August 11, 2010

COMJIG Minutes, 2010 Denver

Community Journalism Interest Group minutes, Aug. 5, 2010, Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
(Updated and corrected Aug. 26)

The meeting began with a joint meeting with the Civic and Citizen Journalism Interest Group. COMJIG Head Doug Fisher, South Carolina, called the meeting to order in Governor’s Square Room 16 at 8:36 p.m. Pending arrival of CCJIG Head Mary Beth Cahill Callie, Fisher asked if anyone had announcements.

Chip Stewart, Texas Christian, announced that he is co-editor of a new online Community Journalism journal that is assembling an editorial board, will start seeking submissions this fall and will try to get its first issue out next summer. The journal will define community broadly, not just geographically; civic-and-citizen submissions are welcome if they have a community connection.

Fisher told the joint meeting that the two groups were asked last year to consider merger, but study has shown that they have less overlap than believed, only 24 out of the approximately 100 members in each group. He said he and Cahill Callie see no benefit from merger; a combined group would get no more programming chips, and the two groups work together well already. (In a later communication, Callie said the conclusion on CCJIG's part came out of a conference call among their officers.)

Fisher proposed that both groups do a joint paper call to explore interstices of the two interests.

Glenn Scott, former research chair of CCJIG, said the groups need to make commitment to spend chips on a session and agree to have a team of reviewers for just those papers. Fisher said each group would commit a half chip each, and might even be able to bring in the Newspaper Division or another group and have a mini-plenary.
The joint meeting was dissolved and the COMJIG meeting was called back to order in Governor’s Square 9 at 8:45 p.m.

Minutes from the meeting at Boston, which were posted on the COMJIG blog, were approved.

Fisher thanked the officers for their help in the past year. He said research being presented at the conference showed a broadening of the group beyond traditional labels of rural and geographic, a message that he said members need to get out. He reported a balance of $1,025.92 in the group’s account.

Vice-Head Andris Straumanis, Wisconsin River Falls, said the group’s sessions so far had been good, with good attendance. Research Chair Joe Marren, Buffalo State, said the group attracted more papers than normal, 12 (one couldn’t be accepted because she identified herself), little more than half from grad students. Six were accepted, three for the research session and three for scholar-to-scholar.

Teaching Chair Eileen Gilligan, SUNY Oswego, announced that her university’s Center for Community Journalism had officially closed.

The group unanimously elected the following slate of officers: Joe Marren, vice-head and program chair; Eileen Gilligan, teaching standards chair; Ralph Hanson, Nebraska-Kearney, professional freedom and responsibility chair; Al Cross, Kentucky, secretary and membership chair; John Hatcher, Minnesota-Duluth, research chair.

With election of new officers, Straumanis succeeded Fisher as head. He asked for an got a round of applause for Fisher for work as head, including a 53-pp. renewal report. He said renewal of the interest group is expected. He said the report is good overview of what the group is, what it stands for, where it has been and where it is going.

Straumanis said his goals for this year are : (1) raise research submissions to 18 from 12, partly by soliciting more from individuals; (2) revive the discussion on having COMJIG develop a closer, ongoing relationship among professionals in community journalism, beyond our individual relationships, starting with survey of professionals to see what they need and how we might help; (3) create the long-discussed syllabus and assignment exchange, particularly assignments, to get good examples that might help teaching.

Under old business, the group discussed dues, still at $5. Straumanis said raising the dues to $7.50 or $10 could fund more speakers, and he noted that travel of the head and vice-head to the winter meeting can consume up to $500. This winter’s meeting is in Albuquerque.

Fisher said it would be appropriate to raise dues, especially since the new Sports Division is starting at $10, and in light of programming costs. Hansen moved that dues be set at $10 for faculty and $5 for graduate students. The motion was seconded by Andrea Bonner Frantz of Robert Morris and was approved without dissent.

Fisher said the bylaws call for a nominating committee of two, one to be named by the head and one named by the membership, and asked for a volunteer. Hansen volunteered. Fisher moved to appoint her, and after several seconds the appointment was approved without dissent.

Under new business, Fisher reported on candidate cities for the 2014 conference: Atlanta (with a guaranteed room rate of $149-179), Jacksonville ($109 plus a $32,500 donation), Miami ($242 with an escalator clause), Tampa ($163 w/escalator), Montreal ($169-189 Canadian, plus C$30,600 in incentives). Fisher moved that the group recommend Montreal, and Jock Lauterer, North Carolina, seconded. The motion was approved without dissent. The conference will be held St, Louis next year, then in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Fisher reported on the idea of a joint paper call and research session with CCJIG, noting that the groups have areas with ties and areas with friction. He said Cahill and he agreed to spend a half-chip apiece for a dedicated session, and asked for motion to give the Executive Committee authority to move ahead. Lauterer so moved, and after two seconds the motion was approved without dissent.

On proper motion and second, the group adjourned at 9:21 p.m.

    Joe Marren
    Jock Lauterer
    Andris Straumanis
    Andrea Frantz
    Tommy Thomason
    Brian Steffens
    Eileen Gilligan
    Pam Fine
    Liz Hansen
    Gary Hansen
    Chip Stewart
    Al Cross  
    Doug Fisher

Submitted by Al Cross, Secretary/Membership