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25th Anniversary 1978-2003

Vol. 25, No.4/Summer 2003

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SLA News Division Annual Business Meeting Minutes

Monday, June 9, 2003

New York City, Marriott Marquis Hotel

Executive Board members present: Michael Jesse, Chair; Linda Henderson, Chair-Elect; Catherine Kitchell, Treasurer; Leigh Poitinger, Secretary; Liz Donovan, Director-Publications.

Michael Jesse called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.

Michael Jesse asked for a motion to approve the 2002 News Division business meeting minutes, as published in News Library News, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Summer 2002). Richard Geiger moved; Donna Scheeder seconded.


Chair-Elect (Linda Henderson)
Linda announced that the Division had good attendance at the conference. About 214 people attended this year, up 50 from last year. Linda thought this might be due to the high concentration of news libraries in the New York area.

Linda reminded members to pay their $25 suite fee to Justin Scroggs or Catherine Kitchell. Linda also made announcements about which nights the Division suite would be open, changes to the New York Times tour, and details about the News Division Silent Auction on Tuesday, June 10.

Treasurer (Catherine Kitchell)
(Michael Jesse read the Treasurer's report.)

Highlights of the year:

As of June 5, 2003, the News Division had a checking account balance of $12,817.92

Contributions for the C.B. Hayden Fellowship Fund totaled $6,175.00 including a donation of $5000.00 from ABC News. (This money will be separated out from the operating funds.)

The allotment from SLA was $7,090.00. This was down from 2001 when it was $7,930.00. (The change is due to lower membership numbers in the News Division.)

The average cost of producing an issue of News Library News over the last 10 issues is approximately $2,550.00 for layout work, printing and mailing. At 4 issues a year the cost is $10,200.00 a year to the Division.

In a major change in procedures, SLA required all Divisions to pay for half of anticipated conference costs upfront. This year it meant the Division paid over $9,200.00 to SLA in April. While these costs are recovered in ticket sales, etc. it is a future planning issue for the Division requiring us to line up sponsorship money early in the year, etc.

Respectfully submitted,
Catherine Kitchell, Treasurer

Category Description


Uncategorized 0.00

Bulletin Advertising income 840.00

Bulletin Subscription income 210.00

Contributions C.B. Hayden Fellowship 5,700.00

TOTAL Contributions 5,700.00

Dues Allotment 7,090.00

Meeting Income 2,500.00

Florida News Group 1,450.00

TOTAL Meeting Income 3,950.00

Sponsorships 15,576.19



Bulletin - Advertising 658.00

Bulletin - Non-Advertising 9,985.95

Contribution Expenses 2,500.00

Meeting Expenses 27,613.98

Florida News Group 440.00

TOTAL Meeting Expenses 28,053.98



Because of the way the budget year falls, not all current conference data was included in this Treasurer's report. Michael Jesse suggested that the Treasurer submit a follow-up report in about a month to show all the conference inflows and outflows. Catherine Kitchell suggested that such a report could go in the next issue of News Library News.

Past Chair - Awards (Jody Habayeb)
(Chris Hardesty reported for Jody Habayeb.)

Chris announced that the awards reception would begin at 6 p.m. on the Inamorata, at Pier 81. There would be a cocktail reception (open to all) from 6 to 7 p.m., and the boat would sail at 7 p.m. Due to the logistics of the boat, some of the awards would be presented during the cocktail reception rather than during dinner.

Director-Professional Development & Education (Jennifer Small Evert)
(Linda Henderson reported for Jennifer Small Evert.)

About 50 people attended the two half-day Continuing Education courses on "Archiving Web Content" and "Tracking Down Public Records." (Jennifer was absent because she just had a baby girl - congratulations Jen!)

Director-Publications (Liz Donovan)
Liz reported that Ron Larson is now editing News Library News and doing a great job.

Liz also reported that Webmaster Jessica Baumgart is looking for volunteers to help with content on the web site. Liz said she would be encouraging people to help with the web site and to suggest new content ideas.


Archives (Teresa Leonard)
(Michael Jesse read the archives report.)

News Division archives are housed in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communications library in Chapel Hill. The plan for this upcoming year is to work on a catalog of the archives. This catalog information could be made available on the web, and a survey of the material in the archives will highlight additional information that we might want to publish on the Division Web site.

One of the prizes contained in the archives is a collection of glass slides featuring news libraries from the early days of the News Division. Barbara Semonche has consulted with a photo archivist at UNC's North Carolina Collection about the best methods for preserving these slides. We will explore these options and prepare a proposal for the division.

Special thanks to Barbara Semonche for her work in making historical information available to division members through her library's Web site. These include:

Photos (with dates and links) of News Division Chairs (1924-)

News Division Conference Programs with Photo Scrapbooks (1978-)

Individual News Librarians

History of the News Division

History of NewsLib

International News Librarians

International Relations (Wil Roestenburg)
Wil reported that one of the International Relations committee's goals from the 2002 Los Angeles conference was to provide more updates to the Division about the international activities and members of the Division. To that end, Wil reported that the IR committee contributed two articles to News Library News, and Barbara Semonche created a Web site ( for the committee which has a list international members, programs, conferences, photos and much more. Wil would like to do a survey of the international members to see what they are interested in. On Newslib, the committee tried to announce activities and ideas, and Wil praised the listserv for being a think tank and a way to share ideas among news library colleagues. In addition, Wil announced that there would be a session on globalization on Wednesday of the conference.

Teller-Elections (Marilyn Bromley)
Ballots for three Executive Board positions (chair-elect, treasurer, and director of education/professional development chair) were mailed out in early March 2003 to all current News Division members. Ballots were to be postmarked no later than April 11, 2003 in order to be counted.

The new officers are:

Chair-elect: Jennifer Small Evert
Treasurer: Justin Scroggs
Dir. of Ed/Prof. Dev. Chair: Jim Hunter

Expenses for the election were donated by BNA and the BNA Library staff.

Respectfully submitted,
Marilyn Bromley, Teller/Elections Chair

Nominations (Barbara Semonche)
(Patti Graziano reported for Barbara Semonche.)

The Nomination Committee this year included Barbara Semonche, Richard Geiger, M.J. Crowley, Marlinda Karo and Carolyn Hardnett.

Barbara launched a private list group and a password-protected web site to facilitate the committee's work. The list and Web site included information on candidates, a timeline for the nominations, descriptions of officer duties and the Division bylaws.

Thank you to all the committee members, especially to Barbara Semonche.

Webmaster (Jessica Baumgart)
Jessica reported that 20 people helped with the Web site this year.

A new item on the Web site is a weblog by Liz Donovan. Jessica is contemplating redesigning the site without frames. She's open to comments and thanked everyone who helped out with the Web site this year.

(It should be noted that Jessica wore a propeller beanie - the official webmaster head gear - while giving her report.)

Jessica Baumgart wearing the News Division Webmaster beanie.
Webmaster Jessica Baumgart, wearing the official Webmaster head gear, speaks at the Division's Business Meeting.

Membership (Alice Pepper)
(Michael Jesse read the Membership report.)

According to SLA March membership statistics, the News Division now has 712 members. This is up from 670 in March 2002 (686 in May 2002).

For comparison from previous annual reports:

2001 - 774 members
2000 - 800 members
1999 - 900 members

Membership Directory:

We are again deeply thankful for the support of NewsBank in publishing our membership directory. Linda Paschal and Becky Meland devoted many hours to producing this wonderful product. Thank you.

Membership Committee Responsibilities:

The membership committee sends out new member packets with an introductory letter, a copy of the Division directory and recent editions of News Library News.

The names of new members are forwarded to the News Library News editor (who asks for a short autobiography for the newsletter - when space permits), and to the listserv administrator.

At this time, there is only one person on the Membership committee. I rely on the News Division Web site to provide the most up-to-date information to students and new members. The Web site is more timely and less expensive than a brochure.

The Future:

The Division should consider devoting more resources to a membership/ marketing plan suggested several years ago - establishing outreach programs to journalism organizations about the value of employing a News Librarian/Researcher/Data Analyst.

The challenge is retaining members as well as recruiting new ones. We must develop "nut graphs," quick, shorthand tools to communicate to managers, newsrooms and professional organizations the high price of not having an informational professional on the team.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Pepper, Membership Chair

Some other suggestions for boosting membership were discussed, including:

Getting library directors to budget for one more membership among their staff.
Going after Web team people at newspapers (especially if SLA changes its name).
Getting current SLA members to add the News Division as a second division on their membership.
Having a membership drive on NewsLib (perhaps a spoof on the public-broadcasting membership drives).
Beefing up the membership team. Linda Henderson is putting together a membership committee and Alice Pepper has agreed to be on it.

Michael Jesse asked for a motion to approve the committee reports. Donna Scheeder moved; Charlie Campo seconded the motion.



Michael Jesse hands the gavel to Linda Henderson
Michael Jesse passes the gavel to the Division's new chair, Linda Henderson, during the Business Meeting.


Governing Documents Transition and Review of Chair Positions

Michael Jesse said the bylaws and governing documents of the Division are becoming defunct. Michael has appointed Barbara Semonche to head a committee to study and transition the bylaws. The committee also includes Richard Geiger, Charlie Campo, Kathy Foley and Linda Henderson.

Discussion of News Library News Publishing Costs and Alternatives

Michael Jesse reported that the financial situation of the Division is tight and opened a discussion about costs and alternatives for publishing News Library News.

Linda Pashcal said that NewsBank currently prints and mails the newsletter at cost, and Michael pointed out that there really is no way to cut the printing and mailing expenses any further. The other associated cost is the designer's fee.

A debate about print versus electronic publishing of the newsletter ensued. Leigh Poitinger suggested reestablishing a position devoted to getting advertising for the newsletter. Catherine Kitchell pointed out that it is the same people/vendors who sponsor the conference who also would be placing ads, and that they might be reluctant to split their dollars. Leigh mentioned an earlier idea about creating a vendor relations chair to coordinate conference sponsorships and advertising for all Division activities. Linda Henderson said that Jody Habayeb might be interested in the position. Michael Jesse said the Gov Docs committee would look at creating and replacing chair positions. Charlie Campo suggested bundling suite sponsorships and NLN ad copy together for the short term. Sammy Alzofon said the Florida Chapter debated the issue of publishing their newsletter on the Web instead of in print, but since they've switched to a Web-only format it's been fine. Kee Malesky reported that the DC Chapter sends out a one-page mailer with a reminder directing people to the Web edition of their newsletter. Catherine Kitchell said the DC Chapter gave notice to people who wanted or needed paper copies. Jessica Baumgart said the Boston Chapter creates a PDF that the editor prints and mails to people who want hard copies. Out of about 500 members, only 10 get hard copies.

Jessica Baumgart asked if we are obligated to provide a print version (no) and how much of our dues go towards NLN printing costs. Catherine Kitchell responded that NLN is printed at a deficit. Jessica also asked if doing a digital version only would affect the Division's archives, or whether we could just print out a hard copy to include in the archives. Catherine Kitchell suggested having the newsletter designer export the newsletter to a PDF file when she's finished. Catherine suggested that if we do go electronic, we should run a notice in both the print and electronic versions. Leigh Poitinger pointed out the time lag involved in producing the print edition of NLN.

Michael Jesse then asked for any proposals or motions.

John Jansson moved to thank NewsBank for producing the annual membership directory. Justin Scroggs seconded the motion. Applause followed.

Linda Pascal reminded members that data for the News Division membership directory is taken from official SLA records and asked members to please make sure their information is updated.

SLA Name Change

Donna Scheeder reminded people to pick up a voting card for the SLA name change before voting at the general meeting on Wednesday, June 11, 2003.

Installation of New Officers

The new News Division officers were installed (Jennifer Small Evert, Justin Scroggs and Jim Hunter). Michael Jesse passed the gavel to Linda Henderson, who started her term as News Division Chair by thanking everyone and asking for a motion to adjourn.

Donna Scheeder moved to adjourn the meeting; Jessica Baumgart seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 4:22 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Leigh Poitinger, Secretary

Last Updated: 08/18/03
Ron Larson