Bulletin Business

Bulletin Business

A couple of weeks ago, the president of The Rotary Club of Thane, Dilip Soman invited me to judge a Rotary event – a district level inter-club bulletin competition instituted in the memory of Late Narendra Ballal, founder of Thane Vaibhav, the first Marathi Daily newspaper of Thane District way back in 1975.

The standard of bulletins was exceptionally high with a large number of bulletins from all over Mumbai, which made judging the competition and extremely arduous task. But it was also quite a rewarding experience. I asked a former colleague, Santosh Sharma, who is a senior design consultant, to help me with the design aspects of the evaluation while I assessed the editorial and content part. Together, we judged the entries on the basis of a number of parameters like originality and topicality of content, layout and design, variety of articles and topics, extent of reader interaction, reader friendliness and quality of editing.

From what we observed, it was easy to conclude that the bulletins were a result of enthusiasm, passion and motivation of individual clubs. When we do something without being told to do, then that, we believe, is the highest form of motivation. From this point of view, all participant clubs were winners. Each bulletin reflected a serious attempt to create something valuable and helpful. Yet, the editorial and design quality of a few bulletins echoed a lot more gravity and appeal than others. In the end, the sheer depth and scope of content helped "Mukti", the bulletin of Rotary Club of Thane North End win the Narendra Ballal Best Bulletin Trophy. "Tide Watch" from Rotary Club of Bombay Sea Coast and "Udaan" from Rotary Club of Bombay Airport, stood second and third respectively.

This was the seventh consecutive year of the competition. The prize distribution ceremony was held at Sahyog Mandir last week and the chief guest of the occasion was Sanjeev Latkar, editor of Marathi daily Mumbai Sakal. Latkar spoke highly about the competition and said that such bulletins can play a much larger role in the context of the society. Citing the example of his own paper, Latkar suggested that mainline dailies cannot cover local issues beyond a certain limit. That’s where community bulletins can come to rescue. He said, "The Rotary club bulletins are a great platform for voicing local community opinions and bringing regional issues to the fore. Although limited in reach, they can be very effective." Judging by the index of entries received at the competition, we can say that Latkar’s words carry a lot of weight.

It is true that the local communities have immense power to effect small but very meaningful changes in the society. Fortunately, Thane city can pride itself on comprising quite a vibrant and eager public who frequently participate in socially relevant local community events. Many city-based, not-for-profit establishments work closely with residents of our beloved city to organise community events from time to time. And the direct beneficiary of such events is local citizen. And the foundation of such a community spirit lies in cooperation. Like well known writer Ralph Charell once said, "It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived."

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