Board Minutes – 12/2009

Chicago Headline Club Meeting Minutes
8 a.m. January 12, 2009
Bloomberg Offices

Attending in person: Dawn Reiss, Suzanne McBride, Deborah Cohen, Susan Stevens, Tony Noce, Beth Konrad, Kathy Catrambone, Laura Putre, Kirsten Schorsch
On phone: Jane Hirt, Jon Seidel, Wes Bleed, Niki Dizon, Bonnie McGrath
Meeting called to order by Dawn at 8 am.
December minutes were approved.

Web site: A decision was made to table action relating to the Web site.

Lisagor Update:
Television Station Membership Outreach:
Beth has meetings scheduled with ABC and NBC to solicit Lisagor entries.
Dawn is circulating posters to stations. She is getting lots of questions from smaller outlets. She asks the board to make a round of calls to boost entries.

Abdon P. has been talking with US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald about some kind of presentation to the club.

Ethics Award:
Beth suggests that the Tribune has an opportunity to resurrect the ethics award in one of the truest fashions due to its history under Sam Zell in recent months. Jane says she would think about it and will get the name of someone at the Tribune that we can talk to. She would like to remove herself from the process due to potential conflict.

We discussed possibly changing the format and getting a keynote speaker, which would be a break from our predetermined format, but might help to lift attendance.

Newsroom Visits: Kathy C points out there are only 10 days left before the Lisagor deadline. She would like to do some newsroom visits and has obtained the media guide from Community Media Workshop to assist with the process.

Sorting of entries:
Beth says Jane has secured the basement of the Tribune. Dawn is requesting that board members sign up for one of the two shifts and bring friends. Dawn also asks that the board sign up to assist with judging the entries from out of state.

Lifetime Achievements:
Beth reports that she had a recent conversation with Bernie Judge. He would like to have a small committee this year that includes Abdon P, Bob Crawford, Beth Konrad, and himself. He wanted to narrow it down to one award, two at most. Tony will also be on the committee. Suzanne suggested Jon Ziomek, a former member of the Medill faculty, who is now at Columbia College.

Tony N, Kristen M and Dawn met recently with the Driehaus rep. He wants the funds to be given out in smaller increments than we have deployed in the past. He stresses that it’s money available for small independents and freelancers. He says it’s a model that Driehaus is looking to use in other countries and with other outlets. Dawn plans to find new ways to publicize the Watchdog Fund, which has a few thousand dollars left.

Membership Report:
Laura P reports that she has been dealing with MemberClicks; there was a recent conference call with MemberClicks that included Laura, Tim I, Kristen S and Dawn.
Laura has also been going through the process of accessing where we’re at with members and our outdated list. She has been purging expired members. For at least two years, nobody has been purged. Laura has made it the J’s. Laura says we’re 100 members down from where we were. Suzanne says Laura’s progress jibes with what she’s seeing come into our funds – roughly $1240 in the last six months.
Deb C suggests looking into off-the-shelf software like FileMaker Pro for the database as we transition away from MemberClicks.

Beth requests a task force meeting for the Web site.

Program Committee Update:
Backpack Journalist Program – Beth has two staff members at Loyola that are advanced in the use of new media. She suggests doing a program in the studio at Loyola. We agreed to approach Steve Walsh to see if we could do the multi-media program at Bloomberg.

Narrative Writing Program by SPJ: Dawn has been exploring. It was agreed that we would consider it for some time past April, possibly a Saturday in May or June.

Beth suggests that March 14 or 21 would be available for ethics program on multi-platform. We’re bringing in Bob Steele from DePaul University who is on the board at the Poynter Institute. The board agreed the 14th would be the best date. Niki agreed that the AP would participate.

Treasurer’s Report:
Suzanne says we are operating at a $14,000 deficit for the year. She remains hopeful that Lisagor will make some money and bring down the deficit. There is no way she can predict with confidence that we will be in the black at the start of our next fiscal year on July 1.
Beth suggests that we get a new format to display our finances so that we can review year-over-year comparables more easily; she suggests that we get an intern to input everything from past budgets into an electronic spreadsheet.
Suzanne suggests finding out what a typical reserve is for an organization like ours is.

FOI Report:
Sue S. reports that Mike Anzali is now clear of all charges. He is pursuing damages in a civil case. Sue is still interested in what CPD is going to do regarding its new journalist credentials rules and has been having discussions with CPD reps.

Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah L. Cohen, Secretary