Board Minutes – 02/2009

Chicago Headline Club Minutes
Monday, February 9, 2009
Bloomberg Offices

Attending in person: Dawn Reiss, Kristen Schorsch, Hilary Sizemore, Tony Noce, Howard Dubin, Susan Stevens, Deborah Cohen, Nicole Ziegler Dizon, Beth Konrad, Steve Wash, Kathy Catrambone, Bonnie McGrath
On phone: Tim Inklebarger, Jane Hirt

Meeting called to order by Dawn Reiss at 9:30.

Introduction to Hilary Sizemore:
Dawn introduced the club to Hilary Sizemore from Barrington Broadcasting Group LLC, an interactive content producer for small TV stations. She was presented as a candidate to fill an open board seat. Beth Konrad noted that going forward that we have a more formalized method for picking candidates.
Hilary was voted in as a board member.

January Minutes:
Both sets of January minutes, including the club’s regular meeting and special meeting to discuss finances, were voted on and approved.

Treasurer’s Report:
Kathy Catrambone presented the treasurer’s report on behalf of Suzanne McBride. Kathy says the club is taking in $21,260 for the Lisagor Awards, boosted by an extension of the deadline for entries. Though the extension brought in an additional 21 entries, revenue from the event is down 12.7 percent from last year.

Dawn notes that three weeks going into the awards deadline we only had eight entries, so the phone calls made by board members to the CHC members helped significantly. She recommends we continue the practice of putting out calls every year on a going-forward basis.

Web Site Presentation:
Hilary provided the club with a presentation for building a new Web site.
Based on a preliminary budget of $5,000 suggested by Dawn, Hilary had spoken to information technology people. Hilary notes that we can transfer everything on the current Web site to the new site. The new site will allow for e-blasts, online registration and payment for events, RSS Web feeds, and an online storefront that would allow the club to eliminate use of Café Press for club merchandise.

A motion was made to move ahead with the Web plan and it was approved.

Lisagor Update:
Kathy says numbers are down for three years and prices going up. There was discussion about doing a silent auction; the last silent auction was in 2006. Kathy and Dawn say they will do a silent auction that includes a dinner with celebrity journalists.

Lifetime Achievement Update:
Beth Konrad says a committee is in place and we now have several nominations. She says that the process will start next week. Beth suggests that we push it so that we can get a decision within next two weeks and allow enough time to incorporate the award into the Lisagor dinner.

Watchdog Update:
Tony Noce says we have received a new entry from veteran Sun-Times investigative reporter Maurice Possley, who needs money to gather transcripts for a story related to corruption in the Chicago Police Dept. He’s requesting $4,800. There was discussion about how much to give Possley. A motion was made to give him $1,500. Members voted in favor. Dawn will solicit Dreihaus for additional funds for the award.

Ethics Award Update:
Beth says we have one potential candidate at this point.

Program Committee Update:
Beth says we have Poynter coming on March 14 from 1-4 p.m. to present a program entitled “Ethical Journalism in a Digital World” with nationally known experts on ethics and multimedia Bob Steele and Al Tompkins. Tompkins’ costs are $1,500; Steele’s are $1,270.

We have a $500 grant from SPJ National. Loyola is donating $1,000 in total toward the event, plus free use of their facilities. The club is going to commit at least $2,000; Howard and Dawn are going to go to the CHC Foundation to see if there’s more available.

News directors from various stations and publications will be participating in the discussions.

PR efforts will be extensive; Dawn says that Columbia College has been contacted to help with PR. Beth suggests that we use our membership list to network and she requested help from the board to help with marketing. Dawn suggest that Kathy and Fuzz Hogan chair the marketing effort. We are aiming to get 200 people to attend.
After discussion, we agreed that the event would be free for members, $25 for non-members.

Dawn left at 10:50 for an assignment and turned the meeting over to Beth

Beth agreed to have a meeting at her home to have a task force to discuss the Poynter event and strategies to boost attendance.

Nominations for New Slate:
The board agreed to a nominating committee that includes Beth Konrad, Howard Dubin and Sue Stevens. They agreed to meet between now and the next board meeting and they will present a slate to the board in March.

Beth adjourned the meeting at 11:00 am.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah L. Cohen