Board minutes, Dec. 7, 2012

NINA Board minutes

Friday, Dec. 7, 2012

Northern Star, Campus Life Building, NIU-DeKalb

Also a General Membership meeting

Present: (12) Larry Lough, John Etheredge, John

Puterbaugh, Lonny Cain, Jim Killam, Jim Slonoff, Sharon Boehlefeld, Roger Ruthhart, Jason Schaumburg, Penny Wiegert, Randy Swikle, Wally Haas.

Absent (6): Kathy Gresey, Marc Colosimo, Jeff Wisser, Nick Swedberg, Jason Akst, Dirk Johnson.

Guest: Shelley Hendricks, Northern Star adviser.

Three board seats are open.

Schaumburg called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

Oct. 18 minutes were approved unanimously. (Haas motion / Ruthhart second)


Treasurer’s Report

Slonoff reported balances of $10,294.41 in checking and $5.94 in savings. Deposits since the last meeting include $190 in membership dues and $585 in Fall Conference revenue. Expenditures were $1,000 to Matt Marton, winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award; $233.71 to the Northern Star for Spring Conference expenses; and $75.15 to the Ledger-Sentinel for plaques. NINA has not yet received the Fall Conference bill from NIU.

Executive Secretary’s Report: None

President’s Report
Schaumburg thanked board members for their participation this year, in particular as NINA has revisited its mission and made structural adjustments. To that end, all present were invited to participate in the general membership vote on changes to the constitution and bylaws. Those changes passed unanimously (Lough / Etheredge).

Board members Nick Swedberg and Mark Colosimo have resigned because of changes in their job situations. That leaves five open seats under the old structure; the new structure simply requires at least 15 board members.

Northern Star adviser Shelley Hendricks was elected to the board for a three year term. (Killam / Haas). Gresey and Slonoff were elected to new three-year terms (Cain / Lough). So, entering 2013, the board has 17 members.

Committee Reports

Program Committee: Lough said the Fall Conference was a success.

Education Committee: Etheredge asked about new ways NINA’s annual scholarship competition could be promoted to high school students and advisers. Along with the regular mailing, suggestions included using the IJEA listserv, and posting a link to high school newspapers’ Facebook pages. Announcement of the competition usually is sent in January, with a March 15 application deadline.

Membership Committee: Haas said he now represents the Freeport Journal Standard as well as the Rockford Register Star. Both are Gatehouse newspapers.

Resource Committee: Killam said he will hand communication coordinator responsibilities off to Hendricks as of Dec. 31. He plans to remain on the board while still living in the area.


Old Business


New Business

2013 officers were elected (Cain motion / Ruthhart second). They are:

President: Larry Lough

First Vice President: Kathy Gresey

Second Vice President: John Puterbaugh

Executive Secretary: Dirk Johnson

Treasurer: Jim Slonoff

Immediate Past President: Jason Schaumburg

Communications Coordinator: Shelley Hendricks


New committees as a result of the bylaws changes are Executive, Outreach, Training (dealing with professional training) and Education (dealing with colleges and high schools). Board members, or any NINA member or employee of a member publication, are encouraged to join a committee. To volunteer, contact Lough before the Jan. 18 meeting.

Slonoff proposed that the board help the Northern Star pay for a phone line in its conference room, which will allow for conference calls. This will be useful during NINA meetings if the board needs to hear from a member who is absent. The installation charge is about $650. NINA would pay for a maximum of $250, with the balance to be shared by the Northern Star and Northern Star Alumni. This is a one-time charge. The board approved unanimously ((Slonoff / Wiegert).

Randy Swikle asked board members to be aware of Jan. 13 as the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision, which has been used to justify censorship of high school newspapers (and at times, college newspapers). He cited examples of school administrators taking this decision far beyond what the law allows, in effort to control student voices and not allow anything controversial in student papers. Swikle asked newspapers to consider publishing editorials on Jan. 13, emphasizing the teaching of the First Amendment in practice, not just in theory. “There are other oversight strategies much more effective than prior review,” he said.


2013 meeting dates were set. They are:

Jan. 18

March 15

June 21

Sept. 6

Oct. 24 (Fall Conference)

Dec. 6


Next meeting: 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at the Northern Star


Adjourn 11:10 a.m.


Board minutes, 10-18-12

NINA Board minutes

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012

NIU Convocation Center, NIU-DeKalb

Present: (13) Larry Lough, John Etheredge, John Puterbaugh, Lonny Cain, Jim Killam, Jim Slonoff, Sharon Boehlefeld, Kathy Gresey, Roger Ruthhart,

Jason Schaumburg, Penny

Wiegert, Jason Akst, Dirk Johnson.

Absent (5): Randy Swikle, Marc Colosimo, Jeff Wisser, Nick Swedberg, Wally Haas

Three board seats are open.

Schaumburg called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m.

Sept. 7 minutes were approved unanimously. (Ruthhart motion / Wiegert second)

Treasurer’s Report

Slonoff reported balances of $10,614.56 in checking and $5.94 in savings. A $1,000 check will be written tonight to the winner of the Excellence in Journalism contest.

Executive Secretary’s Report

Johnson said about 100 people are expected for the Fall Conference tonight. The NIU Communication Department has generously subsidized the event this year, which has allowed many faculty, high school and college students and high school advisers to attend.

President’s Report
Schaumburg said the eight-member task force met Sept. 28 and outlined three main areas of focus for NINA: training, education and networking. Future committee structure and board makeup will reflect these priorities. The task force also proposed some revisions to NINA’s constitution and bylaws, which will be discussed under New Business.


Committee Reports


Old Business

Mugs: Castle PrinTech of DeKalb has sponsored coffee mugs for all attendees tonight, Wiegert said.

New Business

The board unanimously agreed to propose the Task Force’s changes to the NINA constitution and bylaws to the general membership (Cain motion, Gresey second). This requires a vote during a general membership meeting, with at least 30 days notice. The general membership meeting will be held simultaneously with the next board meeting Dec. 7, and members will be invited.

Next meeting: 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Northern Star

Adjourn 5:50 p.m.

Board minutes, 9-7-12

NINA Board minutes

10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, 2012

Northern Star Office, NIU-DeKalb

Present: (12) Larry Lough, Marc Colosimo, Jim Killam, Jim Slonoff, Sharon Boehlefeld, Kathy Gresey, Roger Ruthhart, Jason Schaumburg, Penny Wiegert, Jason Akst, Dirk Johnson, Wally Haas

Guests: Shelley Hendricks, Patrick Boylan

Absent (6): Randy Swikle, John Etheredge, John Puterbaugh, Lonny Cain, Jeff Wisser, Nick Swedberg

Three board seats are open.

Schaumburg called the meeting to order 10:05 a.m.

July 20 minutes were approved unanimously. (Wiegert motion / Ruthhart second)

Treasurer’s Report

Slonoff reported balances of $10,084.27 in checking and $5.94 in savings. The checking balance reflects expenses of $800 in scholarships to high school seniors and $1,000 in scholarships to NIU students; and revenue of $335 in dues and miscellaneous conference fees.

Executive Secretary’s Report

Johnson reported that plans are set for the Oct. 18 Fall Conference. Keynote speaker will be Andy Shaw, president of the Illinois Better Government Association. Annual awards will be announced, along with the winner of the NINA Excellence in Journalism Award. The 50th anniversary event will be held at the NIU Convocation Center, with dinner to precede the program. The event will cost $15 for NINA members and employees of member organizations, and $25 for others. This reflects the NIU Department of Communication’s offer to subsidize the cost in order to keep prices down.

President’s Report
Schaumburg said the task force retreat is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the Northern Star. This involves eight board members and will focus on NINA’s mission and how the organization should be structured to meet that


Committee Reports

Program Committee

Lough reiterated Fall Conference plans for Oct. 18 at the Convocation Center.

The evening’s program is:

6-7 p.m. cash bar

7 p.m. dinner

7:45 program, with keynote speaker Andy Shaw

8:15 awards

Killam will put together a music/slide show for the evening, to mark NINA’s 50th anniversary.

Education Committee

No report

Membership Committee
No report

Resource Committee / Communication Coordinator

Killam will produce the fall newsletter and have it ready to be mailed and published online by late next week.

Old Business

The board discussed how to notify the winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award, which carries a $1,000 prize. At issue was whether to notify the winner in advance or to name finalists in advance and then announce the winner at the banquet. Ruthhart moved that the board notify the winner in advance and invite him/her to the dinner and to speak briefly about the winning work. Motion was approved 11-1.

After the banquet, Killam will send a press release to various trade publications about the contest and the winner.

New Business

Patrick Boylan, publisher of the Welles Park Bulldog in Chicago, asked NINA to write a letter to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor regarding a Freedom of Information Act dispute between the Bulldog and the Chicago Public Schools. The dispute is over whether Local School Councils are public bodies and subject to Illinois’ open records law. The board’s consensus was to not write a letter because it would have no bearing on the Attorney General’s action, but to encourage the Bulldog to go ahead and file an opinion request with the Public Access Counselor, cc’d to NINA President Schaumburg. Boylan will keep in touch with Schaumburg as this process moves forward.

Boylan also suggested that NINA consider developing resources to improve objectivity and professionalism of online publications. He’s also talking with the Chicago Headline Club about this, and will keep NINA informed about progress.

Next meeting: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, prior to Fall Conference at Convo

Adjourn 11:10 a.m.

Board minutes, 7-20-12

Minutes of the NINA Board meeting

Friday, July 20, 2012 (rescheduled from June 22).

Northern Star office, Campus Life Building, NIU-DeKalb.


Members present

(10): Lonny Cain, John Puterbaugh, Jason Schaumburg (president), Penny Wiegert, John Etheredge, Sharon Boehlefeld, Kathy Gresey (2nd VP), Roger Ruthhart, Randy Swikle, Jim Killam (communications coordinator).


Members absent (8): Dirk Johnson (executive secretary), Jim Slonoff (treasurer), Larry Lough (1st VP), Wally Haas (past president), Nick Swedberg, Jason Akst, Mark Colosimo, Jeff Wisser.


Three board seats remain open.


Guests present: Shelley Hendricks, Maria Krull.


Schaumburg called the meting to order at 10 a.m.


March 16 minutes were approved unanimously (Ruthhart motion / Cain second).


Treasurer’s report: Slonoff absent, but he sends this update:

Savings account balance: $5.94

Checking account balance: $11,648.27

Spring and early summer expenses have included $1,800 for scholarships for graduating high-school seniors, and roughly $150 for food for the spring conference.


Executive secretary’s report: Johnson absent


President’s report:

Schaumburg said the task force agenda has been moving slowly because of a new job situation for him this summer. An all-day planning meeting will be held soon (date TBA) to address the group’s identified areas of focus: training, contest, networking, journalism education (particularly at the high school level) and advocacy for members. Membership classifications also need to be reviewed, he said.


Program committee: Lough absent. Plans for the Oct. 18 fall conference will move forward this summer. It was suggested that former board members, NIU journalism and communication faculty past and present, and past scholarship winners be invited.
The May 11 Spring Conference had a light turnout but a good town-hall discussion on the topic of election coverage.


Education committee: Gresey and Etheredge said $1,800 in scholarship money was awarded to the winning students. About 30 applied this year. The story is on the NINA website and will be included in the upcoming newsletter.


Membership committee: Haas absent.

Resource committee: Killam said a summer newsletter will be out in August.

Contest update: 15 newspapers have entered, with a total of 359 entries. The Northern Star is administering the contest again this year, on behalf of the NIU Department of Communication.



Old/new business: None


Meeting adjourned at 10:25 a.m.

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.