CHC Board Meeting: March 5, 2021

Board of Directors meeting
Fri.March 5, 2021

President Madhu Krishnamurthy called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Also present via Zoom: Howard Dubin, Tahman Bradley, Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Ash-har Quaraishi, Jason Martin, Michael Limon, Maya Dukmasova, Christine Wolf, Amanda Vinicky, Maria Zamudio, Taylor Moore, Nader Issa, Blair Chavis, Suzanne McBride, Mike Ewing, Susan S. Stevens and Foundation President Molly McDonough.

Minutes of the February meeting were approved as submitted by Susan.

President’s report: Madhu said a panel is being finalized for a March 25 Zoom program on law enforcement sources and how journalists use them in reporting crime and immigration.

Discussion of funds from a Mike Royko book. We could use the money to increase scholarships, mentorships, internships, and for his beloved media softball league. Madhu will be back in touch with Gary Cole on this.

FOIAFest Boot Camp: Maria said of the 15 mentees, one-third were Latinx/Hispanic, one-third Black and one-third Asian. Same with mentors. A lot of really good feedback, with the only criticism being that the mentorship period is too short. Molly sent thanks to all mentors and mentees, with a free membership offer. She got great feedback.

Dan Haar, a Chicago Tribune editor who took a buyout, is interested in developing a mentoring program, and Madhu will discuss it further with him. This could extend the boot camp.

Maria said she wants to leave the board in April or May. She expressed burnout, and said she wished there were ways to avoid it. We thanked her for all of her work, and agreed burnout is an extensive problem.

Scholarships and internships: Madhu encouraged all of us to do PR to solicit applications. Molly and Mike have posted a lot lately that we can forward.

Covering Climate Now: A March 11 webinar for journalists new to climate reporting. Link is in our agenda. This not one of our programs but we should do some PR.

Lisagor: Tahman said by the weekend, Florida should have all of our Lisagor entries. Our reciprocals are about a month away. Madhu, Flynn and Molly said next year we should try again for Spanish categories.

Board nominations: Madhu is looking for replacements for Grace Wong and now Maria. Susan said a nominating committee should be formed about now anyway, to prepare for the 2021-22 year. Madhu and Amanda will take care of it. If you want to stay on the board or depart, email your preferences to them. Mike suggests a call for applications.

100th anniversary: Madhu said Rob Elder has sent several promotions. She’s looking for a videographer to do a short film.

Treasurer’s report: Greg said we’re at our highest bank balance of the year, as usual, with $92,000. FOIAFest took in $21,000; we spent $19,000. Lisagor entry fees total $28,000, down from $29,000 last year. Board approved a Lisagor budget.

Membership: Amanda said Northwestern University seeks speakers. SPJ’s president wants to do a Zoom meeting with us. She’ll set it up.

Programs: Taylor said the mental health program in January drew 60 people, though 150 signed up. This month: law enforcement. June: covering people of color with NINA. July/August; investigative reporting training.

FOIAFest: Nader said it was a big success, about three times more people than in past years. All ideas came to fruition. People from across the country attended. The percentage of women and people of color as presenters was about 60 percent for each. Half the attendees were non-journalists, one-third to one-half students. 82 percent attended for the first time. Good feedback from non-journalists. Good platform though a few glitches. Extensive congrats to Nader and his team.

Watchdog: Jason said his committee chose a winner for the $2,500 investigative reporting grant, and the board gave its OK. The winner is Thomas Hargrove of the Murder Accountability Project, who created an algorithm that groups suspiciously similar unsolved murders.
Three finalists were selected for the Watchdog Award, which will be unveiled along with Lisagor winners. Finalists are ProPublica Illinois for two works and WBBM CBS 2 for the third.

Meeting adjourned shortly after 10 a.m. Next meeting: Fri. April 2.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary