Board Minutes – 03/2006


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

March 29, 2006

President Meg Tebo called the meeting to order at 12:07 p.m.

Present: Meg, Howard Dubin, Casey Bukro, Jason Jedlinski, Molly McDonough Carson, Kristen McQueary, Mary Wisniewski, Michelle Stevens, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Howard Schlossberg, Phil Potempa, Bonnie McGrath and Susan S. Stevens.

Meg will send around Kristen’s February minutes later. They will be approved at the next meeting, along with these minutes.
Business event is maxed out, with 52-54 signed up and 50 spaces available. We will spend $1,750 for the seminar, free to attendees who will get breakfast and lunch at the 410 Club. Sandy Jones is running it. Mary will help.
Tribune museum event has 54 registered, room for 200. Bring friends. More than two are welcome. Jason is inviting editors and news directors, even if they are not members. Free to all members and their invited guests.
SPJ convention: Meg passed out buttons we should wear and postcards we should pass on to promote it. She, Ben Bradley and Art Menke met with Chris Vachon from headquarters the previous night. The Nitty-Gritty bus tour is on, focusing on the West Side where Martin Luther King and his family lived in an apartment during his Chicago campaign.
Molly said she needs four more program volunteers for the Brownlee Series track.

Ethics: Casey said the Ethics in Journalism Award nominee is Jeff Dougherty who said he quit the Chicago Tribune after it would not carry his story about CEO Dennis FitzSimmons’ pay. Casey usually does a background check after the judges pick the winner or winners. He got two stories in this case. The Tribune said Dougherty’s story was weak and asked for more. Doherty quit months later, posting a stronger story on his website. Casey asked Dougherty repeatedly if that’s why he quit. Dougherty never answered. Casey declined to make a recommendation, citing a conflict of interest because he works for the Tribune and because he is Ethics Committee chairman and generally obstains. Howard Dubin, who was on the committee of three that voted for the nomination, said he is now not in favor of giving Dougherty the award. Mary motioned and Michele seconded that we not give Dougherty the award. Passed 11-1. Howard Dubin then motioned and Jason seconded that we not give an Ethics award this year. Passed 11-1. Meg said we need to do a better job of encouraging nominations next year. Jason will put an encouragement in the Lisagor Banquet program. This will be the first year since we started the award in 1996 that we won’t present one.
More on ethics: Casey said David Ozar, who co-founded the Ethics AdviceLine with him, is resigning from Loyola University’s Center on Ethics to return to full-time teaching. What becomes of the AdviceLine depends on the new director, still unknown. Ozar will remain in charge of the center until his successor arrives.

Lisagor: Molly said everything is on target. Ticket sales start Friday. Jason said some RSVPs had already arrived. Mary will monitor a silent auction of gift baskets. An appeal also will be made to the audience for contributions. Money from both will go to Friends of the Times-Picayune Fund, where 180 staffers need money. They never missed a day of publication after Hurricane Katrina, but some still live in FEMA trailers.
Molly needs someone for staging and audio-visual. Howard Schlossberg will talk to Columbia College AV guy. If Molly does not get a volunteer, she will hire it out.
Bonnie will help line up presenters. She can use help.
Everyone should check in at the registration table when arriving and also later to see if they need help.

Watchdog: Molly said the winner of this first award is the Daily Southtown with its “Reverse Robin Hood” series about the former Sauk Village school superintendent. Linda Lutton and Katie Philips will share the $3,500 prize from the Dreihaus Foundation.
We had more than 50 nominees. One committee member suggested honorable mentions, but the full committee rejected it. Molly will suggest to the foundation that we award to large and small shops.
Board approved award 11-1 on Howard D’s motion and Phil’s second. Kristen abstained.

Executive search committee: Kristen said she contacted eight similar groups. No one has a full-time executive director. They pay an hourly rate or flat fee. Few spend more than $5,000. But, she said, none of those groups does much programming.
We might hire someone to do contests, public relations, someone to do just Lisagor with the help of volunteers, someone else for event-type stuff.
Committee will work further.

Membership: Jason reported for Deb Cohen it stands around 450.

Treasury: Howard D distributed a report showing $120,688 total assets, down from $125,424 at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2005 but up from $98,473 on Dec. 9, 2005. Lisagor entry fees are down about $2,000. Molly said that’s partly because the Public Service category became Watchdog, with free entry. Also, there were a lot of self-entries at a cut rate of $20. She noted it’s an excellent membership recruitment-retention tool.

Programs (yet more): Jason emphasized to encourage others to attend the Tribune Museum event. Also, an Iraq reporters event April 12, a “Letters to a Young Journalist” book event April 19. Membership Night will be May 24.

Slating Committee: Meg used her constitutional three appointments to name Jason chairman, with Anupy Singla and Pam Grimes as members. The board voted to appoint John McClelland and Karen Kring.

Next meeting will be last week in April.

Meg adjourned board at 1:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens