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NHPA Annual Meeting Minutes

New Hampshire Press Association Board of Directors

Meeting Minutes — Oct. 25, 2018


Board of Directors: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, a special board meeting was called to order after a noon assembly time at the Nackey Loeb School of Journalism, 749 E. Industrial Park Dr. Manchester, N.H. The purpose of the special meeting was to fulfill the annual meeting of the membership requirement, as outlined in the New Hampshire Press Association bylaws. President Vanessa Palange officially called the meeting to order at 12:12 p.m.


In Attendance: Approximately 26 individuals attended the 2018 annual meeting, including the following executive board members: President Vanessa Palange, Vice President Chuck Douglas, Secretary Heather Henline, Treasurer David Brooks; and board members Trent Spiner, Howard Altschiller, Carol Robidoux; and Executive Director Phil Kincade. This slate of officers is reflective of the 2017-2018 service year.


Absent: None


A quorum of membership was present.


Welcome: Ms. Palange welcomed those in attendance to the special meeting. She introduced members of the board who had served during the previous year. She also went around the room and asked for all those in attendance to not only introduce themselves, but also to share the publication or news organization they represented.


Executive Director’s Report Phil Kincade:

  • Overview of 2018 accomplishments  — Mr. Kincade provided a broad overview of the association’s accomplishments, beginning with its reformation at the Oct. 31, 2017, annual meeting. He highlighted the following as successes:
  • Revived the press association by establishing a board and creating a more inclusive membership that is welcoming to all media partners in the state from all mediums. This created strength in numbers and provided a unified voice for representing the state’s newsgathering and reporting industry.
  • Recruited a solid volunteer base to see the association through the year to ensure NHPA remained active and vital.
  • Developed a solid system of record keeping, to include meeting minutes and other pertinent data.
  • Addressed key issues from the 2017 annual meeting, with the No. 1 issue having been identified as the need to create and maintain a sustainable contest and awards structure for the membership. This has occurred, and more will follow as part of the committee reports.
  • Engaged in legislative monitoring, to effect change to benefit the membership and to protect the newsgathering and reporting process, with emphasis on access to public records and state Right to Know Law. More will follow as part of the committee reports.
  • Established goals for 2019, which will be reviewed during this year’s annual meeting for work by the board as our action agenda items beginning as soon as the next regular board meeting, which is slated for 1 p.m. Nov. 8, 2018, via conference call.


Treasurer’s Report by David Brooks: Mr. Brooks indicated the association’s account balance was at $5,934 prior to the start of the meeting. Any payments received during or after the meeting for membership dues would not be reflected until the Nov. 8, 2018, balance update, he said.  


Committee Reports:

Legislative — Trent Spiner, chair: Mr. Spiner was delayed at the start of the meeting, and other board members, including Mr. Douglas, as well as Mr. Kincade provided the update. NHPA kept a keen eye on all proposed Right to Know legislation, including bills that hoped to establish a maximum cost of 5 cents per page for copying public documents as well as creating an ombudsmen system for handling Right to Know appeals in the state.


Further, committee and/or board members also were able to provide testimony in related Right to Know legislation hearings about these vital bills. While neither the copy fee nor the ombudsmen plans moved forward to law, the committee already is engaged with several other groups to help assist with renewed efforts coming into the new legislative session in 2019. Committee members also recommended a more collaborative effort between the editors and publishers of member news organizations to provide a strong, collective voice via their editorial pages when advocating for legislative change.


Contest — Heather Henline, chair: Ms. Henline indicated NHPA has contracted with the Illinois Press Association and its Advanced Contest Entry System (ACES) to put forth a contest in 2019. The ACES system is web based, and all entries may be uploaded online using PDF, JPEG or other applicable files. The site almost is ready for full launch, which will occur before the end of the year.


Entries would be for any applicable work from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2018. The categories were structured to be inclusive of all members, regardless of their prime medium of work. Divisions were created for organizations with less than four employees or for more than four employees with entry fees of $4 per piece and $6 per piece respectively. All general excellence category entry fees will be a flat $25.

Mr. Kincade had distributed a list of contest categories to the membership for their review. Hearing no negative feedback, the committee moved forward to finalize the categories as well as descriptions for each and rules for entry.


Contest entry packets will be distributed to the membership prior to the end of the year. These materials will outline the launch of the website, deadline for uploading entries, deadline for judging and the 2019 awards banquet information. ACES will maintain recording keeping of awards and the contest platform, retaining key data for future NHPA boards. Further, every component of the contest system from entry to judging to printing awards may be handled digitally through the ACES system.


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


New Business:

  • Approving amendments the association’s new bylaws — There were two proposed bylaw changes presented to the membership by Mr. Kincade. The first would increase from seven to nine the total number of board of directors for NHPA. The increase would add an assistant secretary and an assistant treasurer post. Mr. Kincade said the purpose was twofold. It would provide a backup should either the secretary or treasurer be unable to attend a meeting. It also would provide an opportunity to engage other board members to move into executive positions, should the need arise in subsequent years.


The second proposed change was to permit the board to fill an open ex-officio position by board vote versus waiting until an annual membership meeting, if necessary.


The changes together would increase the board to a total of nine voting members. The board membership breakdown would be as follows: president, vice president, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer and three at-large regular members elected by the association at its annual meeting. The board will also have as many as four non-voting ex-officio members consisting of the most recent former association president, the association’s executive director and as many as two associate members elected at the association’s annual meeting. If those positions are not filled at the annual meeting, the board of directors may appoint ex-officio members by a majority vote of the entire board.


The proposed changes were put to a vote. A motion to approve all changes as presented was made by Mr. Douglas. It was seconded by Mr. Altschiller. The motion was unanimously approved.


Goals for 2019 — Mr. Kincade offered the following goals for 2019:

  • Complete the contest;
  • Continue legislative oversight;
  • Create an Education Committee;
  • Continue to expand membership; and
  • Work with colleges and universities to develop an internship bank.


General Discussion Items — The following were on the agenda for discussion:

  • New Hampshire News Collaborative, presented by Melanie Plenda — NHPA is working with the Solutions Journalism Network, which recently provided a grant to support the Granite State News Collaborative. Ms. Plenda is the collaborative’s project coordinator. The Collaborative is focusing its reporting efforts on mental health issues in New Hampshire. Money is available for reporter travel funding, audience engagement funding and help planning engagement events. Anyone interested in joining the project may contact Ms. Plenda at


  •, presented by Nancy West — Ms. West, founder of the nonprofit New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, explained her collaborative platform for disseminating news in the state. As an online source, she indicated InDepthNH stories may be utilized at no charge by other news organizations and thanked some of the membership for its support in funding the initiative. She also mentioned a fundraising drive with a dollar-for-dollar match was kicking off later in the month, and she asked for individual members’ as well as news organizations’ continued monetary support. Call 603-738-5635 for more information. Checks may be made payable to New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, 38 Edgewater Dr., Barrington, NH.

Electing new officers — With the new bylaws regarding board positions in effect, Mr. Kincade presented a slate of board members based upon volunteers from within the media membership and the 2017-2018 existing slate of officers and their willingness to continue in that capacity. He asked for any additional nominees and explained one ballot may be cast per each member organization. The election results were as follows:  

President: Vanessa Palange – University of New Hampshire.

Vice President: Howard Altschiller – Seacoast Media Group

Secretary: Heather Henline – Nashua Telegraph

Assistant Secretary: Melanie Plenda – NH News Collaborative

Treasurer – David Brooks – Concord Monitor

Assistant Treasurer: Geoff Forester – Concord Monitor

At Large: Trent Spiner – New Hampshire Union Leader

At Large: Nancy West – InDepthNH

At Large: Dan Tuohy – New Hampshire Public Radio

Ex-officio: David Tirrell-Wysocki –  Nackey Loeb School of Journalism

Ex-officio: David Saad – Right to Know NH


Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:51 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Douglas. It was seconded by Mr. Brooks.


Next meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for a conference call at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at which time the newly elected board will be in effect and the members’ office terms will begin.


Respectfully submitted,

Heather Henline

New Hampshire Press Association



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