2011 Business Meeting

As required in our bylaws, WNPA held its annual business meeting at the 2011 Convention in Milwaukee. Below is a summary of what was discussed.

In attendance: Board members Evan Siegle, President; Katie Gardner, Vice President; Dan Young, Secretary; approximately 30 WNPA members.

I. Improvements to WNPA services (Siegle)
-Website was redesigned this year resulting in much more visual, interactive and easily updated site for members.
-Implemented new digital format clip contest. Resulted in increased participation.

II. Revenue (Siegle)
-Member Dan Powers (Appleton) was instrumental in getting WNPA significant financial support from Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA), the WNA Foundation, and Gannett Wisconsin and USA Today in the form of donations and a speaker.
-Membership is still in a decline. We’re trying to buck that trend.
-Mark Hertzberg (Racine): television photographers were once a very strong component of our membership and since the late 1980s haven’t been. May want to explore bringing them back into the fold. Steve Venture, formerly of WTMJ might be a good resource to start the process. We currently don’t know of any organizations in the state that are specifically catering to TV photographers.
-Michael King (Madison): the past few years have been challenging for WNPA. Some was the leadership’s fault for not engaging our members… no need to rehash that (we discussed it at the 2010 convention). But we should continue to remember that a lot of our challenges were due to external factors, largely the economy and we shouldn’t blame everything on our actions or inactions. With a rebounding economy we hopefully will rebound, too. We have done a fairly good job weathering this and sticking together.
-Hertzberg: For several years WNPA was an official NPPA state chapter and while that has an NPPA membership requirement, it came with a stipend.
-King: We need to work at restoring that NPPA chaptership.

III. Partnerships (Siegle)
WNA and WNPA are interested in possibly having our annual conferences on the same weekend. May help lower costs for both organizations, and allow cross-pollination of topics, ideas and education for all journalists as the lines between job duties blur.

IV. Member involvement (King)
These events and contests don’t happen without members giving more than just their $25 dues. We desperately need their time and involvement. Money doesn’t make everything happen, it takes bodies and people who care. We need people to step up into the board positions as well as the smaller positions with events and contests. We are always hungry for help.

V. Elections (Siegle)
-Last year there was no election. The current board members continued their terms an extra year. Usually it’s a 1-year position.
-Call for nominations.
-Michael King nominated self for Secretary.
-Suggestion made by membership in attendance that a call be put out on the website for board members and not to have an election at this business meeting.
-Hertzberg questions if bylaws (constitution) allow that.
-King: We haven’t been following our constitution and bylaws and we either need to start following them as they are written or make significant, smart changes to them to reflect our current needs. Following rules legitimizes our organization.
-Hertzberg makes a motion that our bylaws be suspended and to hold an election at a further date. Seconded by Siegle.
-King suggests that a date be set that the election should be conducted by. “Don’t suspend indefinitely or it never gets done.” Moves that we suspend our bylaws be suspended, hold the election, but with ballots being sent out no later than June 30th. Seconded by Hertzberg. Vote by membership passes unanimously.

VI. Annual awards (non-POY) (Siegle and Hertzberg)
WNPA need to be more consistent with our annual awards (Robert Dumke award and Fellowship Award). Hertzberg gives background on those awards. Awards Committee was formed earlier in the day: John Alley, Joe Jackson, and Bill Meyer.

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