New Format for Show-Me Freedom

Missouri Libertarians involved with the party for more than a few years will recall our printed periodical, Show-Me Freedom. Whether received by mail or picked up at the Missouri State Fair or some other event, Show-Me Freedom has played a part in keeping you informed of party business as well as opinion on current events from a libertarian point of view.

What most people do not know is the vast amount of time that goes into the publication of each issue. First there is the gathering of volunteers to write articles. Next comes the editing process followed by a mad scramble for photos. Once final edits and photos are been compiled, the whole thing goes off to the graphic designer who shoehorns or stretches (usually stretches) the content to fill the prescribed number of pages.

After final approval of the design, the pages are transmitted to the printer (usually located far from editor’s home) to be printed and mailed to Libertarians throughout the state. The remaining print run is then picked up by the editor to be distributed at events around Missouri until the next issue of Show-Me Freedom is produced.

Over the years it has become more difficult to find volunteers to produce Show-Me Freedom and recently our not-for-profit postage permit quietly lapsed due to a lack of use.

The end of Show-Me Freedom?

Is this the end of Show-Me Freedom? Not if I can help it! I’ve intentionally reeled back my involvement with the national Libertarian Party — I’ve been an alternate regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee as well as the chairman of the LP’s IT Committee — to concentrate on growing the Missouri LP through various online marketing channels. The time I used to spend on national LP issues will now be spent curating an online version of Show-Me Freedom right here on the Missouri LP website.

Moving Show-Me Freedom to the Missouri LP website has positive and negative ramifications. First the positives:

  • Cost – Putting out a printed edition of Show-Me Freedom averages about $1,600 when you include the bulk rate postage fees for distributing it to readers around the state.
  • Time – Always at a premium; always with a deadline.
  • Timeliness – What is noteworthy one month isn’t the next. An annual edition tends to be either too vague or out of date within weeks.

Negatives:

  • Exclusivity of an online-only publication – While this will always be an issue, the percentage of our audience that does not access news and opinion online declines every year and if there is interest from that segment of our readership, the cost of reprinting online articles and delivering them to those readers by first class mail is dramatically less than the cost of printing and sending by bulk email to all interested parties.
  • Loss of “hand-out” at events – Yes, this is unfortunate. However if my own experiences are an accurate guide, what is picked up at fairs and festivals all too often ends up in the trash before it has been read. An alternative would be to produce a small card promoting the online Show-Me Freedom and pointing the reader to the website.

I envision three different kinds of articles appearing at Show-Me Freedom. First will be the newsworthy articles written by Missourians about current events with, perhaps, action steps. Ballot recommendations; news of voter initiatives; praise for some new law (well, probably not so much!) — these would all fit within this category. Second would be annotated links to articles appearing elsewhere that would be of interest to our readers. Articles appearing on the national LP website, other state LP websites, or magazines would fit into this category. Third are long-form articles. These are non-time-sensitive — book reviews, primers on the non-aggression principle, candidate how-tos, interviews, etc.

We need your help

If you are still with me this far down the page, you may know what comes next. I can’t do this alone. Regular inflow of news and opinion articles and links as well as a backlog of non-time-sensitive articles is essential. The goal is to publish one article per week normally and more than one per week in the lead-up to elections. If writing is your thing, we need you. If writing isn’t your thing, I’ll edit your articles for you. If you happen upon great articles you think our readers should be reading, send me the links. Any level of participation is welcome. You can contact me at editor@lpmo.org.