Society for News Design Spring 2010 Board Meeting
April 17, Denver, Colorado
Kris Viesselman, President
Steve Dorsey, Vice President
Jonathon Berlin, Secretary/Treasurer
Stephen Komives, Executive Director
Lee Steele, Region 1
Pai, Region 2
Melissa Angle, Region 3
Mauricio Gutierrez, Region 4
Norma Ramirez, Region 11
Hans-Peter Janisch, International Relations
Tyson Evans, Web site
Damon Cain, Denver Workshop
Jeff Goertzen, Denver Workshop
Lily Lu, SND Chinese
Chris Courtney, Training Director
Suzette Moyer, Publications
The meeting began at 11:29 a.m. MDT (and was held concurrently with the Denver Post’s second annual Graphics Garage workshop, just a few floors below in the Denver Post / Media News building in Denver CO.
Kris Viesselman called the meeting to order and the participants made introductions.
The meeting began with official recognition of board members who have departed since the last meeting: Region 2 Director Jeff Goertzen, Region 9 (Eastern Canada) Director Michael Bird, Region 10 Director (Western Canada) Gordon Preece, and Multimedia Competition Coordinator Laura Ruel, who is staying involved with the multimedia competition but will not be the lead on it after May. Their many years of service to SND was acknowledged, and Viesselman expressed that she hoped they will continue to contribute to SND in the future. The discussion turned to appointments to represent the Canadian membership, and about casting a net to see who might be willing to step forward.
Executive Director Stephen Komives reviewed the minutes of the Fall 2009 Board Meeting in Buenos Aires. Region 3 Director Melissa Angle presented a motion to approve the minutes. Motion was approved.
Komives also discussed the Special Meeting of the SND membership to vote on bylaw amendments approved by the Board in Fall 2009. It was to be held in conjunction with the Graphics Garage, preceding the board member, but 40 members of SND were not in attendance so the meeting was aborted. The change to the bylaws concerning the election of officers will be put before the membership at the Denver Workshop. Komives said that the annual election of officers should be delayed until after that vote takes place.
REGION REPORTS PRESENTED
Pai (Region 2) recapped events in the Western United States 2009, including a meetup in San Francisco that drew 70 people. He said plans are in the works for a meetup in Los Angeles, with 1-2 speakers, for the summer. And another in Berkeley, Calif. He said he is still getting familiar with the terrain of his newly expanded region (Region 2 now encompasses the former Regions 5,6,7, and 8 in the U.S.)
Norma Ramirez (Region 11, Mexico and Central America) said she is trying to coordinate a workshop in El Salvador in July. The last major SND event she could cite in her region was a decade ago in Costa Rica. The potential for Mexico City as a potential site for the annual workshop was discussed, as it has been at previous board meetings, and there was support for it if a suitable sponsor and coordinator can be identified. Discussion also turned to other potential sites, and universities to partner with, in Mexico for future Quick Courses.
Melissa Angle (Region 3) also discussed the geographic growth of her region, and said she is trying to ensure every SND Region 3 member is connected on Facebook, and is trying to facilitate more interaction between members. The Region 3 Twitter account has a lot of followers (265), both from inside and outside SND. She said the new and changing content on Web site is helping her create a following, through re-Tweeting. She reviewed events in her region, including a meetup in Hickory, N.C. in December, and mentioned the desire to put on more small-town, small-paper events. A Web Design Boot Camp was held in Dallas in April, and filled up. Miami is likely next. Angle said there are non-SND events the organization would benefit by being present at and attaching its name to, including South By Southwest. She talked about wanting to create more contacts in big cities and state coordinators. Finally, she mentioned a possible summer meetup in Atlanta and hopes to involve the many media companies in that city, outside of our traditional newspaper audience.
Lee Steele (Region 1) said he is working Facebook, Twitter and his own Region 1 blog to build audience. He talked about a SND’s involvement in April’s Society of Professional Journalists event at the Graduate School of Journalism CUNY. Steele and Training Director Chris Courtney sought and received the participation of the New York Times’ Andrew DeVigal and the Newark Star-Ledger’s George Frederick at that event. The question was raised if pursued new members at that event, and it was agreed that an aspect of SND’s participation in such events needs to be to recruit new members. Steele discussed plans for meetups in Boston and Roanoke this summer. Also, a New York event featuring longtime SND leader Dale Peskin is creating buzz: SND is partnering with We Media to stage an iPad throwdown. SND members are receiving a discount of more than $100 to the event. Steele said he is looking for more of these opportunities to create partnerships. Viesselman mentioned it gives SND bigger reach and creates more value for members. Steele also discussed hooking up with more regularly scheduled journalism program events.
Mauricio Gutierrez (Region 4) brought information about upcoming meetups in Detroit and Indianapolis. Chris Courtney discussed what distinguishes meetups from Quick Courses, in terms of limited speakers and keeping it more of a networking opportunity. Courtney also talked about a strategy of placing meetups close to other related events, such as an event for students coming up in Minneapolis. Denise Reagan said not to discount the effectiveness of advertising SND events in the local paper as well, as Denver has done with its Graphics Garages. Jonathon Berlin said it’s important to give form and define what SND does to help provide education and bring together the SND community.
Lily Lu (Region 21 SND Chinese) said she is still trying to resolve issues concerning SND’s legal status in China. The hope is to register as nonprofit organization, to gain legal standing, which will facilitate easier entry into the region. She said the SND brand recognition is growing, and mentioned inquiries from Hong Kong University and other universities that have interest in partnerships with SND. She also discussed prospects for an SND Chinese newspaper design competition. She also talked about other areas and countries outside of China, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, and the need to seize on their interest in SND. Viesselman extended a special thank you to Lu, for her hard work in extending SND’s name and for giving the board a window into the complications involved in making events happen there.
SND Chinese will be host an information graphics workshop taught by Juan Velasco and Jeff Goertzen May 11-14 in Xi’an.
Tyson Evans made a motion to accept the regional reports. Jonathon Berlin seconded.
The reports were accepted.
PUBLICATIONS – PRINT
Suzette Moyer joined the meeting on the phone from Bradenton, FL. She took the board through her plans for her first Design magazine, to come out in summer. To help tie in with the Denver Workshop, she has settled on a theme of Making and Keeping Connections, both in the newsroom and within the industry. Story ideas:
* How to get your Visual Ideas Heard, whom to connect with and learn from;
* Sidebars on designers connecting with photographers;
* How graphic artists connect with the newsroom;
* Centerspread connectivity graphic, about sources of inspiration;
* Pieces on how to make connections at an SND Workshop;
* Where Are They Now feature of prominent SND people;
* Profile of illustrator of Gold-medal winner from China;
* Keeping it Fresh feature;
* Chart on what’s in, what’s out in the industry;
* Links between music, creativity and design;
Discussion turned to brainstorming for a special year-end issue. Moyer talked about books she turns to for resources and inspiration; the idea of taking a project and break it down, anything from Annie Liebowitz photo shoots to Pentagram graphics; creating a guide for designers for major event coverage. Another idea put forth – social directories, what if we published a social directory, people could buy space and show their work. Booth at conference where people could buy a spot and we could build a directory.
Berlin talked about the overall concept for the year-end magazine, the question of what can we do with the magazine to showcase value to members, beyond offering a great snapshot of issues in industry. Trying to make it more than just a magazine, into something that brings people together again. Once a year in a yearbook format, greatest creative accomplishments that come from society, what if it was used to bring people together in a symposium. Can we turn publication into something to build SND footprint and generate something with it on a par with the Competition and the Workshop and the Book. The Year in ideas. chronicling, using long form, putting it into growth mode. He said SND is meeting daily need now with Web site, and wants to grow the printed brand.
Reagan pointed out the Web site, because of its nature, is not a member perk the way Design magazine and Update was. Dorsey talked about the SND mission of trying to help people with changes, being thought leaders, giving membership backup and support in their newsrooms. Viesselman expanded on the idea of symposiums in conjunction with the year-end issue, mentioning London, Washington D.C. and Dubai as potential sites.
Viesselman talked about an a la carte approach to pricing, allowing members to opt-out, for example, of the printed magazine and take PDFs instead.
Viesselman talked about the immediate concerns: getting Moyer’s ideas into print — finding a printer, tackling logistics. Moyer talked about pairing its printing with an existing run at a publication. Maybe changing the format of Design, working with a big publication, using their specifications. Tyson talked about how Basecamp was used as a brainstorming hub for the Web site redesign and launch — although many geographically scattered volunteers to coordinate their efforts, and could be used for magazine plans and assignments as well. The group pledged to follow-up with a virtual brainstorm about the year-end issue. Moyer talked about how, as a longtime member, the perk to receiving the magazine always meant a lot to her. Viesselman thanked Moyer for hitting the ground running after her recent appointment to the post.
PUBLICATIONS – WEB
Tyson Evans discussed the launch of the new SND Web site in January. He presented it as a major milestone, a major move toward bringing ownership of the Web site into the organization, and discussed the cost savings: whereas the last SND site redesign cost upward of $15,000, this one cost some pizza and a train ticket for Tyson from New York to Washington. He presented data showing traffic is up more than 100% in page views since January 2009. He reviewed what’s popular – the competitions database, the jobs board, the other contest information pages, then blog posts and other enterprise pieces. He said the overall goal is to consolidate the SND voice on the site and wall off the old SND site.
Upcoming goals include:
* Recruiting more contributors and more regional content
* Updating more complex parts of site, including the Jobs database, which he hopes to branch out beyond design jobs (mentioned 37signals as an example of a model database approach)
* Ad sponsorship spots, in the spirit of the decknetwork.net
* Biggest projects involve overhauling the SND databases (Competition, Members).
* Pursuing a grant for the scanning and digitizing of the 30 years’ worth of slides from the annual competition. Potential sources of funding were identified.
The group brainstormed how to drive content from the individual regions. Regional Directors talked of how setting deadlines and perhaps templating the reports would be helpful, and how members would benefit if better pacing of updates was established. It was decided to assign a Regional Director the task of coordinating regional reports. Steve Dorsey asked if Melissa Angle would be willing to take this on and she agreed.
Tyson also talked of the need for a thoughtful SND email newsletter and more alerts to the membership when updates, new features and new training opportunities become available.
The group also talked of how to add value to the members-only area, perhaps anchoring video tutorials there.
Melissa Angle made a motion to accept the Publications reports.
Jonathon Berlin seconded the motion. The motion was approved.
Chris Courtney presented details of the Dallas Web Design boot camp, held April 10-11, and the March Webinar offered through Poynter, both of which were successful. Dallas drew 25 people, the Webinar drew an audience of more than 100.
He presented a number of upcoming events, characterizing some as concrete, some as still being hashed out.
These included Web Design Boot Camp offerings as Miami, Loyola of Chicago and Cleveland, as well as a one-day offering to precede the Denver Workshop in September. Evans said he and David Wright would likely be available to do one of the above as well as Denver.
Komives asked if all these Boot Camp offerings could go forth, whether they followed the HTML-CSS focus of the Evans-Wright course or took on a different focus. He asked if more digital trainers and different offerings are being worked on, such as Flash, iPad, HTML5. The need for more trainers and more offerings was acknowledged.
Courtney discussed an April 28 event in which SND is partnering with We Media in an iPad throwdown; SND members get a $150 discount on registration for the event.
He also mentioned an upcoming event at the University of Minnesota, at which Nigel Holmes will be presenting. SND members will also receive a discount there. And Colleen Kelly of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune will be hosting a meetup to right after that. Courtney presented that as a model he’d like to see SND capitalize on going forward: establish a presence for SND members at events that are likely to pique their interest anyway.
Courtney presented a calendar of upcoming events:
May 13 – Milwaukee meetup to coincide with Bucketworks, Courtney plans to attend
June 11 – Possible Miami Web Design Boot Camp, coordinated through Randy Stano. Courtney said he hopes to get that one nailed down ASAP.
June 15 – Meetup in Indianapolis, Courtney plans to attend
July 17 – Meetup in Chicago, Courtney plans to attend
Aug. 7 – Possible Cleveland Web Design Boot Camp
Sept. 23 & 25 – SND Denver, featuring a condensed Web Design Boot Camp
November – SND Boot Camp at the University of Loyola-Chicago, coordinated through Jessica Brown, might focus instead on alternative story forms or a Mobile Design Boot Camp
Other possibilities Courtney presented:
* Plans for several more Webinars, topics being identified
* Meetup in Toronto, Canada
* A summer meetup in London, coordinated through Alan Formby-Jackson
* Video Boot Camp, featuring the iPad, perhaps in Detroit
Dorsey asked Courtney if a calendar of SND events could be posted ASAP on the SND site in order to begin promotion, registrations. Courtney responded yes to the ones that are confirmed.
Komives asked again about identifying more trainers and the need to announce and present more offerings to members, especially early in the year. He also asked if there were more gatherings planned in small towns and focusing on small papers, such as the meetup in Hickory, N.C.
Melissa Angle made a motion to approve the Training report.
Mauricio Gutierrez seconded. The motion was approved.
Denise Reagan gave the highlights of this report, presented as a courtesy to the board. She spoke of the training grants, made possible by the Gannett Foundation, for the Web Design Boot Camp in Dallas. More than a dozen such grants, which paid full tuition for the event, were given out to applicants. She said data had also been collected from the applicants as to why such a grant would help them in their careers.
She announced an SNDF calendar project, which will be available in September. Past President Deborah Withey is leading the project. Calendars are being offered for $20 apiece, and people can “buy-a-day” for $10 as well. The Calendar has been announced on the Web site and the first orders have been taken.
Reagan talked about another SNDF fund-raiser –- a karaoke event for the summer. She said she is still identifying cities and coordinators. The goal is to hold the event in 30 cities over the course of a week in June, realizing $1000 in proceeds per city. For city coordinators the task involves just picking a karaoke spot and a date, and then getting the word out.
Reagan then discussed several plans for Denver:
* A fund-raiser, to occur immediately after the Thursday opening reception.
* The Thursday student workshop, which she said is in very good shape, with Jennifer Palilonis and Ryan Sparrow coordinating, teaching interactive infographics
* Travel grants for Denver, the application for which has been posted on the Web site
* The Silent Auction, she asked each board member to give 3 items apiece.
Reagan said SNDF had met its obligation to Syracuse University to continue the Ed Arnold Scholarship. She said she was planning a meeting of the SNDF trustees soon to approve plans and the annual budget.
Reagan also asked all board members to support SNDF. Not only to support its activities but to demonstrate to other organizations that SNDF is strongly supported within SND.
Dorsey asked about offering a select number of Silent Auction items on ebay, so those unable to attend the Denver Workshop can still participate. Reagan also talked about offering an item a month on the Web site to auction, to sustain interest in SNDF throughout the year.
Dorsey thanked Reagan for presenting her report.
Hans-Peter Janisch said he has spoken to SND Dach coordinator Stefan Knapp, about the potential of hosting the annual SND Workshop and Exhibition in Berlin in 2012. The hope is to present a proposal to the board in the fall.
He spoke of other events in Europe coming up this summer, then turned attention to a proposal to restructure the SND Board.
Dorsey talked of the proposal as one that is “multifaceted, complicated, but worthwhile and timely” with two goals – strengthen involvement and engagement level more locally, and reducing the size of board itself into leaner voting body more representative of SND’s global membership.
Janisch said as SND expands globally more regions would be likely to pop up – India, Africa, more in Asia – and we could face a future with up to more than 50 directors, which simply wouldn’t work.
Janisch said several years ago SND studied other organizations with similar membership size and distribution, and SND had the biggest board by far. He presented the upside of the proposal as reinforcing the lower part of the structure: local people and their representatives. The restructuring would create a new tier of 7 Regional Directors (called a ‘World Director,’ in the proposal, which also suggested finding a better naming convention), and reduce the voting board membership from 18 current Regional Directors to the 7 ‘World Directors.’ Janisch spoke of the need to find very dedicated members to serve as World Directors. The Regional Directors would remain, but report to the World Directors, one per continent, who would represent them as voting members of the board.
Specific aspects of the plan, such as whether the World Directors should be elected by their regions or appointed by the president (or the executive committee), and how certain regions could guarantee that all their constituencies would be represented to the board, were discussed, but these questions were left open.
Janisch said the immediate need would be to begin establishing the infrastructure to allow the restructuring to serve its No. 1 purpose – making SND more of a grassroots, nimble operation. The plan call for a need to strengthen our roots in communities, for the current Regional Directors to identify and appoint city coordinators, state coordinators. To formulate a timeline for implementing the changes, which he said obviously could not be done in a week.
Pai asked if the plan could be phased in. Janisch said this restructuring would be best accomplished in ‘one big bold step.’ He presented testimonials from Past President Gayle Grin and SND founding member Rolf Rehe.
With that, Steve Dorsey presented the following motion (reworking an earlier draft of Janisch’s proposal, at his request):
GOAL: To create stronger regional structures and relationships across SND by pushing individual and group efforts down to more local and regional levels to enhance member experience and perceived value, and to encourage and enable higher levels of engagement. The initial idea behind this new structure is to create a slimmer and more efficient board. The main purpose is not to reduce the regional activities but rather increase them — and at the same time reduce the number of voting board members to a more manageable size (and to better reflect the international distribution of membership). The model we are thinking of is not to reduce the regions, but to create a level above the regional directors that will represent the regions before the board.
MOTION: We will explore restructuring the SND board of directors with the intention of strengthening the local involvement and connection to members while also stream-lining the number of voting board members, with an eye toward distributing them more in line with the distribution of membership. We will meet a series of tiered deadlines with the goal of achieving this transformation of the SND board within the next 18 months.
BY NEXT BOARD MEETING:
* The first step would be to identify city and state reps immediately
* Post on snd.org will explain what end goal is, so people can weigh in and begin to consider issue, ramifications, etc.
* Come back with a plan on elected vs. appointed positions in the fall
* Communication with membership at large, 1-2 events (chat, calls, record of event) about local representation by June 15.
* Need team of 4-5 people to get word out
AT FALL BOARD MEETING
* Elected vs. appointed
* Whether map is where we want it
* Term limits
AT SPRING 2011
* Board would vote to enact new format
AT FALL 2011
* Vote on World Directors would take place regionally (should that route be adopted)
The proposed structure would look like this:
SND World Directors would represent:
* All regions in North America (US, Canada and Mexico)
* All regions in South and Central America
* All European regions (one concern here would be SND France being split up un two continents)
* All African and Middle East regions
* All Russian-speaking regions
* All Chinese-speaking regions (including Mongolia)
* All the regions in Southeast Asia (Asia and South Pacific)
This would bring us to 7 voting directors representing all regions of SND worldwide.
Discussion followed about the building of the local networks and a timeline for implementing the plan. Jonathon Berlin argued for the plan, saying “We all want SND to be ‘better’ ‘different’ and ‘new’ and we cannot do that within the same structure that’s always been around. It’s time to put this into motion.” Janisch said he envisioned an SND where the board gets smaller but the number of active members gets much bigger. Evans said the biggest reductions in board representation would be in Europe and North America. Janisch responded that Europe has always had a more local structure, with more local events and well-established regional competitions. So the biggest adjustment would likely be in North America. Questions arose about the specific wording of the proposal, and whether it should be adjusted to put the benefits to members at the top. Steele proposed that the notion of building better local networks should lead the proposal. Reagan and Courtney both agreed on the need to build stronger contacts for local initiatives instead of relying solely on Regional Directors, that this aspect of the plan should be presented first and foremost.
With that, Dorsey asked if the plan should be withdrawn. Janisch withdrew the motion in its original form, asking to make the adjustments and re-present it.
Viesselman talked about the urgency to formalize the effort, to gain a platform to create action and solicit input. Dorsey spoke of how best to present it to the membership, perhaps in tandem with a Q&A posting on the Web site. Gutierrez pointed out some issues with the map that need correcting.
A new, adjusted proposal was presented by Janisch.
Angle motioned to accept the proposal.
Dorsey seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously by the board.
Janisch finished his report with an update about the merger between two of the world’s largest news organizations, WAN and IFRA, and spoke of the bigger role SND could play with that group.
Evans made a motion to accept the international report. Viesselman seconded. The motion was accepted.
Dorsey spoke about an effort he and Lily Lu had begun discussing to raise funds to bring two artist from China to the SND Chinese spring graphics workshop in Xi’an, focusing on individuals in the area hit by the recent earthquake. Discussion explored a proposal that SNDF pay travel, and that donations be solicited to cover the rest of the approximately $1500 cost. He agreed with Lu and Reagan to discuss this further.
Komives described the sweeping changes that have taken place with headquarters since the last report:
* He was hired as executive director;
* The rented office in Rhode Island was shut down in December;
* Executive Director Elise Burroughs ended her tenure on Dec. 31;
* Membership Manager Susan Santoro ended her full-time employment on Dec. 31, then stayed on on a contractual basis until Feb. 28;
* Komives flew to Rhode Island in mid-December, loaded the contents of the office into a truck and drove it to Florida, establishing a virtual office;
* SND is now incorporated in Florida;
* The office has been consolidated to a one-person operation.
Komives reviewed the cost savings that are being realized by operating out of a virtual office and talked of additional ways he hopes to streamline and create more efficiencies that will be helpful to members. Evans said he would help explore merchant-and-database driven solutions to reduce the amount of office time spent on administrative tasks.
Komives talked about delaying the payment to reserves, as presented in the Competition budget, so that SND can be in a better bargaining position with vendors serving the Denver workshop. Dorsey approved of this and said a motion was not necessary to delay the payment.
Janisch talked about better marketing SND’s resources, such as slides from the competitions, to consultants worldwide, that there was revenue potential there for SND.
Komives reviewed membership numbers, which now stand at 1,243. That number is down 128 from Fall 2009 and 349 from a year ago. He said a key to driving membership would be to create more training opportunities, and said he had sent off several grant proposals with the goal of keeping vital training for members as a low-cost or no-cost proposition.
Angle made a motion to accept the headquarters report.
Evans seconded the motion. The motion was accepted.
At 3 p.m. the participants began a brainstorming session concerning membership. Viesselman presented the following areas of focus:
* Pricing options;
* Attracting new members;
* Leadership as ambassadors;
* Social media engagement;
* Resources SND needs;
The board discussed various pricing initiatives that members – especially those in the United States whose memberships are no longer financed by their news organizations – might find attractive. Among what was explored:
* More tiered pricing options and discounts for multi-year memberships
* A more aggressive corporate membership drive. This has been successful in Siuth America and China but is not currently used in the United States;
* More discounts for SND members when they attend partner-events
Discussion also centered on highlighting members benefits – showing members what they receive from the a $110/annual membership, beyond the tangible book and magazine, to listing all the discounts available, the networking aspect, the active participation in shaping the industry’s future. Dorsey said SND needs to show it will be there for members in need. Komives said the grants given at the Dallas Boot Camp were a good demonstration that SND is being there, and that SND’s best asset and member service is the offering of the expertise of its members. Komives said every conversation and action the board undertakes should be about serving members and attracting new ones.
Viesselman suggested an active campaign to promote Where Your Money Goes. Pai said such a campign needs to be visual. Viesselman spoke of a 30-day membership campaign, centered on highlighting member benefits, using the Web site, Twitter each day, and testimonials from members. Pai offered his help.
Komives talked about recently lapsed members, and how SND should speak to them about why they should rejoin SND and the conversation about visual journalism. He led the listing of changes in SND over the past few months:
* The new and dynamic Web site, filled with expert voices
* New training opportunities, including Webinars, and the chance to receive training for free.
* Partnerships with innovative organizations and thought leaders that are exposing members to new ideas
* A new and very active Educators’ Web site led by Palilonis
* A growing multimedia competition
* A quickly evolving landscape overall for its competitions that will better recognize the work being done by its members on various platforms
* Reinvigorated print publications that will be creating a different kind of magazine
Angle talked about how SND should be marketed differently to editors. Viesselman said:
* SND can show editors we are preparing our members for the new media world
* We are the early adopters of technology and the best suited to train our newsrooms
* That we have a history of creating newsroom leaders
* That we take visions and make them tangible.
Gutierrez summed up the marketing strategy as “Visualizing Change” –- that is SND’s mission and always has been.
Evans said SND needs to be more active in recruiting non-designers to its ranks, and that that message would resonate.
Viesselman spoke of the need to bring top newsroom editors to the SND site, to expose them to the type of training we’re providing and advocating, to offer a survival course for big newspapers.
The idea of a contracting with a marketing professional to run a campaign, on purely incentive-based terms, was floated.
Pai asked what specific tasks Region Director could perform. Komives said he could generate contact info for recently lapsed members, so Regional Directors could contact them individually. Komives said he was planning an email campaign targeting lapsed members as well. Viesselman said staging events should be a top priority for Regional Directors as well.
The creation of a Membership and Marketing Director, a former board position, was brought up.
Viesselman said it didn’t have to involve creating a board position, but a call should go out to find someone to fill a Special Assignment, to work with the President and the Executive Director on the issue.
Dorsey suggested SND explore partnering with a marketing program at a college or university, to pair up for a real-life project to market SND. It could be effective and they may have ideas beyond those of the board.
Reagan said we need to assign or appoint some to this task: “We need someone only thinking about this for next 12 months.” She said Region Directors need to have responsibilities and targets for building membership.
Viesselman said she wrote to Regional Directors at the beginning of the year about such expectations. She said the Executive Committee is feeling like those expectations need to be clear, that it’s “Time to get on the bus or get off. We need to be courageous about change.”
On pricing, Steele mentioned that SPJ is offering a 6-month dues waiver for those laid off. Janisch said new pricing should target young professionals, to find an affordable range between what college students and professionals pay. An “Introductory” membership, if you will.
Pai said the best place to find new members is outside our industry. He spoke of a conference for infographics. VizThink, that attracts 700 people. There’s a big crowd of people interested in data visualization, a huge market we’re missing.
Komives and Angle talked about SND leaders as traveling ambassadors, how visiting newsrooms and meeting with editors and visual journalists in places where membership is down could be effective, as alumni associations have found.
The need for an SND Calendar Editor was discussed. Reagan said it would provide a huge member benefit to see updated listings of all journalism events and non-journalistic visually focused events. Komives said he knew of some potential candidates for the post and would contact them within the week.
Courtney said he knows many outside of SND who want to get involved but are not sure where to start. He said there’s no natural entry into SND “unless you started on print side.” He spoke of making SND an encapsulated thing we can present at meetups. Komives suggested a brief video greeting and explainer about the Society to be shown at all meetups, along with membership registration info. Courtney SND can use its brand to legitimize events, and that by allowing outsiders to use it can attract a new crowd to SND.
The session ended with a What’s Next to-do list:
* Identifying a calendar editor
* Identifying a potential marketing director
* Contacting schools to explore marketing partnerships
* Building stronger local networks of members
* Continuing the discussion about pricing, tiered memberships, corporate memberships
Dorsey summed up a very extensive report filed by Marshall Matlock (who was unable to attend the board meeting but had been in close contact with the executive committee about developments since the competition was held at Syracuse University in February) about the 2010 print competition, which exceeded the budgeted goals. Dorsey lauded Matlock’s 20-plus years of hard work and dedication on behalf of SND. Dorsey said a number of issues were still pending, and would likely come before the fall board, including:
* The Best of Multimedia Competition – who to lead it, how it’s structured;
* SND’s status at Syracuse University. The Society’s contract is up for renewal, and while “They want us back and we want to be there,” there are questions about how to include e-editions, mobile apps, other design of news that is not print. He said a meeting will be arranged before the summer between top officers and the dean of the Newhouse School at Syracuse.
* The purpose, makeup and duties of the Competition Committee. And issues related to the timing of its functions, for example the naming of the next year’s editor coordinator;
Dorsey described the competitions aspect of SND as being at a crossroads, and that we have an opportunity to shape and create synchronization between the competitions as well as expand them to better reflect the shifting duties and needs of members.
He brought up the SND branding of World’s Best – “What does the “World’s-Best-Publication-on-Multiple-Platforms” look like?
The structure of the Multimedia competition was discussed. Courtney said the quarterly aspect was confusing. He suggested exploring a “Multimedia roulette – you submit once a month, wouldn’t necessarily judge those entries.” But it’s a chance to post projects and prompt discussion.
Dorsey spoke of the gap in what SND recognizes – there is no SND award for day-to-day usability and design of news sites or mobile design.
Viesselman said she and the officers would discuss with Multimedia Competition Director Laura Ruel whether the quarterly aspect of that competition should continue and suggested the transition to new leadership should involve a talk with members about how to make the competition most useful and while raising the profile of the annual Multimedia awards.
Damon Cain and Jeff Goertzen presented the program for the Denver Conference and Workshop. He said most speakers have been confirmed. He said the organizing committee is continuing to work to bring in international speakers, as well as creating more focus on skill development for the Web, branding across platforms, data visualization, career issues, typography, art direction and creative processes, video planning, magazines, and visual ethics in multimedia.
He said his theme for the workshop is centered on designing for platforms: video, audio, interactive graphics, “building the new journalism.”
He also described a “live lab” event throughout the workshop, that will involve the packaging of an all-color Workshop Journal, a compendium to the conference that participants can see being built as the workshop progresses.
He also described an “Essentials” track that will teach fundamentals of design regardless of platform, aimed at students and young professionals.
Thursday will feature a student workshop, a condensed Web Design Boot Camp, followed by an opening reception at a cowboy bar featuring a mechanical bull as part of an SNDF fund-raiser.
He said Friday night would feature pub crawls and scavenger hunts, and Saturday night’s banquet would be preceded by a special event.
Cain summarized the budgets and fund-raising being conducted for the workshop. One new twist in this year’s conference-planning is the use of a professional sponsor-seeker/fund raiser. Komives and Goertzen said a contact list was being built, and that SND should maintain constant contact with major sponsors.
Viesselman suggested an snd.org teaser campaign, featuring workshop speakers, at least once-a-week so people will start to get a sense of the depth of the program.
Komives suggested incentives for signing up – every 50th registration is free, for instance.
Goertzen said he’d like to offer one-day passes to those outside SND with Colorado ID, $100, no meals included. That idea had wide support.
Dorsey applauded the exciting program and the efforts clearly made getting to this but, he also urged that a coordinator for the awards segment of the program be identified early.
Viesselman made a motion to accept the Workshop report.
Angle seconded. The motion was accepted.
Dorsey made a motion to set the next two meetings. Angle set the dates:
* The Fall Board Meeting will be held in Denver on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010.
* The Spring Board Meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 22, 2011, in St. Louis.
Berlin seconded the motion. The motion was approved.
Evans made a motion to adjourn the meeting.
Berlin seconded the motion. The motion was approved.
The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m. MDT.