towards “fans” (apparently there is such a thing) of crocodiles.

Articles included:

  • The minutes of the latest CSG Steering Committee Meeting
  • Short updates from other specialist crocodile groups worldwide
  • A list of recent scientific journals about crocodiles, including the abstract of each article.

They targeted CSG’s special-interest audience (Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith 2012, p. 327) by:

  • Informing them of the organisation’s plans
  • Updating them on developments within the industry
  • Providing them with information on how to do their jobs better.

Some of the articles, such as the recount of the 24th CSG Working Meeting, had a light-hearted, “fluff” tone in part.

However, the articles were continually linked back to one of the three points listed above, which ensured that readers’ attentions were captured and maintained (Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith 2012, p. 327).

Out of all these articles, the one that caught my attention was “Navigating with the Orinoco Crocodile” from Colombia’s Regional Report.

This was because it appealed to my human interest and also showcased an organisation’s successful achievements (Whitaker, Ramsey and Smith 2012, p. 21).

If I were a science journalist, I could develop a positive follow up story about how the National University of Colombia and “Cormacarena” helped the National Conservation Program of Orinoco Crocodile achieve their goals.

The most effective aspect of the newsletter is that it fulfils an unmet need (Newsom & Haynes 2005, p. 338).

In this instance, that unmet need was a unique, specialised and educated publication about crocodiles.

The newsletter is printed on a white background which gives the impression of cleanliness.

It also features a black serif font. While this is formal, it’s appropriate for the newsletter’s overall academic style.

It has also struck a balance by using jargon when appropriate yet maintaining an overall use of simple English to communicate messages fully (Newsom & Haynes 2005, p. 343).

What lets the newsletter down is its use of long paragraphs.

While some paragraphs are only four to five lines long, some run for eight lines or longer, so the text needs to be “chunked” a little more (Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith 2012, p. 328).

Boxes have been used to try and break up the newsletter’s text.

However, the text is too close to the edges of the boxes which makes it difficult to read.

Based on Newsom and Haynes’ (2005, p. 351) criteria, this newsletter is highly effective because:

  • It fulfils an unmet need
  • It is distributed on CSG’s website so intended readers can access it easily
  • It is issued frequently enough to remain timely but not so often that the content is repetitive
  • CSG’s staff are committed to its production.

The newsletter’s overall visual design could be improved but generally, it is appropriate for an academic publication.


References

Ames, K 2016, Module 9: Newsletter and brochures, course notes, COMM11007: Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au

IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group 2016, Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 1-32.

Logo n.d., graphic, IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, viewed 14 September 2016, http://www.iucncsg.org/pages/Support-the-CSG.html

Newsom, D & Haynes, J 2005, ‘Chapter 17: newsletters’, in D Newsom & J Haynes, Public relations writing: form and style, 7th edn, pp. 336-352, Thomson Wadsworth, Toronto.

Whitaker, W R, Ramsey, J E & Smith, R D 2012, Media writing: print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York.


Editing Notes: A conclusion was added to this post to summarise my analysis, as per Nicholas’ below feedback.

An s was added to ‘point’ as per Catherine’s below feedback.

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9 thoughts on “Week 9 – Crocodiles? Oh my!

  1. Hi Taylor,

    This is a great analysis of the newsletter! And you’ve included plenty of references to the text to back it up.

    It’s also laid out well, which makes it easier to take in all that information.

    The only suggestion I can make is for you to include a concluding paragraph stating how effective the newsletter is, based on all the points you made.

    Cheers,
    Nicholas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Taylor,
    WOW, that is very well done.
    So well done you are making me feel like I need to go and redo my one to bring it up to scratch!
    Your referencing is fantastic!
    I can only find one tiny little mistake which is here: “continually linked back to one of the three point ” should be points as opposed to point as there are three.
    Hopefully that helps you out too,
    Cheers,
    Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Catherine,

      Your comment has put a smile on face :).

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I will go back and add that s now.

      Cheers!

      Like

  3. Hi me again,
    I’ve just noticed this reference is different to how it says to do it in the Harvard referencing guide maybe you are using a different system to reference but just in case this reference: ” Ames, K 2016, COMM11007: Media Writing Module 9: study guide, CQUniversity ecourses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/” I think should be like this: Ames, K 2016, Module 9: Newsletters and brochures, course notes, COMM11007 Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://e-courses.cqu.edu.au/
    Hoping to be helpful,
    Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for that feedback.

      I was using the Harvard referencing guide but I was using the reference for Study Guide (Author Unknown).

      I’ll go back and change those references now.

      Thank you :).

      Like

  4. Hi Taylor

    You have thoughtfully and thoroughly analysed the effectiveness of the CSG newsletter using a number of references.

    I’m impressed with how you have critiqued the newsletter by giving examples about the text, images, audience and format.

    You have written this analysis succinctly and with great thought to sentence structure and punctuation.

    You have identified aspects of analysing this newsletter that I had not considered.

    Keep up the fantastic work.

    Warm regards
    Roshea

    Liked by 1 person

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