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Reaching Out with Print and Web

Ellen A. Bauerle

As learned societies have become aware that for the sake of survival they must communicate their larger purposes to their constituents and to yet-larger audiences, the APA has made wise and useful choices about the breadth and diversity of its outreach program. Under the auspices of its Vice President for Outreach, numerous initiatives, including print and web-based, are being deployed to make clear for a wider audience what they gain by having the APA, and its constituents, in their midst.

Print and web-based outreach are each offering their own version of Prometheus’ sacrifice:  it is not always clear which of the two options really presents the best deal, the best method for reaching a targeted audience. Print has the advantages of ready recognition, of preservation (often appreciated in a society as old as this one is), and of simple dissemination in face-to-face circumstances, as with administrators, donors, or parents of prospective students.

Transmission via internet is less encouraging on the preservation side, but it does enable wider and more rapid transmittal, possibly to places where print might never go. It may be cheaper, being free of the costs of paper and ink, but yet requiring server space and maintenance; industry publications are suggesting that print and internet are about equally green these days, given the heavy metals employed in many digital devices such as monitors.(1)

Arguably the APA is best placed by employing both methods, given that both venues—print and internet—are welcomed albeit by different constituencies.  Outreach methods relying on a web-based platform can incorporate music or video, clips of plays or performances, or references to professional online databases.  Print methods enable a secure skirting of certain possible permissions costs as for images, and enable users to read in more reflective ways.  They also allow dissemination of information in contexts where web is less available, i.e., conferences, where print materials on tables or displays still generally rule, especially for the many small conferences that are run on shoestring budgets.

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