AOJ board activity

This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

Advance agenda stuff for the May 15, 2016, meeting.

Advance agenda and link to Nov. 13, 2015, meeting
Masthead article from the 11/13/15 meeting
Articles on April 2015 meeting 

(page reformatted and reposted 1/5/2016) updated 5/11/16

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This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

AOJ Board May 15, 2016

This is agenda material that was prepared for board members' use and subsequently posted as matters of record. It may open in your browser, or download, depending on your settings. 

Minutes of May 15, 2016, meeting (pdf) 
(Posted 5/23/16; pending board approval)

Agenda (doc)

Budget (xls) approved 5/15/16

Minutes of May 5, 2016 (docx) approved 5/15/16

Minutes of Nov. 13, 2015 (docx) see next item

Minutes of Nov. 13, 2015 as approved 5/15/16 (pdf)

Minutes of Jan. 12, 2016 (doc) approved 5/15/16

Discussion notes of  April 7, 2016 (doc) (no actions)

Discussion notes of April 25, 2016 (doc) (no actions)

Financials 2016 Q1 plus April (xlsx) report accepted 5/15/16

Quarterly investment review (xlsx) report accepted 5/15/16

(posted 5/11/2016 updated to 5/17/2016 JM)

AOJ board 11/13/15

Masthead's 11/18 report on board highlights (investments, membership drive, and more) is part of the symposium-news-2015 package.

Board members and other leaders have access to some advance materials in a log-in location.

Association of Opinion Journalists Board Meeting

Nov. 13, 2015, Poynter Institute for Media Studies

St. Petersburg, Fla.

I. Old Business

a. Approval of minutes from April meeting

b. Treasurer’s report (Q3 financials; expected year-end scenario)
c. Investments proposal (Jessi Navarro of the Poynter Institute)

II. New Business 

a. Symposium’s future
b. Leadership/volunteer challenges
c. Committee Reports (membership, diversity, symposium, open government, development, Masthead)

III. Adjourn

(Posted 11/12/15) (reposted 1/5/2016)

AOJ boards 4/26/15

Material from this joint meeting is being added here during the next several days in keeping with a resolution of the Foundation board.

Policy statement on keeping members informed (4/26 here 5/12)

Minutes of the 4/26/15 joint boards meeting PDF (posted 5/8)

Minutes of meetings approved or confirmed 4/26/15 (access updated 5/8)
Sept 21 joint boards PDF Sept 23 annual PDF Dec 6 boards PDF

(4/27/15 07:24 updates through 5/12/15 16:21cdt JM)

Policy statement adopted April 26, 2015

The AOJ Foundation Board resolves to communicate frequently and in detail with its members. These communications should include, but not be limited to, timely posting of agendas and minutes of board meetings on the AOJ website as well as news about any important issues involving the organization that may arise between board meetings. Further, the board invites all members to participate more fully in the organization by sharing at any time ideas and concerns with board members or the president and officers.

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Full platter for 'New AOJ'

Posted by John McClelland (4/28/2015 rev 5/4/15)

The value of the Poynter partnership was visible in new little things during the first moments of the AOJ leaders' April 26 meeting: name badges and name tents for the table, in addition to the expected agenda documents. 

We saw big things, too, such as a key staffer present much of the day, a sense of can-do cooperation, and signs of other staffers at work in their specialties.

The process of winding down the professional association and rolling its assets into the Foundation took several more steps, and progress was clear in preparations for November and other activities. 

We left seven hours later quite hopeful. "The New AOJ" phrase got used several times without being formally adopted.

Miriam Pepper (left) and Lois Kazakoff received gifts and thanks, and a sense of relief, after ending their extended terms of service as presidents of the association and the Foundation. (photo composite added 5/4/15)

Pepper remains on the Foundation board as a trustee handling the legal review and other actions to end the association as a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. She listed nine steps remaining.

In short, the nonprofit educational Foundation trustees:

  • Amended a 5th draft of revisions to the Foundation bylaws and approved it subject to legal review. The one substantive change this time was elimination of an old bylaw calling for staggered terms. Leaders said the process was too complex and normal turnover has worked well.
  • Approved an interim spending resolution to be succeeded in June by a budget subject to substantial revision after Poynter and its auditors finish looking over the records from Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The interim spending resolution and an earlier budget draft again presume dipping into investments, but not the hemorrhaging of some recent years. (Revised 5/4/15 to distinguish spending resolution from budget)
  • Reviewed a first-ever consolidated financial report showing a first quarter 2015 net operating loss of $410, a huge improvement from some of the association's recent years.
  • Reviewed Foundation investment reports showing $438,000 in the dedicated Minority Writers Workshop endowment and $256,000 for the Foundation's general fund.
  • Appointed a committee to look into alternatives to manage the endowed investments for lower fees.
  • Asked Poynter to be sure liability insurance is still in effect.
  • Commended Minority Writers organizers for a good new plan that also celebrates the event's 20th year. The seminar will begin before the Nov. 14-15 symposium.
  • Praised a symposium plan that shows a balance of craft and policy activities and one superb speaker already committed.
  • Discussed at great length initiatives to regain and then expand membership and raise other funds.
  • Heard David Haynes say he can commit just one year as president and call for a having a vice-president in gear before autumn.
  • Adopted a resolution stating a policy of keeping the membership informed and hearing members' ideas.

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Bylaws revisions approved

This is a link to a pdf of the revision of the Foundation bylaws, before amendments approved April 26, 2015, subject to attorney's review and further amendment as needed. Click here to view or download, depending on your software.

(Posted 4/26/2105 07:25edt JM updated 4/28)

AOJ Foundation board
elects new members

(results; agenda summary; and background)

New trustees and officers of the AOJ Foundation will meet jointly with continuing trustees of the Foundation and continuing directors and officers of AOJ on Sunday, April 26.

Elected unanimously by email ballot of the current trustees on April 21 were:

  • President: David D. Haynes, editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, previously Foundation secretary, head of the 2014-15 transition committee, and chairman of the AOJ Symposium 2015.
  • Secretary and trustee: Jennifer Hemmingsen, opinion page editor of The (Iowa City regional) Gazette and
  • Treasurer and trustee: Dan Morain, editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.
  • Nancy Ancrum, editorial page editor of the Miami Herald, trustee.
  • Joanne Bamberger, independent writer, trustee.
  • Tony Messenger, editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, trustee (previously a director).
  • Christian Trejbal of Opinion in a Pinch, trustee (previously a director).
  • They had been nominated previously by outgoing Foundation president Lois Kazakoff.

Continuing trustees are Herb Berkowitz*, Paula Lynn Ellis*, Carolyn Lumsden**, Rosemary Goudreau O’Hara**, Miriam Pepper**, and Gene Policinski*. 

(* Indicates outside trustee who is not an AOJ member; two are required, and three is the nominal limit. ** Indicates a trustee who represents AOJ on the Foundation board.)

Agenda summary

The joint meeting of the two boards begins at 9 a.m. at the McClatchy-Tribune offices in Washington DC. 

 The two boards have met jointly several times in the past year, face-to-face in Mobile in September and by conference calls in December, January and February. This will be the first face-to-face since the beginning of the management contract and partnership with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

The agenda includes review of finances, budget, amendment of bylaws, a proposal to adjust membership fees for organizations with more than one member, legal issues of the dissolution and transfer (“merger” in casual speech) and of new state registration, programming in cooperation with Poynter, and committee reports on membership, diversity, open government, the annual symposium (conference), the Minority Writers Seminar, fundraising, and more.

In an effort to continue the sense of member participation in the affairs of NCEW-AOJ, even though the Foundation’s structure does not require membership voting, members of the boards have begun discussing drafts of a policy of open information and advisory participation by the membership. This article is a result of those discussions, even as policy wording is still in rough drafts. (top of page) (top of article)


Members and observers may recall that 2014 continued years of declining revenues related to changes in the newspaper and broadcast industries in particular. The boards proposed dissolving the nonprofit professional association AOJ and turning its remaining assets over to the AOJ Foundation. Two changes of management services and one of website vendor complicated things.

The membership voted by secure online ballot Sept. 21-22 to proceed with the reorganization. Those at the Sept. 23 business meeting authorized the professional association officers to continue without a new election and to select date, place, and if applicable a partner, for the annual conference. 

The Foundation trustees whose terms normally would have ended in December remained in office, too, during the transition of management to Poynter. The Foundation bylaws state that the serving trustees elect their officers and new trustees.

Since contracting with Poynter for 18 months of management services, reviewable and renewable, the Foundation and Poynter have scheduled the annual State Department briefing set to go April 27; the annual conference, AOJ Symposium 2015 Nov. 14-15 at Poynter in St. Petersburg, Florida; and the annual Minority Writers Seminar to be connected to the Symposium.

Previous articles about the transitions from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to Florida administration and the decisions to restructure and partner with Poynter are elsewhere on this website (links pending...).

(Posted April 22, 2015, by John McClelland, Masthead editor, a board of directors member by presidential appointment. Minor update 4/24, and widened accessibility 5/8/15)

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AOJ leaders April 26, 2015, Washington DC. Identities are clearer on the wider image here. Two joined by phone; two were pre-committed to travel.

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