Be our guest (editor)

This article was published in 2018, in Newsletter 137.

This is my second stint as guest editor of the newsletter. I guess that I thought it was too easy a job since I also opted to take on the task of layout design this time around.

Just kidding. While there are certain efficiencies that can be achieved by combining the two roles (quicker turnaround), it does take up significantly more of my time. It is rather rewarding, though, to make changes and see them reflected immediately in the page layout. I am writing this article using that method, for instance. It feels as if I have a copy of the future newsletter already. I can write in it, and my changes are magically inserted into the copy that you now hold or view on-screen.

Normally we have at least two different people performing editing and layout tasks so that the volunteer workload is lighter. But we have had some questions over what those tasks precisely are, where their boundaries lie and how they interact. One of the reasons I was interested in being both the guest editor and layout designer was to learn exactly what it takes to do those things so that I could describe them better. As anyone who takes on a complex task knows, the details are always much more involved than you first imagine. And a role like newsletter editor allows as much flexibility as you see fit. Our past newsletter editor, Sarah Rodger, set a high standard and gave us a very strong model to follow, which is what I have been doing for the past two issues.

We would like to branch out and give other people a chance to shape the newsletter, which is the main voice of the Campaign. Of course there is always ample assistance, with an amazing team of copy editors, proofreaders, page designers, photographers and article contributors. Here is what you do:

  • Keep an eye on discussions and make note of potential future articles and authors.
  • Feel free to contribute a few article ideas of your own.
  • Sketch out the basic plan for content with help from Roxanne and others.
  • Help authors get their content uploaded onto our collaborative editing software and remind them to upload any supporting files and make the suggested changes suggested.
  • Liaise with the layout designer when the time comes, which generally means answering questions about your style or vision for a given article or section of the newsletter.
  • Keep the ball rolling as deadlines approach, update the basic plan as needed, and keep things organised.
  • Most importantly: the buck stops with you. So when the other volunteers are uncertain how to proceed, you make the call.

Most remaining tasks are handled by our long-time members.

Intrigued? Send an e-mail to and attend the newsletter meeting (next one: 11 April at 5.45pm in Grads Café on the 3rd floor of the University Centre, Mill Lane).

Matthew Danish