by Daryl Coleman, 1st Lt. Cmdr & Newsletter Editor
Editing a camp newsletter is something I deeply believe to be both an honor and a responsibility. As an editor, I get to judge the content and the style of our camp’s newsletter, and I get to do something I really enjoy doing. In light of the fact that I have and will have the honor of presenting a short newsletter class at some of the Leadership Training Conferences we are holding around the Texas Division, I would like to share some thoughts on the content aspect of this. You might call this Coleman’s Suggested Content Rules for Camp Newsletters.
When writing a camp newsletter, remember first and foremost that you are representing The Sons of Confederate Veterans. This means that you, the editor, are editing your camp’s newsletter under the name and logo of the organization, and as such you have the responsibility to faithfully represent the organization in a good light by displaying honor and honesty to the very best of your ability.
Never use the camp newsletter to forward a personal agenda. In other words, don’t use the newsletter to advance a personal cause which lies outside of the stated purposes or goals of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. If you need clarification on this, read the SCV Purpose Statement, which can be found on our national website and near the end of this newsletter. This would include waging a war of words upon a fellow SCV member (especially by name) in good standing. By way of example, I saw this very thing occur while I was in my first camp in the SCV a number of years ago, where the newsletter editor literally waged a verbal assault upon the man who at that time was the Commander-in-Chief of the SCV (a man who was voted into that position by the membership). Yes, I know full well they had differences (the editor was himself a past CINC of the organization), but he used the camp newsletter to wage this war, and I happen to think he was wrong to use it for that purpose. Our editor at that time had forgotten that the newsletter belonged to the camp and not to him personally.
Never use the camp newsletter to advance personal arguments against current political leaders. This is NOT to say that we cannot advocate for a position on aheritage violation or something like that. For example, I believe it entirely appropriate to advocate against the recent actions of the leadership at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, or against the Chancellor at Ole Miss for his recently announced plans to do away with the nickname of ‘Ole Miss’ at the University of Mississippi, or against the city leaders for their renaming of parks in Memphis, Tennessee. Rather, I am suggesting that ragging on a fellow camp member due to his personal faith views, or sexual orientation, or political affiliations in the camp newsletter should be viewed as entirely inappropriate. Personally, I have deep differences with some fellow SCV members over faith issues, political affiliations and personal/social issues, but it is not my right or responsibility to use the camp newsletter to advance or air out those issues. It is my opinion that should an editor ever choose to step over this line, the camp should have him step down from that responsibility, or at least seek to come to an understanding about it.
Know your potential audience. The camp newsletter, while primarily for the benefit of your camp members, will most likely also be read by SCV members outside your own camp, as well as by prospective future SCV members. Also, there is a strong possibility that your newsletter will be read by members of the press and by those who would love nothing more than to be given ammunition which could and would be used against us. Please do not forget this… there are folks out there who are deeply opposed to our seeking to vindicate the cause of our Confederate Soldier ancestors. They are prowling around seeking to devour us for the things we stand for. Therefore, we should seek to be always on guard.
These are my personal rules I try to work by, and only ask that you consider why they might be helpful suggestions.