CHC Board Meeting: March 6, 2020


Board of Directors meeting

Fri. March 6, 2020

President Rob Elder called the meeting to order. Also present: Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Amanda Vinicky, Tahman Bradley, Blair Chavis, Jason Martin, Mike Ewing, Susan S. Stevens, and on the phone Howard Dubin, Suzanne McBride, Stan Zoller, Christine Wolf, Madhu Krishnanurthy, Mike Schmiedeler and Michael Limon.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved as submitted by Susan.

President’s report: Rob once again urges us to recruit members, encouraging diversity and youth. He is trying to do more with downstate and suburban journalists. Two new members are in Springfield. We should do more outreach in general.

He said Maria Zamudio and Alejandra Cancino did an amazing job with FOIAFest.

Thanks to Jeff Black and Jason Wambsgans for photographing six board members for the “We Are the Headline Club” promotions.

Region 5 conference April 3-4 at Butler University in Indianapolis. Rob, and maybe Christine and Amanda, will attend. Board voted to approve expenses up to $400 for four people.

EIJ conference Sept. 10-12 in Washington D.C. Rob noted it is great for increasing skills and building coalitions. Board approved expenses up to $1,000 each for five people to attend. Rob is not sure he can go but encourages others.

Lisagor: Rob has received a good response to his invitation to past CHC presidents to have a free drink on us before Lisagor. Most will buy dinner tickets.

Programs: two are coming up. One is the “Bill Cunningham Story” at the Siskel. The other is Blockchain and Bitcoin/for Beginners April 9 at IPSOS.

Board voted to elect Madhu the immediate successor to Alex Hernandez, who resigned last month as membership VP and president-elect. Madhu will become president in July. Amanda will become membership VP and president-elect then.

They need to put together the rest of the slate by the April meeting. Flynn will chair the committee, with help from Madhu, Amanda and Mike Ewing.

Ethics Adviceline: Casey Bukro asks for contributions to EAL. He posts daily to its website as well as Facebook and Twitter. If anyone has ideas about other platforms where professional journalists hang out, contact him because maybe we could post there too. Sample link:

Kup Softball League: Board approved a $250 donation/sponsorship for the upcoming season.

Treasurer’s report: Greg reported $7,559 in checking and $74,133 in savings on Feb. 29, 2020. Lisagor entries brought in $29,000, SPJ dues $2,000, FOIAFest tickets $1,500.

Greg will become the SPJ Region 5 treasurer, in addition to his duties in the same post for CHC and CHC Foundation.

Membership: Rob is eblasting recent lapsed members.

Programs: Mike might do another data hygiene event in April. Rob and Amanda will explore doing an unemployment program toward the end of the month.

FOIAFest: Maria emailed this report:
We had a successful FOIA Fest. It was sold out weeks before the actual event.  We heard positive feedback during the conference, on social media and in emails.

We had 15 panels ranging in topics. We heard from 49 speakers, including a great keynote speaker. We had a diverse and inclusive conference. Half of the panelists were female and half were journalists of color. Speakers: 49, White:  22, JOC: 27, female: 25 

We sold 70 tickets. And we gave out 30 tickets to  journalists of color- most of those journalists attended FOIA fest for the first time.  

Andres Torres from McCormick [Foundation] attended  half of the conference and told me he was impressed. He requested a meeting with me after FOIA Fest to talk about next year.

I’m extremely grateful to Alejandra, Michael Limon and everyone who volunteered their time to make this year’s FOIA Fest a success. 

100th Anniversary for CHC starts in November. Who wants to be on a celebration committee?

Watchdog: Jason received record entry totals for both this year’s Watchdog Award and Watchdog Fund competitions. Board approved his committee’s unanimous choice for the fund’s $2,500 grant.

Columbia College; Suzanne said the campus chapter has become active, though she’s not sure if it has received full SPJ recognition. 


Recripocal judging: Tahman needed about 15 more categories judged. Several board members stepped forward. Tuesday’s deadline can be pushed another week.

Madhu said she is getting our results in, troubleshooting issues as they come from the judges who are reviewing our contest entries.

Tahman volunteered to MC the banquet. Amanda and Blair will announce the winners. 

Legacy committee: Rob wants to codify how-tos for various officers and committee chair positions. Amanda will work on it.

Meeting adjourned at 10:08 a.m. Next meeting: Fri. April 3.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary