Minutes of the Board of Directors Canadian Association of Journalists October 3, 2006 - Teleconference (DRAFT) Present: Kerry Diotte Paul Schneidereit Mary Agnes Welch Robert Frank Jennifer Fowler Robert Cribb Hugo Rodrigues Kerry Diotte Charles Bury Michelle MacAfee Guest: Sandra Bartlett Regrets: Murray Brewster, Saleem Khan, Rachel Boomer Meeting commenced 7:00 p.m. Additions: NWS discussion to be moved up early as K. Diotte had to leave the discussion early. NWS – Speakers all lined up. Arthur Kent is keynote and doing a seminar. We have 20 people booked so far. We have a total of $14,000 raised so far in fundraising. K. Diotte is continuing to blitz everyone he knows. Also asking all board members to let their contacts know about it as well. Has had good communications with speakers too. Would like to do an informal mixer on the Friday evening. Arthur Kent will be available to attend the mixer to be held at a local pub. Will open Arthur’s keynote to the public for $20 admission fee. Approval of Past Minutes: Moved: K. Diotte. Second: J. Fowler – Passed. Task List: Items 4&5 &9 to be shown as completed. President’s Report: P. Schneidereit (Taken from president’s written report) Since our June meeting, we’ve issued a number of press releases on various issues – the Ontario publication ban, the Senate report on media concentration and the blurring of the line between advertising and editorial in a number of media outlets. I have done a number of interviews on those subjects, as well as others where we did not issue releases. The CAJ continues to be called upon to speak as a recognized advocate for journalistic principles, and the public’s right to know, in Canada. Have been monitoring the efforts of the Toronto Global conference organizing committee, who are making excellent progress. Susanne, Sandra, John and I had a teleconference recently, going over progress in critical areas, and I feel the project is in good shape, at this point. In terms of sponsorship, we’ve now got CBC ($50,000) and CanWest ($25,000) committed to support the conference, due to the efforts of many, notably Susanne, Sandra, John and Karen Pauls. We’ll get into more detail later in the teleconference. We’ve not made as much progress as I would have hoped on the Foundation, due to people that John needed to speak to being unavailable over the summer. My intention is to get the questions finalized, and have the new board named and operating, this fall. The web redesign project continues tom be a major source of frustration. We’ve had to ask Hal to step in and handle the Global conference website, which he’s graciously agreed to do, thankfully. Hugo has made progress with organizing volunteers to work on converting current content from our web site into text, so that we can import it into a new format. But progress on the technical side, in terms of finding people to design or run the main CAJ site, has been problematic. We have the names of a couple of potential people who have offered to be involved. Saleem has said he was going to review their capabilities, but I am unaware of the status of that task. This item is on the agenda for further discussion. Executive Director’s Report: J. Dickins J. Dickins evaluated the costs of holding board meetings in three cities: Halifax, Toronto and Ottawa. After presenting the numbers Toronto looked the best, even factoring in hotels, ground transportation and airfares. Airfares from June 2006 were used as a comparisan point, but does not take into account any seat sales. Of course, January would see lower airfares. It was decided, after another comparison occurs in December, to hold the next board meeting in Toronto and to determine future meetings on a meeting by meeting basis. K. Diotte indicated his dislike for Pearson airport. M. Welch indicated that there are more flights to choose from going to Toronto. No motion needed for this item. J. Dickins noted that there has been some interest among our northern members for having a workshop up north. The format has not been thought out in its entirety yet but J. Dickins did speak to IRE’s Brant Houston to get an idea of how their travelling road shows work. J. Dickins and P. Schneidereit laid out what has been thought of to date and it was generally felt that this is a good idea and should be pursued. Budget: J. Dickins for K. Diotte J. Dickins presented financial summary due to absence of K. Diotte. J. Dickins stated that the cash flow was tight this summer as was forecasted. The year end surplus will be met. While a greater than expected surplus was made on the Halifax conference it will not be reflected in the overall year-end surplus because some monies are being spent now on the Global Conference planning. However, it is expected that the CAJ will come in at the forecast year-end surplus of $25,000 not including monies received and spent for the Global Conference. J. Dickins was asked if our surplus will seem rather large this year because of monies in but not used yet. The answer was yes. But this would then be offset by a seeming ‘loss’ the following year. But 2006 and 2007’s budgets need to be looked at together under the Global Conference because its carrying over to another year, whereas normally our budgets are closed at the end of each fiscal year. Advocacy: R. Cribb Canadian Journalism Web Portal – Will be a lot of work. Only have 4 columns in. Will need more help from the rest of the board. Would like to do one column a week. So far M.A. Welch and R Cribb have contributed 4 columns. Want to suggest board members find someone to write a column. The column should be a list of technique questions. i.e. what do you do when sources talk to you for an hour and then say it’s off the record? What do you do when the FOI comes back with everything blacked out? P. Schneidereit suggested R. Cribb send a list of what has been done so far to help people come up with questions. Even if people ask for ideas from their newsrooms it would really help. Talked to John Norris and looks like the appeal is going ahead on the Hamilton Spectator, Ken Peters case. Norris is a member of CJFE and will represent them. If we want to share costs we can consider doing a joint submission with CJFE. Would be a way of saving money by sharing a lawyer. General agreement on this. R. Cribb will instruct him to proceed. Costs are not that much. H. Rodrigues said that when it goes to appeal we should probably issue something to show we’re involved. Membership: J. Fowler Not much to report at this time. Wants to revise some of the promotional material. Need a new brochure with new faces on it, and also the welcoming letters. The new issue of the Wire will come out in the winter. No time this fall. J. Fowler addressed the fact that a number of chapters seem to be very quiet. Toronto had an event recently. Manitoba Chapter has been pretty active with a recent event. Change in executive in New Brunswick. Heather Robinson of CBC Saint John is the new chapter president there. Calgary had a documentary screening in the spring, and they have a number of other activities planned too. Ottawa is having an AGM in January. J. Fowler to get chapter activity reports and will send these along to the rest of the board. Student memberships: We have had a drop off this year compared to last year because we didn’t go around and get them ourselves. This year we just indicated that people can sign themselves up. This year we have hit up more schools but just were not able to visit each school to begin the process. This year to date we have 25 new student memberships but are expecting 50 or so, but it’s down compared to 140 from last year. M. Macafee indicated that it’s worth doing. It wasn’t as labour intensive this year, and was more a question of following up with emails. Awards: M. MacAfee The motions made in June stand relative to what the awards committee is doing. M. MacAfee also indicated stronger CAJ/CIDA Fellowship applications compared to last year and much more complete. We also have more applicants than last year. There are still 4 or 5 people who don’t have letters of intent but it’s better than last year. The wording for the award entry forms/call for entries will reflect the change in policy on multiple submissions as per the June board meeting motion. If the Wire comes out in January perhaps that would also be a good time to mention it. Policy Paper Initiative: M.A. Welch The two policy committees (FOI and Editorial Independence) have begun a flurry of e-mails and are in a brainstorming and get-to-know-you stage. A conference call should probably be arranged shortly so we can figure out how to start researching and outlining a plan. The committee is committed to having two drafts ready for the Jan. board meeting. Communications Committee: H. Rodrigues Another draft of the communications policy was sent out after more revisions were made. Chapter and caucuses may make statements but they’re required to seek national support for statements they want to make. P. Schneidereit indicated his questions have been addressed by the draft and therefore is supportive of the draft. Moved: H. Rodrigues. Second. M.A. Welch. Passed. This needs to be adopted at the AGM as it involves a new policy. Emailed 60-80 pages of web pages and has received 2/3 back. A number of volunteers are really keen. They’re taking the HTML code out of each file and bringing the files back in text. This text then is put into the new template using one code. Much of what is on our site is archived stuff. P. Schneidereit asked about the design problem. H. Rodrigues said we had 2-3 volunteers who could handle the design aspect of the project. Have waited on S. Khan to talk to these people. P. Schneidereit indicated that a team was to have been in place for both website revisions by early September. S. Khan not in the call so we couldn’t ask the questions of him directly. It has been a frustrating experience. H. Doran has offered to help on the Global Conference website which has been a real help to the Global Conference. As for the main CAJ website, this is one that is taking longer. Discussion to be continued after brief discussion with Sandra Bartlett on the Global Conference. Global Conference: S. Bartlett Slow getting confirmations and it’s taking longer than expected. Waiting to hear back from the Star. Will be meeting shortly with the Globe and Mail and CTV. The media outlets spoken to so far have all been enthusiastic about the conference. Just submitted an application to CIDA for funding as well as to the Open Society Foundation. Moving forward on the program. Will need some more input from the CAJ board. There are things we’ll definitely have in the program, especially many topical issues. Sandra will send list to J. Dickins to pass along to board. Need volunteers now to start pulling panels together. Sandra Bartlett outlined the issue of a pharmaceutical company wanting to sponsor an evening reception. The reaction was that we can not have a non-media sponsor according to CAJ policy. But they can advertise and have a booth. Sandra outlined the process for the planning of workshops and panels. Sandra will send the program out to everyone on the board and to chapter executives with a call for volunteers to take this on. P. Schneidereit asked if there will be room for new ideas. The answer was yes. We haven’t used up all of our room space yet. CBC management seemed to be in favor of this conference too. It’s also a good sign that CanWest have come on board too. The board thanked Sandra for the work that her and Susanne have put into this so far. P. Schneidereit said the board would move quickly to get the requested information back. Website: Discussion continued - It was asked if we can skip the need to hear back from S. Khan on the qualifications of those people who indicated an interest in taking on a key role technically. Consensus seemed to be that we could if H. Rodrigues is satisfied, through examples of their work seen so far, then there is no reason why we can’t go with these two volunteers. S. Khan asked H. Rodrigues to review original list of volunteers and came up with a labour pool. H. Rodrigues was impressed with the qualifications of the two key volunteers and did ask questions of Nick Ursa, one of the people who voluteered. Laurel Smith was another person who S. Khan was waiting to hear about. Both of these volunteers seem really keen on this project and asked good questions. These two people will take our content and redesign our site. Laurel has also been helping with the content. P. Schneidereit said we’ve waited long enough and we have two people with design experience and there’s no reason why we couldn’t get them to come up with something. Obviously we have to approve it before anything gets launched. They can send us proofs along the way, too. It was questioned whether they would work as a team or come up with their own draft. H. Rodrigues wouldn’t mind seeing them work as a team because of their individual strengths. H. Rodrigues to ask if they wouldn’t mind working together. Two questions. 1) Last we heard from S. Khan was that he had someone else in mind. What if he comes back with the name of someone else who can do it? 2) Need to find out who Laurel and Nick should work with at the CAJ? Perhaps they should liaise with J. Dickins. The question was if we go with Nick and Laurel, what’s the next step? The content needs to be finished still. And if we get a couple of templates created, the board can choose. Once a decision is made on template design the content then gets fed to them to plug into the template, tested and activated. If we approve this idea then we need to approach Nick and Laurel to see if they’ll work as a team, and set a reasonable date for a prototype design. H. Rodrigues thinks the new year will see all the content converted. It was discussed that not all archives need to be done before we can launch the new website. J. Fowler suggested we need to move on this now. We don’t the technical approval. H. Rodrigues should be able to determine if these people are technically competent. We don’t want to lose keen volunteers. Motion: That the Board, through Hugo Rodrigues, approach Nick and Laurel to see if they would work together on the prototype for a new CAJ website with the goal of launching a new website by January 2007. Moved: P. Schneidereit. Second: J. Fowler. Passed It was decided that P. Schneidereit should inform S. Khan of what we are doing so he is kept in the loop. Thanks to S. Khan for his help to date on this. Ethics Adisory Committee: S. Ward (Not present) (Taken from written report of Stephen Ward) In July, I asked Ken Regan and Sharon Burnside, of the committee, to draw up a policy manual that clearly states the methods and aims of the committee, so that every committee member can consent and agree to how the committee will work. This manual will also help us explain our work to other CAJ members and the public. Ken and Sharon were to put forward policy recommendations after speaking with committee members -- or allowing a dialogue on the issues. Because of the summer, and other factors, Ken and Sharon did not deliver the manual by end of August as hoped, and then workload kicked in. As a result, I should have their manual by end of this week, and will distribute to the CAJ committee for further comment and ratification. It may entail a teleconference call. I now how to have the manual in place by end of October. At which time, we can officially accept requests for a committee inquiry or report on an issue. New Business: None. Adjournment: Move adjournment. January 27&28th, 2007. – Consensus is Toronto.