June 14, 2010

COMJIG draft meeting minutes from Boston 2009

In preparation for our upcoming meeting in Denver, here is a copy of last year's meeting minutes. Please e-mail me with any corrections or comments.

Community Journalism Interest Group
Annual Meeting, Boston, Mass., Aug. 6, 2009
6:45 p.m.

These meeting minutes should be considered a draft until they are approved or amended and approved at the 2010 annual meeting in Denver.

Joint meeting – COMJIG/CCJIG

We again began with a joint meeting with the Civic and Citizen Journalism IG. Liz Hansen, COMJIG head, and Nikhil Moro, CCJIG head, presided with 24 people attending.

Discussion items:

Possible combination of the IGs
Discussion about possibly combining CCJIG and COMJIG to form a division. Moro says it is a good time to discuss given the expanding research in both areas.

A lengthy discussion ensued. Among the points:
•    What are the advantages? More papers – CCJIG papers up sharply from 18 last year. About double and more from students. COMJIG had about 10 papers but is renewing efforts to get more.
•    Membership – Overlap may not be as strong as first appears. CCJIG has 118, COMJIG  has 101.
•    Question raised about subject matter overlap. Hansen says COMJIG focuses more on smaller operations while CCJIG includes more non-journalist actors.
•    Disadvantages include loss of identity and leadership opportunities.
•    Among our guests was Ben Ilfeld, operations manager of the online site sacramentopress.com. He says "we exist at the intersection" of community and civic journalism. Says if he knew that was to be the version of the future, combine. But he's not sure of that, so might be best to be separate for now.
•    There were suggestions from Len Witt and others that the IGs might commission a paper to look at the changing times and how they might be converging or perhaps issue a special call for research into the intersection of CCJIG/COMJIG with a focus on theory and practice and a monetary award for best paper. (Doug Fisher noted the paper(s) could be published in the Convergence Newsletter.)

No decision was reached. The incoming COMJIG and CCJIG heads agreed to continue discussions. Fisher, incoming COMJIG head, agreed to get the membership lists analyzed as to overlap.

Industry workshops and other help to industry
Al Cross said he wants the NNA Foundation to promote research on how smaller news operations can adapt in a 24/7 world. Possible industry workshops that will take budget and organization. Possible hook-up also with SNPA. No action was taken.

COMJIG meeting
Both IGs then adjourned to their separate meetings; seven people attended the COMJIG session.

Minutes: The 2008 annual meeting minutes were adopted unanimously without change upon motion and second from the floor.

Research report: Nine papers, seven accepted. Discussion on increasing submissions included several options including special call and expanding cash awards of $100 or both student and faculty best papers. Doug said if named head he would work with expected incoming research head Joe Marren on possible special call or other wording that would emphasize community not only as geographic but also as community of interests, which is becoming more important digitally. Motion made from floor and seconded to expand cash awards to both student and faculty. Approved on voice vote.

Discussion of goals next year. It was concluded we should focus research, increase international participation, and emphasize the role of community journalism in the online and suburban newspaper areas.

Discussion continued on possible combination with CCJIG. Several people expressed misgivings. Andris Straumanis noted one of the reasons separate IGs were created was to differentiate the issues. Cross said it couldn't help hurt to give it further consideration and research. Hansen noted that COMJIG's bylaws, compared with CCJIG's, were very media centric.

Officers: The following slate was nominated and seconded
•    Doug Fisher, head (from vice head). Also will remain webmaster.
•    Andris Straumanis, vice head (from research)
•    Joe Marren, research
•    Eileen Gilligan, teaching (remains in position)
•    Ralph Hanson, PF&R

The secretary/membership position was open. Cross volunteered to do it and was added to the slate, which was approved by acclamation.

The new officers then assumed their positions, and Fisher accepted the golden pica pole as new IG head.

Hansen filled in the new officers that DIG news will change format and require one longer-form article a year from the IG head.

Hansen moved that dues be kept at $5 yearly. Seconded. Passed unanimously on a show of hands.

Discussion about COMJIG logos that Doug put together for use on Yahoo site and blog. Motion from floor to accept either. Seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote. Doug has chosen to use the one below:

[see blog header for image]

Motion to adjourn from the floor, duly seconded and approved. Meeting adjourned 8:23 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Fisher

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