CHC Board Minutes: September 13, 2019

Board of Directors meeting
Fri. Sept. 13, 2019

President Rob Elder called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Also present: Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Jason Wambsgans, Claire Bushey, Jason Martin, Christine Wolf, Amanda Vinicky, Mike Ewing, Alex Hernandez, Susan S. Stevens, and by phone Howard Dubin, Maya Dukmasova, Ben Meyerson, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Derrick Clifton, Michael Limon, Maria Zamundio and Tahman Bradley.

Minutes from July 20, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 were approved as submitted by Susan.

President’s report: Rob offered congratulations for CHC winning SPJ’s Large Chapter of the Year Award, Freedom of Information Award, and Professional Development Award. He paid special tribute to President Ex-Officio Alejandra Cancino plus Kristen Schorch, FOI VP, and Maya, program VP.
Rob is working with Alex on creative ways to increase membership. They are open to suggestions. Rob’s goal is to break 400 this year.
Latest update = 232 Headline Club members, though HQ says 294 (3 requests for an audit since June, I’ll make a fourth request next week)
*We used to be 400 members [edior’s note: we almost reached 500 in the 1980s]– We’ve almost half our membership in 10 years.
*National members: 5,741, although that’s up bit. (220 new members during the drive period, 72 more than the same period last year. 607 renewing members during the drive, 311 more than the same period).
*CHC is mostly academics, retired, freelance.
*Almost no neighborhood news, foreign language or other media. Representation from journalists at tradition outlets could be much stronger.
*We need to change this.
So, we’re open to suggestions and we’ve got some branding efforts going right now. Alex’s committee has been brainstorming on how we get more people in the door. I’m hoping to move fast in this board year, so we can implement a lot of these efforts and have the momentum carry over into Alex’s presidency.
Rob, with another board member, wants to visit every newsroom and student chapter. Rob recruited six members recently How about the rest of us?

EIJ Conference: Because of CHC, SPJ at the national conference created a task force regarding sponsorships. This followed CHC’s objections to allowing entities such as Koch to steer programs via donations.
If you did not get an election ballot during the conference, notify Rob. He already knows many people did not.
Regarding discontent with operations at the national level, Rob raised the idea of CHC splitting away. Ben said things are bad now but he is optimistic they will improve. Susan agreed.
More CHC members need to attend these national conferences. Look at your calendars for next September.

Lobbying: Rob wants to be more proactive with the mayor, governor and attorney general.

Treasurer’s report: Greg said we had $81,976.57 in our JP Morgan Chase checking account and $5,156.38 in our savings account Aug. 30.

Programs: Mike said Saturday mornings have worked so well for attendance, he want to do more then. Such as a Saturday Skill Series almost monthly. Upcoming schedule: Oct. 19 – portfolio review. Nov. 23 – Excel training. Dec – holiday party. Jan 18 – how to further monetize your journalism such as turning it into a book. Feb 22 — FOIAFest. March 21- nontraditional media. April 18 – data hygiene. May 15 – Lisagor awards banquet. DePaul, Loyola and Columbia stepped forward as venues.

FOI: Maria is looking for FOIAFest helpers. Step forward. Also looking for speakers.

Watchdog: Jason notes we’ve received $10,000 every two years from the Driehaus Foundation for the Watchdog Award and grants. Driehaus is happy with us; its new chief indicates we might very well ask for more funding – and get it.

Rob motion: spend up to $200 for business cards, etc. Motion approved.

Rob motion: spend up to $300 for newsroom visits to pay for donuts, etc. Motion approved.

Lisagor: Madhu said a committee meeting will take place next week. Flynn, Mike, Ben and Rob will help.

Website: Rob paid $148 for and Motion approved to reimburse him.

Student outreach: Claire had a first getting-to-know-you meeting. Next meeting, next week, will be call-in.

Foundation: Susan reported we will have the Dec. 9 Toast the Truth reception/benefit at Macy’s Narcissus Room. Felicia Middlebrooks, who is on the CHC Foundation board, will co-host. I asked Bill Kurtis to be the other co-host. Haven’t received a response, but it’s early days. We’ll be asking you for a little help, such as setting up EventBrite and helping host. We hope to make a lot of money for scholarships, etc. Especially from people who can’t attend but have lots of discretionary income. Ideas about how to dig into the deep pockets? Will need multiple eblasts, tweets, Facebook postings.

Rob wants attention paid to the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Maybe schedule showing of “Bombshell” movie.

Motion: to spend $500 to co-sponsor the City Bureau Ball. Approved. Claire will go.

Meeting adjourned at 10 a.m. Next meeting: 9 a.m. Fri. Oct. 4 at Bloomberg.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary