Frequently asked questions about the NSS News
What is the hardest part of being the News editor?Probably the same thing most grotto newsletters editors would say: keeping a steady supply of good articles for the magazine. It is important to be persistent in asking for material. A lot of stuff gets run because I know someone has done something newsworthy and I ask them to write it up. But for the most part, material comes in unsolicited and I am thankful that we have such an active and productive membership base. Every once in a while it's time to start on an issue and there are no features. What I try to do is keep an article I can write on my own on the back burner and use that in emergencies. Of course, that requires that I go on regular expeditions! My standing joke is that we will have another issue devoted to sea caves if people don't send me enough stuff.
How do you decide what gets used in the News?Most of the material that is submitted for the News gets used. A general rule of thumb is: Is this of national interest? The few things rejected include things that are basically just trip reports, or that seem too technical, or seem to demonstrate lack of concern for cave conservation. Ideally I like to have at least one or two exploration articles in an issue, with map(s) and photos.
How long does it take from the time I send something in, until it appears in the News?
These days there is not usually a backlog of material, so material is often used in the very next issue, or sometimes the following issue. The shortest turnaround would be about six weeks, e.g., you send it in mid-October and it appears in the December issue. Material that is not "news," such as poems, fiction, or random photos, may be kept for much longer and used to "fill in" an issue when I have a page here or there to fill. I e-mailed something for the Newsbut I never saw it in print. Do you tell people if you're not going to use their stuff?
It is my policy to acknowledge EVERYTHING sent for the News, whether a small calendar listing or a feature article. I'll usually tell you when I'm going to run it, or in rare instances, tell you why I don't want to run it (e.g., your calendar listing is for an event in May and that issue is already in press). If you haven't heard back after a week or so (longer in case I'm away caving) its possible I didn't get it or deleted it thinking it was spam. SPAM is a major problem for many of us, and the best way to ensure your submission gets through is to put "NSS News" on the subject line. Unless I recognize the sender's name, or if there is no subject line (or it says only something uninformative like hello or hi), chances are I could miss your submission.