Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Conservation groups and magazines... a rant!!!

Firstly just let me say two things, this is not a blatant slagging off of the RSPB and yes close friends I did have an RSPB membership so no need to laugh as its something I enjoy!!!

Anyway, onto my slight rant. Over 2-3 years ago I took out an RSPB membership because many moons ago as a child I was a member of the Young Ornithologists Club (YOC) and believed this helped me with where I am today with my interest in wildlife, especially birds. So I purchased the membership on a monthly payment scheme because at the time I could not afford the yearly payment. The pack arrived in the post a few days later with membership, magazine and numerous pieces of paper with masses of information... all good!!!

I used the membership to get into local RSPB reserves like the fantastic Leighton Moss reserve in Silverdale. This was great as the membership got me into these reserves for free and would spend numerous hours there with my Dad, getting absolutely soaked by rain but still loving every minute of it.

Then came the quarterly RSPB Birds magazine. Don't get me wrong, this magazine has a wealth of fantastic information about conservation and birds all over the world BUT why if an organisation is devoted to conservation do they have to fill this magazine with piles of crap... sorry JUNK MAIL. Each time I peeled open the plastic covering and opened the magazine endless amounts of advertising pamphlets and non interesting reading material would fall out.

Straight away I hear people say "Jeez stop moaning its only a few pamphlets" and I agree but this was each and every magazine. But like I said above this is not a blatant slagging off of the RSPB as I believe most magazines and other conservation groups do this. Surely the best option for these organisations is not to do this or why not use the power of email? I'd rather have junk e-mail than junk in my magazines.

In fact why not offer members the possibility of a digital copy instead of a paper copy. Letting people read these magazines on there PC's or laptops, great for the environment and possibly cheaper than printing and sending 1000's of magazines weekly, monthly or quarterly.

Conservation is close to my heart as would love my son/daughter (no idea yet hahaha) to experience and witness some of the things I have seen throughout my life watching wildlife. So this could lead on to the bigger story of waste!!


Oh and before anyone says "just cancel your membership then" ........ I have.


  1. Hi

    I read your entry with interest. In my past I used to work for several large magazines selling advertising space and having experienced that I now know that inserts (the junk mail you mention) are a very important source of revenue for magazines.

    If you look closely at the inserts you may notice that many of them relate to third party companies talking about their particular products and services. Birds Magazine has a very large circulation and reaches a lot of the people that advertisers crave. They pay a certain cost per thousand copies in order to their insert to be in front of people like you and I.

    Like you, I chuck away the vast majority and yes, it does seem like a waste. But for the advertisers, it's like chucking poo at a wall and hoping that some of it sticks. They only need a tiny proportion to convert in order to make it viable. I remember when I worked for The Sunday Times, The Royal Doulton who produce all those figurines and Royal Family crockery, just needed 2% of all the recipients to order to justify their advertising expenditure.

    Magazines like Birds need advertising revenue in order to survive. That way, they do not have to dip into the money that we give them through our membership fees.

    So it is a shame that you have cancelled your membership.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read my entry and for also adding your comments. I can understand that a certain amount of revenue is needed in order to survive and I believe this can also be done when using a digital format of the magazine.

    I just wish more organisations would grab the concept of digital magazines as I believe it is a huge way of saving money and surely there would still be a place for advertisers within that format as well. Plus better for the environment.

    Thanks again

  3. Hi Neil,

    I'm all for digital magazines but I can't see it working for the RSPB given that most of their membership are elderly with little or no interest in computers.

    One day......

  4. Hi David,

    I can't argue with that comment mate, shame really as even the choice to use digital would be nice but like you say one day.


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  6. Crikey - you've got David Lindo commenting on your Blog, way to go Neil.

    Problem with a digital copy is - you can't take take it to the khazi to read ;-) but you're dead right re the junk mail.
    My WWT magazine is just the same, my TV guide too, and in the words of Pink Floyd "every day the paper boy brings more" (well an army of postal delivery folk actually but it hasn't got the same ring to it). All the junk mail that finds it's way into Château Cliff goes straight into the recycle bag to start the whole process over again, what a tragic waste of time & resources.



  7. Hahahaha I know I was rather happy he took the time to read and comment on my slight rant. I must admit I did forward the link to him on Twitter but you have to use these forms of contact to get people interested.

    And nice comments. Have to agree the whole process is awful waste of time and resources.