CHC Board Minutes: December 6, 2019


Board of Directors meeting

Dec. 6, 2019

President Rob Elder called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Also present: Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Susan S. Stevens, and on the phone Stan Zoller, Ben Meyerson, Howard Dubin, Amanda Vinicky, Maya Dukmasova, Suzanne McBride, Alejandra Cancino, Maria Zamudio, Madhu Krishnamurthy and Christine Wolf.

Ben emphasized the need to recruit members. Several board members have recruited people recently – but many more are needed to keep this organization viable. He also announced SPJ gave CHC a $250 grant for FOIAFest.

Maria said she should have a FOIAFest keynote speaker confirmed next week. In addition to the SPJ grant, she got $5,500 from the McCormick Foundation to work toward diversity at the fest. The date is Feb. 22. Maria can use more program help.

Discussion about the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s offer of money for the fest: it gets funds from Koch among others. Board rejected the offer.

Rob said the SPJ task force on sponsorships had its first meeting, which he described as a 90-minute goat rodeo. Here’s video of the first meeting:
He urged board members to fill out the SPJ survey at and list yourselves as “chapter member”

“Bombshell” viewing will be a week from Monday, followed by “Richard Jewell.”

Treasurer’s report: Greg said the $3,800 Better BNC payment for Lisagor was the only big expenditure. The pivot tables program brought in about $300. As of Nov. 30, we had $5,861 in checking and $73,974 in savings. Full report at

Board approved a $400 expenditure to our accountant to file the annual 990 tax form.

Programs: Rob said the Museum of Broadcast Communications will host our Jan. 11 program “Build Your Brand.” The pivot table training drew about a dozen people. A couple were out of their depth. Suggest two-tier training in the future.

Branding: Rob wants a new “We are the Headline Club” promotion before the end of the year. He’s reaching out to Jason Wambsgams.

Lisagor: Madhu requested $3,800 to pay Kathy Catrambone to handle the dinner, an increase from $3,500 this year. Board approved. Madhu will send around a budget of $22,400 for approval. The entry form should be at the printer by Monday, online within seven days. Tahman Bradley will handle the huge reciprocal judging task again.

Watchdog: Jason Martin emailed this report:

* I started a Twitter thread sharing the product of the 2018 Watchdog Fund recipient’s funded work, Borderless, and calling for 2019 entries for the award and fund

* The call is open and it’s prime time to recruit entries for the Fund and Award. Thanks to Mike for updating via the website.

Watchdog Fund grant for freelance and investigative journalism

Watchdog Award for public interest journalism

Submissions are due Jan. 20, 2020.

For the Fund, we’re focusing this year on increasing quantity of entries so please share with freelancers and other folks working at places that could use a boost to fund their reporting.
For the Award, I will again personally recruit prior submitters and editors at all the Chicago area organizations to submit as I’ve done in years past.

Headline Club members are welcome to share the calls for the Fund and Award via social media and at our upcoming social events.
Sample copy:
1.) Chicago area journalists: Get $2,500 from @headlineclub to support your investigative reporting. Freelancers, non-profit and small newsroom entries especially welcome. Apply by Jan. 20. See details:
2.) Enter your best investigative reporting from 2019 and win $2,500 through the @headlineclub Watchdog Award. Entries due Jan. 20. Full details:

Newsroom visits: Flynn said Bloomberg people expressed appreciation at his pitch and donuts. He notes Bloomberg is one company that subsidizes memberships. Christine met with the Medill chapter, and said their enthusiasm was refreshing. More newsroom visits are planned.

Board adopted two resolutions:
CHC stands with the Indiana Pro SPJ Chapter in calling in an open letter on Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb to stop using cease-and-desist letters to threaten press freedom.

CHC also stands with Government Information Watch in calling on the National Archives to make its public records available to everyone.

CHC Foundation: Susan reminded everyone that the Toast the Truth reception is Monday at 5:30 p.m. See the Walnut Room Christmas tree next door to the Narcissus Room where we will meet. RSVPs are scarce. Please come.

Rob adjourned the meeting at 9:53 a.m. Next meeting: Fri. Jan. 3.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary