Advice for Cipher Conference Reporters

1. Thanks very much for contributing. It takes some work, but it can be rewarding to you as well as to your readers. Reporting on a meeting as a whole forces you to look at it with a somewhat broader perspective than if you were just listening for the points that directly affect your own research.

2. You are writing for the readers of a NEWSletter. Think of yourself as a member of the audience -- if you weren't able to be at the meeting what would you like t knmw about it from a friend who attended? Put the most important things first and be brief. Write in the active voice. See Strunk & White for additional advice on writing style. Look at past Cipher issues for examples.

3. Significant technical advances are always of interest. For most meetings Cipher covers, however, a proceedings containing all the technical papers is published, so it isn't usually necessary to cover those details in depth. The questions asked after a paper and un-minuted panel discussions usually deserve more space than a rehearsal of the papers' abstracts. It is helpful to note what caught the interest of the audience (or what didn't, if that's significant).

4. It's helpful to let readers know how to acquire a copy of the proceedings -- try to provide a reference; pointers to Web pages are good if available.

5. Details of the meeting outside the technical sessions can liven up the story. We aren't looking for gossip, but who won the croquet tournament may be of interest. Was the attendance up or down from last year? What are the plans for next year -- dates, location, points of contact?

6. Try to get your copy in as soon as possible. "News" ceases to be that when it gets old. If necessary, I will edit your report and get it back to you for approval if there are any significant changes or additions.

7. Again, thank you! Without contributions like yours, Cipher could not continue.