October and Cooperatives
October is designated Cooperative
Month and it is a good time to talk about member-owned cooperatives and
the need to communicate effectively.
A cooperative is established
to provide services needed by its members. The board of directors, which
members elect, and the manager they hire have a responsibility to communicate
with the members on a frequent basis. Cooperative members have a right
to know whats going on in the business that they own.
The electric cooperatives began
publishing Rural Missouri 54 years ago as a statewide communications
vehicle to electric cooperative members. While some of the cooperatives
have their own member newsletter, most of them use the local pages of
Rural Missouri to inform members of their cooperative business.
The original publishers of
Rural Missouri made a commitment which still stands today. That
commitment was to publish a high-quality publication which would result
in high readership. After all, they said, if we have a responsibility
to communicate with our cooperative members, we should take it seriously
and do it right.
The commitment by Rural
Missouris founders to produce a quality publication is felt
even stronger by electric cooperatives today. Each year this publication
is submitted to a panel of experts in journalism for professional review.
Each year it receives high marks in all categories when competing with
similar publications. The staff is also given individual recognition and
awarded honors in all categories. At the same time, we are given suggestions
on how to improve in areas where we do not achieve the highest rankings.
During Cooperative Month the
special niche cooperatives fill in our free enterprise system is emphasized.
Within cooperatives, we emphasize the unique and special obligation we
have to communicate with our member-owners in a responsible and effective
When you pick up your Rural
Missouri each month, think of it as your publication. It is designed
to keep you informed about the cooperative business you own. If you think
of it that way, you will keep writing to let us know how we can do our
jobs better. We both like and need that communication from you.
Have a great fall and keep
those cards, letters and e-mails coming.
Stork was executive
vice president of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.