PROBEmoter online
The quarterly newsletter for Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors
John Petterson, Editor

Vol. 36, No. 4 October-December 1999


The Association of
Public Relations Officers
and Bulletin Editors
of the
Society for the Preservation and
Encouragement of Barber shop Quartet
Singing in America, Inc.

Grady Kerr
8403 Manderville Lane, #1072 N
Dallas, TX 75231
Tel. (214) 369-5893

John Sugg
P.O. Box 1244
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702
Tel. (501) 521-2020

Bruce T. Anderson
2010 So. 26th St.
Lincoln, NE 68502-3025
Tel. (402) 435-0974

Brian Lynch
6315 Third Avenue
Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143-5199
Tel. (800) 876-SING

Waldo Redekop
6 Church Street, P.O. Box 276
Hilllsburgh, Ontario, Canada N0B 1Z0
Tel. (519) 855-425


John Petterson
1017 Meadow Drive
Norwalk, Iowa 50211-1215
Tel. (515) 981-0057 home
(515) 270-8048 business
(515) 270-8056 FAX at business

6315 third Avenue
Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143-5199
Tel (800) 976-SING

Herb Bayles
W.Grant Carson
Dick Girvin
Mike Jones
Brian Lynch
Waldo Redekop
Escondido, Calif.
Dallas, Texas
Hemet, Calif.
Louisville, Ky.
Kenosha, Wis.
Hillsburgh, Ont.

PROBEmoter is published quarterly and distributed
by mail to all PROBE members. Membership in PROBE
is open to anyone. Dues, $5.00 per year, are managed
by the secretary-treasurer, and are payable by individuals
or chapters.

Correspondence about PROBEmoter, content and
contributions for publication should be sent to the editor.

Deadlines for 1999 issues, first Monday of each quarter:

Oct. 4: Oct-Dec

Dick Cote: 1999 IBEC winner

By Dick Cote, editor, Fullerton, California, Chapter, Barbershop Clippin's

"And the winner of the International Bulletin Contest for 1999 is my good friend from the Far Western District, Dick Cote, publisher and editor of the Fullerton, California, Chapter, Barbershop Clippin's." Those were the words of Dick Girvin when he announced the award and I have to tell you, I was thrilled.

I'm a relative newcomer to the Society, having joined in mid-1995 after having been on a cruise with Leon Williamson and George Helmer, both members of the chapter. The moment I went to my first meeting, I knew I had found a new home. Little did I know, however, that the new home would encompass a new, almost full-time job.

When the previous editor of the Clippin's, Bob Hein, announced that he would be fulfilling a long-time dream by moving back to the east coast, the chapter had to conduct a search for a new editor. This was not to be an easy task because that person had to follow in Bob's winning footsteps. Somehow or other, my friend, Art Clayton, whom I have known for many years, suggested me for the task. Although I had some experience in publication for Hughes Aircraft Company, I had no practical experience actually doing a hands on job of putting out such a monthly document. Still, Art suggested me because my record of accomplishment as a problem solver, doer and manager were sure to lead me in the right direction. I can tell you that Art may have felt confident, but I surely didn't, especially when my computer started to crash virtually every time I turned it on.

Well, after two and one half years of publishing, I feel as though Art was right. The biggest problem I really had was convincing myself that I could do it, and that I wasn't going to let a little thing like a cantankerous computer spoil my day. What's more, I got a real shot in the arm from my wife, Kay. She encouraged me when I said I really should have several pieces of new equipment, and when I burned the midnight oil.

But it isn't in Kay's acquiescence to my requests for new capital expenditures that she stands out. It goes well beyond that. The real secret of success at the grass roots level is the kind of support we editors need when we're working late at night trying to me that (self-imposed) deadline. It's the uncounted hours she puts in working on the documents after I print out the first draft.

Kay amazes me with her ability to spot grammar and syntax errors, and most importantly, to read each article with an eye toward how it tells the story it should be telling. So, my advice to other editors is to get your spouses involved early and make sure that they get a chance to help you as Kay has helped me.

I took the job with very little background in production. I tried a couple brands of publishing software and found that each caused some new problems - places where they just didn't seem to have the depth of capability that I really wanted. So I discovered that my then-existing word processor, WordPerfect 6.1, had all sort of capabilities that I was looking for and that worked for a while until I discovered WordPerfect Suite 7. As examples of what I wanted, there were the capabilities of working with clip art and photos with a simple click of an icon on my power bar, and the ability I had to customize that bar.

One of the most important things, however, was the capacity I had to integrate scanned photos into the document so that I could get completed pages with imbedded art to the printer. Not once in those two and one half years have I had to physically cut and past anything.

Other things help, too. One of the most important aspects of the job is having a print shop that's willing to work with you and wants to put out a quality product. I inherited such a shop and they've been great. Not that we haven't had a few problems, but that's only the learning curve.

Next, there's the undivided support of my chapter. When I started, it was with a lot of reservations. Here I was following an editor who had an established record of performance. It was a tough act to follow. But I got support that was almost unbounded. For example, when I suggested that the quality could be improved by going to a more expensive paper stock, there was never a question. Just do it.

I solved lots of mechanical problems by inventing some schemes for preparing for publication, such as using a dummy to lay out the copy and to help me make selections for story placement. I found that doing one, or at the most, two pages at a time, saved lots of grief if I had a crash. Lots of things like that. I'd be happy to share some of the more mechanical aspects of the publication with anyone who might ask.

So, I've saved one of the most important aspects of the success of the Clippin's for the last. What's that, you ask? Well, the Clippin's is famous for its content. I was blessed to have inherited, along with the task, a whole cadre of wonderful contributors. There are a number of guys on whom I can depend, without exception, for at least an article a month. But it goes way beyond that. Fullerton has about 75 active members. What do you think of receiving contributions from as many as 45 of those members each year? I think it's fantastic and it's most of the reason for the success of the bulletin.

Surely, I have something to do with it, too. I've made it a point to know each member of the chorus by name and most of their wives by name, too. I can and do talk with them. I suggest articles that they could contribute. As an example, after the Anaheim International, at which Fullerton played a major hosting role, I suggested that some of the guys might want to submit brief articles about their experiences. Within a few days I received 15, count 'em, 15 articles for the August/September issue. The problem I've had so far is not in getting enough to fill the pages each month, but in keeping it down to 16 pages. So the result is that both July and the combined (vacation break) August/September issues are 20 pages each. And I still had to defer some things. Oh, to be that blessed.

So here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, slaving over a hot computer, to let you know what's happening in this little corner of the Society's bulletin world. To say that I'm delighted to have received this wonderful honor would be a gross understatement. It's wonderful for me, it's wonderful for the Fullerton Chapter, it's wonderful for the Far Western District and it's wonderful for the Society as a whole to encourage and reward the kind of excellence we see in these competing bulletins.

Thanks for the honor of letting me compete and for the first place award in the International Bulletin Contest.

Contents of this issue

red ballFrom the editor's cauldron: How to become a loser - really big time
red ballPROBE 2000 goals
red ballWe have mail
red ballPR - Shall we?
red ballReviewing PROBE
red ballTable of contents? Don't bother!
red ballBulletin -- a definition
red ballIt's fall... Job done?
red ballKeep it barbershop
red ballThe power of a bulletin
red ballCommunication in perspective
red ballYear end thoughts What, another donation?
red ballGleanings From the Mailbag


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