JAWS membership survey 2010
JAWS members who took the recent online survey endorsed much of what our organization is already doing: growing slowly from our current 400 to
about 500 members across the country; organizing training workshops and embracing new outlets for journalism as the industry evolves; and rotating camps around the country to explore new regions and attract a diverse membership. The board will use this information to help us move forward. Here’s a summary of what we learned:
Who we are:
- Most of us have been part of JAWS for several years, although we have many new and younger members and at least a quarter who have been members for 16 to 25 years.
- A majority heard about JAWS through friends or colleagues. (The board is looking to reach out through some targeted advertising as well as word of mouth.)
- The fall CAMP and opportunities to network are the most important benefits of JAWS, but members also like the friendship, conversation, job leads, training and mentoring that stem from our group.
- Most are comfortable paying $65 per year for membership, although many said they would be willing to voluntarily round up the fee to $75 or $100 to help others who need assistance during these tough times.
What we want from JAWS:
- Many members said they wanted more training, particularly for multimedia video shooting, blogging, social networking, building a website or small business, freelancing and developing a Career Plan B. We will plan those sessions and others at the fall CAMP in October.
- While most were satisfied or very satisfied with membership benefits such as the quarterly newsletters, listserv, camp and past regional trainings sessions, members did say they wanted a more robust website and we have already made some updates and changes at www.jaws.org.
- Most like the rotation of Camp sites around the country with special consideration given to keeping costs down, a rural and beautiful location and not-too-difficult access to airports. Most preferred to schedule conferences in the fall before snow and after hot temperatures subside.
- Members support efforts to collaborate on training and events with other journalism organizations such as Poynter, SPJ, IRE, universities, minority journalism groups and others.
- A suggestion to add more information about ourselves and our expertise (i.e. mini-bios) on the JAWS website was endorsed by most.
- Most members want to continue getting quarterly JAWS newsletters but by e-mail rather than post, so we will start doing that this year.
- Member accomplishments, profiles of our members, news about Camp and regional events, member opinions on issues facing our industry and tips on technology, copy editing and other skills are all good content for the newsletters and our website. (But that means we need help from you so let the board know if you can volunteer some time to compile these features.)
- The listserv is a good communication tool for most (although etiquette reminders are in order on occasion) to share information about news, job openings, member accomplishments and more. But members also said we should make the postings searchable and use Facebook, LinkedIn and other networking tools to stay connected.
- The JAWS website is not used frequently by our members except to check for upcoming Camp news, but it has lots of potential as a way to market our organization, recruit new members and serve as a resource to post member information, news, photos, opinions, job tips, fellowships, contest entries and training opportunities. Members also suggested putting links to other groups – including Poynter, SPJ, IRE, ONA, SABEW, SAJA, Unity, AAJA, NLGJA, NAHJ, NABJ and NAJA – and to members’ blogs and published or broadcast work. We have a committee in place to make improvements this year with both professional and volunteer efforts.
In addition to the feedback here, we also got lots of specific ideas about possible CAMP speakers and sessions. The program committee is
working on that right now.