Category Archives: Minutes

Board Minutes – 05/2012

Chicago Headline Club

Board of Directors meeting

May 11, 2012

President Stephen Franklin called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.

Present: Steve, Rob Elder, Kristen Schorsch, Odette Yousef, Alden Loury, Lolly Bowean, Aimee DeBat, Susan S. Stevens, Abdon Pallasch (by phone and then in person), and by phone, Howard Dubin, Fabiola Pomareda Garcia and Beth Konrad.

President’s report: Steve is getting better each day from his surgery. He said Lisagor was a stupendous event and Alden gave a great speech that really brought us together. About 339 people attended. Videos were great, making a speaker unnecessary. For next year, Rob suggests we just name the winners and put the finalists on the screen. 

May 25 at the Siskel Center, we will co-sponsor a documentary about attacks on Mexican journalists. More information will be in an eblast.

National high school journalism contest has asked us to judge. We will ask Anna Tarkov to handle.

Amy Lee will take over the JobFile from Fabiola, who is departing for Costa Rica.

Steve wants the website to include other journalism groups. Beth said she and Suzanne McBride can have two students.

Programs: Aimee has 16 RSVPs for the NATO session tomorrow. Odette has room for 40. She asks for a last-minute push on publicity. Students will be admitted free if they show IDs.

Membership: Susan for Rummana Hussain (at the Balfour trial) said CHC membership as of this morning totaled 330. That’s way down. The 48 who accepted free memberships at Lisagor last year are off the list. But we’ve lost more than them. Roughly a year ago, we had 401 members. The good news, and there is some, that we’ll grow by 32 when SPJ adds this year’s free Lisagor memberships.

However, we will still be down considerably. We all need to pitch in on winning new members and retaining old ones. It is not something the Membership VP can do all by herself. If any of you need more brochures, ask Aimee or me for them. I suggest that Rummana divide up the lapsed-member CHC list from SPJ among CHC board members, giving each of us two letters two letters of the alphabet to phone to urge people to renew. A one-minute pitch is good for all the voice-mails we’ll have to deal with. A similar pitch should go via email to those whose phone numbers are out of date. But always personal contact is best, Phones are second, emails third in retention and recruitment. Also, we need to pitch non-members who won Lisagors or were finalists if they didn’t sign up for free memberships at the banquet. This is an annual task, a big one. Aimee will help sort them out.

Kristen said the membership form should go online. Can Howard’s graphics guy redesign it so it looks nice on the Web. Then can Jon Seidel or Gary Kopycinski load it?

Further Lisagor: Aimee said entries brought in $21,490 and dinner tickets $20,331 for a total of $41,811. (Dinners cost $47 a plate.) She does not have all the bills yet, and will have a fuller report at the next meeting.

Susan made a motion to appropriate $200 to Kathy Catrambone, our former executive director, for all the help she provided Aimee in preparing for Lisagor. Board increased the amount to $300. And we give Kathy our continued sincere thanks.

CHC Foundation: Susan said it brought in $262 at the Lisagor book and bag sale. Thanks to Rob Hess for his salesmanship, Howard Dubin and Rob Elder for their donations. Rob Elder would like to have a silent auction next year (as would Susan). It was a straight sale this year because of uncertain logicstics. Steve said he still plans a second Scribe Aid. Board discussed raising money for CHCF by staging or participating in a run next fall. Odette will investigate.

Minutes: approved as submitted.

FOI: Alden said he is working with the web developer to get the FOI site up. The blogger and researcher are on board, with three initial posts for the developer to put in a mock-up. He will send the mock-up to the board to take a look.

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

Next meeting: 9 a.m. Fri. June 8 at Bloomberg.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio and interim secretary

Board Minutes – 04/2012

Chicago Headline Club

Board of Directors meeting

Fri. April 13, 2012

President Steve Franklin called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. Present: Steve, Howard Dubin, Flynn McRoberts, Rob Elder, Odette Yousef, Abdon Loury, Fabiola Pomareda Garcia, Aimee DeBat and Susan S. Stevens; by phone Randi Belisomo, Rumanna Hussain, Beth Konrad and Abdon Pallasch.

President’s report: Steve said the trauma and FOI workshops were great, thanks to Randi and Odette.

He will miss the Lisagor banquet because of April 24 surgery at Northwestern Hospital to remove a growth on a salivary gland. Alden will do the welcome.

We have withdrawn Bill Mullen as a Lifetime Award winner because he won previously. (He took it graciously.) So, we will have two Lifetime winners.

For the incoming board, Steve suggested Alejandro Escalona and Hugh Delios. Brian Pitts, Fabiola (returning to Costa Rica) and George Garties are among the board members not returning. The board’s nominating committee needs to get a slate of officers and new board members to the board for its OK by April 20, and then the membership meets to be advised of the slate that same day. That’s according to bylaws. Members can vote on the slate or make nominations from the floor Lisagor Night.

Minutes of the last meeting were approved. (All approved minutes should go on

FOI committee: Alden sent Glen Reedus a contract and has draft contracts for Lizzie Schiffman and Adam Verwymeren. Glen ($2,250) will develop an FOIA guide, Lizzie ($10,000) will compile a FOIA blog, Adam will build a FOIA ($750) website. This will be done with McCormick Foundation funds left over from the Access Survey. Tentative May 1 site launch. Board approved the three contracts.

Program committee: Odette will organize a session to train journalists covering the NATO conference. Email your suggested speakers to her. She also will plan a May Burger Nite.

Executive director’s report: Aimee needs more Lisagor volunteers. Fabiola and former board member Bonnie McGrath will help check in guests. Kristen Schorsch will help set up plaques. Alden and Howard will pass out awards as Randi and Rumanna will again announce the finalists and winners. Susan will fill in wherever needed. We think Steve Edwards will again be emcee.

Aimee asked board members to make calls to sell Lisagor tables and individual tickets. She will make assignments.

Digital report: Aimee reported for Jon Seidel, with word about success in putting Lisagor entries, judging and ticket-purchases online this year for the first time. However, costs have gone up. We appealed to Gary Kopycinski, who built our website, when First Data failed to provide the pay portal we needed for tickets. Gary did the work good and fast. We should pay Gary $1,280 for this. Motion to approve passed. We did not discuss Jon’s request for a new contract with Gary to update our software. (New business next meeting?)

Membership committee: Rumanna has sent a bunch of emails. Howard and Steve will prepare a new membership recruitment brochure, which will be ready for Lisagor.

Treasurer’s report: Flynn said we have $102,000.

CHC Foundation: Susan asked again if we would approve $2,500 for scholar-internships. Motion carried. She is still seeking donations for a silent auction at Lisagor. So far, books and bags. Thanks, Rob and Howard, for their contributions!

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

Next meeting: May 11

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio and acting secretary

Board Minutes – 03/2012

Chicago Headline Club

Board of Directors meeting

Fri. March 9, 2012

President Steve Franklin called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. at Bloomberg News. Present: Aimee DeBat, Kristen Schorsch, Flynn McRoberts, Alden Loury, Abdon Pallasch, Susan S. Stevens, and by phone Howard Dubin, Odette Yousef, Beth Konrad, Fabiola Pomareda and Rumanna Hussain.

President’s welcome: Steve said we need a nominating committee of at least three members to slate officers and board members for the coming year. He said volunteers should contact him within three days. (Howard stepped forward later.) Also, Steve said, we have a listserve and asked if we want to use it.

Executive director’s report: Aimee said we brought in $21,490 on Lisagor entries. Postage and mailing are down because of the switch to online judging. She expects results by April 15. Dinner prices: $75 for members, $85 for non-members, $800 for a table of 10. Steve Edwards will again be emcee. Rumanna and Randi Bellisomo will be asked to present awards again.

Watchdog Award: Kristen said she has 19 entries. Tony Noce is rounding up the final vote.

Keegan Award: Susan said the committee reports nine excellent entries and will submit the winner shortly. They will provide their own award, and a short video about Anne. Anne’s husband, Leonard Aronson, said later he will present it.

Lifetime Awards: Abdon said the committee nominated Mary Ann Ahern of NBC-5, William McMullen, retired from the Tribune, and Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times. The board approved the nominations.

FOI: Alden will write an op-ed on the eavesdropping cases, asking that most things in the current law affecting journalists be removed. He has contracts going to two people: Glen Reedus, who will create our FOI guide, and Lissie Schiffman, who will create our new blog. May 1 is the proposed launch date.

Programs: Odette said 10-12 people attended the first revival of Burger Nite, which she said was a nice event. A new venue will be considered.

            Odette also reported:

— March 17 FOI training: about 25 people signed up at IIT-Kent Law School.

— March 27 No RSVP announcement for the trauma event at Loyola.

— April 5 Steve said SPJ will provide a trainer on how to use smart phones in reporting. It will be at Community Media Workshop.

— Odette has not been able to reach Jake Perrillo about a Google event. Steve will try. Maybe June.

— Steve and Flynn hope for a second Scribe Aid in late June at the Heartland Café.

— Probably Sat. April 21 will be the date for a NATO training event. Venue to be decided.

Membership: Rumanna reports 372 CHC members, but possibly 399.

Treasurer’s report: Flynn said we have $104,603 in the treasury, taking in $23,000 in February between Lisagor and membership. We received SPJ’s quarterly check for local dues, a total of $1,300.

Website: Aimee said Jon Seidel is working on a pay portal for Lisagor dinner tickets.

Minutes of the February meeting were approved.

CHC Archives Susan reported our former Chicago Journalist co-editor, John McClelland, husband of CHCF President Diane Monk McClelland, has finished digitizing all of our archives and sent them to Newberry Library, which will catalog them and make them available to the public. We hope some researchers will make use of them. John also will put the archives on a memory stick that will reside in the box of incomplete paper archives which I have. I have emailed you a list of what we and Newberry have.

CHC Foundation Susan said Randi Belisomo has been hard at work on collecting applications for the $2,500 scholarship (1) and intern-scholarships (2). The CHCF board will meet April 26 to choose the winners, who can be announced at Lisagor. We voted to increase the amounts $3,000 to each next year, to better help students. However, we are concerned about the small revenue stream. Our annual fundraiser at Priscilla Ruth MacDougall’s will be Sun. Aug. 26, but brought in only about $1,500 last year. To increase the intake, CHCF will conduct a silent auction this year during the Lisagors. Rob Hess will staff the tables. Howard Dubin will provide signs. All we need from the CHC board is for Aimee to arrange for at least two adjoining tables. And, if anyone has anything they would like to donate, Susan will happily accept it. So far, we have such things as journalism related tote bags, books, City News visors. I hope we can raise $2,000, but need more contributions.

            Howard asked that CHC appropriate $5,000 toward the scholar-internships, as it has done in years past. Beth asked that a vote be delayed until next month.

Lovejoy Memorial grant Susan distributed background on SPJ’s work to honor the first American martyr to Freedom of the Press, a monument in Alton that was stolen years ago. She asked if CHC would appropriate $500 toward replacement; She also is asking the SDX Foundation to give the same, and the St. Louis SPJ chapter will contribute. So will others in Alton. Board approved the $500 for this SPJ National Historic Site. Steve said SIU Carbondale might be reviving its SPJ chapter (which was involved in the first Lovejoy monument), and Bill Freivogel is the contact.

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

Next meeting: 9 a.m. Fri. April 13 at Bloomberg.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio

Interim secretary

Board Minutes – 02/2012

Chicago Headline Club

Board of  Directors meeting minutes

Fri. Feb. 10, 2012


President-elect Alden Loury filled in for Stephen Franklin and called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Present: Alden Loury, Aimee DeBat, Kristen Schorsch, Abdon Pallasch, Odette Yousef, Flynn McRoberts.  By phone: Fabiola Pomareda, Beth Konrad, Rob Elder.


Aimee was asked to be acting secretary and accepted. Still need a permanent secretary.


Alden talked about Steve Franklin who was trying to set a meeting with Lori Healey for the G8.  Also Steve and Alden met with Mark Hallett of the McCormick Foundation a couple of weeks ago and gave an update on the FOI grant.


Alden said Hallett mentioned that the McCormick Foundation was dedicating $2 million a year (it’s for three years, I believe, a total of $6 million), to support news literacy efforts in Chicago. “We’d like to bring news literacy efforts to scale in Chicago,” he said. McCormick would issue an RFP on Feb. 21st, seeking requests until April 1st. He thought the effort might be a good fit for the Headline Club and the BGA.


McCormick has provided the Headline Club with $13,000 to construct a FOI website and guide for journalists and others. It will provide information on how to reach other resources and provide assistance and how to use public access. 


The two people identified for hired are: Glen Reedus, editor of the Chicago Crusader for the FOI guide and social media guru Lissie Schiffman of the Huffington Post to provide content for the blog (Which will provide ongoing coverage of the FOI and media access issues as a part of the website). Alden will be assisting them, but other Headline Club members are welcome to provide content or ideas for the website and blog.


There is a public hearing on access for the G8 conference coming up. 



Alden said Steve had responded and will make an appearance at one of the public hearings in March, probably the second hearing.  Beth thought it was important to write a letter  and that we are on top of this and active as an organization.   She thought we should follow what happening in Springfield with the eavesdropping act.


It was decided Alden would write a letter and go on record stating the Headline Club greatly supports this. She said it is important to be vocal and support this.


Odette stated that we were bringing back Burger Night at the Billy Goat Feb 23rd.


Flynn brought up the three day Poynter workshop with Dick Longworth for the Council of Global Affairs and thought we should be a part of it. There was talk of adding a session.


Kristen announced there were 14 Watchdog Award entries and she had secured Tony Noce, Suzanne McBride and Adrienne Samuels-Gibbs to help judge. There as further discussion of asking a few more journalists.


Next there was a decision of having a speaker at the Lisagors. It was voted to have no speaker.


Next meeting is March 9, 2012.


Meeting adjourned at 11 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Aimee DeBat

Board Minutes – 01/2012

Chicago Headline Club

Board of Directors meeting

Fri. Jan. 13, 2012 at Bloomberg

President Stephen Franklin called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. at Bloomberg News. Present: Steve, Odette Yousef, Brian Pitts, Suzanne McBride, Aimee DeBat and Susan Stevens. By phone: Howard Dubin, Rob Elder, Kristen Schorsch, Randi Belisomo, Beth Konrad, Fabiola Pomareda and Rumanna Hussain.

President’s welcome: Steve said the informal meeting at his home Sun. Jan. 8 was a great gathering. Board members got to know each other, had a positive discussion of priorities. He would like to do it twice a year.

Minutes of the December meeting were approved.

FOI: Steve said Alden has some ideas about people to hire for our continued access work.

Programs: Odette expanded on plans:

– Jan. 24 Medill event covering elections

– Jan. 25 Loyola event concerning access

-Feb. 19 Rob’s movie screening

Also in February: resumption of monthly/bimonthly Burger Nites on Thursday at Billy Goat’s. Date to be decided at upcoming Program Committee meeting.

-March 10 will be the FOI training at IIT-Kent.

-March 27 workshop at Loyola on how journalists can cope with trauma suffered on the job. Dr. Frank Ochberg, psychotraumatology expert, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, and Loyola Prof. Julia Lieblich, DART Center fellow, will speak.

-Also in March, we hope to do a Google presentation. Rob will delay his use of social media in reporting until summer.

-April training on how to cover protests in anticipation of G8/NATO summits. Steve would like to produce a how-to pamphlet. He also plans to do an op-ed piece. Randi is trying to meet with the interagency task force and has tried to get a meeting set. Steve will write to further that effort.

-Steve and Flynn plan Scribe Aid II after Lisagor.

-Brian will organize a fall program on careers for displaced journalists.

Executive director’s report: Aimee has almost finished an unexpectedly huge volume of work preparing for on-line Lisagor contest submissions. Should be ready to go Monday. (Actually was up during the weekend and promoted!)  Lisagor committee met in the past week; Abdon said it was unlikely a new Sun-Times owner would speak at Lisagor and to go ahead and ask Peter Sagal. Committee is calling people to encourage them to enter Lisagor.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

Next meeting: Fri. Feb. 10 at Bloomberg

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio and interim secretary

Board Minutes – 12/2011

Chicago Headline Club

Board of Directors meeting

Fri. Dec. 16, 2011

President Stephen Franklin called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. Present: Kristen Schorsch, Suzanne McBride, Howard Dubin, Fabiola Pomareda, Abdon Pallasch, Odette Yousef, Flynn McRoberts, Beth Konrad, Susan S. Stevens, and by phone Alden Loury, Rumanna Hussain, Rob Elder, Aimee DeBat.

Susan was asked to be acting secretary and accepted. Still need a permanent secretary, also several committee chairs.

President’s report: Steve knows someone who might do the FOI directory of officials in the 5-county area, which will be funded by the McCormick Foundation access grant. He also is looking for someone to do the upcoming FOI website of news about local, county and state government. These will be paid positions. We’d also like to do a list of experts for the website.

Discussion of U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s decision to not require Tribune and Sun-Times reporters to disclose notes of interviews with Cellini trial jury. Steve and Beth already have been quoted in the papers. We decided to issue a statement, saying it’s not good enough for the ruling to have been because the judge didn’t think the notes contained anything important. Susan will draft statement and send it to Steve, Alden, Abdon and Beth to OK before distribution. (Done Sun. Dec. 18.)

Programs: the Sun-Times Pulitzer winners drew about 30 people for a panel discussion. Abdon noted it was the first time all three were together to talk about it. Susan did an article that’s on

We have planned and need to publicize:

–Jan. 24 We will co-sponsor with the Northwestern student chapter a pre-election program with the Knight News Innovation Lab at Medill’s downtown campus.

–Jan. 25 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. We will co-sponsor with the Loyola student chapter an appearance by Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy. Regents Auditorium in Lewis Towers, 820 N. Michigan Ave.

–A “boot camp” will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on a Saturday in February or March, with a Google presentation and Rob Elder on the use of social media in reporting. We hope to have this at the Google office.

— Also in February, FOI training with the Illinois Press Association and Chicago-Kent College of Law, at Kent.

— Scribe Aid has been delayed until warmer weather.

Brian Pitts has declined to be Program Committee chairman. Odette has agreed to step up.

Executive Director’s report: Aimee sent a copy of the Lisagor mailing to board members to check. She will send it soon. She has input all of the information needed for online judging. New this year because it will be possible with the online conversion: a single entry can be submitted in multiple categories. Additional fees will be charged.

            Lisagor entry deadline: Feb. 8.

            Next year, we will add a criminal justice category.

            SPJ will pay for 400 mailings, we have to pay for the rest.

            Speaker for banquet was discussed. Ira Glass will be asked.

Website: Jon Seidel reported via Aimee that he and Steve met to discuss updates. Jon is highlighting member services and adding internals.

Watchdog grants: We agreed with Kristen’s recommendation to give freelancer John Wasik $1,500 for a probe of the cosmetics industry. Wasik is a veteran journalist; we hope to inspire more newcomers to apply for this Driehaus Foundation funding for independent investigations.

Meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

Immediate past president

Board Minutes – 10/2011

Chicago Headline Club

Board meeting

Oct. 21, 2011

President ex-officio Susan S. Stevens called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m. President-Elect Alden Loury presided later.

Present: Aimee DeBatt, Rob Elder, Howard Dubin, Alden Loury, Susan S. Stevens, and by phone Randi Belisomo, Suzanne McBride, Beth Konrad and Abdon Pallasch. (Both Amy Lee and Anna Tarkov have new babies and took the day off. We congratulate them and hope they are back with us soon!)

Fabiola Pomareda and Lolly Bowean were approved as new board members, per President Steve Franklin’s nominations. They replace Rafer Weigel, who resigned, and Aimee DeBat, who resigned upon becoming executive director in replacing Kathy Catrambone. Fabiola and Lolly must join SPJ and CHC soon. Contact info:

 HYPERLINK “ 773-716-4166

 HYPERLINK “ (need phone number)

CHC Treasurer’s report (from Flynn McRoberts via Aimee)

Balance as of 9/30/11: $102.587.59

CHC Foundation treasurer’s report from Howard Dubin:

(Calendar year ends 12/31/11)

Expenditures totaling $16,510.50

Starla Muhammad scribe aid $300

Dave Glowacz scribe aid 456

Chicago Talks watchdog grant 1,500

Alex Katz scholarship 2,500

Lark Turner internship 2,500

Kayla Stoner internship 2,500

SPJ donated memberships 3,384

Secy of State filing fee 10

Sam Roe watchdog award 750

Jared Hopkins watchdog award 750

Illinois Charity Bureau fee 15

UIC access survey payment 750

Beth Konrad access PR release 100

Loyola U access food 497

Rambler Productions access 320

Kristen Thometz access help 100

Jessica Ciella access help 100

Beth Konrad access posters

Contributions totaling $8,464.00

Dubin Foundation memberships $3,384

CHC scholarships 2,500

Beth Konrad scholarships 1,000

Les Brownlee event scholarship 1,580

Assets as of Oct. 20, $58,791

Includes these restricted funds:

$13,199.50, balance of McCormick survey grant

$5.932.00, balance of Driehaus Foundation Watchdog grant

$6,250.00 restricted to Les Brownee scholarships

Leaving us with a total of about $25,000 in unrestricted funds.

We need to get busy and find some investigative journalists who need funding for projects and spend down the Driehaus money, Howard said. More is available from Driehaus as needed. Board members need to market this. Alden will help.

Executive Director’s report:

Aimee said she spent probably more than 30 hours being briefed by Kathy about the intricacies of CHC. Copies of Kathy’s timeline, which is for all of us and not just Aimee, were circulated recently. (SSS note: As Kathy did, Aimee will need a lot of us doing a lot of work. She is a part-time employee, and cannot do everything herself. As a board member, you should be willing to spend five hours a week on CHC. For some of you who become involved in Lisagor, you will rack up the hours from January through May. Please, everyone, do your duty and don’t try to depend on the executive director for everything.)

            Further contact info for Aimee and our new CHC mailing address:

1349 E. Washington St. #408

Des Plaines, IL 60016

Work/office: 847-299-3899

The CHC phone number is now on a mobile that Aimee has.


–Program Committee needs help. We hope the two new board members will pitch in there.

            Rummana has commitments from the Sun-Times Putlitzer winners to do a program.

–Membership Committee: Howard and Susan offered to help Rummana.

            Other committee matters, including firming up chairpersons, was deferred to Steve. Also, we need a secretary to replace Aimee.

            Jon Seidel will meet with Steve Oct. 29 to discuss changes on the website. Send your ideas to Jon in the next week.


            Aimee went through a lengthy orientation with Better BNC from SmallTown Papers, which handles many other contests including a number of SPJ chapters. She is confident we can take the Lisagor Awards online through them efficiently.

Cost: $1,120 startup plus $2,875 annual fee for a $3,995 total this year. Small additional fees for data sorting, scanning and uploading of tearsheets. We spent $2,847 this year, half for postage and half for entry forms. Howard and Susan insist that we do need to snail-mail contest notices at least this year to make sure all potential entrants are aware of the contest, categories, deadline, etc. We can eventually do away with the snail mail. SPJ owes us one mailing this year because we are a four-star chapter (which won’t be offered next year), and we can use that. Board approved the expenditure for online.

            Dinner will be May 4 at Union League Club.

            Aimee will schedule another training session with the company, hopefully in an evening, in the near future so that more of us can be acquainted with the process. Rob will help Aimee input categories, etc. work she expects to take 10 hours at least.

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio

Acting secretary


Next meeting: 9 a.m. Fri. Nov. 18 at Bloomberg

Board Minutes – 09/2011


Board meeting

September 9, 2011


President Steve Franklin calls the meeting to order at Bloomberg at 9:00 am.


Present: Steve Franklin, Howard Dubin, Beth Konrad, Kristen Schorsch, Anna Tarkov, Rumanna Hussain, Flynn McRoberts, Brian Pitts, Odette Yousef, Aimee DeBat,. 

By phone: George Garties


Steve Franklin welcomed people to the meeting and reminded everyone that the next three Board meetings will be on the 3rd Friday of the month. The dates of the next three board meetings will be October 21st, November 18th and December 16th.


AUGUST BOARD MEETING MINUTES:   Approved unanimously.


Steve Franklin mentioned Beth Konrad was meeting with Broadcast journalists who were at Loyola for a special career day event for students. It was important for her to be there to get the word out about the Sept 17th event.


He mentioned CHC has never gotten a grant of this size before so this is a very important event to us.  We have secured the Ann Spillane the chief of Staff  for the Attorney General’s office and Tarrah Cooper, press secretary for the office of the Mayor said she will come of she will send someone. We also have Robert Reed, director of programming & investigation for the BGA coming. Ken Davis is set to moderate. We are also inviting key investigative journalists to be in attendance to ask specific questions of the panel.


We need to hype attendance because the McCormick Foundation is a big operation.

I think we need to break up the membership list and every Board member take a portion and make phone calls to members urging them to attend.


We have sent the invite to the 1,368 people who got the original survey. We have sent the invite to local student chapters of SPJ and journalism schools. It has been sent to the ethnic media as well as some 300 local newspaper, radio and TV people.  Rob Elder also has sent the invite to 70 people at patch.


Beth Konrad goes over the order of events for the Saturday “Opening Doors for Chicago” event. She suggests a rehearsal the morning of the event starting at 8:30 am. 

She will start the meeting with a power point presentation. Then Steve will talk briefly. Ken Davis will moderate the panel discussion. Then Ken will open the floor to specific planted journalists with FOI questions. Also Beth is having the entire event video taped to post on the website after the fact.





Aimee DeBat goes over program committee report for Amy Lee.

The Oct- Open Access Workshop will be moved to November. 

Also planned for November is the Pulitzer Winners Speaking event which will also be a programming and membership event. There are plans in February for a Blogger Workshop. The Google-plus workshop is to be determined in the future.


Aimee DeBat discusses defining committees and members:

* Program Committee; Amy Lee, Brian Pitts 

* Lisagor Committee:  Jon Seidel, Flynn McRoberts, Steve Franklin, 

                                     Abdon Pallasch and  Rob Elder

* Watchdog Award, Watchdog Fund: Kristen Schorsch

* Scholarships: Randi Belisomo  

* Membership: Chair Rumanna Hussain

* Diversity sub-committee: Odette Yousef , Alden Loury, and  Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

* Ethics Award:  (still to be determined )

* Lifetime Achievement Award: (still to be determined)


Anna Tarkov discusses CHC’s social media efforts and suggests members to follow CHC on twitter and FB and suggest posts or stories. Also she urges members to join our new yahoo group Second City Newsies for current discussions and interesting information.  Please go to


Aimee DeBat gave the website reports for Jon Seidel because he could not attend the meeting. Jon plans to update the site with the video of the “Opening Doors in Chicago” event as well as ad photo from the event. He also will be sending an eblast after the event to members. 


Rumanna Hussain brings up the a judge’s ruling that Northwestern University journalism students are not covered by the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act in their investigation of a murder conviction.  

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Cannon ruled that Northwestern must turn over to the State’s Attorney’s office about 500 e-mails that Medill School of Journalism students exchanged with former Innocence Project director David Protess. Cannon said the state law covers student journalists, but not those acting as investigators in a criminal case such as this one. The Headline Club strongly disagrees.

Cannon a couple of months ago ruled that Loyola University students working on the campus paper, the Phoenix, were covered by the Reporter’s Privilege Act. Assistant State’s Attorney Celeste Stack said the difference between the Medill case and the one involving Phoenix staffers is that the Loyola students were not working for an innocence project.  Cannon gave Northwestern a 10-day stay, time in which the e-mails need not be turned over while Northwestern decides whether to appeal. 

 The next meeting is scheduled for Friday morning, October 21st  at Bloomberg.


Adjourned: 11:00 a.m.

—Secretary Aimee DeBat

Board Minutes – 08/2011


Board meeting

August 12, 2011


President Steve Franklin calls the meeting to order at Bloomberg at 9:00 am.


Present: Steve Franklin, Fernando Diaz, Susan Stevens, Kathy Catrambone, Anna Tarkov, Rumanna Hussain, Alden Loury, Aimee DeBat, Amy Lee, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs. By phone: Kristen Schorsch, Rafer Weigel.





Steve Franklin:  We had a good meeting with the attorney for the President of the County Board. They both talked about new information that will be online and their willingness to take part in the Sept 17th meeting plus coordinate in a tip sheet for journalists.


Results of the FOIA survey said that 70% of the journalists who applied to the county for information got access in excess of 5 days, which exceeds the legal time limit.

People said they stopped trying and stopped asking questions because it takes so long.


We will be rolling out the information and the accessibility issues in a town hall meeting taking place Sept 17 th from 9:30 am to noon.  


The market of journalists who participated was 200 or so. That is about 20%.

The McCormick Foundation was deeply disappointed with our turn out from the survey.  But we explained that this is a normal return rate and that it was not an open survey which could skewed the results. We are the largest journalism group and should have done better, nonetheless.


We need a hands-on workshop on FOIA in October. Maybe use FB to get the word out more.


We are scheduled to meet with Aug 22 at the AG’s office. Dave Hiller from the McCormick Foundation wants to be at the meeting and we will reach out to have him speak at our Sept. 17th meeting. AG’s office may be able to help us with the mayor. Also Andy Shaw said he would help us. 


Beth Konrad update: (per Aimee)

I have a call into Jane Hint at the Chicago Tribune. I also got a message from Fran Spielman from the Sun-Times–she is working on contacts and will call me this afternoon.  The mayor’s office is not been able to secure a contact for us. We do have a contact at City Hall–Carol Gritzko from the new administration and they should get back to us as well. Has anyone tried the new woman at the press office again?

Keep the Sept 17th date.


Fernando Diaz commented that when they submit FOIA in Spanish they get the info right away. He submits to Alexis.




Amy Lee: 

So we will have an Open Access Workshop in early Oct.


Also in October we thought that maybe we would have a Google-plus workshop teaching peoples how to use it etc. How it is different than FB. Want to know if it is useful to reporters as a business tool. Maybe we can even use Google-plus to get the word out for FOIA.


For November we thought of asking the Sun times Pulitzer winners to speak about the ambitions of winning a Pulitzer. We could use this as a member ship idea to recruit younger members. Also maybe we could have other journalists on hand to critic résumés and do a Questions and Answer group. We could partner with other groups like AWJ for this as well.


Steve Franklin: Maybe we can have another charity event like the Heartland café event that raised $1600. Maybe in December. It really helps the under-employed and unemployed journalists. 


The Chicago Headline Club would like to sponsor the 8:15 pm Thursday, Aug. 25th showing of the Interrupters at the Gene Siskel theater in the Loop.


We journalists need to constantly change to do our best. We also need to feel for our reporting to do our best. Alex Kotlowitz’s career fits both categories. Some time ago he wrote a piece for the New York Times magazine about CeaseFire, an effort that takes a unique approach to fighting crime here. The story inspired a documentary and inspired Alex also to join in its production. 


The documentary’s producers are promoting the documentary in a unique manner. They are using the documentary as a tool for discussion about crime in Chicago in meetings with youths, community groups and political leaders. Alex will talk after the showing. 


Also I would like to see us offer some kind of mentoring service for freelancers. Maybe something like “Second Read”  a place to post a story and get feedback from other journalists. Also a lot of people are bloggers or citizen journalists–maybe we should have a workshop on how to blog. Also add a list of bloggers on our website. I believe there is a list of more than 400 bloggers. This would also help with FOIA.

In February we will had a “How to be a better blogger” workshop.







Jon Seidel

We’ve begun using MailChimp for our e-blasts and newsletters. The feedback received after the first trial was very positive, but there’s much more we can do as we get to know the system. We were forced, however, to remove several e-mails from our address list. MailChimp enforces a 5 percent bounce rate. Ours was 16.2 percent. Also, only about 25 percent of our July newsletter recipients opened it. So we’ll be paying closer attention to the subject line of the e-blasts in the future, hoping to catch a few more eyes.

Anna has done an excellent job of managing our Twitter account in the last several weeks. I’m sorry I can’t join the board for Steve and Anna’s discussions about website updates and social media. I’m excited to see we might pursue plans to host blogs/freelancers on our website. This shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish. Please ask Steve and Anna to contact me with a time when we may chat.

As usual, please let me know ASAP if the board has any questions/comments/concerns.



Steve Franklin:  Can Jon add update the website to include Ethnic press groups as well as NABJ, the Red Eye etc. and even blog groups? There are so many more that can be up there.



Anna Tarkov


If anyone has ideas to tweet or post please send them my way. I would like to see us tweeting as much as 5 times a day. It can be studies or stories or interesting links.

Anna offered to start a yahoo listserv for the Chicago headline Club. 

Adrienne Samuels offered insight into how NABJ has a forum for members only. Steve Franklin thought a Board list serv would be a good idea.




Sue Stevens:

The SPJ conference is in New Orleans in Sept.

Steve Franklin, Alden Loury and Beth Konrad are going to the conference on free passes for the registration. We have 2 passes at 35% discount and Randi Belisomo and Rumanna Hussain will be going using them. We were voted the best chapter and we have publicized it on FB and eblasts.  We are the only chapter that is working on FOIA in Chicago. I would like to see us make a FOIA book to pass out. Maybe work with Loyola Student Chapter or Columbia to educate students.


Also Aug 21st is the annual Brown Lee event at 537 Judson. It is $20 donation to attend the event which goes to the Foundation Scholarship Fund.  It is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.



In Alton, IL SPJ erected a monument or brass plaque for  Elijah Parish Lovejoy 

an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor and abolitionist.

He was murdered by an opposition mob in Alton Illinois for his publication of abolitionist materials. Lovejoy was a champion for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom from slavery. Apparently someone stole the plaque and they are hoping to reestablish the monument in time for a Nov 10, 2012 ceremony.




Kathy Catrambone:

Only 9 of the 23 members responded.


7 voted for 9 a.m. Friday

Felicia Middlebrook voted for noon on Wed.

Adrienne Samuels voted for 8 a.m. Friday or 7 p.m. Friday.


The Board voted to change up the meeting times and have 1 or 2 at different times.

In October the meeting will be the first Friday at 9 a.m.



Casey Bukro

The Ethics Advice Line for Journalists was founded in 2001 with a partnership between Loyola. We have received 900 calls from Journalists on deadline. Call come in for advice from other counties and even other countries. Headline Club is the home of the advice line. There are 3 call takers at Loyola.  I would like to get the word out to more journalists in need of help how to find us through our website and other digital media. 

$123,000 was raised and spent to get the word out. Chicago Headline Club gave $5,000 to the Advice line.  I would like to see a digital marketing program started.


Chicago Headline Club has given Ethics in Journalism Awards to some 20 journalists. The past winners are not on the website.  This is part of who they are and what they did to make them noticeable. Good journalists doing good work and this should be pointed out.



Alden Loury:  Board approved ad in CMW book $400. Board received free copy of the book.


JUNE BOARD MEETING MINUTES:   Approved unanimously.


NOTE: No treasurer’s report; new treasurer Flynn McRoberts is on vacation

 The next meeting is scheduled for Friday morning, September 9th at Bloomberg.


Adjourned: 11:00 a.m.

—Secretary Aimee DeBat

NATO Summit Resources

Get Ready for NATO

With the NATO summit approaching, the Chicago Headline Club will try to compile as many tips and resources for local journalists here. If you have any more links or tips to share, please send them to and we’ll add them to the site.


These are notes from a meeting Wednesday that a number of news outlets held with Chicago Police officials in order to establish and understand the ground rules for covering the upcoming events here. Hugh Dellios of the AP, and a new Headline Club board member, did an outstanding job in getting the meeting set up and lining up news outlets to join in the effort. I urge you to go over these points and if possible keep a printed copy on you. Likewise, keep a list of the pro bono attorneys. If you are arrested,endangered or harmed while covering the events, make sure you notify police that you are a journalist and you want your news outlet, colleagues, pro bono or company attorneys or the Chicago Headline  Club notified. Keep these numbers handy. Steve Franklin, my cell is 773 595 8667, 


 Debra Kirby, chief of the Chicago Police Department Office of International Relations, said it is not the intent of Chicago Police to limit or otherwise interfere with coverage of protests and other events related to the NATO summit.  The department anticipates that members of the media will be accompanying protesters.


 Kirby said the department is not endorsing a formal embedding policy (reporters/crews will not be assigned to tag along with specific police units).


 The department is cognizant that not everyone covering the protests has a NATO or Chicago Police credential.  Kirby said credentials from other jurisdictions as well as from the US State Department will be honored, and she recommends that they be worn on a lanyard.  At the same time, she is also aware that those who did so in New York encountered problems from protesters; doing so in such circumstances is a judgment call.  If there is any question, reporters will be allowed to pull credentials from their pockets to show to police on the street.


      Police will allow credentialed reporters access to press sites at the various events. Access privileges for those without such credentials is less clear and you need to keep this in mind.


 Information will be released through two joint incident command centers, effective Friday.


U.S. Secret Service (Security-related information and arrest 


tallies): (312) 469-1440


City/OEMC: (312) 746-9454


Chicago Police News Affairs (generally for non-NATO-related 


information):  (312) 745-6110


 In addition, she said that Chicago Police lieutenants and captains “on the ground” will have access to most information.  At minimum, OEMC will host one briefing a day on activities relating to the summit at OEMC headquarters, 1411 W. Madison St., probably in the evening. She said information will be relayed to news desks with sufficient time to set up.  More will be scheduled if events warrant, but Kirby does not know that it would be the wisest use of a news organization’s staff to place someone at OEMC full-time.  


News Affairs Director Melissa Stratton is checking to see if the briefings can be webcast.


 She said that media access generally will be the same as public access.  Credentials will, however, allow media personnel access to media-only areas.  No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.”  Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken.


      This is a critical point. If you are carrying costly equipment, you might want to consider how to pass off your equipment if you face possible arrest.


 Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else.  Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest.


There will not be any quick personal recognizance bond just for media members.


 Kirby said that the Chicago Police Department does not intend to “break ground” in terms of enforcing the Illinois eavesdropping law.  


In short, police will not interfere if we videotape or record audio of police activities, including arrests.  However, the attorney for the CPD noted that the recent federal appeals court ruling, overturning the state law, applies only to the ACLU, which challenged the law, and until it is rescinded, Cook County prosecutors can take legal action under the law. Keep that point in mind.


Likewise, Kirby says the department has no intention of “kettling” protesters as they did on Chicago Avenue during antiwar protests in 2003; there will be plenty of warning by loudspeaker to clear or avoid specific areas before arrests are undertaken;  however, those reporters who choose to disregard such warnings are subject to arrest.  To date, the department has seen no evidence that protesters are turning on media representatives as happened in New York.  She urges media to keep safety in mind and to “not become the story.”


 If there is a problem, Office of News Affairs Director Melissa Stratton can be contacted through Chicago Police News Affairs.  If you text message her office, please say in the body of the text who you are and what news organization you represent.


 Chicago Police command will be broken down by sector, and the department has made efforts to provide media parking for large planned events.  These parking zones are effective from 8 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Monday.  They include:




Petrillo/Grant Park/Art Institute events:


Columbus Drive: Both curbs from Jackson to Monroe, but not blocking 


the entrance to the Art Institute.




South of Loop/River


9th Street: both curbs, Wabash to Michigan


Upper Randolph: south curb, Columbus to Field Drive




Nurses Rally (only on Friday)


Randolph, south curb, Clark to LaSalle


Clark, east curb, Randolph to Lake




North of River


East Lake Shore Dr.: north curb, mid-block to inner LSD


Mies Van Der Rohe Ct.: west curb, Chicago to Pearson


Upper Cityfront Plaza Dr.: west curb, North Water to Illinois (no 


satellite trucks)




McCormick Place/end of protest


Cermak Road: south curb, State to Clark


24th Street, both curbs, State to Federal




 The National Nurses’ Union has control of the parking area for the Friday rally and concert.  On Sunday, the CANG8 protest group will set up the media bullpen.  In addition, police say they will attempt to set up media parking and bullpen locations along march routes as they determine what is happening.




 The Sunday march steps off at 2 p.m. and is anticipated to take two hours and 15 minutes to cover the 2.64 miles.  On Sunday, no risers will be provided at Cermak/Michigan in the bullpen area for the concluding ceremonies of the big march. Cameras will have to shoot over one another. Space is constrained at the end of the march for the 


general public.   Parking Sunday will be at Cermak/State and dispersal 


of the crowd will be to the west.  Kirby does NOT recommend that reporters who march along the parade route try to get into the media bullpen at the end of the march; she said it will be possible, but it will not be easy to do so.


 If a suspicious package is found or an area is cordoned off because of a potential bomb, the area cleared will depend on the threat that is posed.  Media will be allowed as close as possible, but that is an event-by-event call.


 Reporters who carry backpacks should be prepared to show their content to police. You may be asked to fire up and demonstrate any equipment that does not look familiar to officers.


 Those who have negotiated parking on private property should inform CPD News Affairs if they have not already done so.  Police may check to make certain that vehicles are parked on private property with consent of the owner.  Unmarked vehicles should have Chicago Police news media vehicle identification cards displayed at all times.


 It is the intent of Chicago Police to provide close access, with direct vision and contact with those entering and leaving events/marches/rallies.  But police emphasized that those who choose to walk amid the protesters are “on your own.” The department cannot guarantee the safety of those who do so and cannot guaranteed that they can extract any reporter who ends up the target of protesters.


      (Note that safety experts advise against being caught between active protestors and police)


 Repeatedly, the speakers stressed that the rights of the media are the same as those of the general public.


 Police say if a street is “stripped” of parking, and no parking is allowed for the general public, outside of the aforementioned locations, it is done for a reason.  KIRBY STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT VANS AND CARS BE SENT WITH DRIVERS SO THAT IF WORKING PRESS MEMBERS MUST LEAVE THE VEHICLE, IT REMAINS ATTENDED.  She said Chicago Police will not hesitate to tow city-owned vehicles if they are in “stripped” areas, so media representatives should expect to be cut no slack with live trucks or other vehicles that are parked where prohibited.

Legal Help: 


The law firm of Mandell Menkes has specifically agreed to represent journalists covering the NATO summit. Its office phone is (312) 251-1000. Attorney Steve Mandell may also be reached at (312) 215-1001, and Attorney Steve Baron may be reached at (312) 505-4452.

The 24-hour hotline for attorneys at the Reporters Committee for a Free Press is 800-336-4243. 

Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, is also available. He can be reached at (716) 566-1484, (716) 983-7800 (cell) or (716) 608-1509 (fax). 


NATO Summit Reporting Help Desk from

Here’s a webinar from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Resources from the ACLU

Illinois’ eavesdropping law

Victory for First Amendment Right to Audio Record Police

Chicago police won’t enforce eavesdropping law during NATO summit, city says (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin — NATO 2012 Summit in Chicago

Experts for stories (from Kent College of Law and DePaul University): 

Bartram Brown, professor and co-director of the International and Comparative Law program, (312) 906-5046,

Dean Krent, tensions between personal privacy and security of the masses, First Amendment issues, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 906-5010,

Sheldon Nahmod, First Amendment issues (speech, association, peaceably assemble, press), (312) 906-5261,

Richard Kling, arrests, criminal trespass, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 514-5120,

Daniel Coyne, arrests, criminal trespass, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 906-5077,

Douglas Godfrey, former prosecutor, arrests, criminal trespass, (312) 906-5283,

Issues Related to NATO Countries:

Turkey: Professor Ozan Varol, (312) 906-5366,

Canada: Sarah Harding, (312) 906-5227,

Croatia & Albania: Henry H. Perritt Jr., (312) 906-5098,


J.D. Bindenagel, vice president, Community, Government and International Affairs. A former U.S. ambassador with 28 years of experience in the American diplomatic corps, Bindenagel can talk about NATO, the euro crisis and Afghanistan. He is an expert on U.S. relations with Europe, particularly Germany. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he speaks German fluently. He can be reached at (312) 362-7579 or


Leonard Cavise, professor, College of Law. Cavise can discuss First Amendment issues related to summit protesters, and police and legal issues related to the summits. He speaks Spanish and French. Cavise can be reached at (312) 362-6841 or


Kaveh Ehsani, assistant professor, international studies. He can discuss dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, international sanctions and threats of military confrontation. Ehsani is an expert on the politics, economy and culture of the Middle East, particularly Iran, and the geopolitics of Iran and Afghanistan. He is co-editor of the journal Middle East Report and an editorial board member of an Iranian quarterly publication. He can be reached at (773) 325-7642 or


Dick Farkas, professor, political science. He can discuss the dilemma NATO faces in the Balkans, where tensions are rising due to instability in Kosovo and the failing government in Bosnia despite the provisions of the Dayton Accords. Author of “Democratization in the Balkans.” He can be reached at (773) 325-1977 or


David Franklin, vice dean, College of Law. He can discuss free speech issues raised by G-8, NATO planning and protests. Franklin is a constitutional scholar and former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He can be reached at (312) 362-5226


Animesh Ghoshal, professor, economics. He can discuss what will be accomplished at the G-8 summit and why it attracts protesters and controversy. He is an expert on international business and economic development, trade policy and protectionism, North American Free Trade Association, European economic integration, and exchange rates. He can be reached at (312) 362-8008 or


Thomas Maier, assistant professor, or Chris Roberts, director, School of Hospitality Leadership. They can talk about the impact of the summits on the local tourism industry. Maier can be reached at (312) 362-6049 or; Roberts can be reached at (312) 362-6777


Khalil Marrar, visiting assistant professor, political science. He can explain what the G-8 Summit accomplishes, what the big issues will be and why it causes such controversy and attracts protesters. Marrar’s expertise includes peace and conflict resolution, terrorism, globalization, multiculturalism and democracy. Author of “The Arab Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Two-State Solution.” Marrar can be reached at (773) 325-8682 or


Thomas Mockaitis, professor, history. Based on his work in international security, Mockaitis can discuss security concerns and precautions for both summits as well as issues faced by NATO. A conflict historian, Mockaitis is an expert on U.N. operations in the Middle East, U.S.-European relations, general Western European history and current events, NATO, peacekeeping missions, the European Union, and contemporary conflicts. He can be reached at (773) 325-7471


Antonio E. Morales-Pita, invited assistant professor, economics. He can speak about the international political economy, emerging economies, the European Union and European financial crisis. He is fluent in Spanish and Russian. He can be reached at (773) 791-1864


Joe Schwieterman, professor, public service and director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Planning. He can discuss the transportation logistics and economic impacts of the summit. He can be reached at (312) 362-5732 or


Erik Tillman, professor, political science. He can talk about the role, interests and actions of any of the European members participating in the G-8 Summit, as well as the European Union. He can also discuss public opinion, protests and controversies surrounding the G-8. He can be reached at (773) 325-4131 or


Patricia Werhane, Wicklander Chair in Business Ethics, College of Commerce. She can discuss global poverty, education, global corruption, the debt crisis, job creation in the G-8 countries, and the future of G-8 economics in light of the economic development in Brazil, Russia, India and China. She can be reached at (312) 362-8793 or

International News Safety Institute Tips Covering Civil Unrest


Before you head out


  • Make sure your accreditation/identification is in order and easily accessible.
  • In case of tear gas, carry a bandana soaked in onion, lemon, or vinegar, which neutralizes irritation. Milk of magnesia washes out pepper spray.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses. Bring eye drops and spare glasses.
  • If there’s a chance you might be pepper-sprayed, don’t wear face crème or cosmetics. They burn on contact.
  • Use earplugs to help neutralize sound cannons.
  • Wear comfortable boots that you can run in.
  • Don natural fabrics, which are less flammable than synthetic fabrics.
  • Prepare a backpack with supplies to last a day: lightweight raingear, energy bars and water, spare batteries for electronic equipment.
  • Have an editor/ point person number on speed dial
  • Have the NLG number on your arm and on speed dial. (For Chicago.: 312-913-0039). Give this number to your editor/point person to call in case you are arrested and cannot be located.
  • If possible, explore the terrain ahead of time. Are there stores you can dart into? Can you arrange to film from a high vantage point? Negotiate a “safe” place where you can retreat if mayhem erupts.
  • Contact protest organizers/ check Facebook event: is there a planned march route? Are there Twitter hashtags to follow?
  • Research local police tactics is kettling/ tear gas/ pepper spray likely?

At the scene

  • Don’t go alone. Get someone to watch your back if you’re shooting pictures.
  • As soon as you arrive, spot escape routes and look for landmarks like a tall building or lamppost. It’s easy to get disoriented in a crowd.
  • Stay on the edge and do not get caught between police and protestors.
  • Crowds have a life of their own. Stay aware of the prevailing mood. Keep police and protester motivations in mind.
  • Alert your editor/ point person if the scene turns angry.
  • If planning to move, seek advice from people who have just come from the direction you’re heading.
  • Television crews should travel as light as possible. If experiencing aggression, leave the tripod behind so that you can run fast.

When trouble erupts

  • Avoid horses. They bite and kick.
  • Stand upwind from tear gas.
  • Maintain a safe distance from violence.
  • Repeat to police officers that you are press. Keep note of officers badge numbers as names.


NLG Chicago: 312-913-0039         News safety hashtag: #journosafety