Board Minutes – 06/2000

B O A R D M I N U T E S

Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

June 21, 2000

PRESENT: Mary Myers, Howard Dubin, Diane Monk, Ilyce Glink, Paula Brien, Susan Stevens, Edward Cooper, Marcia Barancik, Rob Hess, Steve Rynkiewicz, Christine Tatum, Doug Cummings and Anna Marie Kukec. Casey Bukro by conference call. Also John McClelland and Chris Terry.

CALL TO ORDER: Rob Hess called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. This is his last meeting as club president before Barancik begins her term next month. Hess also distributed copies of Bob Roberts’ FOI report.

FOI REPORT: Briefly, Roberts’ written report focused on obtaining information from police authorities. One situation involved the arrest of an alleged cop impersonator accused of attacking Asian-American women, and the reluctance of the Niles police to release even the most minor details. In Evanston where five people were shot, one fatally, Cummings obtained most of the story by following police calls and talking with neighbors because police declined to provide details. Roberts also stated that Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan on June 1 sent police chiefs statewide a letter urging them to provide as little information as possible to reporters. Roberts also discussed the issue with Beth Bennett of the Illinois Press Association who is the SPJ Project Sunshine chair.

ETHICS REPORT: By phone, Bukro said that an account with Ameritech will be arranged so those with ethics questions have a place to call. A marketing plan is also being developed with the assistance of Loyola instructor Jim Burke, who has a marketing background. Hess said the club’s first expenditure on the ethics hotline is the marketing plan. We will also need to make newsroom contact and suggested sending a letter, which he is drafting. Myers said that marketing involves more than sending a letter. We need someone, like Phil Ponce, to host a discussion or program on ethics and then talk about the hotline. Barancik talked with some Internet trade associations about working with the Headline Club. She mentioned First Tuesday, which has offices in 30 countries. We could do a seminar on ethics and create a Web site for information. Bukro encouraged more such ideas.

BEHIND THE BADGE: Doug Cummings sent an e-mail report to Hess earlier in the day, which he summarized. The program will focus on the Illinois Supreme Court rules involving police coverage and the release of information. First, we’ll offer a national overview of police coverage. Speaker Ted Gest, a senior writer at U.S. News and World Report and founder of Criminal Justice Journalists, will discuss how reporters in other states are overcoming problems on the police beat. Second, a panel discussion will include police, state’s attorneys and reporters exploring the new court rules and their challenges. Next, an interactive presentation will provide interviewing techniques. Bonnie Bucqueroux of Michigan State University will offer tips. McDonough will work on a brochure to promote the program. Information will be sent to different newsrooms. However, we need to talk it up and use a variety of marketing approaches. Barancik asked Myers to assist with the marketing, and she agreed and will suggest a media plan. Cummings also asked for coverage in the Chicago Journalist and Quill. Besides newsrooms, others to contact may include local universities, other organizations and associations, radio, TV and specialty newspapers.

PAST PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Over the last year, Ilyce Glink and Paula Brien have talked with a number of grant-making organizations to sponsor our internship program, but have been turned down. They discussed other avenues and have developed the Internship Plus Program. Local newsrooms would contribute $1,000 a year for three to five interns. For example, if the Chicago Tribune contributes $1,000, then they can send possibly five interns to the Internship Plus Program. The Headline Club will invite the interns to club events and provide other networking opportunities, which includes extracurricular activities such as tours of newsrooms and social events focused on Chicago’s journalism scene. Students also can be groomed as future hires for the companies.

News organizations will donate the money into SPJ’s 501(c)3 fund. SPJ will hold the account, and Dubin will oversee its investing. In addition, the money can help fund the Mary McAndrew and the Kathy McClelland memorial scholarships. In five years, the Internship Plus Program is expected to be self-supporting. The program can start next year with two to three newsrooms and five to eight interns. Different groups of interns will come in about three times a year according to fall/spring/summer semesters.

A brochure can be developed to promote the program. Brien and Glink will then discuss the program with various newsroom leaders.

In other business, Glink said that 10 people attended the Personal Finance Night. While attendance was low, the program went well.

PRESIDENT-ELECT REPORT: Barancik said that we should build relationships with a broad range of different media outlets, including other journalism-based associations and trade groups. We could cross-market each other’s programs or even co-sponsor some. Rynkiewicz suggested the Online News Association, which is working on issues related to doing news on the Internet. Others were suggested, which Barancik will review.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Dubin said that the club accounts are the same as last month’s report. In addition, he reported that SPJ has a wonderful new headquarters in Indianapolis and more stability for its employees. Also, SPJ has stock, which went up about $2 million and interest on that money is available for grants. If the Headline Club has a project with an educational purpose, then we could tap into a grant. National is also asking local chapters to support the new headquarters. For the donation, chapters will receive its name on the main door plaque; acknowledgement in Quill and the organization’s annual report; a framed certificate to display at chapter meetings; and pride in the sponsorship. Tatum motioned that the Headline Club contribute $2,000 to SPJ and Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; seconded by Stevens. Motion passed by voice vote.

Hess said the donation is worthwhile and encouraged the board to support SPJ. He also placed a motion on the floor: Be it resolved that all dues-paying Chicago Headline Club members must maintain active SPJ membership by paying their national dues. Motion seconded by Dubin. Passed by voice vote.

MEMBERSHIP: Tatum said that our records are in a disgraceful state involving updates and new members. Dubin said that national sends quarterly lists which are difficult to determine which are new local members. However, Dubin believes the mailing list is in good shape. A disk is available from national to provide us with more detailed information, such as geographic area and who is a local member. Barancik added that Stevens would spearhead a new membership directory.

CHICAGO JOURNALIST: No report.

WEB SITE: Rynkiewicz said that the Web site has steadily increasing traffic and has hit on the right formula for the amount of content for various pages, including Chicago Journalist. Next, he will look at making changes on the membership area to help with recruitment. Dubin suggested placing an application form on the site. Rynkiewicz agreed and will also look into encryption for using credit cards to pay membership dues through the site.

SECRETARY’S REPORT: Cooper handed over the secretarial duties to Kukec. Hess noted that the May 24, 2000, board meeting minutes should be corrected because he was quoted but not at the meeting. Dubin motioned to accept the minutes as corrected; seconded by Tatum. Motion passed by voice vote. Hess then motioned to accept the election minutes of May 26, 2000; seconded by Rynkiewicz. Approved by voice vote.

OTHER BUSINESS: Tatum said that SPJ’s Jim Gray was informed by member Belle Allen that she felt the Headline Club held an illegal election and may file a formal complaint. The board election was held prior to the Brown Bag lunch program on May 26, which was considered a general membership meeting, instead of the usual Lisagor dinner program. McClelland said that we should address how elections are handled. Hess asked if McClelland would look into the matter, and McClelland agreed. Hess motioned to appoint McClelland to check into Allen’s complaint. Motion passed by voice vote.

Hess said that on June 19, the Lake County Journalists Association received their board approval to became a satellite chapter of the Chicago Headline Club in Lake County, Ill. This group will help us with recruiting and programming in that area.

While Hess encouraged growth of our organization in outlying areas, Stevens stressed that we cannot expect board members and others who are distant from downtown Chicago to attend every meeting. McClelland suggested that national should provide a standard for satellite chapters and intends to cultivate his own northwest suburban area for membership and club activities.

Hess said that Barancik would set a date for the President’s Brunch in July.

Dubin noted e-mails distributed among board members revealed little enthusiasm about holding a national convention in Chicago. The extraordinary amount of work, dedication and planning three years in advance would be a burden. He asked if it’s the consensus of the board to respectfully decline hosting the national convention. The board agreed.

ADJOURNMENT: Tatum motioned to adjourn the meeting; seconded by Monk and Rynkiewicz. Passed by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Submitted by Anna Marie Kukec

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