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Re: ... & bulletin (Off topic)

:Tom Tadfor Little wrote:
:> Was the other 90% of the January 1996 Bulletin "solid iris information"?

Dennis responds:

:No, but I agree with what Clarence said in an earlier posting.  We
:need more quality articles. There are talented people sitting on their
:hands and b... complaining, but not WRITING!!! I edit a Regional Pub, I

Well, sure...I know it too, from editing the Aril Society Yearbook
three years running.

I *thought* this was a general discussion about what sort of content
might make the Bulletin more attractive to newcomers and members
generally. I think every member and potential member has a right to
offer an opinion on that subject, whether they've written a Bulletin
article themselves or not.

In my experience, a general "people should write articles" appeal
doesn't generate many contributions, but there are plenty of potential
writers who will respond if the editor contacts them and suggests a
piece on a particular topic. I have certain goals for the Yearbook--
topics I want to cover, balance between beginner/advanced level,
minimum amount of illustration, etc. I don't achieve my goals 100%,
of course, but if I notice serious gaps emerging, I can usually
manage to solicit something good to fill them, even without resorting
to writing articles myself. So far, more than half of the material
in each of the yearbooks I've put out has been specifically solicited
by me to fill a need. This works fairly well for me in the aril
society, where we have about 300 members. I presume that AIS, with their
thousands of members, also has the capacity to put together a Bulletin
that pretty nearly realizes the editor's goals. (No, I'm not implying
it's an easy job!)

So at the risk of being labeled a complainer, I'll remark that
the content of any publication reflects (albeit incompletely) the priorities
of its editor, not just what happens to come in unsolicited. I'm acquainted
with a number of different plant society publications, and some are more
plant-focused and others are more club-focused. I think it's fair to infer
that this reflects (to some degree) the editorial priorities of the
various societies. Ideally, the editorial priorities are also those of
the membership.

I haven't read the AIS bylaws lately, but I know that one of my
responsibilities as ASI Yearbook editor is to "obtain appropriate
material for publication." So it's a two-step process: creating
a vision of what is appropriate, and then obtaining the material. The
editor has the primary responsibility in both these areas. I think it's
great that Terry Aitken is taking some leadership in learning what
we *want* to see in the Bulletin...that is a necessary prerequisite to
making it happen. And I think he understands that the best response when
someone says "I'd like to see X" is not "then stop complaining and
write it yourself!" but rather "good--I'll see what I can do!"


Tom Tadfor Little         tlittle@lanl.gov  -or-  telp@Rt66.com
technical writer/editor   Los Alamos National Laboratory
Telperion Productions     http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

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