STAR Newsletter, scheme


The idea of writing a regular STAR newsletter, informing collaborators of accomplishments or events, was brought to the management team for consideration. While other formats have been discussed and considered (a video feed for example), this blog will report on a scheme for a written newsletter.

Requirements and implementations

The basic requirements

  • At its basic principle, management team members would contribute to a "core" news (operation, computing, upgrades, spokesperson office, physics working group) with possible contributions from individual STAR members.
    • Note: Many already send Email summaries of activities (I know S&C does hence the idea that with little efforts, we could regroup those sent to many lists and transform them into a more comprehensive newsletter)
  • The content should provide a high level view of the activities (avoiding the level of details teated in dedicated meetings)
  • The frequency should be enough to provide relevant and regular information to the collaboration (perhaps monthly?). The content may serve as a base for other news announcements in STAR (video Q&A, video feed with highlights, ... to re-posting in social media fora)
  • We should have the ability to be be either public or private (STAR collaborators only for internal newsletters)
  • Contributors should be able to add news easily - an editor in chief would assemble the full newsletter based on individual's contributions (and ensure coherence)

Proposed implementation

While tools like "Google doc" were considered, low threshold of entry/access/use was a key to defining the procedure below. Since Drupal is used widely in STAR, the idea is to make it Drupal-based.

  • An area in Drupal will be selected to hold all newsletters (it could be under Collaboration, You do not have access to view this node or any other areas TBC). The area may be set as a Drupal Organic Group which would have as advantage to provide the newsletter with its own RSS feed (easing integration with Modern Technology News feed readers)
  • We propose one newsletter per month as a start
  • At the first of the month, a Drupal entry will be created to hold the new incoming newsletter - the entry will be unpublished (hiding the content until all edited). 
  • The management may discuss if a public or private newsletter is to be created
  • Contributors will be encouraged to produce a content (and will be provided a link to the newsletter entry page)
  • Drupal comments should be used by each contributors, providing for each contributor his/her own section to edit and modify we will call a comment-contribution.
  • On the 10th, the contributions will be considered complete and the editor will assemble the contributions into one single newsletter (the main Drupal page content will then be formed with a table of content, cross-link, sub-sections ... deleting the comment-based contributions as the newsletter is being built).
  • Once assembled, the management team will have until the 15th to comment on the content. At this stage, modifications will be at the discretion of the newsletter editor.
  • On the 15th, the page is published - it will appear automatically in Drupal
  • Once opened, "comments" will then be alowed for STAR members (with a valid Drupal account) - since comments are not visible by the public, a footnote will also invite others to send comments to the editor (an Email alias will be created for flexibility)

Other possible implementation include leveraging the Drupal simplenews module (but I feel the simpler we go with this the better the chance to be eaily acessible by all).


  • Head page for the STAR Newsletter STAR Newsletter
    From there, you CANNOT (could not) see this new entry December 2015 but can navigate to it. The reason it is not seen is because under "Publishing options", the 'Published' check box is unchecked so the page will not appear as a navigation item until it is enabled. However, you can send the link tot his page and ask folks to add content as comment ... until ready etc ... (see procedure above).
  • To add new newsletter, just add a child page from STAR Newsletter, put it into "general information" and do not forget to add to the newsletter Organic Group. By default, the page will be public (for private newsletter, select 'newsletter' group and uncheck 'pubic')
  • The Newsletter Organic group page is at this place. This does not need to be referenced by anyone per-se but allows to
    1. see all pages added to this group
    2. subscribe to the XML feed / RSS by using this link. Any RSS reader will show the new entries as soon as they are published.