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Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:56 am
by tiwonge
I'm thinking of sending out a monthly newsletter to my e-mail distribution list next year. I have several reasons for this.

First, it keeps me regularly e-mailing my schools. I've been bad at that lately, and several tournament dates have crept up on me.

Second, it keeps my e-mails more interesting so that it's not always a date check, a tourney announcement, or a results. It provides more value to the messages, and perhaps they'll be more likely to be read.

Third, it might be useful. And maybe schools and coaches might find them useful and be more likely to attend tournaments or compete better.

Any ideas what kinds of things might be interesting to send to schools, particularly new schools? I'll check the FQBU for ideas and articles (and maybe, if not plagiarize them, link to them and provide more commentary), but maybe other people might have more suggestions.

Also, I guess I'll archive my e-mails for future reference.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:18 am
by David Riley
If you can maintain it, go for it. Our coaches' association in Illinois publishes a quarterly newsletter ( Scholastic Visions; back issues may be found at http://www.ihssbca.org. Good luck!

EDIT: Fixed. Sorry about that.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:51 am
by Stained Diviner
Here's the link Riley was trying to give. While the more recent issues are only available to members, we're willing to work something out allowing limited access and reprints to good causes like this one.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:59 am
by tiwonge
Who gets your newsletter? Is it just via e-mail, or are there paper copies?

(Are there any people or schools who get it who don't come to tournaments? Or who don't come often? Or is the intended audience people and schools who are already active?)

How about writers? Who writes for you? Do you solicit articles from people, or is there a group that is responsible for putting them out?

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 10:24 am
by No Electricity Required
tiwonge wrote:Who gets your newsletter? Is it just via e-mail, or are there paper copies?

(Are there any people or schools who get it who don't come to tournaments? Or who don't come often? Or is the intended audience people and schools who are already active?)
The newsletter goes to all IHSSBCA members via an email that directs us to the member's-only part of the website to download it. There are paper copies that a very small number of members choose to get instead. There are 287 members according to the directory and there are not that many really active teams in the state, but most of the teams represented probably to to at least one tournament (note: not all members represent a school, and some schools have more than one member, but 287 isn't that far off from the number of distinct schools represented by the membership).

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 1:33 pm
by David Riley
tiwonge wrote:
How about writers? Who writes for you? Do you solicit articles from people, or is there a group that is responsible for putting them out?
Both; articles are solicited and members of the association write them as well. Check out the recent issues that are posted and you'll get an idea, contributors' school, etc. are identified and there is often a short bio at the end of an article.

On another note: Illinois is a big state geography-wise but Idaho is even bigger, how many tournaments does idaho host each year (on the average) and what is the average tournament attendance? I imagine travel distances present a challenge.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 3:38 pm
by tiwonge
In the past, there haven't been many academic tournaments in Idaho. Several schools participated in the Panasonic tournament, but I don't know much else about that. (I don't know if there were regional sites, or how many, or what.) The biggest one has been INL's Scholastic tournament, a feeder tournament for the Science Bowl. INL used to hold three regional tournaments (northern, southwestern and southeastern tournaments held at the University of Idaho, Boise State, and Idaho State, respectively) with the top 4 or so teams at each site (in each division--INL split the schools into 3 divisions, based on size) coming to Boise for the state tournament. In some areas, the schools would compete in a league on old questions. (I think Twin Falls-area schools in south central Idaho and Pocatello-area schools in southeastern Idaho might have done this.)

However, I think INL slashed their budget for this, because this year, they only held two regional tournaments in the south. The northern schools qualified for the Science Bowl in Spokane, WA.

This year was the first year we had a NHBB competition, with two tournaments--one in Boise and one in northern Idaho (Troy, just east of Moscow, where the U of I is located). Other than that, Boise State has a few NAQT (and NAQT-style) tournaments per year that are sparsely attended by schools in the Treasure Valley. (Twice, we had a school drive the 1.5 hours from Twin Falls, and we've had some participation from out-of-state schools in the past.) Canyon Ridge HS in Twin Falls has expressed interest in hosting tournaments and starting a circuit there, maybe, but it hasn't progressed beyond that point.

Not only is Idaho a big state, but it's also a very rural state. Outside of the Treasure Valley, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene and maybe Pocatello or Idaho Falls, no city is big enough to have more than one school per city. There are a lot of tiny schools in tiny towns that are a decent drive from any place that might host a tournament.

When we first started hosting tournaments, we'd get 2-3 schools, and about 1 team per school. Our biggest tournaments have been, off the top of my head, 6 teams once, and 11 teams at one tournament in the Fall of 2010. We've fallen back to the smaller attendance. (In total, I've probably seen 7 or 8 Idaho schools at quiz bowl tournaments that we host, but some of them came in the first few years and haven't returned, and others started later and, hopefully, will continue to play.) The INL tournament got probably around 60 schools, total, over the whole state, with the southwest being the largest region. (The schools are restricted to one team per school.) The INL funded this tournament (so it is free to schools, other than transportation costs and potentially stipends for coaches), and it has a 20+ year history here, both of which contribute to its success. With the INL not being able to fund it, I don't know what the future bodes for it (the guy who runs it has talked to Micron about picking up some of the funding), and how that impacts other quiz bowl activity here.

To tie this back to the newsletter thread, I see that the IHSSBCA separates the state into three regions, and has some region-specific information for them (mostly, it looks like, just tournaments and tournament locations). Something like that might be possible here, if I could get some hubs. I could have Boise-specific information, Twin Falls-specific information, and maybe, if I can develop contacts in Pocatello, Moscow, or Couer d'Alene, something there for them. I think INL has a short newsletter they distribute that does talk in general terms about the regions.

Edit:
I try to host two high school tournaments in the Fall (a novice one early, and a regular one later), and one in the Spring. With the NAQT State Championship, that's one more in the Spring. Add in a NHBB or two (in other locations) and the INL regional and state tournaments, and one or two college tournaments (we traditionally host the ACF Fall, and sometimes the MUT) we host that strong high school teams might attend, and you've got the total of all quiz bowl activity in the state, except maybe Panasonic, which I know nothing about. Oh, and any regional leagues based on old questions.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:04 pm
by David Riley
FYI: Panasonic (more recently the National Tournament for Academic Excellence) is pretty much defunct. Once long-time director Peggy Harrod retired and Panasonic withdrew its sponsorship, it went into decline and hasn't happened for several years. They had a policy of one team per state or territory, preferably an all-star team, which HSAPQ has continued with their NASAT (Idaho should send a team!).

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:08 pm
by tiwonge
It's unlikely that Idaho will have a team this year, but I'm thinking about that for next year. I'll probably be running summer practices, and inviting the top non-seniors to come (since most of the schools with experience are local to here), and might continue that with a weekly practice through the Fall, depending on interest and availability.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 10:27 pm
by cchiego
The newsletter sounds like a good idea. At the very least, you'd have something you could refer new teams to see.

It looks like the Boise area might actually be better connected to the Salt Lake City Area. Teams in SLC definitely play some kind of academic competition (I keep finding search results for random small tournaments on it) and a couple of schools from there seem to have attended a few NAQT events in the past few years. If you could find a way to set up a tournament say in Twin Falls, that might be a feasible driving option from SLC.

University towns are usually good spots to look for potential QB teams, so see if you can't get some teams from Pullman and Moscow? It also looks like the Walla Walla area in Eastern WA is within a semi-reasonable driving distance.

It may help to convince people to come initially if you can put on some more pomp and circumstance than usual--can you get the Boise State admin on board to help sponsor or PR it? Is there an Honors College of some kind at Boise that you might be able to work with and double the tournament as a recruitment event? Could you find another org to piggyback off of like the Rotarians or the Kiwanis or the Lions? Those groups are great because they have so many chapters all over the place.

Re: Newsletter

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 10:39 pm
by tiwonge
Another thing I've been meaning to do is to talk to the admissions office. I figure they'd be interested in all of these academically motivated students coming to campus.

I didn't think about targeting university towns, but in my initial mailings, I sent letters to everywhere within a 2 hour drive (which doesn't include any university towns, because none are that close). It does, however, include schools in southeastern Oregon (Ontario, Baker) and northern Nevada. No luck with them, though.

I didn't send out a paper mailing this year (it didn't seem worth the trouble and expense, because I didn't seem to get many responses from it), and at least one school remarked on it. I'll do that again next year, I suppose.

It might be a good idea to talk to Twin Falls and see if we can set up a centrally-located tournament to draw some of the SLC schools, as well as an initial tournament for some of the Twin Falls area schools.