Minutes: LION Board meeting

Minutes of the March 20, 2013 meeting.

June 6, 2013 by Dylan Smith

Via Conference Call, 3 p.m. EST

Attending: Dylan Smith, Krystal Knapp, Brandy Tuzon Boyd, Howard Owens, Charlotte-Anne Lucas, Ned Berke, Scott Brodbeck, Jesus Sanchez, Ikaika Hussey Absent: Jerry DeMarco

1. Ben Ilfeld's resignation – The board acknowledged the great work Ben Ilfeld has done as a board member and as chair of the membership committee. Without Ben's efforts, the committee would not have met its initial recruitment goals. Ben resigned because he is not running the day to day operations at the Sacramento Press, and is now focusing on his latest start up, AdGlue. The board will miss his input and we hope he stays involved in LION and attends the annual conference.

2. Nomination of new membership committee chair – Ben's departure leaves the membership committee without a chair. Krystal suggested Charlotte-Anne Lucas via Basecamp and Charlotte said she would be happy to serve. She was very active in recruiting our first wave of members. Ikaika moved to nominate her as chair of the committee and Brandy seconded the motion. The board voted 7-0 to approve the motion. (Two board members joined the call late).

3. Fundraising committee – Board members discussed the need to have a separate committee to focus on fundraising efforts. We will look for funding for our annual conference and other activities by seeking out foundation support, grants, sponsorships, and support from vendors. A smaller group will work initially and then after funding for our annual conference is set, the committee will be expanded to include non-board members (both for and nonprofit) and to focus on general fundraising. Right now the focus is raising money for our annual conference. Charlotte pointed out that we need to set metrics for our organization, keep track of outcomes, what we as board members have contributed financially, etc. All of that information is important to foundations. Ikaika volunteered to head up the fundraising committee if he is part of a team. The board voted 8-0 to approve the plan after Brandy introduced the motion and Ned seconded it.

4. Awards committee – The board discussed creating an awards committee. Howard said if we give out awards, a lot of details need to be taken care of in the process, such as recruiting and coordinating judges. Several board members feel giving out awards is important because people are honored for their work in front of their peers, an awards ceremony would add to the conference, and could result in more media coverage for the organization. People agreed the best time to announce winners is at the conference. The group agreed that Jerry DeMarco would be a great board member to lead the committee and voted 9-0 to have Jerry lead the committee if he agrees. Howard introduced the motion and Jesus seconded it. Howard will reach out to Jerry to ask him to lead the committee.

5. Recruiting non board-members for committees – Board members agreed that the chair of each committee should be a board member. When recruiting at-large committee members who are not on the board, the board agreed that Basecamp is a suitable means for chairs of committees to inform the board when the chair wants to add a new member to a committee. A chair will post on Basecamp the name of the LION member to be added to a committee, and board members will have 48 hours to object to the addition. Ned moved the suggestion, Brandy seconded it, and the board approved the new policy by a vote of 9-0.

6. Committee reports – The board members agreed that committee chairs will file reports of their progress via Basecamp every few weeks. This should cut down on the number of posts on Basecamp and keep everyone up to speed in an organized fashion.

7. Should the LIOP Facebook group be closed to non-LION members? – Ned argued that the Facebook group is a promotional tool for LION and is a good way to promote workshops, tutorials, and the conference. He expressed concern that we will lose our bullhorn to promote LION to non-members if we close off the group. Brandy asked how board members would feel about a combo approach, closing the group off in June but allowing people a trial period to belong. Charlotte said as membership chair she would monitor when the trial had expired for a potential member. Ned said as an opponent of paywalls for news sites, philosophically he opposes closing off the group to non-LION publishers. Howard argued that the Facebook group has nothing to do with LION and is a social gathering place and a convenience we all enjoy, but is not a membership benefit. He expressed concerns that keeping the group open to non- LIION publishers would stifle the free flow of discussion among publishers. Jesus said the Facebook group is a very important promotional tool and it builds a sense of community. Krystal said she sees the Facebook grow as a very important part of LION and her sense of belonging and feels as long as someone is an independent publisher, they should be allowed to join. Ned said he does not want to see people who are ousted because they did not join LION splinter off and form another discussion group.

Charlotte moved to close the group and make it for LION members after June 1, but to give publishers a 30-day trial in the group before they decide whether to join LION. Ned seconded the motion. The motion to make the Facebook group for LION publishers only failed by a vote of 5-3. Brandy, Ned, Scott, Jesus and Krystal voted to keep the Facebook group open to publishers who do not join LION. Dylan, Charlotte-Anne and Howard voted to close the group and make it for LION members after June 1, but to give publishers a 30-day trial in the group before they decide whether to join LION.

As a result of the vote, local indie publishers who do not join LION can remain as part of the closed Facebook group for publishers that is currently called LIOP. Howard has removed non-publishers from the group. The status of a handful of people in the group is still unclear. Board members will review the names and see if they know what web publications the people are associated with. At a future meeting, we will discuss which employees of a local indie online publication can be part of the Facebook group (ad sales members, writers, publishers only, etc.?)

Board members expressed interest in having more regular meetings via phone instead of the flurry of messages back and forth on Basecamp. Given the tasks we need to complete as a new board and the fact that we did not complete our discussion of agenda items during our 1 hour call today, the board will hold another meeting in the next two weeks. Dylan will send out a doodle ASAP to schedule the next meeting. Krystal asked the board if it is okay to go public with a "save the date" for the annual conference now that Columbia College in Chicago has confirmed we can have free space there Oct. 3-6. Board members agreed we should start promoting it so people can put it in their calendars.

The following discussion items listed on our agenda were tabled until the next meeting because we ran out of time:

Member recruitment plan Conference Programming Endorsements/working with vendors (Broadstreet offer) Amicus brief in Crews public record case Records The meeting was adjourned just after 4 p.m.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter

Join the LION mailing list to get our weekly roundup of opportunities and resources for news entrepreneurs. View our most recent issues.