Recorded by Nancy Leighton
Introductions: Nancy Leighton, Kris Raper, Melanie Regnier, Carlen Hultgren, Genie Strickland, Fred Smith, Henry Bryant, Lyn Hillman, Howard Fore.
Note: This is our Annual Meeting held as an intown retreat at Martha Brown/Eastside Methodist Church
History: Introductions include a discussion of what we have all done with the Porch Press over the years. For the benefit of new members, Henry gives an account going back to the SAND Paper, The Park Bench (Grant Park), The Southeast Express (Ormewood Park and East Atlanta). When Ormewood dropped out The Fish Wrapper was formed in East Atlanta. These were all combined to make the Porch Press. Distribution problems came up when the mailing list was lost when Jackie Fuller died in the mid 1990s. A private delivery service was used for years with very uneven coverage. 2003 work started on a new mailing list from scratch. U.S Postal Service has been delivering the paper again since 2005.
Minutes: Henry is concerned that the minutes are not typed. Melanie is willing to type the minutes. Carlen suggests the use of a recording device so anyone could make a transcription. Nancy reads the minutes from her notebook. Minutes approved subject to them being provided in written form for approval.
Financial Report: Fred Smith, CFO. We have enough capital available to carry through the next fiscal year and more. Advertising revenue has declined starting with economic downturn in 2008. Mail costs remain constant but at an increased rate. Printing costs fluctuate slightly depending on the size of the paper.
Wells Fargo Credit Card: We have to maintain a higher balance at Wells Fargo in order to get a credit card with Fred’s, Genie’s, and Henry’s name on it all with the same number on the card. BOND who has our main accounts will not issue such a credit card.
Advertising: Henry explains the 50/50 rule and how it fits into the financial situation. Half of the paper has to be advertising to pay for the cost of printing and mailing. If there are many more ads than copy it’s not so much of a community newspaper, and more of an advertising paper.
Carlen offers to approach neighborhood businesses to drum up some advertising. Carlen suggests language for approaching possible advertisers especially in cases where more than one person is recruiting new advertisers and they may call on the same ones. Nancy passes out Porch Press business cards to Carlen and Melanie. Kristin may still have an interest in selling advertising.
Editorial: Are there things our new editors need to know? Carlen is having trouble going from PDF to Word. Howard suggests cut and paste from PDF. Stephanie tries to get all neighborhoods represented. Melanie has access to school stuff. Rebecca emailed asking to use articles written by kids. She mentions various topics and suggests a special section. Answer: We’re glad to have articles written by children (longstanding PP policy) but articles can go into existing sections rather than a special section. Nancy asks about putting in the age of the child on the byline of the article. Henry and others say it is good to have the child’s age so they and their families can be proud.
Proofreading: No report.
Circulation/Distribution: Genie talked about the box at Ormewood Presbyterian and the fact that at present we have no extra boxes. Kris suggests we send 5 copies of each Porch Press to each school. Fred said, they’ll get thrown away, so all generally agreed to send one copy to each school. Howard has email from My Friends Growlers Shop asking if they could be distribution spot. Because there is another pick up location in the same block, it was decided to table this request for the time being until we could examine our pick-up distribution location list for parity between neighborhoods. Genie provided a list of distribution pick-up locations for review – East Atlanta (5 locations): East Atlanta Branch Library, Brannen Towers, Grant Central East, East Side United Methodist Church (formerly Martha Brown), and Hodge Podge. SAND (5 locations): Earthshaking Music, 411 Dance, Little Azios, Drip, and El Mexicano. Grant Park (7 locations): Adams Realtors, Enzo, Grant Park Dessert (across from zoo), Cyclorama, 6 Feet Under, GA-Hill Library, Habitat for Humanity (HR Store). Since Grant Park seems to have more locations we will review this at the next board meeting after Genie can report on circulation at these locations. Howard will make map of list and put it on the website. Kris to check Oakland Park building addresses.
Layout/Production: Nothing new to report. (See hardware/software report below).
Internet/Website: Howard admits to being slow on getting things up on the web.
Twitter: How can we get control of our Twitter account again? We have no information from Darin, who was the last to work on it before leaving the board. Howard wants to Twitter about front page articles
Hardware & Software: Update, 3 machines networked together having a hard time communicating because they were bought at different times. Our software expert recommended getting the same operating system on all three machines. Expert suggests back-up drive so that materials won’t be lost in case of a system failure or catastrophic event. This has been purchased and Kirk is working on organizing the files on the new back up unit. All of this was approved at previous board meeting. Have new operating system for all 3 machines but it still needs to be installed once backup system is complete. No way to reliably get on the Internet with our system and location without extra expense. Kris presented Hot Spot. Kris will research to see if that would meet our needs or if we need something else.
New Business: The biggest need is more advertising. Should we raise our advertising rates? Carlen suggests following price adjustments:
Full Page: $504 to $500
Half page: $252 to $260
Quarter page $126 to $135
Eight page $63 to $70
Sixteenth page $31 to $40
Business card $25 to $30
Any contracts we already have will stay in effect, we will start new price schedule with July issue. Accepted by acclamation.
Henry talked about bringing up the PP at other meetings since that could result in new advertising. Kris says she will bring it up at SAND.
Announcements: Possible things to be covered in PP. . .
-All are invited to Art reception at EA Library Glenwood & Flat Shoals 1pm May 10 (Sat)
-Author guided tours in East Atlanta May 3 (Sat) noon. Also a Barnes and Noble talk May 4th.
-East Atlanta High School Reunion Picnic in Brownwood Park June 7.
-Civil War Commission, Wren’s Nest asking for written submissions of 3,000 words or less, on topics related to Civil War or Civil Rights.
Special Thanks To East Atlanta Village Merchants Joe’s Coffee for donating coffee, and Tomatillo’s for donating all lunch items for this meeting.
Porch Press Board Meeting April 26, 2014
Recorded by Nancy Leighton