Board Minutes – 01/2003


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

January 8, 2003

President Molly McDonough called the meeting to order at 8 a.m.

Present: Molly, Mary Myers, Phil Kadner, Phil Potempa, Howard Dubin, Ed Cooper, Steve Rynkiewicz, Paula Brien, Bob Roberts, Christine Tatum and Susan S. Stevens.

November minutes were approved as sent.

President’s report:
Molly said Holly Presson won’t be updating the Headline Club website any more. Molly has asked Rich Roth at Northwestern for help in finding good candidates among the graduate students. She has received “a ton” of applications. Chuck Ulie is going ahead with Chicago Journalist. Northwestern has moved us to a new server and Molly had 45 files to transfer whenever she gained access to the site.

Molly looked into 501(c)(3) status. Headline Club cannot qualify for the tax-free status, but can set up a foundation that will qualify. In previous administrations, it was found to be a daunting task. Molly is looking via legal clinics. We’re on waiting lists at Loyola and Chicago, and Northwestern has said it will come through if no one else does in a month. Bob Roberts warned that the Illinois News Broadcasters Association tried the same route, and had to start over four times when lawyers moved. Molly said a foundation could give us a higher profile among area media VIPs. There are two other options. Howard Dubin suggested we take over the Illinois Freedom of Information Council, which is moribund. He said if the Illinois secretary of state terminated it, we’re out of luck. Also, SPJ is setting up a fund for scholarships only that would be 501(c)(3). Difficulties with National over several other things caused several board members to object to that alliance.

The National Press Photographers national convention will be here in June. They asked us to become involved. Molly will meet with them. The theme involves sideline work, such as what photographers can do to help the community.

Speakers are still being sought for the PR News programs.

Two or three volunteers are sought to judge the high school essay contest.

Freedom of Information report:
Phil Kadner distributed an extensive documentation of the second meeting a group Illinois Attorney General Elect Lisa Madigan formed largely at his request to study and improve the FOI and Open Meetings acts.

Given the diversity of the group, ranging from public officials to news media members, there was controversy over the more ticklish issues, Phil said.

However, the group agreed unanimously to push for a public access counselor. Duties would be to educate citizens and media around the state. It would be set up under the attorney general’s office and budget, becoming an independent body after two years. The Illinois proposal is modeled on a successful Indiana one, where a lawyer and a secretary are staff under a $200,000 budget. They’ve helped various groups avoid litigation. Rulings are not binding in Indiana, though that would be a goal in Illinois.

Phil said other issues such as toughening the Illinois Open Meetings Act, generated considerable disagreement. But the public access counselor is the top priority and he expects Lisa Madigan to act on the group’s report soon.

If anyone knows a good candidate to run the office, contact Kadner.

Bob Roberts reported further on the Appeals Court hearing of Hosty vs.Carter, the Governors State University newspaper censorship dispute which the court took under advisement Jan. 7. “This is a big deal,” he said, which could have nationwide repercussions. If GUS wins, the Student Press Center believes there will be movement to do the same across the country. After two years with no paper, GSU now has an “official” paper.

Lisagor report:
Steve Rynkiewicz said we’ll sort entries at Tribune Tower at 6 pm. Jan. 22. Bring friends. Molly has put feelers out to two possible speakers, but if we don’t get a big name we’ll dispense with the speech.

Molly said John Camden is working hard on the database to correct it. For example, all of SPJ’s Zip codes are wrong.

Molly passed out a new calendar, through October, adding an FOIA program in February.

Rob Hess sent statements that on Jan. 7 the main business account $749.08, the Scudder Investment account market value was $71,574.81, and the Brownlee account was $12,746.47.

Chris Tatum said $5,200 from Brownlee has not yet been collected. This includes money from Microsoft and CDW. She expect the final balance to be $17,000-$18,000.

Molly said Treasurer Rob Hess wanted to know which bills CHC will pay. A motion was approved to pay the Ruth Chris deposit and dinner and Onion Rob Segal’s expenses. The board also will pay for Lifetime Achievement Awards plaques.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens