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Alumni

Guidelines

Subject Matter

Notes should be limited to news of classmates or other alumni associated with your class. Secretaries should not include their own (or other's) editorials, essays, lengthy poems or personal opinions. We do not include address changes (including email addresses) or telephone numbers for classmates. (Your column can reference that new contact info is available from the alumni office or via amherst.edu/alumni.)

News should be of reasonable length and of an informative nature and should appeal to your entire class. Please avoid innuendos, slurs, inside jokes or personal messages. Remember that your column will be read by a broad audience—classmates, parents, grandparents, siblings, Williams alumni, perhaps even patients in an Amherst doctor's waiting room. Please do not cut and paste entire letters, articles or news releases; instead, digest or summarize them (this will also help you stay within your word limit). Use your class webpage for longer documents and for posting photos.

Your classmates will appreciate a secretary who knows the personality of the class. But do not be ashamed of class notes that sound like class notes. Providing news is your primary goal. Your classmates want to hear about each other.

Confirmation of News

Occasionally, we will hear from a classmate who is upset about news he or she did not want published or information that was reported inaccurately. The one sure way to avoid this is to confirm questionable or personal news. This will make the news more engaging—you can find out, for example, exactly why he/she moved to Boston. Think about your sources and the classmate being mentioned. Please also confirm with classmates before reprinting information from any social networking sites. When in doubt, reconfirm.

The Definition of a "Mention"

A "mention" in your notes is the news of any classmate, whether a detailed paragraph or a brief update. A name in a list (attendees at a wedding or dinner, for example) without substantive news attached will not count as a mention. Classmates mentioned as reunion attendees with no news attached will not count as mentions. All classmates' full names should be in bold typeface (See Formatting and Helpful Hints).

We hope your column will include detailed, personal news of each classmate: job changes, places of residence, marriages, births, new educational plans or other specific events.

You should be aware not only of classmates who remain unmentioned but also of those who send news frequently, such as: "Finished first semester law school," "Finished second semester law school," etc. We leave it to each secretary to decide when and how often a classmate's news should be printed.

Word Counts

Each secretary has a base of 250 words per column for an introduction, a conclusion and/or between-mention commentary. In addition, you have an average of 70 words per classmate you mention. A mention must include both a name and at least one bit of news. A list of 12 wedding attendees, for example, will not count as 12 individual mentions, unless there is news about each person.

Remember that the 70-word rule is an average: You are free to include longer reports about some classmates as long as they are balanced out with shorter mentions. (On a computer, word counts are easily available through the "Tools" or "Review" menu in MS Word). Since you should bold each classmate's full name, they are easy to count.) One easy way to cut down on space is to digest news rather than quoting it directly. If your notes do not fit within the guidelines, your alumni office liaison will ask you to edit them.

Proofing
The notes are proofread by a professional editor. We try to avoid substantial changes to your text. We follow AP style and will edit for consistency, accuracy, clarity and length.

Photographs
The magazine does not include photographs, which may be sent to you by classmates, in the Class Notes. Instead, we encourage alumni to post photographs on the Class News section of the class webpage.

Guest Secretaries
Your class must be represented in every issue. In the rare instance that you are not able to prepare notes for an upcoming issue, you should designate a classmate to cover for you. Please notify your alumni office liaison in advance.

Posting Your Class Notes Online
Given the lag time between when you submit your notes and when the magazine is mailed, we encourage you to post class notes on your class webpage and to notify the class whenever a new batch of notes is posted. If you'd like to learn how to post your notes, please contact your alumni office liaison. If you do not post the notes, the alumni office will, but it will be at a later time.