CHC Board Meeting: May 1, 2020

Board of Directors meeting
Fri. May 1, 2020

President Rob Elder called the meeting to order. Also present: Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Amanda Vinicky, Jason Martin, Mike Ewing, Susan S. Stevens, Suzanne McBride, Stan Zoller, Madhu Krishmarthy, Howard Dubin, Tahman Bradley, Maria Zamudio, Alejandra Cancino and Ben Meyerson. All of us were on a Zoom conference call.

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

President’s report: Rob said the Dubin Foundation will underwrite new members and renewals for every Lisagor finalist (376), as well as those who applied for our $500 grants for struggling journalists (104). Caroline Escobar and Linda Hall at SPJ headquarters have offered a reduced rate of $50 per national SPJ professional membership, a savings of 33%. This will bolster our falling membership, now around 250, considerably. This will be a $24,000 gift and will be run through the Chicago Headline Club Foundation. Board applauded Howard.

Board voted to waive our normal $20 local dues for these members and renewals.

Alejandra noted we need to work hard to get these people to renew next year.

Grants for distressed journalists have been flowing. Greg said he paid out $42,500, and is 85% done. Of 113 applications, 93 were approved. He has received some heartbreaking stories, and many thanks. Rob said Greg has done a ton of work on this. Rob is pushing it out on social media every other day, and on in-between days asking for donations. Greg has received $147 in contributions. SPJ HQs liked our program so well it has largely adopted it.

Proposed national sponsorship policy to reject money from such as Koch: SPJ board voted to support the task force proposal which Rob said 14-15 other chapters joined. It’s important to line up votes for the final decision at EIJ 2020. Rob wrote about the new policy here:

On a related issue, board gave its OK to Rob’s letter to Poynter to urge it to stop accepting funds from Koch. He will send the letter privately; we might later make it public.

We have a new source for CHC products: Threadless. Rob said they give us a better deal and products than CafePress. See face masks, etc. at

We joined the Citizens Advocacy Center’s effort to keep officials honoring FOIA requests during the pandemic, thanks to Stan.

New board: With the departures of Ben, Stan and Mike Schmeideler, three newcomers have accepted invitations.
1) Ash-har Quraishi, National Correspondent at The E.W. Scripps Company
2) Grace Wong, Food & Dining Reporter at Chicago Tribune
3) Raza Siddiqui, photojournalists for NBC 5 and vice president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians
Board approved the slate but gave Madhu time to sort out who will be vice presidents of programs and FOI.

Rob will announce Lifetime Achievement winners Wednesday. They are Clarence Waldron of Jet and Jim DeRogatis of WBEZ and the Sun-Times. Rob will be working toward a video announcing them and other usual Lisagor Night winners.

Rob thanks Christine Wolf for her great work on job-hunting tips and videos. See

Let Rob know if you have done any service to the journalism community outside CHC, so he can put it in the annual report.

Five “We are the Headline Club” photos have been posted, with more coming.

Sensitivity training conference will be a webinar May 20. CHC board joined the CHCF board in each approving $150, a total of $300, for the training. All of us should log in. Details to come.

Treasurer’s report: Greg said we got a $772.50 dues check from HQs, got a $250 check to the media softball league returned, sent $25,000 to CHC for half the journalist hardship program, and paid $1,200 to the Lisagor coordinator who is still working on plaques and other non-dinner coordination. A contract with the Union League Club for May 14, 2021 was signed Our $3,750 deposit for this year was applied to next year.

Programs: Rob said the three teleconferences went great. The smallest drew 25 people. The last one had 81 people signed up but only 34 tuned in. All are on the website. We got 200 new leads for member recruitment.

Brownlee Scholarship and the two intern grants: Susan said application deadlines for all have been extended to June 1. Alert any qualified individuals or not-for-profit newsrooms.

Next meeting: 9 a.m. Fri. June 5. Location TBA.

Susan S. Stevens, secretary