Board Minutes – 04/1996


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

April 18, 1996

ATTENDED: Ed Avis, Bob Roberts, Kathy Catrambone, Ellen Shubart, Barbara Schleck, Ilyce Glink, Casey Bukro, Bob Roberts, Jerry Moore, Terry Brown, Susan Stevens. GUESTS: Chris Scott, Crain’s Chicago Business


2). WEB PAGE: Chris Scott came to the meeting to present an offer for the HC. He is teaching a course at Northwestern University about the Internet and one of the projects is to put together a home page for a nonprofit. He said the students have the talent and technical skills to get this up and running in two weeks. The class ends May 28. The students would get graded on this. Ellen Shubart asked who would maintain the Internet site after the students graduated. She noted that web pages that aren’t maintained could make us look foolish. Ed Avis thought we could publish our minutes and the Journalist. Bob Roberts thought we could publish the JobFile, but said he didn’t know anything about computers. Chris Scott said that depending how the job listings are handled that wouldn’t be a problem. Chris also said there would be no charge for the web site. Ilyce volunteered to attend the class on April 30th to start discussions with the students about what we could do.

3). NOMINATING COMMITTEE. Ellen Shubart, Kathy Catrambone and Ilyce will be on nominating committee. Janet Davies resigned from the board and we need to assess other holes we have. We will meet and come up with a slate. Ed Avis noted that we were supposed to publish the slate in last month’s Journalist. Jerry said the deadline for the next Journalist has passed but said he could get another one out in a couple of weeks.

4). LIAISONS. Ed Avis has proposed appointing liaisons from the board to work with the Gridiron committee and the Chicago Journalist. The idea emerged when talking to Gridiron producers, who feel like they’re out there by themselves. Ed said Pam, one of the Gridiron producers, has ideas about how we can make more money but thinks we should oversee the money ourselves. Ryan Ver Berkmoes was a board member, so the need to have a board member monitor the event wasn’t necessary. Gridiron is essential to the organization, but the board doesn’t have anything to do with it. The liaison will help the Gridiron people with anything they need, bring the budget to the board and oversee all operations. Bob Roberts suggested Tom LaPorte after August 30th (Democratic Convention). The board generally approved Ed’s ideas. Ellen Shubart said her secretary has been saying the Gridiron team is behind and doesn’t have a timetable. Ed Avis also said a liaison could help Jerry Moore with the Journalist budget, etc.

DAN FRIEDLANDER. Ed Avis received a letter from Dan Friedlander noting that he was retiring from his column due to pressure from Jerry Moore to reveal his sources for the column. Jerry’s position, which was backed by the board, is that Dan has been making mistakes, people have been commenting, and Jerry wanted to do some fact checking. Sue Stevens said Dan’s feelings were hurt after not being renominating for a board of directors position after 19 years on the board. Barbara Schleck noted that Dan’s a sensitive guy. “I dearly love him and he does work hard and is persistent, but he is sensitive. Nineteen years on the board is a long time.” Ilyce commented that in the 5 years she has been attending board meetings she’s never even met Dan. Ed Avis said he would write Dan a letter telling him we regret how this has ended up and asking him to help the organization in other areas. Sue Stevens offered to call him up. Ed also asked the board to come up with suggestions about who might want to take over this job in the Journalist. Ellen suggested we put a notice in the Journalist.

5). GRIDIRON: Ed said he went to opening event and there were a good amount of press people there. The producers are excellent. I’m impressed.

6). FOI. Bob Roberts reported that we’ve won 3 battles. Because of actions taken by the Chicago Headline Club and other journalist organizations, we have a meeting in Springfield to discuss how we can preserve access to death-row inmates. The IDOC wants us to propose how this can be done. We have to come up with ideas before May 7, at 11 a.m.. the meeting is open to any journalists who want to attend. Bob suggested we argue for pool access or a press conference. Barbara said she thinks inmates should be accessible at any time. Ed Avis suggested we go for total accessibility. Ellen Shubart suggested we ask Carol Marin and her producer what they want to see on the table. Casey said we should make the point that the prisoner still has the right of free speech. Ilyce proposed that the Chicago Headline Club reimburse Ed Avis for his trip to Springfield to attend the meeting. She also said we should solicit membership opinion by putting something in the journalist. The board agreed to reimburse Ed for his expenses. Bob Roberts also reported that the telephone call limitation bill is dead for the session. Nolan has told Bill Miller if it comes up again it will be written so that journalists will be exempted from ban. Any journalist can be called unless they make it clear they don’t want that call. Our third win: With regard to the overtime pay issue for broadcasters, Gary Mack told Bob that Edgar will veto the bill. The veto signing hasn’t been set, but we get invited to the ceremony. Bill Miller and David Bennett deserve the credit. A lot of people wrote in and the phone tree that we unofficially set up worked well. Barbara Schleck noted that Pate wants a permanent ban on cameras in court at the trial level. The bill is stuck in committee, as is a bill that requires taping of executive sessions, which we wanted. Jerry noted that Ed Rooney is going to send copies of his most recent column regarding the Palatine murders to members of the task force to investigate. He wants to do this on behalf of the Headline Club. The board agreed. “1968 Convention: Lessons Learned.” The program was jammed. Bob Roberts reported that everything was excellent. We had good coverage of the event.

6). LISAGOR. There were 560 entries which netted $19,000 and change. Award night is Friday, May 17th. Ellen Shubart reported that Jack Fuller was approached but has another engagement. She is going to try James Fallows. If he can’t make it, we’ll forego the speaker since we have Casey’s award, Ed’s report and the election. Alex Polikoff, executive director of BPI will be there. Cocktails are at 5:30p.m. (cash bar) and dinner is at 7 ($30 per person, or $280 for tables of 10). Send in your money to Sue Stevens at City News Bureau, 35 East Wacker, 7th Floor.

7). ETHICS. Casey Bukro reported that for the first Chicago Headline Club Ethics in Journalism Award, t here were 18 entries, 10 in print news, 4 in print commentary and 4 in broadcast. There were no entries from broadcast commentary, but the board agreed that there isn’t much commentary in broadcasting on a local level. Casey felt we were successful in getting the public to make the nominations. Those who nominated included: MacArthur Foundation, Better Government Association, BPI, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Ilyce suggested Casey contact those nominated and invite them to attend the dinner. Some of those nominated include Carol Marin, Mara Tapp, and Eric Zorn. Casey said he’d do it.

8). 75th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: HISTORIC SITES: Steve Rynkiewicz wrote about the conversion of the Library building. Ellen Shubart said that in the 1920s there were a dozen black newspapers circulating in Chicago. She suggested we consider doing a book about historic sites in Chicago Journalism in conjunction with the 75th Anniversary celebration.

9). DIRECTORY: Ed Avis suggested that we should print up a less fancy edition and send it out, mistakes and all. Bob Roberts said he thinks accuracy is important. The majority of the board agreed with Bob. It was the sense of the board that we shouldn’t put out something we know isn’t accurate. It was suggested we put something out at Lisagors and Gridiron that people can fill out so they will know we need corrections.

10). BUS TOUR: Coming up with a date is tough. Kathy Catrambone reported that we’re adding to the committee. The current plan is to hold the bus tour on Saturday afternoon, starting with lunch at Billy Goats. She said it may be possible to get a major theater to donate the following Monday or Tuesday night, so we can do a film. Kathy thinks we may be able to get Tim Kazurinsky or Bonnie Hunt to host the film evening. Roy Leonard wants to help. The board suggested Kathy contact Mark Norman (WMAQ), Bill Zwecker (Sun-Times) and Bob Sirott (WFLD). Ellen mentioned that the producers were trying to get Bob Sirott for the Gridiron. The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.