Paul Edwards for 2018 ACB Board of Publications

Paul Edwards
20330 NE 20th Ct.
Miami, FL 33179-2202
Phone: (305) 984-0909
Email: edwards.paul955@gmail.com
 
1. Introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in serving as a member of the board of publications.
 
I have been active in ACB since 1977 and have had the honor to lead the ACB, Florida, the Braille Revival League and Library Users of America. As Chair of the Board of Publications, I inaugurated the e Forum and have subsequently written a series of articles on technology. I edited a college newspaper, have written extensively for all my jobs and have edited or contributed extensively to the Braille Memorandum, the LUA Ledger and the White Cane Bulletin.
 
Though I have "done my time" already on the BOP, I chose to run last year because I wanted to continue to shape what I believe is among the most important of ACB’s functions. I want particularly to work to make the e forum a distinctive publication, strengthen our policy manual and play a part in shaping how ACB communicates with the rest of the world.
 
I am working on the Policy Manual subcommittee and it is our intention to rewrite it from the ground up making it easier to read and better connected with the realities of the new ACB plan which focuses on strengthening how our communications affect how we are viewed by the rest of the world.
 
The BOP has taken a decision to use the e forum to highlight themes and I am looking forward to being a part of creating this exciting approach with the August issue which will focus on education.
 
My experience as a leader of ACB, special interest affiliates and a state affiliate; my experience as Director of a program that served students with disabilities and as a high school teacher all give me the credentials that can make our publications and our policies more relevant to the needs of an organization wanting to be heard on social media and in print.
 
2. Summarize any experience you have as a writer. How can you use this experience to strengthen the BOP's oversight of ACB's written and online publications?
 
Most of my writing has been nonfiction though I have been known to attempt humor and poetry. I have become better at shaping my writing to my audience over time. I believe that conveying emotion is as important as communicating facts and feel that my long experience on ACB'S resolutions Committee has helped me learn to write with more precision. Our magazine needs to do more to make its readers conscious of how cool it is to be blind and of how much all of us who are blind, accomplish every day.
 
I am not sure that writing experience is most crucial to effective service on the BOP. Experience managing affiliates and negotiating contracts; familiarity with the new social media environment and how it can be used; and a vision of where ACB ought to be going are also relevant to making a good candidate for the BOP.
 
I believe that the range of reading and writing that I have done and my long experience with changing technology bring elements to the BOP that will be useful. I am comfortable working with others and am open to listening as much as talking. Clearly I have opinions which I have never failed to express in person, in print or on boards. That, too, is important. At its heart, the Board of Publications must be sure that it protects the right of people to be heard and it must be sure that we reach out to hear from all who may want to be heard. This is an exciting time to be involved in shaping how ACB is to be heard and I believe my skill set makes me a good candidate!
 
3. If you could make changes to the ACB's written and/or online communications, what would you change and why?
 
Anyone running for the BOP at this time is fortunate because ACB is seriously looking at how it is perceived by the rest of the world. The BOP has the responsibility to oversee some of these functions and thus will inevitably be at the center of shaping what we say and how we say it! I have worked with ACB Radio and produced and presented a long series of programs called "Tuesday Topics" which explored issues relevant to being blind. ACB is becoming better positioned to deliver our message as its Facebook and Twitter presences grow and its audience expands.
 
I believe that we need to be sure that the world knows what we are doing! Too often, we have made change happen without getting the credit we deserve! All our communications opportunities need to be used to be sure the world knows what we accomplish for blind people. We spend too much time talking about events and not enough talking about the changes we are making that enrich opportunities for people who are blind. I would like to see a regular media barrage from our leaders talking about what we have done.  Leaders need to keep members and the world up to date on what we accomplish. We should not just talk about the actual victories but also about the frustrated efforts to make change. When change doesn't happen as in the currency case, for instance, we need to be sure our members and allies know what we are doing and also about our frustration. There is lots to do but many think that there is nothing left to accomplish! So, in our communications, I would like to see us focus more on the problems that are out there that still need heart and effort to solve!
 
4. What role, if any, should the BOP play in the written or online publications of ACB state or special-interest affiliates?
 
For the past two years, the BOP has received no nominees for the award intended to celebrate excellence in our state and special interest newsletters. This suggests a disconnectedness between BOP and our state and special interest editors and affiliates. I think that we can and should reach out to editors to see what they would like us to do. I will propose that the BOP hold a conference call with affiliate editors to explore what they would like us to do to make their publications better. Three articles during the past year were reprinted in the ACB Forum from affiliate magazines. Simply letting editors know we are a resource and a sounding board for their concerns would be a start.
 
Many affiliates still do not have Facebook or Twitter presences. we can clearly help them understand just how important these new communications modes are. The BOP is about mass communications throughout the organization. We should make it our business to reach out to those who struggle to produce newsletters or to maintain Facebook and Twitter accounts at the affiliate level. Clearly web sites are relevant, too. ACB doesn't have the resources to reach out to create components for affiliates. Virtually all our affiliate newsletters are produced entirely by volunteers. We must somehow find ways to make them aware that we care about what they produce and to see if we can find ways to foster excellence there and at all levels within ACB. It is exciting to be a part of communicating to the world what ACB is about and what it is like to be blind. I would love to be a part of shaping the story we tell as a member of the BOP!
 
My email address is edwards.paul955@gmail.com. Contact me with any questions or concerns