Board Minutes – 09/2010

September 2010 Minutes

Chicago Headline Club meeting minutes

Sept. 10, 2010. Meeting began at 9:06 a.m.

In attendance: Sue Stevens, Kathy Catrambone, George Garties, Aimee DeBat, Hilary Fosdal, Steve Franklin, Beth Konrad, Kristen Schorsch, Howard Dubin, Ken Davis, Randi Belisomo, Suzanne McBride, Abdon Pallasch

The Headline Club raised $355 at Priscilla MacDougall’s annual picnic in August benefiting the Chicago Headline Club Foundation.

Several CHC members are going to the Society of Professional Journalists convention in Las Vegas, including Sue Stevens, Hilary Fosdal, Randi Belisomo and Rummana Hussein.

The board discussed CHC board member Brandon Copple’s status as a board member. 

Beth would like to correct the August minutes. She is not going to the SPJ Convention. A student is taking her place. 

Howard Dubin read the treasurer’s report: The CHC started the fiscal year that began July 1 with $104,762.89. To date we have received $1,015 in revenue and spent 45,676.29. Our current assets are $100,101.61.

The Chicago Headline Club Foundation has $85,098.36 in assets as of Sept. 9, 2010, of which $48,378 is restricted. The unrestricted balance is $36,720.36.

This year we’ve spent $4,500 on Driehaus watchdog awards, which board member Tony Noce heads up; $2,500 on a student who interned at the Chicago Sun-Times; and $325 for an unemployed journalist to take two writing classes.

Jon Seidel, the digital media committee chairman, could not attend the meeting but has written a memo for the board about how improving the Web site is coming along. He asked how much money we’re authorized to pay a vendor to fix the site, which has been hacked several times and is in need of repair.

Hilary Fosdal, vice president for membership, has split the membership data into current and lapsed members. She sent members an e-mail thanking them for their membership, and lapsed members an e-mail encouraging them to join and detailing how they can do so.

She said we had 229 paid members in June and 239 paid members in September. We have a continuous problem that our membership numbers do not match those we receive from SPJ and national does not communicate well. We still don’t get an update from SPJ whenever we get a new member or lose a current one.

National is having a membership drive until the end of the year. We are blowing away the competition so far with 204 members (new or renewed), which does not match national’s numbers.

Hilary’s next project is contacting the Peter Lisagor Award winners who are not members and enticing them to join. She will email them. Steve Franklin suggested we ask them what the award meant to them. 

Ken Davis, vice president for programs, said the Sept. 9 event, in which a panel of reporters discussed the Rod Blagojevich trial, was successful. Forty-five people showed up. Kathy did a huge amount of work, and Aimee had the event mentioned in Robert Feder’s media Vocalo blog. Ken thinks the crowd could have been larger but the event fell on the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

The programming committee still is looking for a venue to host this year’s Digital Media Training Institute. The committee might change course and host several small workshops instead of having it on one day. (last year’s model)

Hilary Fosdal helped put together a panel about Patch, new hyperlocal Web sites opening nationwide. The event is Sept. 24 at the Illinois Technology Association and will include several local Patch employees.

Hilary said the room was free and suggested it to Ken Davis as a possible site for a DMTI workshop. Franklin, the ethnic news project director for the Community Media Workshop, said they have training sessions in their offices and can fit about 20 people for a DMTI workshop.

Beth Konrad updated the board about the McCormick Foundation grant and the survey to be conducted about transparency issues among Chicago journalists. She has selected UIC to conduct the survey, which will be online. The surveyors will follow up by phone and e-mail, as well as crunch and dissect the data. They’ll give the CHC an executive summary and present the findings at a program, likely in March, with a panel of stakeholders.

Beth wants to put together focus groups to get anecdotes from journalists and get interns to crunch the data. Student interns could be paid about $1,000.

Abdon Pallasch, who is in charge of Freedom of Information Act updates, said Chicago police no longer will require journalists to get fingerprinted for credentials, which will last two years instead of one. City Council approved the new credentialing policy without discussion. 

Cara Smith, the public access counselor for Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, is available in October for the annual FOIA program.

Randi Belisomo will take over student scholarships for Kristen McQueary, who left the board. Kathy Catrambone added that Sarah Ostman, the CHC’s scholarship recipient, received a nice applause at the Blagojevich panel last night. Ostman helped cover the trial as a Chicago Sun-Times intern. The program made $125 for the CHC.

Steve Franklin asked if the CHC has good student journalism outreach, noting that several local universities have student SPJ chapters.

WTTW Chicago Public Media anchor Phil Ponce is hosting a panel on Sept. 14 about whether President Barack Obama has kept up the promises he made in light of the mid-term elections and if the media has held him accountable.

Kathy Catrambone said we’ll keep track of news organizations who enter contest entries online instead of by mail. We might want to do this for the spring Peter Lisagor Awards. Kathy said we’re still looking for a venue for the Lisagor banquet and she’s checked out a venue that would require us to increase our ticket prices. The banquet likely will be in May because of the Easter holiday.

The Community Media Workshop is hosting a forum on Oct. 1 for the ethnic news media. 

Meeting adjourned at 10:24 a.m.

— Secretary Kristen Schorsch