Board Minutes – 04/1999


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

April 22, 1999

Attending: Ilyce Glink, Christine Tatum, Rob Hess, Mary Myers, Maria Traska, Bob Roberts, Marcia Barancik, Tom LaPorte, Molly McDonough, Ed Cooper, Ann Marie Kuker, Howard Dubin. Visitors: Diane Monk

Correction: The speaker for the April 30 Brown Bag is Dennis Byrne, not David Byrne.

The meeting was called to order at 5:35

President’s Report: Ilyce’s report consisted principally of presenting the list of candidates for election to the board. The slate for the coming year is:
President: Rob Hess, CNN Chicago Bureau
VP, President-Elect: Marcia Barancik, Illinois Real Estate Journal?
VP FOI, Bob Roberts, reporter WMAQ Radio
VP Membership. Pat Kosar, Illinois Attorney General’s office
Secretary: Ed Cooper, Freelance writer
Treasurer, Howard Dubin, Manufacturer’s News

For the year expiring in 1998-2000
Les Brownlee, ( Professor, Columbia College)
Marilyn Moats Kennedy ( MMK Career)
Tom LaPorte (Screen Magazine)
Steve Rynkiewicz (Chicago Tribune)
Christine Tatum (Tribune Media Service)
Sue Stevens (New City News Service)
(2 vacancies)

For 2-year term expiring 1999-2001
Paula (Eubanks) Brien (Career Advisor and Journalism Instructor, Columbia College)
Casey Bukro (Chicago Tribune)
Tom Davies (Munster Times)
Mary Myers (Burson Marsteller)
Maria R. Traska ( Katz & Traska Freelance)
Molly McDonough (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin)
Diane Monk (Chicago Journalist Editor)
The present board decided that, even though there are other openings remaining, they should remain vacant for the moment, while we search for other prospective members who are willing to serve and acceptable to everyone. Rob Hess encouraged all the board members to bring forth the names of any prospective members we think would be willing to serve. The slate was unanimously accepted. Diane Monk was unanimously elected to the board for a 2-year term.

Treasurer’s Report: Howard Dubin said that, with the receipts we are receiving the club is at the peak of its assets at the moment. The only drawback is that a number of members have not paid their dues for quite a while to the Headline Club or the national SPJ. There are only 5393 professional members in the national organization.

Howard also reported on the meeting of the national board in Greencastle and their decision not to move the headquarters to IUPU because the space they were being offered was not adequate. The two possibilities that remain for the new headquarters are either to build a new building on the present campus or to move to DePauw University

Lisagor: Christine reported that the Mayor loves the idea of making a “surprise” visit to the dinner. His office is trying to work out his schedule . He envisions a starting a long tradition of these visits.

Christine then distributed the list of whom she has approached to be presenters, who has confirmed, who has not and who was unable to participate this year.

Confirmed: Richard Babcock ( Chicago Magazine), Jonathan Eig (Chicago Magazine), Jim Avila (NBC), Phil Kadner (Daily Southtown), Bill Cameron (WMAQ), Jeff Borden (Crain’s), Michael Sneed (Chicago Sun-Times), Jackie Northam (WBEZ), Natalie Pardo (Chicago Reporter), Carol Marin ( WBBM Channel 2), Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times), John Lampinen (Daily Herald), Donna Gill (Chicago Lawyer), Ron Stodghill (Time bureau chief), Joyce Winnecke (Chicago Sun-Times), Chuck Goudie (WLS Channel 7), Jeff Flock (CNN ), Elaine Richardson (New City), Jeff McGrath (WYCC Channel 20)

Waiting to hear from people who are trying to work on their schedules: Jackie Bang (WGN Channel 9), Blair Kamin (Chicago Tribune), Joe Winski (Bloomberg bureau chief), John White (Chicago Sun-Times), Jack Davis (president, Tribune Interactive), Mary Field andor Rich Samuels (WTTW), Michael Miner (Chicago Reader), Lilia Chacon (WFLD Channel 32), Mark Aklesia (CBS Sportsline)

Have contacted but not heard from: Jim Kirk ( we’re playing phone tag) (Chicago Tribune), Mike Chapin (Beacon-News, Aurora), John Cody (WBBM Channel 2), Owen Youngman (Chicago, Ann Marie Lipinski (Chicago Tribune), Mary Mitchell (Chicago Sun-Times)

Still trying to reach: Lester Munson (Sports Illustrated) (via fax), Channel 5, local affiliate, (including Warner Saunders) (via fax), Business Week (via fax), AP

People who said they would have been delighted to do this but couldn’t this year: Mary Schmich (Chicago Tribune), Eric Zorn (Chicago Tribune), Robert Feder (Chicago Sun-Times), Bernie Judge (Daily Law Bulletin), Jack Higgins (Chicago Sun-Times), Robin Dautridge (Chicago Tribune), Laura Washington (Chicago Reader), Bob Crawford (WBBM Radio)

There was some question whether it would be appropriate to honor Callaway since he won’t be attending. The board decided it would be better to honor the whole show. The board also decided to inform the presenters that we would cover their dinner, if they wished, but encourage them to pay for it themselves.

Christine then asked for volunteers to help with various activities.

Rob Hess announced that Stuart Loory has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

Rob also said that there will be a web production of the dinner. Tom LaPorte suggested that the presenters be requested to write something for the website. Another idea was to have the winners’ organizations do something for the website.

Ethics: Casey Bukro reported by phone that the Ethics in Journalism Award is being presented to Nigel Wade of the Sun-Times for not playing the school shooting in Oregon on the front page last year. The board also applauded him for doing the same with the Littleton, Colorado shooting last week.

Scholarships: The board agreed to award two $1000 scholarships this year. There were two students, Erica Hayasaki of the University of Illinois and Dan Spray, a junior at Western Illinois University radio stations WIUN and WIUW, whose work outshone the other applicants’ this year. Beginning next year, we will be awarding internships instead of scholarships.

FOI: Bob Roberts presented a report stating that in the past month he wrote a letter to several state legislators on behalf of the Headline Club relating to HR 1432, which should make access to police arrest records easier. The bill passed, and was sent to the Senate. As noted earlier, the bill transfers the police records from the FOI Act to the Public Records Act. Among the police agencies supporting this bill are: the Chicago Police Dept., the Roselle Police Dept., the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Dept of Corrections and the Fraternal Order of Police. Until now, arrest record information has not been released in a uniform manner by police agencies . It defines what must be released, although it allows exceptions if releasing information would interfere with pending police action in open cases or if it would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement or corrections personnel. It has bi-partisan sponsors: Reps. Mary Lou Cowlishaw (R-Naperville), Barbara Flynn Currie ( D- Chicago) and Tom Johnson (R-West Chicago)

We also, for the third consecutive year, wrote letters opposing twin bills, (HB 600 and SB 552) that would have allowed prosecutors in each of Illinois’ 102 counties to set a different obscenity standard. This year, neither bill made it out of committee. Other opponents included the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Library Association.

Another bill, HB 39, the High School Journalists Freedom of Expression Act, is on second reading in the Illinois Senate. We have supported this bill in the past, and , Bob says, he believes we should support it again. This time it has the support of the Senate’s Mr. Education, State Sen. Art Berman (D-Chicago), who is a chief Senate co-sponsor. It had wide support in both houses of the legislature before then-governor Jim Edgar vetoed the bill last year. The bill as fashioned now is said to be on Gov. George Ryan can sign.
Unless there is an objection, Bob said he is writing letters in opposition to HB 1686, which opponents say would virtually gut the publication of municipal treasurers’ reports statewide. In its place, government agencies could publish “financial reports” that have no itemized financial detail. Its sponsor is State Rep. Julie Curry (D-Decatur).

Tom Davies informs me that the Indiana Legislature has approved a bill designed to improve public access to government records and meetings. The bill would create a public access counselor to mediate disputes between those seeking records and government agencies. The bill also requires judges hearing access cases to award attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs who are illegally denied access to meetings or records. There was apparently extensive give-and-take negotiations on the bill before the Indiana Legislature would sign off on penalties. Gov. Frank O’Bannon has indicated he will sign the measure into law, but not everyone is sold on the idea of journalists getting access. State Sen. Morris Mills (R-Indianapolis) said “Is it really that important that some reporter be able to go into a courthouse and get a record?” Some people just don’t get it.

Tom Davies: Indiana FOI
Tom sent the following e-mail to Ilyce, explaining that he was unable to attend the board meeting because of a staff shortage at his office.

He also attached a copy of an April 13 AP story concerning FOI.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)-An investigation by The Times and six other Indiana newspapers and follow-up inquiries by the governor and state lawmakers culminated Monday when the General Assembly acted to improve public access to government records and meetings.

The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation that removes some of the obstacles Hoosiers face when trying to get government information-obstacles documented last year in newspaper reports and two state investigations.

“We need to put some confidence back in the system,” said Rep. Mark Kinzan,D-Bloomington, a leading proponent of reforming Indiana’s open meetings laws.

Monday’s votes out into law a state office Gov. O’Bannon created last July-the public access counselor. The office’s duties are to educate public officials and mediate disputes between record-seekers and government agencies.

The bill also requires judges to award attorney’s fees to plaintiffs who are illegally denied access to meetings or records.

The last item was that Bob says the Illinois Press Association has been helpful in providing him with periodic information. The IPA would now like to have an insert from time to time in the Journalist. The question was whether they would be willing to pay for such an insert. Rob asked how often this insert is produced, and Bob Roberts said probably 4 to 6 time a year. Ilyce, Diane and others then discussed whether it would effect the weight of the newsletter, and the fact that the insert would have to be sent directly to Shirley Friedlander. Changing the frequency of publication of the Journalist was also discussed and deferred to a later meeting.

PR Newswire: There was considerable discussion about the potential contract with PR Newswire. Maria said she felt funny about the terms of the agreeement. Rob asked whether such a relationship would preclude us disseminating information to other wires. Mary Myers said it would not. Rob suggested saying that the information is being circulated courtesy of PR Newswire, and that was the terminology the board suggested be adopted. Christine said one prospective presenter declined because of his image of the Headline Club, which was another argument against designating an “official” newswire.

Rob also expressed concern about the clause concerning asking for something of comparable value for the service they would provide gratis. Mary was asked to go back and explain our concerns to those with whom she is negotiating.

Web: Steve reported he is holding discussions with Northwestern as to whether we could develop our own search engine or domain name. He is not sure whether the Northwestern system has the physical capacity to accommodate our request.

The speaker for the May 28 Brown Bag will be Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Blair Kaminm, who will discuss “Activist Criticism and the Lakefront Series “

After the meeting I received an e-mail from Steve Rynkiewicz stating that SPJ president-elect Kyle Niederpraum will be attending the dinner, and will be happy to meet us informally afterwards for feedback on recent SPJ activities, and could probably be persuaded to be a presenter.

The next board meeting will be 8:00 A.M. May 19th
Ed Cooper, secretary