Board Minutes – 11/2007

Nov. 15, 2007 Meeting Minutes
Bloomberg Offices

Present: Kristen McQueary, Howard Dubin, Deborah Cohen, Dawn Reiss, Steve Walsh, Sue Stevens, Abdon Pallasch, Kathy Catrambone, Laura Putre, Jane Hirt. On phone: Melissa Goh and Jon Seidel.

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 am by President Kristen McQueary. Sept 19 minutes were approved with a motion from Dawn, seconded by Deb. All approved.

Treasurers report – Howard Dubin: “We broke even and are doing fine,” Howard says. “We’re on an even keel.” It was decided that we will promote our shirts, hats and other CHC items on the Chicago Headline Club store through CafĂ© Press with an ad in the Lisagor program and an e-mail blast around Christmas time.

Howard said the Driehaus Foundation has not given us money yet. Kristen says we have a verbal commitment. Howard said in the past they gave us $15,000 which covered two years, and we have roughly $2,000 left over. Kristen said she would call to get firmer commitment for funds for the Watchdog Award.

Board vacancy – Kristen: Kristen said that Jackie Fitzgerald has taken a job in LA and so we have an opening on the board. Steve Walsh suggested possibly getting representation from the Daily Herald or Crain’s Chicago Business. Kristen said she would make some calls to generate interest in board seats.

Discussion of board membership time commitment: There was discussion that non-attending board members be offered the opportunity to yield their positions but given other opportunities to work with the club, such as committee chairs. Kathy said she will compile a list of board members who have not been attending and they will be called and given the opportunity to yield their board position but to be involved in other ways.

Committee review on freelance programs – Dawn Reiss: Mark Baser from Tribune Interactive, who has put on a few programs for Media Bistro, is willing to do a program for CHC. Suggested a program is “How to Syndicate Your Writing” for which Mark will charge us $400. Dawn has spoken to DePaul, which has offered free use of a room and has two tentative dates, Jan. 9 and Jan. 23. Suggested 7-9:30 p.m. program. Suggested $20 for members, $30 for non-members, $40 for walkups. Melissa said we could have people sign up and pay on the Web site. Howard made the motion to approve the pricing as well as Mark’s fees; Jane seconded. It was approved.

Lifetime Achievement Awards report – Kathy: “It went real well.” We had 100 people show up. Four of the six honorees were slated to speak to students at Columbia as part of the Brownlee Series on “Get the 411 on Journalism.” We lost less money than we did last year. Production cost was $1,500 from Rob Hess, same price as last year.

Student scholarships – Jane: We are sponsoring two scholarships. One is AAJA-CHC scholarship with Asian American Journalists Association. We give student $1,250 and AAJA matches and we are trying to get the Tribune to kick in another $1,000. It is an online scholarship. agreed to host it. Applicants have to be members of AAJA.

Second scholarship is SPJ. It is for $2,500; student gets the internship and we provide the grant. Will be for a student living and working in the Chicago area. Motion to approve scholarship funds made by Steve; seconded by Sue. Scholarships were approved.

Membership report – Sue Stevens: Sue has sent 100 emails to Dawn’s freelance forum people, another 30 or 40 to Lisagor finalists. There was discussion of how they were to get on the e-mail blast list. We agreed that Pat Flynn should continue to enter the names of new members into MemberClicks. There was also discussion to consider switching to a better system. We agree to drop our “Blue Hornet” technology, which is costing $87 a month. Howard said he would try to cancel contract.

Patrick Fitzgerald’s position on a proposed federal shield law – Abdon spoke with Fitzgerald about his point of view; Fitzgerald is open to a meeting to discuss the issue. We discussed the idea of a public forum with a roundtable discussion. Deb suggested giving him several options, in case he doesn’t want to do the public forum. Abdon said he would vet the ideas back with Fitzgerald and work off his schedule for potential dates.

Outreach to smaller papers – Laura Putre. Laura has a list of about 15 smaller papers that she has contacted about some of our recent events. Kristen said she would send an e-mail blast to all of the smaller papers owned by the Sun-Times.

Lisagor update – Kristen. We’re starting to get requests for reciprocal judging. Kristen suggested starting up a Lisagor Committee, which she and Kathy will head. Steve noted that we need to be careful this year about candidates “double dipping” entries into more than one category, which has happened in the past. Laura and Steve expressed interest in being on the committee. There was also discussion of whether or not we are going to have a big-name keynote speaker this year, which was a topic of debate.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah L. Cohen