Minutes from the fall board meeting of SND

Here are the draft minutes from the fall board meeting of the Society for News Design. We say draft because the minutes are not final until approved at the next meeting. We will also present the ideas that came from this meeting more fully at Monday morning’s breakfast business meeting. Please join us at 8 a.m. in the Red Rock Ballroom.

Society for News Design Board Meeting

Sept. 6, 2008, Red Rock Resort, Las Vegas, Veranda A/B



Gayle Grin, President

Matt Mansfield, Vice President

Bonita Burton, Secretary-Treasurer

Scott Goldman, Immediate Past President

Directors and Chairs

Melissa Angle

Jonathon Berlin

Olivier Bourgeois

Matt Erickson

Javier Errea

Tyson Evans

Jeff Garretson

Jeff Goertzen

Hans-Peter Janisch

Ron Johnson

Stefan Knapp

Stephen Komives

Luiz Adolfo Lino de Souza

Gustavo Lo ValvoLily Lu

Kenney Marlatt

Marshall Matlock

Svetlana Maximchenko

Frank Mina

Douglas Okasaki

Gordon Preece

Denise Reagan

Gabriela Schmidt

Linda Shapley

Shraddha Swaroop

Anders Tapola

Don Wittekind

SND Foundation

Bill Gaspard

Chris Edwards


Elise Burroughs

Susan Santoro

The meeting began at 9:06 a.m.

Gayle Grin welcomed all and talked about the difficult year for North American papers but how well international papers are doing and the 30 percent international turnout at this year’s Workshop. She thanked Bill Gaspard for such a beautiful setting for the Annual Workshop & Exhibition. She then introduced the new directors to the rest of the board.

Self-introductions were made around the table.

Past President Scott Goldman commented on the large number of international board members in attendance and thanks them for their time and effort in making the meeting.

The Spring board minutes were approved

Officers’ Reports

The president’s report. Gayle spoke on how SND can help during this downturn in the industry and her travels as president, with highlights from her written report. She spoke about Stephanie Grace Lim’s presentation at SND Scandinavia and how well-received Marshall Matlock’s presentation was received at the Ifra Conference in Paris. She spoke of her China visit and how moved she was by all the pictures of the recent earthquake.

She also summarized the Summer Executive Committee Summit meeting.

Elise talked about the Mission Statement goal of making visual journalism as an integral discipline as part of Gayle’s report. SND has many endeavors in this area, including the joint Workshop with APME.

Vice President Mansfield briefly touched on his Tuesday Workshop presentation, which will cover a research survey project involving SND, APME and the Online News Association.

Gayle continued her report outlining how SND programs currently match the SND Mission Statement. Promoting ethics is one Mission Statement goals that has no formal programs, and she and the Executive Director will explore options for creating an Ethics Director.

She concluded her report and asked for questions. Region 2 director Shradda Swaroop asked what specifically SND wants to do on ethics. Gayle replied that Poynter does a good job covering ethics on its Web site but we don’t. Mansfield says we really don’t know yet how we’re going to do this but suggests via Design magazine, our Web site, co-hosting on Poynter.

Jeff Goertzen talked about ethics problems with graphics. Graphic artists aren’t sure what is plagariarism in graphics and the Denver Post will be implementing new ethics policy, guidelines for their graphic artists on staff. Elise said people should share their policies and post them on our Web site. The question was raised about how to source pictures grabbed from the Web. Jeff Goertzen said different countries have different ethical guidelines, which makes it hard to judge their work in competitions.

In his Vice President’s report, Matt Mansfield thanked everyone for coming and talked about his move from the San Jose Mercury News to teaching.

Matt will focus more on online and he introduced a new SND competition, the World’s Best-Designed™ Web site competition. Tyson Evans explained how the competition will work – see Mansfield’s report. Matt asked if anyone thought the competition was a bad idea and no one responded that it was.

Marshall Matlock informed the board about how the expression Worlds Best-Designed™ is trademarked by SND and can be used for this new competition. A vote was delayed until after Wittekind’s report.

Mansfield talked about how we need to grow globally and at the same time contain and cut costs. He asked the directors for suggestions on how to become more fiscally responsible.

Secretary/Treasurer Bonita Burton talked about the Executive Committee’s proposed cuts for 2008 to make up for revenue projections that fell short. The Society faces a deficit by year’s end of $25,000. The next issue of design, Design#108, will be a double issue, which will save printing and mailing costs at a time when Design editor Jonathon Berlin is very busy anyway launching the redesign of the Chicago Tribune.

In addition, the first draft budget for 2009 had a $55,000 deficit.
In its Sept. 5 meeting, the Executive Committee approved a series of budget changes to eliminate that deficit.

Gordon Preece asked if SND still planned to move the office to a university. Elise said SND might move to a smaller office in North Kingstown, but there is no money to sponsor a major move right now.

Burton encouraged regional directors to promote SND events in their regions to raise revenue.

Mansfield says next year is a prime year to grow membership as it’s our 30th year and we are holding an international Workshop in Argentina.

SNDF is doing well financially, and is about to embark on a major fund-raising campaign, Burton reported. Mansfield said it’s easier to give to the foundation as it’s tax deductible. Mansfield said SND will ask the SND Foundation board to pay a small management fee to SND for handling bookkeeping and fund-raising.

Burton said the Executive Committee recommended a small charge for posting jobs on the SND Web site. Kenney Marlatt said the job bank draws a lot of viewers and should be free. Lily Lu said a fee will keep the spammers out of the job bank.

To provide revenue, Goertzen suggested recording training sessions and making them available on our Web site, perhaps with a subscription charge.

Elise said she plans to sign up with Google Ad Sense to post ads on the SND site.

Directors were asked to use the script in the board book to call nonmember newspapers and get contacts and possibly members.

Elise Burroughs presented the Headquarters report and outlined the Challenge Grant.
Lu said the Dow Jones Foundation might support us in reaching high school students.

Elise said the foundation needs international support too and would investigate expanding international educational projects.

Sunday, April 19, is the date for the SND spring board meeting in Orlando. The Orlando Sentinel will host the meeting. Saturday afternoon SND will have a consultant come meet with the board to give advice on strategic planning. Gordon Preece said it’s a great idea and it’s long overdue.

A Design Quick Course will be held in Orlando on the Friday directly preceding the training, with speakers from the SND board

Olivier says people in France don’t see much value in SND as Design magazine is geared to the United States, and perhaps we can make the magazine more international and offer more local benefits and services.

Olivier suggested charging more for dues for SND France members, with a portion being returned to them to run their programs and produce their own magazine

Hans suggested postponing discussion of this topic until we get to his board restructuring proposal.

Lu said language buttons indicating international links would enhance the SND Web site.

Elise concluded her report.

In her Executive Committee report, Gayle said she and Matt will solicit sponsors for the Annual Best of Newspaper Design™ book. This will involve a page with a company’s logo.

Gayle explained her technique for raising sponsorship money for the Workshop. She said it is necessary to show your dedication to SND when raising funds, and to call the person directly, not send an e-mail. She advised the board members to always ask for at least $1,000 when asking a newspaper for money.

The officer’s and headquarters reports were accepted and the board took a break at 10:54 a.m.

Resuming at 11:11 a.m., Gayle introduced latecomer Anders Tapola

Program Directors’ reports

SND’s Annual Workshop & Exhibition Buenos Aires report was given by 2009 site chair Gustavo Lo Valvo, with assistance from Cristobol Edwards

The opening reception will be held at a planaterium. As there is no official hotel for this Workshop, there is no organized transportation to this event and attendees will need to take taxis. The World’s Best-Designed™ awards will be presented at the reception, a change from the usual awards dinner presentation.

Plans for an exhibition are under discussion, composed of tear sheets from the World’s Best-Designed™ competition and the Malofiej competitions

A business luncheon is planned for Saturday.

The agenda will include 32 sessions in two days from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be two separate programs, one for professionals and one for students. Students sessions will be free but pre-registration is required. Edwards says money, or the lack thereof, is a big issue in South America. However, he feels confident that our event will draw a lot students. We need to get them to pre-register by a cut-off date.

The promo plan will begin with a video at the Las Vegas Workshop Awards Dinner, production of a bilingual brochure, and an October 15 Web site and registration site launch.

All sessions will be bilingual, in Spanish and English.

The report was approved.

Hans-Peter Janisch spoke on international relations, including his proposal to set up a study group on board restructuring. As SND grows internationally and creates more regional affiliates, having each region and affiliate represented on the board will make the group too large for efficient decision making. He proposed creating a different model.

Burton asked about the difference between our board and others, like IFRA, and Hans-Peter said the IFRA board is a business model, with a handful of directors.

Gayle announced that she had appointed Felix Soh as the new Region 19 director for Asia/Pacific, following long-time Region 19 director Peter Ong.

Gayle explained that the new method of selecting a director is by asking all members in the region to volunteer for the post. She suggested appointing more country coordinators to advise a smaller number of regional directors.

With 2,000 daily newspapers in Brazil, Luiz Lino de Souza said country coordinators are a good idea. As the regional director in Brazil, he is very far away from many of the members in his region and many are Spanish-speaking. He thinks the region is too big for one person.

Goertzen says their are lots of countries that want to be part of SND; he recently spoke with two gentlemen at conference in india who want to start a SND India.

Mansfield said the discussion is about finding the correct composition of the board to allow us to expand.

Individual country coordinators will give countries ownership, said Grin.

Hans-Peter said the goal is better representation on the board. Gayle said we need more international board members.

Bonita Burton asked if Hans-Peter will convene a committee to research implementing country coordinators. Many board members raised their hands to assist on the committee.

His report was accepted

Matlock gave the Competition report. — see his report. The Executive Committee asked Matlock to cut 2009 Competition expenses by $10,000, and he said he would.

He then presented his book report.

Olivier asked why people don’t send PDFs of their winning pages. Matlock replied that we don’t have the staff to process them, they wouldn’t be consistent, and many papers do not have PDFs of all their pages.

Goertzen asked Matlock about limiting the number of winners in a category. Matlock said they increased the price of the entries to get fewer entries, but that didn’t work.

Matlock said that the Edmund C. Arnold Scholarship fund has an annual donation commitment from Mario Garcia. his reports were accepted, and the board adjourned for lunch 12:20 p.m.

The board reconvened at 1:08 p.m.

SND Foundation president Bill Gaspard gave the SNDF report.

Gaspard explained the two new scholarships that SNDF is offering and the Gannett Grant SNDF received for students to attend the Las Vegas Workshop. He promoted the “How We Roll” fund-raiser.

Don Wittekind presented Laura Ruel’s report on the multimedia competition and informed the board that a new competition database is being developed.

Multimedia judges will now judge the World’s Best-Designed™Web site. Suggested entry fees are $50 for members and $100 for nonmembers. Mansfield asked the board to vote on this award and they will get to reconsider it later after all the details are worked out. The motion passed.

Multimedia Quick Course report by Don Wittekind — see report. Report approved.

Education & Training by Stephen Komives — see report.

Burton asked if a 3-D Quick Course was too restrictive and questioned the need for it.
She also asked why 3-D was under design instead of information graphics. Goertzen said 3-D is a training software course, with no infographics involved. Burton said Denise Reagan and Komives need to carefully choose topics for the 2009 Design Quick Courses.

Komives said we may have to go back to the one-day model. Burton questioned the locales and said small towns weren’t a draw. Wittekind disagreed, saying he sells out in Muncie, Ind., all the time. Burton said regional directors need to promote these courses. Komives asked them to call people in their regions promoting the courses. His report was accepted.

Jeff Goertzen presented the Information Graphics report — see report. Jeff said wants to hold the workshop at Ball State University planned for the end of the year and not cancel it.

He elaborated on the SND India proposal from the earlier discussion. Burton asked if he shouldn’t do a one-day information graphics course at the Buenos Aires Workshop next year. Jeff said he’d do it, if that’s what was wanted. Wittekind said he can do these courses without computers, if necessary.

Goertzen proposed a two-day workshop at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a Workshop in China. His proposal passed.

The Publications report was tabled as the publications director was absent.

Jonathon Berlin said next Design, issue #108, will be a double issue to save money. It will help his schedule catch up. He described about Design 107, which will be handed out at this Workshop.

Mansfield says we can promote SND on other people’s sites, like getting Jonathon to do a Question & Answer segment on the Poynter site.

His report was accepted.

Regional directors’ reports
Report accepted.

The regional directors from regions 2 and 3, Shraddha Swaroop and Melissa Angle presented highlights from their written reports.

In Region 4, Matt Erickson mentioned layoffs, buyouts, and redesigns being in the future. He said he will work on a membership drive this time instead of just talking about it.

In Regions 5 and 7, Linda Shapley presented highlights of the Region 5 and 6 reports.

In Region 8, Frank Mina said did an e-mail campaign and will do a phone blitz with the help of other members to recruit more members.

In Region 9, Preece thought it might be good to have a video about SND to use to promote SND when lecturing.

In Region 12, Luiz said he’s planning a Workshop in early 2009 to help promote SND Buenos Aires. He would like to do a regional/local newspaper competition.

In Region 13, Anders Tapola said there is some interest in bringing the Annual Workshop to Edinburgh, Scotland. He will talk to newspaper people and to Ally Palmer about the possibility.

In Region 14, Javier said he thinks there will be a big turn-out for Argentina from his region.

Stefan Knapp and Svetlana Maximchenko read highlights from their reports on Regions 16 and 17.

In his Region 18 report, Olivier said most French people speak only French so he would like us to find them a designer who speaks French who can do some training for them.

Douglas Okasaki presented highlights from the Region 20 report and said he needs a more visible spot on SND.org for his Region 20 blog.

In her Region 21 Lily said she will move back to China in about six months but she still plans to represent SND Chinese and work on SND projects.

The regional reports were accepted

Bill Gaspard brought the directors their name badges and spoke briefly about SNDVegas.

There was no new business and the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

About Matt Mansfield

is a Partner at MG Strategy+ Design.