Board Minutes – 08//2007

CHICAGO HEADLINE CLUB
Board of Directors Meeting
August 22, 2007

President Kristen McQueary called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m, in Bloomberg’s offices at 111 S. Wacker Drive.

Present: Meeting host Steve Walsh, Nate Hernandez, Kathy Catrambone, Dawn Reiss, Howard Schlossberg, Lisa Donovan, Jane Hirt, Howard Dubin, Deborah Cohen, Susan S. Stevens, Tony Noce, Laura Putre and Phil Kadner
Attending by telephone: Bonnie McGrath, Jason Jedlinski
Special guest presenter: Casey Bukro

Minutes of the last meeting were approved.

VP of Membership: Kristen McQueary asked for a motion to appoint Susan S. Stevens as vice president of membership. A motion was made, seconded, and approved.

Treasurer’s report: Howard Dubin provided the Treasurer’s Report, indicating that the Club was in the slowest time of the year.

Driehaus update: Kristen McQueary and Howard Dubin provided an update and explanation of the Driehaus Foundation funds, which include up to $10,000 in awards to investigative journalists needing funding, as well as and the annual Watchdog Award for Public Interest Reporting. Driehaus would like us to publicize more. Laura Putre said she would help get the word out to smaller newsrooms throughout the area. Dawn Reiss mentioned that she is working on putting together a panel discussion for freelancers at Columbia College on Sept. 25 or Oct. 2 at 6:30 or 7:00 pm with the help of Howard Schlossberg. It was agreed that discussion and publicity for Driehaus could be folded in.

Membership database: Deb Cohen mentioned that events such as the freelance panel are good opportunities for capturing prospective members to put into our MemberClicks database. The board discussed whether we should continue to maintain the MemberClicks site, which Howard said costs around $150 per month. Jason Jedlinski highlighted the benefits of MemberClicks that we have not yet marketed. Jason said he would follow up, and explore some ways to better promote the directory. He will also look at other options of where to host our Web site.

Freelance Event: Dawn Reiss fleshed out her vision for the freelance event, which she sees as an ongoing activity where editors and writers can interact and gain a better understanding of each other’s needs. Possible topics for discussion would be contracts and protecting rights on materials freelances produce.

Brownlee Series Kickoff: Nate Hernandez began an overview of upcoming events, beginning with the Kickoff Party at the home of Les Brownlee’s widow, Priscilla MacDougall, on Sunday, Aug. 26, in Evanston. Susan Stevens provided an overview of Les Brownlee as well as Priscilla’s involvement with the Headline Club. The suggested donation is $10 for regular attendees, $5 for students.

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Nate Hernandez confirmed that the club has a commitment from former NPR radio host Bob Edwards to speak at the Lifetime Achievement Awards on Oct. 19. Howard Dubin suggested raising admission prices to cover costs. After discussion, Howard made a motion to raise the price of an individual ticket to $75 and a group table to $700. The motion was seconded and approved by the board. Susan Stevens said that committee, chaired by Bernie Judge, was still deliberating on the recipients, and provided some details on those being reviewed. There was discussion of whether or not to have video biographies of the honorees this year. A motion was made to hire the same contractor who did the work last year, for a cost of about $1,200. The motion was seconded and approved by the board.

Membership: Susan Stevens provided a quick overview of some near-term membership goals and asked that each board member distribute some promotional information to their respective newsrooms. Also, she asked that everyone keep her posted on upcoming events so she can promote them.

Student Scholarship Update: Jane Hirt said she had spoken with the Asian American Journalists Association about getting matching funds for a summer scholarship program at Chicago Tribune.com. Jane said the committee is also working on a mentoring event for students where they would learn job interviewing skills that will help them land their first job. The committee is also working on putting together an online mentoring program that would match students with professionals in their specialty areas.

PR Newswire: Howard Schlossberg gave an overview of our alliance with PR Newswire and past panels that we have provided. We’ve had two sessions so far this year. The third session was cancelled. PR Newswire has indicated that they don’t want to work with the Headline Club anymore. Dawn volunteered to talk to PR Newswire and see where things stand.

Ethics and AdviceLine Update: Co-Chair Casey Bukro asked for the board’s help in finding his replacement as ethics chair as he prepares to step down. Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists, in conjunction with its partner Loyola University, has logged more than 500 calls since its founding in 2001. AdviceLine continues to reach out with promotional efforts. Casey asked that we begin considering nominees for this year’s Ethics in Journalism Award (No award was given last year). Casey is considering writing a book, based on case studies generated by calls to the AdviceLine.

NFL protest letter: Kristen McQueary provided an overview of the NFL’s latest advertising gimmick, which requires photojournalists to wear vests that include the logos of NFL sponsors. After some discussion, it was decided that the Headline Club would issue a press release under the president’s name about our position against this practice and why it violates journalistic practices.

Next meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Bloomberg’s offices at 111 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 4950.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah L. Cohen

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