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Rotary World Press

As Rotarians mark Magazine Month this April, we asked Past RI Director William B. Boyd, who moderated two Rotary World Magazine Press seminars, to write about the importance of these magazines.

The magazine press includes The Rotarian, Rotary International's official flagship magazine, and the 31 regional magazines. This month, Rotary welcomes its newest magazine, Salam Rotary, which published its first issue in January. It serves Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and includes articles in three languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, and English.

More than half of members worldwide are served by Rotary's regional magazines, which are produced independently. They have a combined circulation of 750,000 and are distributed in 127 countries in 24 languages. Each magazine is unique, with a regional editorial slant. Many serve more than one country.

Since 2002 The Rotarian has published selected articles from the regional magazines, which in turn publish articles and photos of international interest from the flagship magazine. You can visit The Rotarian and 19 of the regional magazines in the News section of the RI Web site. Contact information for all the magazines is also available at www.rotary.org as well.

Boyd also served as vice chair of the 2004 International Assembly Committee and moderator at the assembly. A member of the Rotary Club of Pakuranga, New Zealand, he also is a member of the Audit and Operations Review Committee, past RI treasurer, and past chair of the RI Literacy Committee.

It may be possible to be a good accountant and not read an accountants' journal, or to be a good plumber and not read the plumbers' digest. So why should Rotarians read their magazine? There are many reasons, but two really stand out.

A great strength of Rotary International is that it is a club-based organization. For all of us, our club is the place where we serve and experience so much of our fellowship. But if we only know Rotary through our own club, we miss much of the excitement and satisfaction that comes when we realize that Rotary is truly international.

We are members of an organization that spans the world -- and makes a difference in it. Not just with big things, such as polio eradication or education for millions of people, but also in the countless smaller projects that provide basic health services, water, and other necessities to people in need. When a Rotarian or a Rotary club reaches out through a project, we all should feel pride. It is the strength of our international organization that allows these things to happen. This is our Rotary at work. But without our Rotary magazines, how would we know?

The internationality of Rotary extends beyond projects. Founder Paul Harris stressed the importance of tolerance, but tolerance only develops when we understand how people from other countries live. How do we find out about our fellow Rotarians in Argentina, Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, or South Korea -- or any of our 166 countries? Through our Rotary magazines.

Another reason to read our magazines relates to the autonomy of clubs. If we focus only on our own club, we can too easily fall into a comfort zone and keep doing projects that we have done before. Our communities deserve better, and so do our clubs, if we want them to stay vibrant and attractive to potential members. There are countless innovations and ideas out there just waiting to be picked up.

No club can justify becoming stale when our Rotary magazines are packed with examples of new ways to serve. It would be an unimaginative Rotarian who could read even one issue of a Rotary magazine and not come up with a handful of projects that could be adapted for his or her club. No matter how long we have been Rotarians, we need to read our magazines. For a new Rotarian, the articles educate and inspire. For seasoned Rotarians, they remind us why we are Rotarians. So forget all the "official" reasons you receive your Rotary magazine. Read it for pleasure and as a source of ideas that will keep your club effective and fun. And read it for the pride that it brings you, as a member of an international organization without equal.

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