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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009: We need your help in order to continue
   Leading off today: This is most definitely a blog I had hoped would never need to be written, particularly on the eve of our first football rankings of the season.

   It's one that I almost wrote two Septembers ago and quite honestly should have written last fall. I hoped against hope at that time that maybe things would change for the better, but then the economy absolutely tanked far worse than anything we've ever seen.

   And now those of us carrying the majority of the load for the New York State Sportswriters Association will have to make a decision soon about whether we will be able to continue the weekly eight-page newsletter when our 43rd year of publication wraps up in June.

   Membership has declined steadily in the last few years to the point where editor/treasurer Neil Kerr and I have decided that it's simply not worth the endless hours of work required to publish the newsletter. I've lost track of the exact count, but Neil has typed, copied, folded, stuffed amd mailed the newsletter by himself for close to 2,000 issues in a row.

   The job would seem to be easier now in the computer/Internet era, especially with membership as of this week down more than 70 percent from our all-time high -- which makes for less copying and fewer envelopes to stuff. But with lower circulation comes lower revenue from memberships. And, as newspaper publishers will tell you, the amount of "new" money from a web site does not come close to offsetting what we've lost in subscriptions.

   Although the NYSSWA writes a small check at the end of each season to some of the people doing the grunt work on various sports, Neil and I do not get paid for producing the newsletter or web site. In fact, the organization was never more than a break-even proposition until recent years, when Neil has dug into his own pocket to finance

the last few issues of the year.

   Needless to say, that cannot continue. That's why we're asking for your help. If you've been photocopying the newsletter someone else has paid for or if you're regularly coming to our web site for weekly rankings, news and all-star teams, we're asking you to step up to the plate and help us out.

   We need to enroll 100 new members by the end of this month to make sure we get through basketball season and probably another 50 on top of that by the end of the year so that the membership list is large enough to make doing the newsletter worthwhile and to assure that we'll have enough in the bank to at least reach Memorial Day.

   Please follow this link to see how to subscribe and write us a check if it's within your means.

   Otherwise we're almost certainly heading down the path of shutting things down, and to be honest I don't envision anyone else being able to step in with weekly rankings or end-of-season all-star teams.

   The Associated Press handles those tasks in many states, but their New York operation has not given a damn about high school sports for as long as I can remember. High school reporters at many newspapers are already too busy to even lend a hand with ranking local teams let alone handling the whole state. And the chatter in online forums might be interesting to follow, but no reputable news organization is going to annoint a fan's opinion as credible enough to publish.

   So that leaves us and the many fans of high school sports in New York depending on you.

   Again, if it's within your means, please become a member of the NYSSWA this month.

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