The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
"On the Square" Article

J. Franklin Campbell

The following proposal was originally sent to ICCF on 26 August 2002 after a lengthy period of vacancy of the "Press Officer" position. It contains my ideas for how the job of press officer could be defined and become a useful function within ICCF. Even if that position no longer exists within ICCF I still believe the functions listed below should be performed by someone. This article is sharply focused on my ideas for improving the performance of the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) and may contain little of value outside this narrow context. Since nothing came of this old proposal I now present it below as an article just to preserve some of my ideas and perhaps help inspire some creative thinking within ICCF. It is my belief that ICCF is sorely lacking in important areas of promotion, both of itself and of correspondence chess in general. Hopefully in the near future we'll see some positive changes by ICCF in these areas. Of course, the ICCF Executive Board is currently so involved with dealing with changes in leadership, changes of direction in policy, and reacting to key resignations of significant personnel that we should not expect any effort being put into the areas for a while. Still, it is my hope that publishing the following may eventually help inspire some improvements in ICCF's approach to publicizing its events and publishing other news.

Note that a few changes during the last 2½ years could make some of my ideas a bit out of date. For instance, the recent creation of the ICCF Amici on-line magazine may deal with a few of the following suggestions. I present the following without changes/updates, except for deleting a few personal comments at the end. Also, I had worked up considerable enthusiasm to do the Press Officer job when I originally wrote this proposal. I am no longer available for this job.

-- J. Franklin Campbell, former ICCF Press Officer

Proposal for ICCF Press Officer Job Description and Web Site Design
J. Franklin Campbell (USA)
Originally submitted to ICCF on 26 August 2002
(posted 26 January 2005)

Following are my ideas and suggestions for the duties for the ICCF Press Officer (perhaps the title could be changed to more accurately indicate the duties). Note that I am thinking along the lines of what I personally could contribute and would feel energized to do. My whole concept of the job revolves around Internet communication. I have no interest in mailing materials (and that is costly, as well). Some of these ideas could cost ICCF a few Euros, but nothing is very expensive. I assume ICCF would be able to pay for a few minor expenses. It is possible that ICCF would prefer to have their own domain name. My domain name will likely be "jfcampbell.us". Of course, anything I do could easily be copied and re-used by another future press officer.

  1. Create a special ICCF Press Officer's web site with pertinent links, contact information, stories, pictures, archive of past stories and other material of interest. This should either be a separate web site from ICCF.COM (with a prominent link on ICCF.COM) or be a separate area of the ICCF.COM site. I personally prefer a separate site for my convenience, but that may not be true if someone else is appointed to this position. Perhaps for reasons of continuity it should be part of ICCF.COM, but the Press Officer would need to be able to upload and modify material on the site. Is dynamic content a possibility there?
  2. Create and maintain a mailing list of ICCF insiders to review ideas, make suggestions for items to publicize and to be a sounding board for the Press Officer's ideas.
  3. Respond to specific requests from appropriate ICCF officers to make announcements, add features to the site, etc.
  4. Create and maintain a mailing list of ICCF people who are resources for information, interviews, photographs, etc. for the use of the Press Officer.
  5. Create and maintain an email mailing list for each of the following categories. Send them appropriate press releases from time to time.
    1. Print magazines that may print ICCF information and news.
    2. Web sites that may display ICCF information and news.
    3. Individual chess journalists who write about chess/correspondence chess.
  6. Allow a certain amount of latitude to carry out activities without obtaining specific instruction. I view this job as a pro-active position.
  7. This position should not report to the Marketing Director. I would never consider being in a position associated with the word "marketing." Reporting directly to the President or Executive Director makes more sense to me.

Ideas for Content of Press Officer's Web Site
(Named something like "ICCF News")

Here is a rough list of ideas, in no particularly order, for material to be placed on this web site.

  1. Links to sites of use to working chess journalists, such as tools for animating game replays, chess dictionaries/encyclopedias, dictionaries, translation services, URL's for useful or important chess sites not on ICCF.COM, HTML references, etc. Perhaps this should be in a completely separate part of the site labeled "For Chess Journalists."
  2. A collection of photos available for use in publications. E.g., if our president makes an announcement and a publication wants to add his photo to their report, they'll be able to find one here. Here the emphasis is on making it easy for the world press to report on ICCF activities. Other graphics may be housed here as well, such as the ICCF Logo.
  3. Articles on interesting stories at ICCF, such as a new world champion, a winner of a major event, the annual Congress, etc. These would be attractively presented with photos. They would appear right on the home page with an archive section to save older stories.
  4. Regular columns. I'd like to see Wikman write about rules, Binder talk about ratings issues, Brooks discuss standards for the conduct of tournaments, etc. No other specific ideas, but this gives a flavor of my intention. Nothing kills a web site like a lack of fresh material.
  5. Question & Answer column with answers to readers' questions provided by experts in various ICCF areas.
  6. History of ICCF section. Various "old timers" could reflect on ICCF's past and historians could contribute material.
  7. Information on previous ICCF Congresses, though maybe a link to an already existing one would be sufficient.
  8. "ICCF in the news" publicize those publications with ICCF stories. They run a story about ICCF or feature ICCF in some way we return the favor by publicizing them.
  9. Chess content??? I don't know about this one. We already have a games archive. A couple ideas would be a chess puzzle (diagram of a position from an ICCF game with answer provided) and an annotated games section where players could supply games for animated replay with their notes. I'd want someone else to do the work for this one. Maybe we could just link to other web sites with such replays.
  10. Letters to the Editor. I consider this an important element, with proper editorial control. When I get a magazine of interest with a "Letters" section, that's the first thing I read. I believe the impact would be enormous, showing that ICCF is open to new ideas and criticism. This could be a great source of new ideas.

I think this web site could prove to be quite an attraction for cc players and chess journalists. It's clearly not a one-man job. A few columnists would be necessary and a list of experts in various fields would need to be available to contribute occasional articles and/or answers to questions from readers. It could become a bit of an on-line magazine. Perhaps a better analogy would be to the newspaper press services, which provide material for easy use by publishers.

Certain individuals could volunteer to keep specific areas of the site updated. This is where using a domain with database/systems code capability could really help as it may be possible to allow specific people access to specific parts of the web site. An example: one content expert could deal with the URL's of useful web sites for chess journalists. If this person could log in with permissions to change just this one area of the site, he/she could keep the links updated without involving the webmaster (Press Officer) directly. I like the idea in principle, but would have to do some research to find a suitable package or to write it myself.

There are lots of possibilities for future growth. We wouldn't want to compete directly with magazines such as Chess Mail or Correspondence Chess News or duplicate items already dealt with on ICCF.COM, but we could add features in the future such as polls or a readers' page (for letters to the editor type stuff). If this site were done well and was focused on spreading the news about ICCF, I think it would be a big boost for ICCF. Perhaps there are ways the national cc organizations making up the membership of ICCF could somehow be involved.

Of course, it would be important to determine where ICCF.COM stopped and this new site started. [personal comments deleted.] However, I'm excited about these ideas, and if they could be done in a way acceptable to everyone, then I think this proposal, if accepted, would have a positive and beneficial effect on ICCF.

-- End of Proposal --

© 2005 J. Franklin Campbell. All rights reserved.

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