"Seems" might be the operative word. Jericho fans are learning that passion-infused protests are much easier to orchestrate (if they catch fire) than an organized fan base for reruns. It's also one of the reasons I advocated for the creation of an association of sorts, back on June 10, to keep people engaged.
Some Jericho fans have hinted that the fan club is something they would love to do, but aren't sure how to do it (some insist anything beyond an individual "uncollective" is unwelcome). Others hope CBS will take the lead, but I'm unconvinced this will happen until the network officially goes beyond seven new episodes. Regardless, the longer it takes to create an engaging organization, the more difficult it will be to retain active participation and capture media interest, which has long tapered off (no surprise; there is no new "big" news).
As a somewhat related side note, I want to highlight that the three different fan bases I've covered, all have very different structures. Veronica Mars fans are interconnected groups of individuals that come together not unlike Tinker Toys, with hubs and spokes that branch out forever; fans of The Black Donnellys are generally centralized as a single body with a few offshoots; and Jericho fans operate like a donut, with various equal bodies but no clear center. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages.
Specific to Jericho fans, however, is the need to add a centralized body in the center of their donut, which might provide CBS the direction it needs to endorse, if not support, some representative body. How can this be done?
Organize A Delegation. Last week, Jericho fans clearly demonstrated that unless they become sidetracked, they are people with principles (not just passion). Given this, it seems to make sense that a fan club might be created by having each group nominate an equal number of individuals (1-3) to represent their various forums and collectives. (These individuals may or many not serve on the board once the club is ratified. I recommend picking those who have consensus-building skills, not necessarily leadership skills, at this stage.)
Create A Name And By-Laws. Having written and revised several organizationd' bylaws, I know finding the right example is not difficult. Although unrelated, The Winnepeg Goldeyes have excellent bylaws that could serve as a starting point. Here are a few other points to consider:
• Keep the focus large and fill in details (like member dues) later.
• Draft bylaws within the delegation, outside input is not needed.
• Create an executive body that is elected by the populous.
• Allow the board to consist of representatives from each group.
• Keep it simple. Four traditional executive roles could be enough.
Upon completion (again, without some details in place), give each group an opportunity to ratify the document (so to speak). Send along a courtesy copy to CBS so they are aware of your intent, but don't be overly concerned with an endorsement at this stage.
Elect Interim Officers/Board. Officers could be elected by the entire populous (all groups) and other board members elected from their representative groups (I appreciate there is crossover; but you have to start somewhere ... ask people to vote in only one group). This interim body will be charged wih taking care of the details.
Consolidate Resources. Most fan clubs have to determine overhead and cost of operation at startup. Jericho fans will also, to some degree, but they seem to have more flexibility in being able to adopt/endorse existing projects that have already seen some success (merchandise, newsletters, blogs, etc.). This will help defray any initial costs and communicate ongoing progress.
Legal Requirements. One of the responsibilities for this central body will be to take care of the details: establishing membership dues (even token dues), sponsorship/donation opportunities, filing bylaws, opening an account, setting up an Amazon affiliate program to sell DVDs, etc. Keep CBS apprised of all activities; encouraging them to eventually endorse the group by demonstrating solidarity.
Create A Community. While the last thing Jericho fans seem to need is another forum, there is the possibility of creating a social network on a platform like Ning, linking to and/or adding RSS feeds to the various represented bodies. Promote the launch of the community, keeping in mind that the goal is not so much to create a new group as much as it would be to provide a neutral community to conduct business, etc. (Various groups/forums are free to pursue their own efforts as they currently do, with the only added task of enrolling members in the fan club.)
The benefits of a central organization for the promotion of the show, various represented group activities, and eventually its own endeavors, would provide a long-term strategy that will help ensure the success of Jericho. And, even in a worse case scenario, provide a mechanism to expand the Jericho Universe in the event CBS abandons the show.
However, the real benefits will be made apparent when the fans succeed. It could become a centralized body that works closely with CBS in developing fan-generated marketing and promotional items while drawing attention to each represented group's best practices.
At least, that's the way I see it from a conceptual standpoint (if you need more guidance or I'm not clear, just ask in the comments). But then again, I'm a big fan of the republic.
In closing, here's an update on last week's DVD tracking via Amazon for anyone interested (alpha order)*:
The Black Donnellys
(Reviews: 24; Sales Rank 1,576; Peak Rank: 356)
(Reviews: 58; Sales Rank: TBA; Peak Rank: TBA)
Veronica Mars #3
(Reviews: 32; Sales Rank: 15; Peak Rank: 8)
*represents what we saw; not necessarily an official number. We'll be watching Entertainment Weekly once all three are released.