CHC Board Minutes: February 1, 2019

Board of Directors meeting
Fri. Feb. 1, 2019

President Alejandra Cancino called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Also present in person: Flynn McRoberts, Tahman Bradley and Susan S. Stevens. On the phone: Ben Meyerson, Rob Elder, Greg Karp, Stan Zoller, Dawn Rhodes, Mike Ewing, Maria Zamudio, Suzanne McBride, Howard Dubin, Maya Dukmasova, Kristen Schorsch, Matt Kiefer, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Brandis Friedman and Alex Hernandez.

Minutes from the January meeting as presented by Susan were approved.

President’s report: Alejandra said the tax accountant has finalized the return for 2017. Will send around the final version. Lisagor entries are closed; Ben was really patient in dealing with entrants. FOIAfest will have some of the best panels ever.

Treasurer’s report: Greg said as of Jan. 31 we had $4,913 in checking and $68,616 in savings. Paypal had $30,732 in Lisagor entry fees; we got $29,932 after Paypal fees. Little spending during January. Fuller report in GoogleDocs.

Ethics AdviceLine phone has been converted from AT&T to Grasshopper. The call-takers are happy with it. We’ll save about $500 a year – money Greg would like to spend on marketing EAL. Board consensus is favorable. Also, we might host an ethics event in March or April.

Secretary’s report: Susan noted only that the SPJ regional conference will be April 5-6 in Louisville, Ky. Ben is going. Rob and Stan might go.

Membership: Rob is sending the Newberry Library an archives list. He thanked John McClelland for a lot of help. Board gave its OK to put a membership list in the archives. It has few Lifetime Award videos. If you have any or can get any, send them to Rob.

Tshirts: board approved spending up to $650 for 50 of them. They will cost $12 each and we will sell for $15.

Programs: Maya said 28 people came out in bad weather for the climate change program. Jason Martin at DePaul kindly paid for the food, so our expense was nil. Thanks Jason! Attendees were surveyed afterward. Mike will check on the results.

February program is of course FOAIfest. March: Loyola’s chapter would like us to join in a program on security for journalists.

Maya would like to do a survey regarding why people do not join SPJ and CHC. She’d also like a PR campaign on who we are and why join, a road show, and connect us better with other journalism groups. Board concurred. Dominican University requested a visit, and a couple of board members will oblige.

FOI: Kristen said Fest plans are going very well. Stan said Loyola’s new spaces for the Fest are awesome. Thanks to Richelle Rogers and Michael Limon for their huge help.

Lisagor: Ben said the final count of entries is 870, almost 100 more than last year. Kathy Catrambone is gearing up to oversee the awards banquet. Flynn asked for reciprocal judges. MC? Several excellent candidates. Send ideas ASAP to Ben or Flynn.

Lifetime: A couple of good nominees now. Send ideas ASAP to Ben or Flynn.

Watchdog: board with one abstention approved a $2,500 grant as Jason requested. He will send Howard information for payment. Here is Jason’s full emailed report because he had a conflicting meeting:

Watchdog Award update: We had 11 submissions from outlets such as the Tribune, Sun-Times, Pro Publica Illinois, BGA and WBEZ. It’s another high quality year and the number of submissions is similar to last year (14 entries a year ago).

Submissions have been distributed to judges and we’ll have finalists ready to announce when the Lisagor finalists are revealed. Our judges again this year are Chris Bury of DePaul (formerly ABC News); Wynne Everett of The Toledo Blade (formerly Daily Southtown); Brant Houston of Univ. of Illinois/Global Investigative Journalism Network (formerly IRE); and Gerry Lanosga of Indiana U./Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

I’ve personally invited Kim Coventry and the Driehaus Foundation folks to take part in making the award presentation at the Lisagor Awards dinner Friday May 10, 2019. As per tradition we offer for the Headline Club to pay for her ticket but they usually purchase. I’ll keep you updated on that.

Watchdog Fund submission: Despite heavier promotion this year, there was one project submitted to the Fund by the deadline. However, I recommend the board review the summary and vote to approve as it fits the nature of the fund call, has specific requests to directly help investigative reporting on Chicago, and in my view is a deserving winner.

Anonymized entry summary: The submission is a multimedia investigative reporting project on refugees and gun violence that includes a photo documentary. The journalist looks to investigate the psychological impact of resettling refugees in high crime areas in Chicago, Rockford and Milwaukee; the effects of placing those who have suffered trauma in areas where they are especially vulnerable; and issues of gun violence involving refugees both as perpetrators and victims. The journalist hopes to demonstrate how these issues affect individuals as well as whole communities and what is being done about the problem. The $2,500 grant would cover travel expenses (gas, tolls, lodging) and photo equipment. I have estimated itemized list. The journalist already has commitments to publish the piece in an established digital outlet in May 2019. Reporting would start right away.

Website: Mike said he’d have FOIAfest on the site in the coming week. Maya said she would write a report on the climate event.

Brownlee Scholarship: Former board member Dann Gire is taking applications.

Foundation: Stan said he’s straightening out Chase signatures and working on a new brochure.

Meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m. Next meeting: Fri. March 1 at Bloomberg.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary