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NABJ Constitutional Commission Webinars
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10/7/2013 to 10/28/2013
When: 10/7/2013

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NABJ Constitutional Commission Seeks Your Input

Register to Attend the October 14th Webinar!


Dear NABJ Members:

The membership voted in August at our 2013 convention in Orlando, Fla., to have a constitutional commission created to examine our primary governing documents and recommend changes aimed at guiding NABJ into the future.

We are honored and humbled that NABJ President Bob Butler has asked us to lead the commission. We are proud to serve with 13 other members who represent the gamut of experiences within journalism and the association. They include three other members of the Founders Task Force, Joe Davidson, Paula Madison and Bryan Monroe; five members of the Council of Presidents, Barbara Ciara, Duchesne Drew, Sarah Glover, Marvin Hurst and Alexis Rogers; and five at-large members, NABJ Secretary Corey Dade, Cherri Gregg, Wesley Lowery, Doug Mitchell and Kim Roberts-Hegepeth. NABJ Parliamentarian Cindy George is the commission's liaison to the board of directors.

Today, given that we all have equal stake in NABJ's success, we wish to share with you the commission's timeline -- and to ask for your help. For starters, the commission, with help from the Digital Task Force, will host webinars for you to weigh in on our four constitutional focal points. Here's the webinar schedule:

Monday, October 7 -- Membership
Who should be eligible for NABJ membership? Who should not be eligible? Who should be eligible to vote for our national officers or to amend our governing documents? These are questions that have vexed the association since the founding meeting in 1975. Changes to the industry have caused many journalists to seek jobs or work outside of newsrooms? So what constitutes a journalist today?

Monday, October 14 -- Governance
Who should be eligible to seek a seat on the NABJ board of directors? Who should not be? Should the governing body be larger, smaller or stay the same as it is? Should there be a ladder system making it clear who will become president years in advance? Should NABJ's president be allowed to seek reelection? Should we have multiple vice presidents? Should we have regional directors or at large members representing constituencies?

Monday, October 21 -- Chapters
The national organization's ability to affect its mission on the local level depends on having thriving, active chapters. But NABJ has limited say about how chapters function. Should there be a stronger affiliate connection, for example, like the model used by fraternities, sororities and civil rights groups? Should NABJ membership be required for chapter membership? Should chapters have the same membership eligibility as the national's?

Monday, October 28 -- Committees and Task Forces
Any successful membership organization of NABJ's size, stature and relevance needs its members to serve on productive committees and task forces. NABJ has many committees (elections, membership, media monitoring, etc.) and task forces (sports, visual, arts and entertainment, etc.). Are our committees and task forces properly situated and or sufficiently supported to best serve NABJ and its members?

Meanwhile, the commission will continue having regular conference calls through the fall. Our hope is to present essentially a new constitution for the membership to consider and vote on during a special election ending August 1 at the 2014 convention in Boston. For that to happen, the current constitution requires that all proposed amendments must be submitted to the parliamentarian at least six months prior to the convention. In this case, that means by January 30. The constitution and bylaws committee and board of directors must present vetted amendments to the membership at least 60 days before the convention. In this case, no later than May 30.

That's enough details for now. We pledge that this process will be transparent and to communicate our progress to you regularly.

For now, please set aside time each Monday night this month, from 8:30 to 9:30 (EST), to participate in the webinars. The commission and Digital Task Force will work with the national office to provide more details about the webinar via email and social media as soon as possible. For those members putting out newspapers and readying newscasts at night, NABJ will archive the webinars on its website so you can access them later. We want everyone to participate and contribute. No excuses.

Thank you for your attention. Join us as the commission works to, as President Butler put it, ensure that we "keep our NABJ the best journalism organization in the world."


Herbert Lowe
Former NABJ President
Commission Co-Chair

Allison Davis
NABJ Founding Member
Commission Co-Chair

Click HERE to register for the October 14th webinar.    

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