Board Minutes – 01/2005


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

January 10, 2005

Present: Board Members Ben Bradley, Howard Dubin, Michelle Stevens, Steve Rynkiewicz, Paula Brien, Meg Tebo, Kristen McQueary, Anupy Singla, Abdon Pallasch; Immediate Past President Molly McDonough; Chicago Headline Club Foundation Vice President Rob Hess.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved.

President Ben Bradley gave a report. The CHC has been awarded a $350 grant for “Covering Arab and Muslim Communities” event coordinated by Andy Dunning. Past President Molly McDonough informs board that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been nominated for a National SPJ Sunshine Award, in honor of her efforts of full disclosure of public records.

Meg Tebo is setting a meeting of the By-Laws Committee. Potential committee members include Deborah Cohen, Michelle Stevens, Bonnie McGrath. The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for last Monday in January, time TBA.

A membership report was provided by Ben Bradley on behalf of Jason Jedlinski, VP of Membership. A membership directory has been created, produced and mailed. It cost $925 to print, $800 to mail along with our notebooks. Current CHC membership stands at 400, with 25 new members added in the last two months. The successful outreach/marketing campaign reached 3,600 local journalists and cost $2723. Ben commended Jason’s work to get the membership directory assembled.

Approximately 80 people attended the CHC holiday party, with food/bar costs totaling $2120 and promotional costs of $417. Cash receipts were $200.

Treasurer Howard Dubin provided an update of club’s finances. The current yearly deficit is $11,524, with expectation that finances will swing positive following Lisagor Awards, which historically is strong fundraiser. Current assets of CHC stand at $87,000.

An ethics report was provided by Howard Dubin on behalf of Casey Bukro, ethics committee chair. Howard points out that the Ethics Advice Line now has an interactive web site, receiving a lot of publicity. The web site offers the ability to download posters, as well as CHC wallet cards. Casey has applied for an Ethics Week grant on behalf of the club. There was some discussion of possible programs, Ben suggested a talk on how bloggers are driving the mainstream media.

Meg Tebo provided a FOIA report. FOIA/Open Meetings wallet cards have been mailed to all members. We are waiting on the printing of an additional 1,000. The Illinois Press Association intends to distribute them to all of its members. Meg reports that member Andy Schneider is enthusiastic about giving FOIA presentations to schools and community groups. An outline is being worked on for a script that can be used for those scenarios.

Lisagor Committee Chair Steven Rynkiewicz reminds club that we are still searching for a keynote speaker for the Lisagor Banquet on April 29, and that the deadline for materials is post-mark of Jan. 14. Several names were mentioned; however it was the consensus of board members present that unless we could line-up a top-notch speaker, it would be better to go without.

Past President Molly McDonough informs Club about Driehaus Foundation funds available to CHC for an annual award in investigative journalism. The foundation has offered $10,000 a year for 5 years. A motion to approve a cash award ranging from $2,500 to $3,500 annually with the remainder going toward award-related costs and a FOIA slush fund for reporters who need monetary assistance in FOIA efforts was approved. The award will tentatively be given during the Lisagors.

A programs report was provided by Ben Bradley. “Photos From the Front” has been postponed due to photographer Stephanie Sinclair’s involvement covering the tsunami. Events coming up near-term include “Hired Trucks” on Jan. 19 and “Dick Devine” on Feb. 17.

CHC Foundation VP Rob Hess gave an update. The foundation committee met on Dec. 1. It is working on fundraising and scholarships. It is also moving forward with a “book and author” reception-style event, modeled after a similar event sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. The event will be targeted to take place some time around the Thanksgiving holiday, Hess said. Alex Kotlowitz is one well-known author who has already agreed to participate, he said.

Under “New Business,” Molly McDonough informs club that Youth Communication, the Chicago journalism group affiliated with Chicago Public Schools targeting at-risk youth is seeking funding and has requested $10,000 from CHC. Problems with the group’s fundraising were raised. Rather than providing funds outright, a motion was approved to help the group by underwriting an alumni cocktail event not to exceed $2,000.

Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Deb Cohen