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Example: Making the Bulletin

Shortened Article from EGC bulletin at Tampere EGC 2010.

The Congress bulletin is a small part of the Congress, even if quite a visible one. The bulletin can be quickly created on a sheet of paper, or it can be fancy with lots of different articles. For organizers, the first priority is to get the tournament running smoothly; with 500 participants even small problems can turn into a major headache. But when everything else is running OK, the bulletin is a nice addition on top of a smoothly running tournament.

I will introduce how this bulletin was made. While most of this is probably quite familiar to anyone who has done publication work, I hope this article will help anyone undertaking similar bulletin work for the first time. While I am not a publication professional, supporting many professionals in Go publication has given me good insights on practical publication work.

Before the Congress

The Congress organizers collected actively people willing to work for the Congress. Three persons were initially interested in participating in the bulletin work.

The first bulletin team meeting was two months before the Congress. There initial thoughts were discussed and analyzed, and more ideas were brainstormed. We also looked at the bulletins of the past Congresses, to check that we understand what kind of things are nice to include in bulletins. Also, we listed the people we need to get involved with later.

The First Bulletin

The first bulletin was written during the month preceding the Congress. This included creating the overall style for the bulletins, ensuring readability and selecting fonts and other elements. All of you have now seen the results of this process. All organizers are busiest during the last week before the Congress, so it would have been good to essentially complete the first bulletin before that.

Preparing a clear (documented) and tested work-flow is important. The tools used for typesetting etc. do not have to be the best, but one must be familiar with them in order to use them effectively. The creation of the first bulletin should include testing everything at least once. Even with the best tools, things don't always work out-of-the box, and doing stuff twice can be frustrating. Familiarity with all of the tools is important, as during the Congress there is not much time for learning.

Organizing the Work

The core bulletin-team was Kalle Timperi, Lauri paatero and Jaakko Virtanen. All of us had some experience in publication or journal work. None of us worked full-time for the bulletin during the congress, so it was important to get many people to contribute.

We published about 90 A5-pages of material during the Congress. The average was about 6.5 pages a day. Handling this volume of material makes it impractical to permit special handling for any material, which seems to surprise some writers. One nice article was dismissed when there were no resources to shorten it to acceptable length. Also, it is easy to forget the existence of some material, when stories and pictures start to pile up.

For collecting articles, we had a discussion forum (access-controlled wiki would have worked perhaps better). All the articles were posted onto the forum after we received them from the authors. Proofreading was done through the forum and once proof-read, the text was ready for typesetting. As can be seen from the large number of typos and other mistakes in the first bulletin, this arrangement was not in use before the beginning of the Congress (the chief editor takes full responsibility for this lack of carefulness). During the Congress, the forum arrangement worked well.

With digital cameras being commonly available, getting pictures for the bulletins was not really a problem. The only issue was getting pictures relevant to specific articles. We did have permission to use EuroGoTV's large collection of high-quality pictures and this reduced our need to take our own pictures. For some specific articles we also took a few pictures of our own.

We used a USB-hard disk for storing and interchanging photos, as the Internet connections were somewhat slow for uploading very large sets of pictures.

The game commentaries we received in SGF-files. The text was first proof-read in the forum and the diagrams and variations were then created and fine-tuned during the layout phase. This way it was easy to make sure, for example, that the comments referred to diagrams on the same page. The way this was done in practice is explained in separate article.

A good way to get player interviews is to ask local players to interview their opponents. After a game of Go you are already friends with your opponent, so asking a few questions is not difficult.

Schedules of the Bulletins

An important thing to understand is the schedule of creating a single bulletin. When all the material for the bulletin is available, it needs to be proof-read, laid out, checked and printed. Proofreading as soon as the articles become available is a good idea. This makes it possible to select a suitable set of articles for the bulletin before the layout work begins. Having always some articles in reserve is a good idea, as any planned and expected articles might be delayed.

In our case the layout was typically done in the evening, sometimes long into the night. After all the checks were completed (or forgotten, see the page number locations in bulletin #2), the bulletins were uploaded to the printing house for printing.
While our printing house was not able to guarantee a very quick printing, in practice they did print within a few hours during the working hours.




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