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Thread: 2004 USMS Convention NOTICE

  1. #1
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    Talking 2004 USMS Convention NOTICE

    It is time to get going here and discuss the 2004 USMS Convention. Only three weeks away, we seem very complacent. Has everyone completed their work? I know I am not done.

    We should have all recieved our convention packets. But the latest email from the Executive committee implies that USMS will be using a new company as our national magazine, thanking Swim magazine and going on.

    I can remember when we had SwimSwim magazine, and for a while Fitness Swimmer tried to become our magazine. Having spent some time working in the offices of Swim magazine when owned by one of our masters coaches, I know many of it's people and somewhat how it competes in the market place. In my humble opinion Swim magazine has evolved to meet some of but not all of our needs.

    The executive committee has spent considerable time with this latest (RFP) Request for Proposals. Implied in the email is that this will eventually help our organization bottom line. I don't know this; and should be discussed as much as possible before convention. The Executive Committee needs to give us delegates far more information than what is included in the email. Normally they are quiet this time of year, but they really need to be open on this one.

    Also implied in the Executive committee email is the very good idea of USMS having total control of our magazine, this can mean doing a better job completing our mission statement. This is not just a great buzzword, we should use it as a business tool. Will designing our own magazine to fit our members needs and using a company to publish it be a better fit with our mission statement?

    Please read the mission statement on page 11 of the rule book. I could type it here, but I really want each of you to find page 11 and read it. You can also find it on the USMS web site.

    Now I will chime in with my thoughts. I support this move to a new publisher, I feel that we will be in better position to service our membership, educate our membership and build our membership. Gee, I just spouted the Core Objectives of the current USMS Executive Committee. Also found on page 11.

    Don't just listen to me, search and do your own research. Bring questions to this forum. Ask the executive committee and the others involved in this for more information. Hold their feet to the fires. Lets discuss this so that when I call for a motion at convetion to approve this, that we can move on with all the other businees of convention.

    Hey, we need time to socialize and party. We deffininately need to get Michael Phelps in the skit again!!!! I personally want to give Nadine a big hug, the story about her at Nationals was what we are all about.

    As Chairman of SPMA, I always remember that it took me over a year to get my first Blue ribbon, and how I still have it. I have piles of medals, but to the new or returning swimer that first ribbon of any color means a lot. I try to remember we are not going to convention for ourselves, we are proudly representing some of the finest people in the world, our members.


    Lets get going, email your people going to convention and let the discussions roll

  2. #2
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    As everyone knows, the last weeks prior to convention are very hectic. The EC is preparing a detailed document for the HOD on the bidding process for our national publication. We will attempt to answer questions as they come up, but would like to place as much of our energies in the fuller explanation. The BOD is already discussing the topic on their private forum. Below is a message posted there from Jim Miller in answer to some initial questions from Sandi Rousseau.

    Message from Jim Miller, USMS President

    Thank you Sandi for your affirmation of the care and many hours that the Executive Committee has put in to come up with a National Publication recommendation that benefits USMS. Here are responses to your questions that also address items raised by Mike Heather:

    1. This matter will be submitted to the House of Delegates for approval. Under USMS rules, the Board of Directors only acts for USMS between meetings of the House of Delegates. Similarly, under Rule 507.1.3, the Executive Committee acts for the corporation between meetings of the BOD. Since the House of Delegates is about to meet, there is no reason for this matter to be submitted to the BOD first. The actions of the Executive Committee have been fully in compliance with both the rules and the Professional Management Guidelines.

    2. The interests of the LMSCs who use the National Publication to send their newsletters have been taken into account. Each of the finalists was asked about the newsletters and Nancy Ridout, the Registrar for PMS, which sends a newsletter to its 10,000 members in the National Publication, participated in the interviews. Douglas Murphy quoted us a price for the newsletters that is substantially cheaper than what Sports Publications currently charges.

    3. This selection process was not a surprise, nor was it conducted in secret. A request for proposals was placed in the Nov./Dec. issue of SWIM. The BOD was consulted for budget approval to hire a contractor to help us analyze the bids. The minutes of the EC meetings -- sent directly to the BOD -- have reflected discussions about the selection of a publisher for the National Publication.

    4. We will have the information you reference (e.g. cost comparisons, USMS editor duties) available at convention.

    On a personal note, Sandi, thank you for your reasoned and polite discourse on this important matter. The EC has put in a tremendous amount of work to get the best result for USMS and its future, while consciously operating within our rules and guidelines. Your calm inquiries are much appreciated.

    Jim Miller
    President, United States Masters Swimming

  3. #3
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    There is no doubt that a lot of work was done by the EC in this matter. Why, then did they present a letter drafted in such a way that there is no reference to any choice that the HOD may have? The email follows:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Members of the USMS Board of Directors and House of Delegates:

    The USMS Executive Committee has an exciting development to announce. Beginning in 2005, USMS has the opportunity to partner with a new publisher for its National Publication. This is a change that will save money for USMS and result in a high quality membership benefit.

    As many of you know, USMS’ contract with its National Publication vendor expires at the end of this year. In anticipation of that expiration, and pursuant to our Professional Management Guidelines, USMS issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the November/December issue of SWIM Magazine. Five (5) publishing companies submitted final bids. With the assistance of a USMS member with publishing expertise who served as a consultant to help us brainstorm USMS’ needs and sort through the bids, the EC narrowed the field to three finalists, including the current publisher of SWIM Magazine, Sports Publications, Inc.

    A subset of the EC conducted in-person interviews with representatives of the three finalists on July 18. After the interviews, the EC made a preliminary decision to pursue further discussions with two publishers of "association" magazines (more on this below). We made site visits to those two publishers in late July and have decided to select one of those publishers, Douglas Murphy Communications. As part of our due diligence, we contacted references directly and made financial queries. Both processes reinforced our confidence in Douglas Murphy.

    By partnering with Douglas Murphy Communications, we will own the intellectual property rights to our magazine, including the copyright to all materials published. We will be engaging a corporation that has experience and success publishing for associations and offers an attractive financial package aimed at making the magazine budget neutral within three years. Moreover, Douglas Murphy demonstrates creative ideas on editorial content aimed at all USMS members, exhibits spectacular design capability, and proposes a comprehensive plan for integrating the magazine with our web site. We’d like to expand on some of the factors that make this new partnership so attractive for USMS.

    Association Publishing

    Through the RFP process, we learned about the possibilities of association publishing. There is a whole field in which companies publish magazines on behalf of non-profit associations such as USMS. Associations run the gamut – from broad national organizations such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to narrow interest organizations such as the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors!

    Association publishers have an industry standard way of operating. They have editorial, design and advertising staffs, often supplemented by freelancers, and they work closely with a representative of the association to create a magazine that is geared to the interests of the association’s members and is intended to be a sought-after member benefit. In our case, the publisher would work with our USMS Editor, who would collaborate with the publisher on story ideas, ensure the accuracy of content, communicate the interests of our organization and its members, and provide contacts for stories.

    Cost

    With association publishing, we found an industry standard that is a very different alternative to how we currently pay for our National Publication and that will provide significant cost savings. Our current publisher, Sports Publications, Inc., charges USMS a per member subscription rate. The current rate is $8.00 per member and, in its bid, Sports Publications proposed a 12 year contract, increasing the rate every four years from $8.25 to $9.50 to $10.00 per member, even as our membership grows. For 2004, $339,700 has been budgeted to pay for SWIM subscriptions. On the revenue side, Sports Publications gives USMS 3% of its advertising revenue.

    The fee and ad revenue structure in association publishing is quite different. Both of our association publishing finalists, including Douglas Murphy Communications, would charge us for the actual cost of producing our magazine. This would include the cost of freelance writers, photos, magazine layout and set-up, printing, and postage, among other things. Both association publishing finalists priced out sample costs for us and they were very similar. For the most part, these costs would not be affected by a growing membership.

    The major difference is on the advertising revenue side. Both association publishers gave us the industry standard quote for splitting ad revenue – we get 75% of the revenue and they get a 25% commission. Recognizing that it would take some time to establish long-term relationships with advertisers, both publishers independently told us they believe USMS could have enough advertising revenue within three years to completely cover the costs of publishing the magazine. That is, we would break even while providing this valuable member benefit!

    Ownership

    Association publishing gives USMS the opportunity to own its magazine and use the articles and photos however we wish. Currently, Sports Publications owns SWIM Magazine, including the publication’s name. USMS buys subscriptions to Sports Publications’ magazine. With an association publisher, USMS owns the magazine, which the publisher produces on our behalf. This raises possibilities not only for future use of archived articles and photos, but also for an association between our website and the magazine.

    Design

    We are very excited about the look and structure of the product that Douglas Murphy has previewed for us. We will have interesting articles and information pieces designed in a readable manner. Smaller articles and graphics will be organized into "departments" in the front and back of the magazine, with a "feature well" in the middle of the magazine for longer articles. This is the norm in consumer magazines, much as you see in "Time" or "People". Douglas Murphy and its design and graphics staff are committed to producing appealing graphics and design. They and we want our members to anticipate the arrival of their USMS magazine and read it cover to cover.

    Timing

    The decision to engage our new publisher as soon as possible was based on crucial time limitations. As you can see from the discussion of advertising revenue above, it is important for the new publisher to begin building relationships with advertisers and sponsors to generate ad revenue. Although the new publisher’s first magazine will not be until the March/April 2005 issue, advertisers make decisions about the next year’s ad budget in August and September. We need to start working with the publisher now to develop a "media kit" – a glossy or semi-glossy fold-out that sells the magazine and provides advertising rates and packages. A prerequisite to the media kit is a preliminary notion of our editorial calendar for 2005 so Douglas Murphy’s ad sales staff can appeal to potential advertisers with interesting articles and topics around which they may want to advertise.

    Bill Volckening, and a USMS transition team will begin working with Douglas Murphy Communications as soon as possible to brainstorm the 2005 editorial calendar, facilitate relationships with sponsors and potential advertisers, and educate Douglas Murphy about USMS and our members’ interests and needs.

    Sports Publications

    Having described this new opportunity for USMS and how it came about, we would also like to recognize the close partnership that we have had with Sports Publications and its magazine for many years. Sports Publications’ staff has tremendous knowledge about developments in the swimming world. We hope our members who are interested in competitive swimming will continue to take advantage of things like the Sports Publications website, swiminfo.com, which provides up-to-the-minute information on elite swimming developments.

    Sports Publications has grown with USMS over the years. However, at this time in USMS’ development, the opportunity presented by Douglas Murphy and association publishing, including reduced costs and a USMS-owned magazine that appeals to a broad spectrum of our 43,000 members, are more in line with our core objectives of servicing, educating and building our membership.

    Representatives from Douglas Murphy Communications will be at our convention to show you prototypes of the magazine, learn more about our organization, and hear your feedback. We think you will share our excitement about Douglas Murphy and its commitment to providing a valuable member benefit for USMS.

    ---------------------End of Quote.-------------------------------------------

    A few questions come to mind.

    How many of the bids were timely?

    Was this one timely?

    How many of the bids were solicited?

    Was this one solicited?

    How many of the bidders were shown other bidders' offers before making their offers?

    Were any negotiations made with Sports Publications after receiving the bid from Douglas Murphy?

    How long has Douglas Murphy been in business?

    How many association publications does it publish?

    How many employees does Douglas Murphy have?
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

  4. #4
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Another question.

    Why wasn't the Communications committee used for this search/interview/selection?
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Additional Questions

    I would like to add two more questions to Mike's:

    1. Who was the outside consultant?
    2. What is the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications?

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    There are quite a few questions being posed here, and I am happy to answer those that pertain to the solicitation of bidders for our national publication.

    Once our RFP for the national publication was finalized, it was deemed prudent to distribute it upon request to any publishing entity that might be interested in submitting a proposal. In an effort to advertise its availability, publishers of various well-known national magazines were contacted to inform them of our RFP availability. As well, various publishing associations were contacted stating that our RFP was available to any of its member publishers, if so interested. In order to give us a wide variety of options among bidders and to better serve our membership, we choose to "open the doors" to better understand what possibilities existed in the field of magazine publishing.

    We did not approach any company directly and ask them to bid. However, we did inform members of the publishing community that our RFP was available and to contact us if indeed they were interested in viewing it.

    Subsequently, five companies submitted proposals.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    I am having trouble with this; perhaps Bill Volckening can fill us in?

    Right now, Swim magazine has an Editor in Chief, Phillip Whitten.
    I feel it would be a tragedy if USMS did not utilize his talents in some way. He is paid by the publishers of Swim, Swimming World and Swim Technique. Will USMS have to pay Bill Volckening as much to edit one magazine?

    Swim magazine also has a Senior editor, and two USMS members,
    Bill Volckening as USMS Editor and Scott Rabalais as Fitness editor. How much is this paid and will the pay increase with increased responsibility?


    Swim also has two Contributing Editors, paid positions. Will USMS need these as paid positions?

    Swim also has an Art Director also spread between three magazines. Will USMS need this as a paid position?

    Swim magazine has a nice lady responsible for advertisement revenue, again for three magazines. I assume this will also be a paid USMS position. I have always had a major problem with how USMS attracts advertisers. Our demographics are impressive. Under past president Nancy Ridout, a professional demographics company was used to gather information that any high end advertiser would love to utilize. We seem to ignore those same demographics. The only people I have seen who get it right were Mission Viejo. For the SPMA Long Course Championships, they had Land Rover and Jaguar as sponsors. That is a much better fit for educated masters’ swimmers who averaged $87K for women and $97K for men, over 6 years ago.

    The latest issue (Sept/Oct 2004) of Swim is online at swiminfo.com. On pages 24-27 is an article on Pilates, with photos, and starting on page 38 an article that will always get my attention. “The New Age Breaststroke Turn” by Glenn Mills contains 8 photographs. Will USMS need to have professional photographers on staff or on call? Having just participated in a photo shoot for the annual report of a billion dollar company, these photographers are not cheap. I believe it cost $25K for one day. I know we will not spend that much. But they do not work for free.


    I know when I was published in Swim magazine I was paid for my articles. Will our authors for the new USMS magazine also be paid? I sure hope so!

    Right now there is a huge inequity, USMS articles are not paid. So when a Doctor writes an article for the Sports Medicine section, they receive Nada, Zip, nothing. This might be for 5 to 10 hours of work. Will this continue?

    What I am getting at with all of this is, if we are going to have total responsibility with publishing our own USMS magazine in a professional manner, have all the costs been looked at.
    This seems to require a full time large staff.

    Also, our House of delegate members can read quite well, we have three weeks to convention. Lets us look at all the information BEFORE convention. Giving it to us at the last moment is unprofessional.

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    I have many concerns about the impact of this decision financially on Southern Pacific. We have a significant vested interest in the decision about a new publisher because our newsletter is currently published as an insert in SWIM. Newsletter costs are one of our biggests expenses.

    It may be that Nancy Ridout was able to obtain some information from the selected publisher concerning the cost of placing the Pacific Newsletter in the magazine, but we have not been able to obtain any numbers, although I have had some communications with the company. We only have ~2800 members, so can't get the same economy of scale that Pacific does with their 10,000 members. Does this executive committee even know what Sports Publications is charging SPMA?

    I am currently able to place a pdf file (formatted to the printers specifications) on the printer's server. Will I be able to do that with this company, which is much smaller? Or are we going to have to spend hundreds of dollars on a software program to accomodate their needs? I currently use Microsoft Publisher.

    These issues could easily affect our budget significantly enough that we may need to consider a dues increase.

    I am mostly concerned that, once again, the Executive Committee has made a decision without giving parties with a vested interest a chance to comment.
    "Stop telling lies about me and I'll stop telling the truth about you." -Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

  9. #9
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Wayne,

    These are all good questions. The short answer is, the cost of the contract with the new publisher includes all of the above that you have asked about. We will not be increasing staff and are not doing the job of completely producing the magazine and selling ads. That is the responsibility of the publisher. We will still have a USMS member as liaison to the process, but they will be more of a coordinator than an editor. Bill has been apprised of this.

    I can understand everyone's frustration at the lack of detail, but once we had notified the bidders of our recommendation, the choice became public information and it was necessary to distribute an executive summary to the HOD immediately. We are preparing detailed information for you that you will receive prior to convention. We need to take whatever time is necessary to make sure it is complete and accurate and appreciate your patience.

    In the meantime, we will continue to give brief responses to your questions on the forums.

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    Is the Request for Proposal available online? I couldn't find it. I would like to see it.
    "Stop telling lies about me and I'll stop telling the truth about you." -Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

  11. #11
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Mike is posing a number of questions on this forum that he has already posted on the BOD forum. To save time, I am now transferring the responses that have already appeared on the BOD forum. The first was a question from Anna Lea Roof asking if the Douglas Murphy personnel have a swimming background. In addition to Doug's answer below, I should report that some of the staff have are adult athletes, including Grant Murphy, President of the corporation who has experience as a triathlete.

    Reply to Anna Lea from Doug Church

    This is a short answer to Anna Lea. Douglas Murphy Communications does not have a background in swimming. They have an excellent background in association publishing. In that context, they have demonstrated the ability to produce a magazine that meets the expectations of the readers and the association.

    One of my duties was to contact references for direct conversation about just this sort of thing. One of my contacts was with the publisher of a golf magazine. He was very concerned at the outset since DMC had no experience in his area of interest. DMC worked diligently and quickly to identify writers, story lines of interest, key contact people and others in the golf world. His satisfaction was very clear. He observed that they were quickly involved in a very sophisticated way with something that they knew little about until the relationship was established. His comments were in line with the other references that I contacted.

    There are, of course, risks with any new enterprise. There will be uncertainty at some level until we see a product. I feel confident in saying that there were skeptics among us on the EC as we began and the questions were answered to our satisfaction. The opportunity to own the magazine, to have the ability to give postive editorial direction, to have a magazine that will be a "must read" for all USMS swimmers, AND to have a financial arrangement that reduces the huge cost and moves it in a direction that can serve us for years to come at a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, is the goal we have aimed to reach.

    The proposals took us down a path and this is where they led. I'm looking forward to the convention and the opportunity to provide additional information about our recommendation.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Below is a response that Doug Church sent in response to some questions from Ted Haartz concerning finances.

    Reply to Ted Haartz from Doug Church

    Hi Ted: Tracy sent me a copy of your email and I wanted you to know first of all that I am 100% supportive of this proposal. The EC has spent an extraordinary amount of time researching this question and undertaking the due diligence necessary to insure to the best of our ability that this is a positive step for USMS. I am preparing some information for the Finance Committee which I will share with you as soon as it is ready. It will essentially demonstrate the differential in cost savings potential additional revenue resulting from the new arrangement and it is substantial.

    Our SWIM ad revenue at 3%, for instance, generated $5,600 in revenue in 2002. We have yet to receive the 2003 ad revenue. If $5,600 equals 3%, then the total revenue to SWIM was about $186,000. In addition, we pay them the per capita $7.90 per swimmer (increasing to $8.25 for 2005) which amounts to over $330,000 (over $346,000 for 2005). In other words, we have paid or benefited Sports Publication to the tune of over $500,000. Under the proposal from Douglas Murphy, they will receive a commission on ad sales of 25%. On the same numbers that would give USMS nearly $140,000 in ad revenue. There are so many other positives about this arrangement.

    As usual, it's difficult to conduct the evaluations in an appropriate manner (meaning, maintaining a discrete environment until the field is narrowed, etc.) and at the same time, give everyone all the information all the time! We will do our best to provide complete and accurate information on the process that was undertaken and the results thereof as well as the rationale behind our recommendation. This is a huge opportunity that is critical to the success of other necessary changes that are coming along and I know that you will provide thoughtful guidance, as always. Please let me know if you have other questions. Doug

  13. #13
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    This is a post that was prepared in response to a request from Betsy Durrant for information about the 2005 budget:

    Response to Betsy Durrant

    Betsy asked about the 2005 budget. This is a somewhat complex topic with many variables to consider. Doug Church is preparing a report for the Finance Committee, which will also be available in the more detailed document we are creating for the HOD. Below are the estimated bottom line figures for year 1 of the contract. Part of the complexity is, that as time moves forward, the bottom line can change, but it's all that's ready now. The advertising income for Sports Publications is based on approximate current income. The figures for Douglas Murphy are a conservative estimate for a start-up publication. The design cost is a one-time fee.

    SPORTS PUBLICATIONS

    USMS Costs
    Annual Cost ($8.25 per swimmer @42,000 members) = $346,500
    Less Ad Income for USMS (3% based on $30,000 per issue) = $5,4000

    Net Cost for USMS = $341,100

    Publisher's Income
    Annual Income ($8.25 per swimmer @42,000 members) = $346,500
    Plus Ad Income for Publisher (97% based on $30,000 per issue) = $174,600

    Total Income for Publisher = $521,100

    DOUGLAS MURPHY COMMUNICATIONS

    USMS Costs
    Annual Cost ($53,775 per issue; $12,500 redesign; $4,000 media kit) = $339,150
    Less Ad Income for USMS (75% based on $20,000 per issue) = $90,000

    Net Cost for USMS = $249,150

    Publisher's Income
    Annual Income ($53,775 per issue; $12,500 redesign; $4,000 media kit) = $339,150
    Plus Ad Income for Publisher (25% based on $20,000 per issue) = $30,000

    Total Income for Publisher = $369,150

  14. #14
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Here is a reply to Rich Burns' concern that finances were the only thing considered when the EC made it's recommendation:

    Response to Rich Burns

    Rich commented that "The way in which the proposal is presented makes it seem like this is a decision based mostly on the financial implications and that USMS is in a position to win big." Please re-read paragraph #4 and you will see that we enumerated a number of factors in favor of this publisher:
    By partnering with Douglas Murphy Communications, we will own the intellectual property rights to our magazine, including the copyright to all materials published. We will be engaging a corporation that has experience and success publishing for associations and offers an attractive financial package aimed at making the magazine budget neutral within three years. Moreover, Douglas Murphy demonstrates creative ideas on editorial content aimed at all USMS members, exhibits spectacular design capability, and proposes a comprehensive plan for integrating the magazine with our web site.
    Although the finances are a significant factor, they are not the only areas where we placed Douglas Murphy in the number one spot. On these criteria and others, which we considered "must have," DMC was equal or superior to the competition.

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    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Here is a response to Doug Garcia's question about newsstand presence for the new magazine:

    Response to Doug Garcia

    Doug has asked about newsstand presence. During the review process, we received mixed opinions on this topic. Sports Publications is committed to a newsstand presence, albeit a small one (about 6,000), with non-USMS subscription income going to them. The two association publishers consider newsstand presence to be an expensive proposition for small circulation, niche magazines. They both advised initially developing the magazine as a premium member benefit and possibly using other subscription marketing programs (bind-in cards, direct mail, overprints for distribution at special events, etc.) to seek non-member subscribers. Douglas Murphy also recommends that, when we make decisions about design and editorial content, we keep newsstand presence in mind as a possible long-term goal.

  16. #16
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    Scott,
    The swimming world is very tight. We get all sorts of information from many sources. I am very concerned that ethical issues that could involve expensive legal bills by USMS may have occurred.

    Did USMS have a deadline for the RFP's? How many companies responded to the initial deadline on time? If only one company responded on time, would the proposal be rejected?

    Was this RFP reissued?

    Now the current contract is usually public knowledge, this is not a problem. Was the latest proposal of Swim shared with other bidders? This concerns all of us.

    Jeff raised the question of the outside consultant. What were their qualifications and how much were they paid? Why was an outside consultant used? USMS has two highly qualified past presidents and others who are or have been in the publication business. Was this consultant totally unbiased?

    I spent a lot of time searching the qualifications of Douglas Murphy Communications. To be frank their web site did not inspire confidence. Jeff mentioned the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications. We really do want to know.

    If Rodale’s “Fitness Swimmer” magazine went under I am concerned about the business model of the new USMS magazine. Fitness Swimmer had Mary and Jim Bolster, Bill Boomer, Clay Evans, Terry Laughlin, John Leonard, James Montgomery, John Spannuth, Richard Quick and Dave Scott participating. These are legends in swimming. If Rodale could not make it, we need to look closely on the business model established for the new magazine.

  17. #17
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    I wonder if there is a logical reason that one person is generally responding for the entire EC. Curious.

    It is common knowledge that in any purchase of goods or services, more information is always better to make the best reasonable decision. Some responses to the various questions posed not only lack depth, but insult the intelligence of the good members of USMS.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    This is a reply to Wayne McCauley's above questions.

    Wayne: Did USMS have a deadline for the RFP's?

    Yes.

    Wayne: How many companies responded to the initial deadline on time?

    We adjusted the deadline to allow for ample time to distribute the RFP and to allow potential publishers amply opportunity to formulate a proposal. According to my recollection, when we adjusted the deadline, no companies had responded with a proposal.

    Wayne: If only one company responded on time, would the proposal be rejected?

    This is a hypothetical. For our situation, all proposals submitted were evaluated and given consideration.

    Wayne: Was this RFP reissued?

    No.

    Wayne: Now the current contract is usually public knowledge, this is not a problem. Was the latest proposal of Swim shared with other bidders? This concerns all of us.

    The latest proposal of SWIM was not shared with anyone, outside of those who evaluated the proposals.

    Wayne: Jeff raised the question of the outside consultant. What were their qualifications and how much were they paid? Why was an outside consultant used? USMS has two highly qualified past presidents and others who are or have been in the publication business. Was this consultant totally unbiased?

    The consultant had vast experience in the publishing industry. I do not have the exact figures of payment, but my understanding is that the consultant was to be paid a maximum of $1,500 based on hours of contribution. A consultant was used not only to provide insight on the various proposals, but also to gather additional information on the companies and their bids. While I am not sure if any individual can be "completely unbiased," we were pleased with the information presented to us by the consultant. We are not aware of any past presidents who have the experience in the publishing business to a degree that would have assisted us in the proposal reviews.

    Thank you for the questions!

  19. #19
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    Thank you all for responding. This is much better dialog.

    As I stated initially, this all goes to if this change better acomplishes our Mission Satement. I would not have a problem with change even if it cost MORE money, so long as we serve our members and accomplish our Mission Statement.

    That being said, who is this consultant? What qualifications in publications and hopefully swimming do they have?

  20. #20
    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    Below are answers to additional questions that people have posed.

    How many of the bids were timely?: All bids were timely. Scott has already addressed this point above.

    Was this one timely?: Douglas Murphy's bid was timely.

    How many of the bids were solicited?: Once our RFP for the national publication was finalized, it was deemed prudent to distribute it upon request to any publishing entity that might be interested in submitting a proposal. In an effort to advertise its availability, publishers of various well-known national magazines were contacted to inform them of our RFP availability. As well, various publishing associations were contacted stating that our RFP was available to any of its member publishers, if so interested. In order to give us a wide variety of options among bidders and to better serve our membership, we choose to "open the doors" to better understand what possibilities existed in the field of magazine publishing.

    We did not approach any company directly and ask them to bid. However, we did inform members of the publishing community that our RFP was available and to contact us if indeed they were interested in viewing it.

    Subsequently, five companies submitted proposals.

    Was this one solicited? The statement above applies to Douglas Murphy the same as it applies to the other bids.

    How many of the bidders were shown other bidders' offers before making their offers?: No bidder saw a bid from another bidder, nor were any bidders given information about any other bid. Only EC members, Tracy Grilli, and Mary Bolster have read the bids. Mary is a professional publishing industry consultant the BOD authorized the EC to engage for assistance in evaluation of the bids. The only information that was released was that in the current contract with SWIM, our share of the advertising revenue is 3%. This is not proprietary information.

    There is no doubt that a lot of work was done by the EC in this matter. Why, then did they present a letter drafted in such a way that there is no reference to any choice that the HOD may have?: The Executive Committee operated under USMS Professional Management Guidelines (PMG) to solicit bids and conduct a series of personal interviews with the most qualified 3 candidates. The recommendation goes forward to the HOD, culminating 4 months of work which included consultation with a professional in the field of publishing.

    Were any negotiations made with Sports Publications after receiving the bid from Douglas Murphy?: There were no negotiations with any of the bidders, but there were ample opportunities to enhance their bids. All bidders were given the same topics for discussion prior to the interviews. During the interviews, each bidder was asked about the financial structure of their bid. At no time was a bidder given the details of another's financial proposal. The makeup of each bid was very clear at the end of the face to face interview.

    How long has Douglas Murphy been in business?: DMC has been in business since 1993.

    How many association publications does it publish? Currently publishing 5 association publications. You can get more information from their web site at http://www.douglasmurphy.com.

    How many employees does Douglas Murphy have?: They currently have 8 employees.

    Why wasn't the Communications committee used for this search/interview/selection?: The EC believes that it is responsible for recommending the BEST choice and it has done so. It would be impossible for all members of the HOD, the BOD, or a large committee (there are 24 members on the Communications Committee) to devote the time necessary to achieve the same degree of awareness on all issues that have been researched and considered. The need for a single recommendation and a justification thereof is the process envisioned as most appropriate by the EC within the structure of the PMG. Please refer to USMS Professional Management Guidelines, Section V—Selection Process:
    Section V-B. The selection process for independent contractors shall be determined by the USMS Executive Committee. Unless an alternate process is approved in advance by the House of Delegates, the method used for selecting independent contractors who will receive compensation greater than $10,000 annually shall include:

    1. An application and interview process.

    Or

    2. A Request for Proposal (RFP) and bidding process.

    Section V-D. When an RFP and bid process is used pursuant to paragraph B.2 above, an announcement, including methods for obtaining the RFP, a brief description of the project, and a bid deadline shall be published in the USMS official publication and in the National Office Newsletter. The USMS Executive Committee shall determine the bid evaluation process used.
    I wonder if there is a logical reason that one person is generally responding for the entire EC. Curious.: I'm not sure how this is relevant to the validity of our recommendation, but I do most of the responding because I am the one most comfortable posting on the forums and this is the division of labor in the EC. We are all participating in the formulation of the answers.

    It is common knowledge that in any purchase of goods or services, more information is always better to make the best reasonable decision. Some responses to the various questions posed not only lack depth, but insult the intelligence of the good members of USMS: We have stated repeatedly that we are working on a more detailed document that will satisfy everyone's questions. Please see paragraph #2 of my response to Wayne on this forum which I posted at 7:53 PM.

    What is the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications?: We have vetted the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications and are satisfied there is no problem here.

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