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Contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org are invited. Cipher is a NEWSletter, not a bulletin board or forum. It has a fixed set of departments, defined by the Table of Contents. Please indicate in the subject line for which department your contribution is intended. For Calendar entries, please include a URL and/or e-mail address for the point-of-contact. For Calls for Papers, please submit a one paragraph summary to email@example.com. See this and past issues for examples. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS CONSIDERED AS PERSONAL COMMENTS; USUAL DISCLAIMERS APPLY. All reuses of Cipher material should respect stated copyright notices, and should cite the sources explicitly; as a courtesy, publications using Cipher material should obtain permission from the contributors.
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 to know 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 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.