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Board of Directors Meeting Minutes April 12, 2018


New Hampshire Press Association Board of Directors

Meeting Minutes — April 12, 2018


Board of Directors: Thursday, April 12, 2018, a regular board meeting was called to order via phone conference call by President Vanessa Palange at 1:06 p.m.


In Attendance: In addition to Ms. Palange, the following board members were in attendance: Howard Altschiller, David Brooks, Heather Henline, David Saad, Trent Spiner and David Tirrell-Wysocki participating for portions or all of the call, as individual schedules permitted. Nancy West from InDepthNH also joined the call.


Absent: Executive Director Phil Kincade, Chuck Douglas and Carol Robidoux


A quorum of membership was present.


Approval of Minutes: The previous meeting’s minutes were submitted for approval by Ms. Henline, secretary, pending any corrections from the board. Mr. Brooks made a motion to approve, and it was seconded by Mr. Altschiller. The motion carried unanimously, and any submitted changes would be made by Ms. Henline prior to the final filing of the minutes.


Treasurer’s Report by David Brooks: Mr. Brooks indicated not much had changed with regard to our accounts, since the previous board meeting. He reported we still have a balance of approximately $5,700 in the account. He also said he and Mr. Kincade still were discussing dues and payments methodology to work on a plan to move that process forward. Board members expressed a desire to see billing go out and dues start to come in from the membership.


Executive Director’s Report by Vanessa Palange in Phil Kincade’s absence: Ms. Palange discussed the following agenda items:

  • WMUR Visit — Mr. Kincade, Ms. Palange and Mr. Spiner were able to meet with WMUR President and General Manager Jeff Bartlett March 30 to discuss a variety of topics. These included WMUR’s potential membership in the NHPA as well as mutual media concerns regarding pending Right to Know and Marsy’s Law legislation in the state. Both Ms. Palange and Mr. Spiner indicated they believed the meeting was a positive one, and WMUR said they are interested in joining.


Committee Reports:

Legislative — Trent Spiner, chair: On April 9, there was a special board conference call for those who could attend to discuss Marsy’s Law and the very specific addition of the words “and privacy,” to the proposed bill. That wording was cause for concern for some of the membership, especially because this is the first time in New Hampshire history the wording “privacy” would become part of legislation.


Board members on the call and through majority vote via email authorized Mr. Spiner to “go to testify (April 10) as a member of NHPA or draft a letter to address the concerns about the ‘and privacy’ wording in Marsy’s Law.” The motion was made by Mr. Altschiller and seconded by Ms. Henline.  Mr. Douglas abstained (April 9). There also was a follow-up email by Ms. Palange sent April 9 to all voting members of the board, including those not on the call to provide them with an opportunity to weigh in. No objections were received to this action.


During the April 12 board meeting, Mr. Spiner updated members that his schedule did not permit his attendance at the April 10 joint hearing of the House Criminal Justice and Judiciary committees. He described the hearing as one during which more than a dozen people offered testimony about the proposed legislation. He also questioned whether writing a letter on behalf of the press association was the appropriate action at this time, given the other testimony offered in opposition to the current wording of the bill.


There was much discussion by the membership, including what appeared to be the NHPA going beyond the scope of weighing in on just the “and privacy” language. Ultimately, many member papers were waiting to see how their publications may weigh in about this issue with opinion pieces. The membership, at this time, believed the “and privacy” wording issue had been addressed by others at the April 10 hearing. The board tabled the issue of further action by the Legislative Committee at this juncture, reserving the right to bring up possible future action as the bill makes its way through the Legislature.


In other legislative news, Mr. Saad reported the House passed SB 555, to establish a Right to Know Law Ombudsman and Citizens Commission, referring the matter on to Finance. He also noted Right to Know New Hampshire was removed as an advisory member of the board, explaining it is predominantly seen as an equal right’s group for the public and other factions believed they didn’t have the same representation.


Content Sharing — Vanessa Palange, chair: Ms. Palange introduced Ms. West, with InDepthNH. Ms. West thanked the board for permitting her participation in the board meeting and explained her organization’s mission and purpose as a nonprofit website for public interest journalism. This included NHPA members’ free use of the media pieces put together by InDepthNH’s reporting team. She indicated content could be requested for use, shared via an email exchange or picked up directly online.


Ms. West also indicated she noticed in previous NHPA Board meeting minutes there were some concerns expressed about content sharing online and how to go about that among the membership. She said her son had created a platform for counting clicks online and explained other benefits of the free application. She said she would be willing to share this technology with interested NHPA members.  


Contest — Heather Henline, chair: Ms. Henline shared with the board the updates about the Associated Press contest model as well as the Illinois Press Association program. Both platforms were extensively detailed, weighing pros and cons of each.

It also was noted Dwayne Desaulniers with AP, an NHPA member organization was able to make a strong presentation to help NHPA restart its contest and to ensure its success in the coming years by providing a contest coordinator, judges and contracting of the online contest platform, thus simplifying the process significantly.


A motion was made by Mr. Spiner and seconded by Mr. Altschiller to permit Ms. Henline and Ms. Palange to brief Mr. Kincade about the two platforms and make a final decision on behalf of the board to pursue with full board authority our next contest model for NHPA. Ms. Henline had recommended going with the AP platform, something the board also strongly supported with member comments. However, all agreed Mr. Kincade would have to work with whatever contest platform was chosen, and all wanted him to weigh in prior to making a final decision. That final decision was left to Ms. Palange, Mr. Kincade and Ms. Henline, with a follow-up meeting slated for those three later in April.


Motion to Accept Committee and Other Reports: This was made by Ms. Palange and seconded by Mr. Brooks. It carried unanimously.


Old Business:

  • Seminar/Workshop — Mr. Tirrell-Wysocki updated the board about the proposed Londonderry High School workshop for journalism students. The daylong workshop has been scheduled for May 25 at the high school, with several NHPA board members agreeing to serve as industry experts for the four sessions that will take place during the course of the day. He thanked the board for its support of this project.


New Business:

  • None was reported.


Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:52 p.m., on a motion by Mr. Spiner. It was seconded by Mr. Brooks and carried unanimously.


Next meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for a conference call at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 10. An agenda will be forthcoming.


Respectfully submitted,

Heather Henline

New Hampshire Press Association



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