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Rural Missouri Magazine

October and cooperatives

by Frank Stork

Thanks to all of you who take the time to write us with your comments on articles, columns and editorials printed in Rural Missouri.

We consider it a privilege to communicate with you and sincerely like to hear your expression of agreement or disagreement with what we print. While we can't publish all the letters we receive, we do our best to print a cross-section of views in our Mail Bag section each month.

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 what's going on in the business they own.

The electric cooperatives began publishing Rural Missouri 53 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 edition 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 Missouri's founders to publish 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 that 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 way.

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 nice October 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.

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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