Board Minutes – 09/2009


Members present: Howard Dubin, Susanne Stevens, Brian Pitts, Tony Noce, Stephen Franklin, Micah Maidenberg, Kristen Schorsch, Suzanne McBride, Dawn Reiss, Ken Davis, Steve Edwards, Bonnie McGrath, Kathy, Beth Konrad, Wes Bleed, Jon Seidel, Abdon Pallasch, Hilary Fosdal

May minutes were approved.

Beth Konrad gave a brief report on the events that took place during the SPJ national convention. The Chicago Headline Club won the Circle of Excellence Award. Due to the CHC not having an office, the award was presented to Dawn Reiss for safe-keeping. The CHC was also given an honorable mention for chapter of the year. It was noted that there were too many concurrent programs which led to fewer attendees at each session. The Legal Defense Fund and Terry Harper Fund continued to be a controversy for the CHC regarding the use of the funds. Dave Aiekens told Beth that he did not receive her email from the CHC. Board members cited previous communication failures and a lack of leadership due to the loss of Terry Harper as two reasons why the handling of this matter was so poor.

Board members were asked to seek out a meeting room where we can hang future plaques. Beth will be writing a letter to Bloomberg in thanks for their generosity in providing our chapter a place to convene. Beth requested that there be a proclamation written up to thank Bloomberg for their generosity both past and present.

Board members were reminded to inform CHC members that all board meetings are open to the public.

Howard Dubin walked through the proposed budget (a financial budget sheet was passed out to all board members present). The executive director position was cut by 2 months. A balanced budget was presented. Hilary informed the board that there was just under $5,000 sitting in the PayPal account. Hilary informed the board that she had reduced the website maintenance costs from $64.99/month to $9.99/month.

The CHC currently has $95,000 in reserve. The Lisagor awards typically brings in $17-18,000 and Beth will go on a ‘road-show’ to ramp up efforts to get more local news organizations submitting applications for the awards. She wants to begin marketing the Lisagor Awards starting as soon as possible.

Board members relayed that many new organizations requested the need to have access to the Lisagor application earlier. It was also stated that many PR firms don’t know that the CHC is part of SPJ.

Beth Konrad restated that when she ran for election as president of the CHC that she required that their be an executive director in the position to assist her.

The budget was approved with 0 abstentions and 2 nays, Dawn Reiss and Suzanne McBride.

The board voted to postpone the Olympic bus tour exclusively for CHC journalists due to a lack of interest. No announcement is to be made regarding the postponement. Individuals who expressed an interest in attending the tour will be contacted individually. Following the Olympic bid decision on Oct. 2nd the programming committee will decide whether and when to reschedule the tour.

Kristen Schorsch gave an update on the Digital Media Training Institute courses. Audio – October 17th/Video – November 7th/Blogging – December 5th Each session will last approximately three hours, include professional journalists as the instructors and provide any required equipment. Cost – $40 for members $50 for non-members. $100/all three sessions. Promotion of the DMTI will be via eBlasts, flyers, take-home packets after the sessions and word of mouth. Brain Pitts will assist in the PR campaign for the DMTI.

Susanne Stevens informed the board that she has received no response from her contact at the Chicago police department with regards to credentialing. She will be following up with a phone call later this month.

Howard Dubin and Abdon Pallasch sent letters on CHC’s behalf supporting the federal shield laws. No vote was taken in the Senate, thus SPJ is encouraging members to write their representatives in support of the law.

Micah Maidenberg reported that the current membership database has 250 dues paying members. This is a number much lower than initially presumed. There are more suburban located members than city-living members. He suggested sending out e-mail reminders to have members re-sign up. Hilary mentioned that as a 4-star chapter SPJ will pay for one free mailing and one use of this perk could be to drum up new members.

Burger Night had a small turn out and the board is going to reconsider whether to continue offering this event if there continues to be a lack of interest.

The 2010 Lisagor Committee includes Suzanne McBride, Brian Pitts, Stephen Franklin, Kristen Schorsch, Beth Konrad (as interim chair), Jon Seidel, Hilary Fosdal, Dawn Reiss. The first phone conference call will take place Wednesday, September 23rd @8:30am to discuss next steps. The venue has already been arranged. The categories were vetted by AP but need to be reviewed – with more diversity and online categories added. A new application form needs to be created and printed by October 12th for Beth’s road show.

Niki Dizon has resigned from the AP and the CHC board. Beth will follow up with Niki to get a replacement referral. Steve Gray was transferred from Chicago to Detroit and has also left the CHC board.

Kristen McQueary was absent. There was no scholarship report.

Hilary rescheduled the CHC website training for Thursday, September 24th at Kathy’s home @6:30pm. She received the board’s approval to remove the unused forums on the website. She informed the board that she decreased the fees for running the site from $64.99/month to $9/99/month. She expressed her interest in winning the SPJ Communication Award for next year and will follow up with national on how to accomplish this. She informed the board that she was appointed chair of SPJ’s Digital Media Committee.

The board will be requesting from the Chi-Town Daily News a written account of the use of the $5,000 Watchdog Funds they received from the CHC. In the future, winners will be required to submit a report accounting for the use of the funds.

Also noted, the CHC paid Michael J. Anzaldi $1,000 on August 31, 2009 check # 2606 as a partial reimbursement for the Legal Defense legal bills which he submitted to us.


Hilary Fosdal