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Hello all:

I am writing to inform you that I will be responsible for editing the news
beginning from the next clipping. Below, I include comments by Nathan on how
the news editing should be done. I also make few comments of my own between
brackets. Please take them into account when reading the clippings and when
you send news items/articles to me.

If you have any comments on the following, or would like me to modify the
way I will do edit the news please e-mail me. The next clipping will be this
Sunday 16-4 covering the period 6-4 to 16-4, and then back to weekly
postings every Sunday. Please start sending me your news reports/articles
from now.

Also, I have an idea of archiving past news stories under different topics
(e.g. bombings, UN resolutions/meetings, etc.) so that access is made easier
when one wants to write reports. I think I can start doing that in several
weeks time, and I will probably concentrate exclusively on the past several
months in the beginning.

Thanks a lot,


Nathan's comments

1. Most of the time in modern life, the problem isn't a lack of news, it's a
problem of too much news. The news clipping should only contain relevant and
interesting articles. Some of the list people, with the best intentions,
send dozens of news postings to me, and sometimes even the list, with each
posting containing dozens of articles. Unless your life is dedicated
full-time to ending sanctions, a luxury few of us can afford, this is
completely useless, because it brings the problem of too much news directly
into your inbox!

[I think the ideal number of news items would be less than twenty each week.
Anything unnecessarily more than that will make it 'too much news' and will
make it more difficult for one to get the most important news. Some of the
following criteria will help me select which items are more important than
others. This means that all the sorting must be done by myself before
sending news clippings, but I would appreciate it if you too exclude some
items which you think are not important before sending them to me.

Furthermore, I think only breaking or important news (e.g. UN meeting,
bombing or the Italian plane story of last week) should be sent directly to
the news group. These should also be repeated in the clipping. Other less
important items should be considered for the news clipping only.]

2. Therefore, the official news clipping should consist of 1 email and 1
email only at most once a week.

3. LAYOUT: I think we have found the right format. i.e. title in the subject
header and again on the first line of the email, references and
acknowledgements (no more than 2 lines), then headlines from most important
to least important news item, then the news items in chronological order.

[Please adopt this layout when you send me news items/articles as well.]

4. I think Seb's idea, which I've implemented, of using the ellipsis, ...,
for deleting redundant, well-known facts or irrelevant stuff from the
article is excellent.

[The only exception would be newspaper or magazine articles of course where
they should be reproduced in their entirety. I will delete obvious or
irrelevant stuff from the weekly clippings myself, but it would help if you
can do some editing before sending items to me.]

5. Running more than one article expressing the same news is generally a bad
idea, unless there's an important contrast in opinions or facts. When the
oil price was yo-yoing a few weeks ago, Reuters published dozens of articles
indicating upward and downward movements. I usually selected the article
which I thought best represented the oil price trend.

6. Drew's idea of putting the URL above each article is excellent. I got
lazy on this one. Hopefully my successor will do a better job here.

[Please provide the URL when you submit news items to me.]

7. Every week, I made a point of reporting the number of US/UK bombings.
Generally, I included one article per bombing incident. I also indicated if
the Iraqis claimed casualties. I know it's beyond CASI's mandate, but for
some not-very-well-formed reason, I suspect this might end up being a useful
thing. I would appreciate it if my successor continued doing this
religiously. (Not-very-well-formed reason: in 20 years time, no-one will be
able to deny the bombings with a clear conscience.)

[Colin's comment: I'd mentioned to Nathan earlier that CASI's mandate is
only restricted when it comes to campaigning.  We have no difficulty
mentioning the bombing in our publications.  A second observation: as the
discussion list is unrestricted once one is a member, and as the news
clippings aren't posted in an official CASI capacity, they're not CASI's, in
some sense.]

8. One regret is that I never included enough sources. Basically I stuck to
Reuters, AP, and to a lesser extent, BBC, Stratfor etc. This
is an area for improvement. However, this is difficult because of issues of
time and quality. It would be easy to start publishing crap from the US
State department or, but the quality of news would deterioate.

[When you have a news story reported by two different sources, please send
me the one reported by the more credible/better known source.]

9. Unless an opinion piece is expressed by a major player (e.g. Von Sponeck,
Halliday, Rubin, Hain, Aziz), it should NOT be printed in the news clipping.
I often ignored complete junk from the Iraqi government. But always print
junk from the US/UK foreign affairs departments; they're the other side in
this debate, and it's important that CASI subscribers be aware of what
they're saying.

10. The news clipping is a service for the converted. There's no need to
sprinkle it with pro-CASI propaganda, or to censor articles that don't
support us or don't re-inforce our views. With rare (acceptable and minor)
exceptions, I believe I stuck to this.

----- Original Message -----
From: Nathan Geffen <>
To: Soc-Casi-Discuss <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2000 4:54 PM

> Hi all
> I've been doing the news for many moons now and I think the time has come
> pass the responsibility on to someone else. TO be honest, my other
> committments make it difficult for me to do as good a job on the news as
> necessary. As you might have noticed, the news seems to be coming out a
> later every week!
> If you'd like to volunteer, please email me. I have pretty strong ideas on
> how the news should be done, so the lucky volunteer will have to put up
> my two-cents advice for a while to come.
> In the meanwhile, I'll continue doing the news until someone takes over.
> Regards,
> Nathan
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
> For removal from list, email
> Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

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