Minutes of NINA Board of Directors Meeting
Friday, Jan. 18, 2002
Northern Star, NIU
Members present: (18) Jan Larsen (president), Owen Phelps, Greg Rivara*,
John Etheredge, Jim Killam, Randy Swikle, Jim Slonoff (treasurer), Lois
Self (exec. Secretary), Richard Parmater, Lonny Cain (past president), Wally
Haas, Tom Martin, Jeanine Otto*, Ray Karges, Roger Ruthhart, Joe Corrado,
Colin O’Donnell, Kim Kubiak (first v.p.).
* Board-member nominees to be voted upon at this meeting.
Staff present: Dana Ditrichs-Kunkel.
Members absent: (3) Cheryl Wormley, Pam Lannom (2nd v.p.), Rick
Larsen called the meeting to order at 10:25 a.m., following meetings
of the program, education and membership committees.
Treasurer’s report: Slonoff said as of Dec. 31, NINA shows a savings
account balance of $5.94 and a checking account balance of $2,285. However,
a couple of pending bills will bring the balance down to about zero. Slonoff
emphasized that this is not cause for alarm, because dues have not been
received yet. He suggested that NIU send dues statements as soon as possible,
and that NINA consider charging more for workshops in 2002.
Executive secretary’s report: Self said the NIU journalism program
is healthy, with all classes full for the spring 2002 semester. A faculty
search for a photo/graphics position is not proceeding as quickly as she
had hoped. To help bridge the gap, John Kringas, Chicago Tribune photographer
and NIU alumnus, is teaching an advanced photojournalism course this semester.
Staffing may be an issue for the foreseeable future, she said, because of
potential university budget cuts.
Self encouraged board members to submit nominations for Illinois Journalist
of the Year, an award given by NIU each spring.
Program committee report: Slonoff (subbing for Lannom) said the
spring conference will be held April 26 at Oak Trust Credit Union in Oakbrook
Terrace. The committee hopes changing to a suburban location periodically
will boost attendance. The day’s training topics have not been finalized,
but may deal with police/courts coverage or writing and editing for a diverse
Membership committee report: Phelps (for Kubiak) spoke of several
· Charging non-members twice the members’ price for all NINA activities.
· Developing an e-mail list of all potential member newspapers
· Using the NINA Web site or listserv as a problem-solving tool for
members, perhaps by establishing a message board.
· Free one-year trial memberships for newspapers that have never
joined NINA. This would include only paying members’ rates for conferences
· Encouraging newspapers’ free-lance correspondents to join as individual
· Establishing a complete members and non-members list and potentially
listing both on the Web site (the members list already is posted).
The board voted unanimously to set non-member rates for all conferences
and workshops at double the members’ rate. (Ruthhart motion, Slonoff second).
And, the board voted unanimously to offer one-year trial memberships to
newspapers that have never been members (Ruthhart motion, Cain second).
Education committee report: Haas listed four potential workshop
topics: writing, ethics/libel. Math/databse journalism and how to find a
story. Possible locations, besides NIU, include Joliet and Naperville.
Discussion followed about whether the program and education committees’
responsibilities overlap too much, since the Spring Conference basically
amounts to a workshop. Parmater asked if the education committee should
focus more on programming for high school and college journalists and their
teachers/advisers. Self mentioned the possibility of NIU holding a one-day
workshop for high school journalists and/or advisers. Swikle added that
such an event also should be aimed at high school administrators, too, to
build support for a free and responsible student press.
Swikle also suggested that NINA promote itself to high school journalism
advisers, with the offer of free advice and support when needed.
The board directed Killam to include a flyer in the scholarship-contest
packet to be mailed soon, promoting the Web site, listing member newspapers
and potential contacts and encouraging high school students, advisers and
administrators to contact Larsen, Killam or Haas for help getting in touch
with a NINA member newspaper near them.
Self suggested that the education committee use this year to look at the
question of how NINA can best relate to high school journalism programs.
And, to avoid possible overlaps in planning, the committee will develop
just one regular workshop this year, in early September. Along with NIU,
it also will explore the idea of a day-long high school advisers’ workshop.
Communications coordinator’s report: Killam said the winter newsletter
has been mailed and also is posted on the Web site. He also will create
hyperlinks to all member newspapers from the Web-based members list. Recruitment
brochures will be updated with the new board-members list and sent, along
with NINA letterhead, too all board members. Scholarship packets will be
mailed soon, along with the new flyer to be enclosed (see above). Scholarship
applications also will be made available via the Web site.
Killam also will look into finding a larger meeting room within the NIU
Campus Life Building for NINA board meetings. (Update: the April 5 and Aug.
9 meetings will be held in the Campus Life Building’s auditorium, room 100.)
President’s report: Larsen asked for board approval of new members
Jeanine Otto of Sauk Valley Newspapers, and Greg Rivara of the Kane County
Chronicle. Both were approved unanimously, bringing the board to a full
A couple of contest questions were discussed: whether a category should
be canceled if there are too few entries (board consensus: possibly – leave
it to the judge’s discretion; and whether a local editorial cartoon category
should be added (consensus: maybe on a 1-year trial basis, with one open
category for all entries).
Note that the NIU Department of Communication actually runs the contest,
so the board does not control these decisions. It does, however, advise
NIU about the contest. No formal recommendations were voted upon; Killam
said he would relay the discussion highlights to Self and Kunkel, who had
to leave the meeting early).
Old business: None.
New business: Swikle said Johnsburg High School is holding a journalism
day Feb. 11 for all of the high schools in McHenry County. He asked if NINA
could offer any financial support to help with expenses. The board was unable
to do so, but Killam said he would check with the Communcation Department
and the Northern Star about potential help.
Meeting unofficially adjourned at 11:55 a.m., with some members staying
later for shop talk.
Corrado: Sun is launching a new weekly entertainment tab in the first week
of February, and also is looking for a reporter and a regional editor.
O’Donnell: The first Daily Herald Leadership Team was named for high school
students. It’s similar to all-area sports teams, but based on service.
Kubiak: the News Weeklies are undergoing a redesign, with new lifestyles
and entertainment sections coming soon. They also are opening a Hampshire
Killam: The Northern Star has been named one of three finalists by Editor
& Publisher magazine for Best College Newspaper Online Service. The
other finalists are Indiana University and Brigham Young University.
Swikle: Johnsburg High School was one of 10 nationally named a First Amendment
School by the Freedom Forum. It was one of nine charter schools in the program
last year, and one of just four to repeat the honor this year.
Parmater: The Regional News is seeing more interest from very talented stringer
candidates as a result of the weak economy.
Cain: The Daily Times has a redesign in process, with much of it being done
Larsen: The Herald-News has refocused on its core market – the west side
of Joliet -with strong circulation success thus far.
Ruthhart: The Argus and Dispatch photo departments have gone all-digital,
which is a challenge for archiving.
Rivara: The Chronicle is part of Shaw’s Strategic Suburban Market Group,
and showed some circulation gains last last year.
The meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m. Next board meeting is Friday,
Minutes submitted by Jim Killam,