Board minutes, 3-16-12

Minutes of the NINA Board meeting

Friday, March 16, 2012

Northern Star office, Campus Life Building, NIU-DeKalb


Board members present (12):

Jason Schaumburg (president), Larry Lough (1st VP), Dirk Johnson (executive secretary), Kathy Gresey (2nd VP), Jim Slonoff (treasurer), Jim Killam (communications coordinator), John Etheredge, Sharon Boehlefeld, Roger Ruthhart, Lonny Cain, Randy Swikle, John Puterbaugh


Members absent (6):

Wally Haas (past president), Penny Wiegert, Mark Colosimo, Nick Swedberg, Jeff Wisser, Jason Akst.


Three board seats are open.


Schaumburg called the meeting to order at 10:20 a.m.


Minutes of the Jan. 27 meeting were approved.


Treasurer’s Report:

Slonoff reported that the savings account balance is the usual $5.94, and the checking balance is $10,403.62. That is prior to payments outgoing today, to the Northern Star ($598.35) for various reimbursements dating to the Fall Conference; and Fall Conference speaker Kevin Wendt ($492) for travel expenses. Dues payments also have been coming in daily.


Executive Secretary’s Report:

No report.


President’s Report:

Schaumburg reported on the joint task force meeting held prior to the full board meeting. Task force members have been gathering feedback from member and nonmember news organizations in northern Illinois. Common refrains:

–          Training in new skill sets is needed as newspapers evolve.

–          Training is needed, but sending people to workshops is too time-consuming, especially for small staffs. On-site training, or training within a very short distance, might be a solution. Online training is another possibility, though some respondents think it’s too impersonal.

–          Sometimes, the smaller weekly newspapers have felt that training offered by NINA is not relevant to them.

Schaumburg suggested the task force break down NINA’s roles to the following categories: training, contest, networking and journalism education (specifically high schools). Lough added that advocacy – for instance, coming to the aid of news organizations having access issues – could be an additional focus.


The task force’s next step will be a daylong brainstorming session. Date TBA.


Program Committee Report:

The Spring Conference is scheduled Friday, May 11, at NIU-DeKalb. Lough said the committee will assemble a program dealing with election coverage – possibly in a town hall format where journalists can share ideas. Topics may include covering election with a small staff, and using social media in election coverage.


Education Committee Report:

Gresey said the postmark deadline for scholarship applications from high school seniors was Thursday. Etheredge said he has received seven so far, but expects many more to arrive in the next several days. Judging will take place the morning of April 5 at Waubonsee Community College. Swikle suggested that the board use the Illinois Journalism Education Association to help market the contest in future years.


Membership Committee Report:

No report (Hass absent). Killam said dues notices were mailed in February and checks are being received on a steady basis.


Resource Committee/Communications Coordinator Report:

Killam said the new NINA website is almost ready for launch, and should be live within the next week or two. It will feature a blog format, and the ability for users to subscribe for email updates.


Also, he mentioned that he plans to work on developing workshops for individual newsrooms – writing, design and other topics. These could be offered at a discount to NINA members.


NIU is hosting 13 high schools for the IHSA Journalism Sectional competition on Saturday, April 21. Killam will be recruiting judges soon – as will other sectional sites in suburban Chicago.


Old Business:

50th anniversary: Johnson, Killam and Akst met recently to come up with ideas. Their list includes:

– Branding on newsletters and on the new website

– Fall Conference: a bigger, more prestigious event than usual. NIU’s Altgeld auditorium is booked for the evening of Oct. 18

– Membership drive tied to this theme

– Contest – new or revised category with a large cash prize. Targeted to individuals or small teams – not entire newspapers. Maybe something like “NINA Journalist of the Year.” Centered on public service, and NINA’s mission: advancing the quality, integrity and credibility of journalism in northern Illinois.

– As a potential second new contest: high school journalism educator of the year (maybe name this award after someone), with nominees to come from colleagues, students, administrators, parents, NINA members.

– Newspaper artifacts. Talk with NIU archives about setting up a display at the Fall Conference and then possibly creating a permanent display somewhere on campus.Typewriters and old printing artifacts. Early computers. Etc. Items could be collected from all NINA papers.

– Possible Fall Conference speaker(s): Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (who could speak about her dad and the newspaper biz). Possibly a roundtable with some people with long history in this region – like the Small family or the Shaw family or the Paddock family.

– Invite a wider range of people. Former NINA presidents and board members; NIU faculty, especially from communication/journalism and business school; retired professors who had interaction with NINA through the years; high school advisers; NIU president; NIU LA&S dean; NIU media relations people  (many of these folks are invited every year, but this year we could make an extra effort to get them here)

– NIU does have some funding available to help with this event. We do not intend to increase the cost for attendees.


New Business:



Next Meeting:

10 a.m. Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Northern Star office.


Adjourn: 11:25 a.m.


Minutes submitted by Jim Killam, communications coordinator, 3-19-12.


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