Board Minutes – 11/1999


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

November 17, 1999

Present: Anna Kukec, Rob Hess, Ilyce Glink. Marcia Barancik. Howard Dubin, Mary Myers, Christine Tatum, Ed Avis, Ed Cooper, Steve Rynkiewicz, Maria Traska, Mike Cordts, Molly McDonough, Tom LaPorte, Teresa Rae Knight, Bob Roberts, Tom Beatty Guests: Debbie Weiss, ABA; Tim Jackson and Tony Noce, ABC; Kate Kinsella, WLS-TV; Fritz Golman, Internet Television Network; Michael Davis; ichard Roth, Associate Dean Medill School of Journalism and chapter adviser; Steven Baber, Marta Foster, Midwest Bureau El Heraldo newspaper; Bernie Judge, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin; Georgeann Herbert, CBS; John Carpenter, Chicago Sun-Times; Michael Babin, President of Northwestern University Chapter SPJ; Teresa Fuente, President Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists; Diana Stralka, freelance writer.

President’s Report: Membership is very important. We need to be sure we’re reaching out to everyone in the local journalism community. We also need to reach out to students and encourage them to work with us..

Ethics in Journalism. Casey Bukro (by phone) We have the Ethics in Journalism Award which recognizes people who have done things right ethically. He said great work goes on constantly and a lot of people care about credibility and the way we handle decisions covering the news. Rob added that the Ethics Award is also presented at the Lisagor dinner and the deadline is about 2 months in advance Ilyce Glink gave the example of the Chicago Sun-Times being presented with the Ethics Award last year for their decision not to play the school shootings on Page 1 as the sort of journalism the Headline Club wants to recognize. Rob said that what would be important would be to establish a process to monitor ethical decision-making throughout the year and not just once a year.

Casey said also that we have received nominations from civic groups and public groups such as People in the Public Interest and we are going to continue to try to do that.

Brown Bag Lunch: Marsha Barancik and Molly McDonough Marsha said she and Molly decided to form a committee to generate ideas for future lunches and asked for volunteers. We hold the lunches either in the Tribune or the Sun-Times and Rob said the board would like to find other possible locations to hold it periodically. The lunches are the last Friday of every month.

Treasurer’s Report: Howard Dubin. We lost money last month. We always lose money the first half of the year and the biggest drain is the Chicago Journalist and the biggest revenue comes from the Lisagor dinner.

Ilyce Glink: report on transition from scholarships to internships. We have been giving $1000 to two or three scholarship recipients. What we are now trying to do is build a reservoir of money Starting a Chicago Headline Club Foundation . She is now soliciting donations from major foundations in the city to generate money for investments and use the interest from those funds to expand the internships. The other reason for requesting donations is for the changes being made to the Chicago Journalist, which will become a quarterly publication, tentatively called the Chicago Journalist Magazine, which will focus on the issues of journalism as they matter to the general population; and not just be a publication of Headline Club activities. What are the ethical and technological challenges we face in our daily business world and how it effects the rest of the community how it effects the way the public perceives us as journalists and how we do our jobs as journalists. Ed Avis has been asked to consider editing the new magazine.

The Chicago Journalist will still exist monthly but some months may be less than the current average of 8-12 pages.

We will be increasing our activity on the Web to enable us to get news to you more quickly. We will be creating an e-mail newsletter to inform everyone of upcoming events, so it will not be necessary to wait for the Journalist.

Ilyce reported that it was slow-going with the foundations but that she had made some progress in the previous six weeks or so. There are 8 foundations who contribute to local organizations. We managed to become eligible under two categories: jobs, which would help with the internships; and in the case of the magazine, into public policy and arts. There is some unexpected money for arts, for example the Shapiro family, the owners of WPWR Channel 50, have established a foundation to assist the arts for which we hope to qualify. She will also be approaching the MacArthur, Knight, Tribune and other local foundations in the next two months.

Rob then opened the discussion to input from everyone as to how the Headline Club could establish better relations with the newsrooms in the city, since the purpose of the organizations is to represent the local journalism community.

Someone asked how widely the Brown Bag lunches are publicized. One of the things we need to do better is getting the information to the newsrooms.

Rob then began a discussion of whether those in the journalism community are doing enough in the realm of education and encouraging students to consider journalism as a career. Christine

Tatum said a large portion of her job is to train students. A discussion followed about how much help students need and how little news organizations pay and have always paid. Public relations pays very well, someone said. Christine said some of what the students are doing is not what she considers newswriting.

Bob Roberts said he hoped eventually this would also evolve into a mentoring program.

Christy said the outreach committee is going to retrieve the newsroom contact list and mail it to focused organizations. She also asked for more people to join her in the Legal Defense Fund.

Web Site: Steve Rynkiewicz reported we are getting 3,000 to 4,000 hits a month. Steve also requested more help.

Lisagor awards entry deadline is Jan. 28.

FOI : There were copies distributed of FOI act. Topic has been at forefront of Attorney General’s agenda the last couple of months. He says he would like to impose penalties for violations and set up a monitoring system with attorney general’s office to ensure compliance.

The next Board meeting is 8:00 AM Jan. 12 at the Tribune and the next Brown Bag lunch will be Jan. 28 in the 20th floor dining room of the Tribune discussing “Has cable television revolutionized investigative journalism?” The speaker will be Jonathan Towers, an investigative documentary producer and founder of Towers Productions in Chicago.