A new magazine for Lib Dems – tell us what you want

Lib Dem News is changing. After 14 years at the helm, editor Deirdre Razzall is retiring and the time has come for us to take a fresh look at one of the key ways members can get information about what’s going on in the party.

First of all we’re going to change the format. In the age of news websites, blogs and social media there’s less of a need for a weekly publication to supply members with news.

By switching to a monthly magazine format we can do a whole lot more – features, interviews, long form journalism, debates.

We want to make sure that we keep all the things that Lib Dem News readers cherish and rely on the paper for, but, frankly, we want more of you to read it.

Around 3,000 of you currently subscribe to Lib Dem News. I want to double that number at least, but to do that I need to know what it is you want from it.

If you subscribe to LDN, tell me why. If you don’t, tell me why not.

One thing we want to ensure is that the magazine is not the central party dictating to members.

The Liberal Democrats are a family. We don’t (or shouldn’t) see our government ministers, MEPs or council leaders as aloof, distant public figures, but part of the same team. We have our serious debates but we are also fun, self-deprecating and gossipy.

If the magazine doesn’t reflect that, then it doesn’t reflect us. I’m determined to make sure it does and I want to hear from you how we can do that.

In my job I talk to a lot of members from all across the country and one of the regular concerns I hear is that you’re not always getting the information you want from the party.

We are all working hard (honest we are) to put that right and this could be one of the best ways we have of doing that.

So here’s your chance. Tell us what you want. Give us your ideas. And while you’re at it, you might want to tell me what you think it should be called.

Please email your thoughts and suggestions to [email protected]

Helen Duffett is Internal Communications Manager for the Liberal Democrats.

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17 Comments

  • She’s just a Razzall, Deirdre Razzall.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0BIibykZKA

    Happy retirement Deirdre :)

  • Most people I know who DO get it only get it for the job adverts; I don’t get it because I have other priorities for money. Possibly not the most helpful answer there…

    Otherwise I agree with Nick (the person commenting above) that maybe there could be some method of including it with membership; still have the cheapo membership available without it, but the next rung up could include subscription to the mag.

  • I think a monthly round up of local by-election lessons from ALDC would be useful to replace the weekly roundup we have in LDN at the moment.

  • Grammar Police 24th Oct '12 - 8:48am

    The best from the Lib Dem blogosphere; occasional pieces from non-party authors; all members to receive it – to be able to choose between paper and online.

  • Grammar Police 24th Oct '12 - 8:49am

    Listings from Flock Together for the next couple of months; Lib Dem classifieds (I mean things like, adverts for jobs, offers of help, experience, resources etc – don’t mean ‘Lib Dem dating’, although I guess we could!!)

  • I haver subscribed to LDN since the 70s.

    For me, it has beeen an enjoyable way of keeping in touch with the party. I believe abandoning the weekly communication is a backward step. The party has been using ‘Hallo’ style glossy magazines in by-elections for some time and they make me want to throw up.

    I fear this new magazine will be exactly the same and we will have lost a paper of value to many.

  • With more and more things available on line the value of getting something through the post on paper has actually increased so we need to keep some paper communications.

    A monthy rules out stoies that are very time dependent, but I would like to see Day in the Life features which give us a real indidcation of what people do. I would like to see one about a Lib Dem backbencher, one about a councillor and so on.

    On policy issues it would be good to see a good for and against piece on contentious subjects

    A regular slot on the party’s history would also be good.

  • Nothing will suit everyone..
    But I object to the line ‘tell us what you want – we are going to have a monthly magazine’… er sorry, I want a weekly newspaper that tells me what the usual newspapers don’t tell me, ie the facts about the LibDems. And when I have read it I can pass it on to someone else, non LD, who reads a daily tabloid.
    Yes the idea of getting stuff on-line is ok, but then saying ‘I can get everything I want on line’ is selfishly ignoring that this is our one way of telling the membership stuff, without them having to remember to go search the website. Now if the website was more easily navigable (have you recently wanted to find out the LD policy on ‘x’, can you find an index?) – if every member had an email address registered at HQ, if the IT desk at HQ would send out PRs to every member, or a link to the website for ‘an item we know you’ll be interested in’.. (HQ don’t even know what we are interested in!)… and as for the idea of an article about the day in the life of a councillor.. 9 out 10 of those would be just boring.!
    Some good suggestions above – advertising to pay for it, and send it to every member. Publishing such an excellent paper and then only sending it to a select few is plain crazy. With a full membership circulation that would be an easy market for an advertiser and attract enough revenue to cover the costs… but it seems that our CEO has already made the decision, and is already advertising for the editor of the magazine.
    If you happen to live in an active party area then fine, but if not you hear nothing from the party unless you have LD News. Moving it to a monthly format will be a backward step.. Hello? are you listening? what do WE want.?… but hang on WE are online!… ask the question of the ordinary member who isn’t.!
    Have you ever belonged to one of those organisations that simply tell the people who came to the last meeting about the next one.. it gradually reduces in size until nobody comes…. zzzzzzzz.

  • Colin Taylor 24th Oct '12 - 3:34pm

    Nothing will suit everyone and nothing will last for ever. Much as I enjoy recieving the LD News I have on the odd accasion wondered what had happend to the real world. By that last comment I mean that when we have been smashed in elections and referenda it only just registers as a bye line in LD News.
    With costs as they are it was only going to be a matter of time befrore time was called on it in its present format.
    Give a monthly version a go with much expanded debate on policy and background information so that we are informed. Not all of us are fully electronically informed or have the time to hunt around different sites searching out who does what where when etc but like to have it in front of us on paper so thet we can peruse it as and when we have the time. . As a subscriber to Green Liberal Democrats I recieve their excellent quaterly. Could a monthly LDN join in and jointly publish once a quarter with Challenge, so spreading the message wider and possibly cheaper. There are possibly other publications that could be merged occasionaly to get us thinking out side of our bubbles.

  • Mr AC Trussell 24th Oct '12 - 5:04pm

    I would think that most people that take the LD News,are pretty well up to date with what is happening. I always make a point of reading what I think looks interesting- but is it worth £58? I’m not so sure. I am contemplating just donating £50.
    In this new(monthly)why can’t we have more pieces, relevant to the mess this party finds itself in? Like discussing the tactics used by the Tories in the AV referendum? Or pointing out the different, and specific, ways different media are bias against the Lib/Dems? Explaining in detail; with charts/graphs and examples; the way the student fees are not too bad at all. For instance; everyone seems to think they affect them getting a mortgage! It has never been explained properly- because the Tory/Labour media will only show the negative to keep the Lib/Dems out of the picture.
    Of course we all know this- or should; that the “nasty party” and the “negative party” will bend over backwards to discredit the “Nice Party”
    There is more, but I think Iv’e made my point. The reason being that every week I get further down my road putting my LD News through my nieghbours letter boxes and I would like them to be getting some Truth for a change!

  • Roger Harcourt 24th Oct '12 - 8:41pm

    I know that means of communication are changing, but kindles will nenevr replace the sensuous experience of reading a book. By the same token, other forms of print will survive. We are the only party to possess a weekly newspaper, which will now disappear. A weekly drop through the letterbox is a friend; a monthly mag is an acquaintance.
    Bad decision by our new Chief Exec. in my view.

  • I subscribe to LDN. I have found it very useful. I’d like to keep the type of articles we have in there, like reporting on ministerial visits with announcements like RGF and Pupil Premium, and also the list of events in different regions, but in a magazine we could definitely do a lot more.

    It would be good to have regular report backs from our ministers and their departments on the work they have been doing.

    On a members involvement level it would be good to feature not only letters but articles from members – either on national issues, policy or local issues.

    It would also be good to have a campaigns section – what works and what doesn’t – from experience members have had in different regions.

    A Q&A section would be good. Send in questions for a different minister each month and print the questions and answers the following month.

    How about a section of members offering their skills to help others?

    However, whatever we do a major issue will be the cost of it as not all members may be able to afford it and I’d think the idea of a magazine would be to reach as many members as possible.

    I had noticed that the cost for LDN went up from £30 to £58 – almost double. Not justifiable at all, even given the rise in postage. Some members would struggle at £30. You need to seriously consider how much you will be charging for this.

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