Board Minutes – 07/1999


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

July 17, 1999

The Board held a special meeting at Ann Sather’s Restaurant as part of the annual President’s Party. The meeting was called to order at 12:15.

Attended: Susan Stevens, Marsha Barancik, Ilyce Glink, John Duncan, Rob Hess, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Les Brownlee, John McClelland, Howard Dubin, Diane Monk, Edward J. Cooper, Maria R. Traska, Diane Monk

Correction: In a reference to Kathy McClelland I misspelled her name with a “C” instead of a “K”

The June minutes were unanimously approved

President’s Report: Rob mentioned that the membership chair said she cannot find a record of Mike Cordts, who was recently elected to the Board, being a Headline Club member. Rob said Mike is on vacation this week, so there will be a meeting with him next week. He was the designee of Nigel Wade.

Rob, Howard Dubin Ilyce, Christine Tatum and Bob Roberts met in Chicago with the national SPJ Executive Board this morning, who are in town for their quarterly meeting. They again mentioned there is a large number of our members who have not renewed their national membership. Howard Dubin said there are over 150 of our members who have not paid national dues, including such well-known names as Irv Kupcinet and Ann Landers, who always pay their dues. Howard laid the responsibility on the poor job of billing national does. Ilyce mentioned that someone in our delegation asked the Executive Board what to do about those who didn’t pay dues; one of their members, Al Cross, who is running for SPJ president, said in Louisville they were cut off. Ilyce suggested that the primary burden for monitoring national membership should no longer fall to the local chapter. Several people suggested the possibility of creating an associate membership for those who join the local and not the national. Rob also distributed a member survey national produced. Steve mentioned that the majority of the current members appear to be either students or retirees, and that we need to attract more working journalists. Rob requested that the surveys be returned by July 23rd.

First Amendment Conference: Teresa Rai Knight, on the Board’s recommendation, has agreed to postpone the conference. There is presently no date for it. Rob said he thought it should be held some time during the school year, when students and faculty are more likely to be available. He said it was a good idea, and it just needed more time to be accomplished. Sue Stevens then asked Rob if he was aware of how long this conference has been in the planning, and he said yes.

Ilyce then questioned whether Teresa has the ability to coordinate this kind of a project. She said she thinks Teresa will need someone to help her get this conference off the ground. Ilyce admitted Teresa has done a tremendous amount of work but just tackled more than she is capable of coping with alone. The programs she’s trying to have are relevant and interesting, said Ilyce, but she needs somebody to help her. Diane Monk said that the material Teresa distributed at the last meeting was the same material she passed out in 1997 and, as Kathy said, full of the same errors. She concluded that it was readily apparent that Teresa was unable to proceed with this project. Even though the fact that Stanley Fish was unable to attend is what finally killed the program, the consensus was that Teresa was unable to organize such a complex program on her own.

Chicago Journalist: Rob reported that discussion continues on the future of the newsletter. He and Ilyce met with Diane Monk, and the present idea is to publish a more robust quarterly newsletter with smaller monthly updates. Kath McClelland said she is leaving on vacation next week, but will somehow manage to include this discussion in the next issue.

MacDougall Scholarship: Rob said there is ongoing discussion about converting the scholarship to an internship. He also said several people raise the possibility of continuing the scholarship as an endowment or in some other form. It is an open question.

To Clarify: The Board voted earlier this year to “replace” the MacDougall Scholarship with grants to support internships. These grants are to be awarded in the names of and in memory of Mary McAndrew and Kathy McClelland. The idea of continuing the MacDougall Scholarship grew out of discussions with MacDougall family members at the Lisagor Dinner and since we have decided to research possibilities for continuing the expect this issue to be presented to the Board for discussion and a vote in the near future.

Internship Committee: Ilyce distributed a report on the last meeting of the Internship Committee. Chair: Ilyce Glink Members: Bob Roberts, Howard Dubin, John McClelland, Diane Monk, Rob Hess, Christine Tatum

Overview The committee met for the first time last week to try to focus out attention and efforts on creating the internship program. Ideally, we’d like to have the program up and running for next summer. But there are some things that must happen before we can start awarding money.

1. Chicago Headline Club Foundation . We need to create a foundation to shelter the cash we’ll raise to support the Internships. For every $1000 we hope to give away, we’ll need approximately $20,000 in cash generating interest. So if we hope to give away two Internships valued at $1000 each, we’ll need to raise between $30,000 to $40,000 . Chicago Headline Club Attorney Jon Duncan tells me the paperwork isn’t too difficult. There may be some free legal help that we can get from a non-profit group to set up the foundation. Creating the foundation is one of our top priorities.

2. Raising the Cash. While the Chicago Headline Club does have cash in excess of the amount needed, we propose that the money for the Foundation be kept separate. While the CHC could give an initial donation to the Foundation as seed money, the committee proposes several alternative ways to raise cash that would directly fund (minus expenses) the Foundation and Internship programs. These include: (a) Create a new class of local (only) members for local public relations people. National has already begun to do this, and we feel we could generate local dues from the public relations community in excess of $100 per year. (b) Request donations from the big media shops in town. These face-to-face meetings will allow us to share how the Internship programs will ultimately benefit their shops (no quid pro quo in terms of donations, but we fully expect that over the years, everyone will benefit), but we can reintroduce them to a newly- energized CHC and ask for their help in promoting local involvement. (c) ask for donations from people close to the McAndrew and McClelland families. There may be some people who wish to give on an individual level. If they donate to a foundation, they can write off the donation. (d) Create one Foundation fund-raiser per year. We could also designate one of our programs each year as a fund-raiser. (e) Request funds from National SDX Foundation and other foundations.

3. Creating the Program. While we’d like the program to have such elements as mentoring and networking, some people on the committee wonder if the grant recipient will have the time or interest. This part of the program needs to be worked out. It was also decided that the news organizations should make their own decisions about hiring interns and then refer them to us for consideration of the grant.

4. Getting the Word Out. Seems like the Web may be the best way to do this. Rob is checking with his interns to see how college students learn about internship programs. We will check with the schools locally to find the most effective way to help them publicize the program.

5. Qualifications. We’re the Chicago Headline Club. The Internship program is only one of many available to interns in Chicago Metro Area media shops.

6. Name in Perpetuity. Because of the situation we encountered with the MacDougall Scholarship (no one remembered why it was created and whether it would be continued in perpetuity) we’d like to be clear about how the Mary McAndrew and Kathy McClelland Internships will be set up and how they will be administered and for how long. This is an ongoing discussion, but essentially, if funds are raised specifically in Mary or Kathy’s name, then those funds will flow to endow a permanent Internship. If we don’t raise enough direct money, then we need to decide what we want to do as a club.

Conclusion There is a good deal of work ahead of us.

Brown Bag lunch: The July 30th lunch will be a live Webcast and it will be a discussion of the changes in war reporting. It will be available to anyone with the proper software and our web page is promoting it.

President-elect’s Report: Marsha Barancik distributed the flyer for the next Brown Bag. The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center will be coming to speak to us at some point. The Second City networking event is on track for Sept.16. Some of the skits will be about journalism. As was mentioned at the last meeting, there will need to be 100 people to break even for this event. The suggested ticket price is $20. Second City charges $15 admission on Thursday. There will be a cash bar, and there was an inconclusive discussion on how to arrange for food. Rob said the club is establishing relations with every newsroom in town. The cost per person for Second City has not yet been decided. Rob said he anticipates there mayl be 50 to 100 people from the Sun- Times alone. Selling 50 tickets at $20 will permit us to pay off the fee for the night. Food costs have still not been determined.

Steve said he has address verifications from the days of the Gridiron Show. There was also discussion of inducing people to join the Headline Club by discounting their admission to the event. Howard said that this kind of event is not the way to recruit members. Ilyce complained about the sparse returns the Headline Club receives for all the contributions we make to the national, and stated that if the situation is not corrected there is a risk we will go out of business. There was extensive discussion of creating a two-tiered membership. Rob said we need to increase the numbers of members from newsrooms, so that we are working with them and make our organization more vibrant. There was some discussion of making the Second City an incentive to join the club by possibly discounting dues for those who joined that night. Howard mentioned that this idea might offend those who are paying members. Rob asked for a committee to work on the Second City event.

Rob reported that John Wasik of Consumer’s Digest Magazine, a Headline Club member, has suggested an upcoming program, possibly on investigative reporting, possibly to be held in the suburbs. More discussion is expected on this topic and other possible programming.

Membership: No report

Future of Journalism: There was discussion of the national Freedom of Information convention was due to be in Chicago at the same time as the Future of Journalism program and we were considering some overlap with them. The FOI programs was headed and organized by Maggie Balough, former Quill editor, who then became co- chair of the committee. She resigned this week; and consequently the convention is in doubt, and we are no longer discussing a joint effort with them. Someone then mentioned that Maria wanted to advance the Web training to a new level, and change the focus of the program somewhat. Steve then suggested training in creating databases and other such subjects. Someone else mentioned the possibility of sponsoring a job fair. Rob said he loves the job fair idea, and would like to see the club participate. Steve thought a useful topic for training might be the use of computers in the newsroom.

SPJ Convention: The convention will be in Indianapolis in October and Rob asked if anyone was planning to go. The president is always given a free ticket, and if he doesn’t go, he can designate someone. Rob recommended we have a delegation. Maria Traska then arrived.

Secretary’s Report: I inquired again about the question Steve asked me at the last meeting as to who is responsible for filing the Secretary of State’s annual report. Someone said Howard Dubin is the registered agent, but no one was sure who had actually filed it. However, we are in compliance . Who is filing the report will be investigated.

Treasurer’s Report: Howard Dubin reported we lost $6000 last year. The Lisagor, which is the big revenue generator, will net about $14000.00 this year, whereas we usually raise about $18000.00. The entries were down a little and the expenses were up a little. We will have to raise the fee for the dinner, Howard said. There was also conversation about raising the dues, which have apparently never been raised. Someone said Lisagor is such a money-maker that the Board has felt other projects were worthwhile. The bills are still coming in for the dinner, but we have a good idea of the final balance. We should take another look at programs that don’t generate revenue, said Rob, but the event at Second City has the potential of making money. He also said we should be more aggressive in generating more entries for the Lisagor award. As long as we are expanding our contacts with the newsrooms, that needs to be a part of the effort very soon. There followed a discussion of adding new categories for the Lisagor, none was mentioned specifically.

Sue Stevens mentioned the Chicago Communications Committee, which is sponsored by several local writers’ groups as possibly a useful vehicle for us, and the possibility of buying a table was mentioned. This year’s speaker will be AOL’s Steve Case.

Web Report: Steve said the Web site is now accessible at Headline Club .org and it is being hosted free of charge by Northwestern. The disadvantage of not paying is that there is no technical support available.

New Media Committee: Tom LaPorte will be organizing that committee in the next couple of months.

The speakers at the July 30 Brown Bag lunch will be George DeLama. Richard C. Longworth and Timothy J. McNulty discussing “The Evolution of War Coverage” The August speaker will be Onion Editor Robert Siegel

The next Board meeting is August 18 at 8:00 A.M.