Welcome and Review of Agenda
Katie called the meeting to order at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Katie read the proposed agenda aloud, and there were no requests for changes or additions.
Members attending the meeting were Katie; Penny; Cheryl; Cachet; Zelda; Deb; Sharon; ACB President, Dan Spoone; Rick Morin; Larry Gassman; and Jeff Bishop. Several guests were also present.
Approval of February Minutes
Zelda had suggested language to clarify the February minutes, and Penny had made those corrections and shared corrected minutes with the BOP. Katie, Cheryl and Cachet suggested additional changes, and following a motion and a second from Cheryl and Zelda, the minutes were approved unanimously, pending Penny’s incorporation of those suggested changes. [Note from writer: Those changes have been made, and corrected February meeting minutes have been shared, via e-mail, with the Board of Publications.]
Public’s Point of View
Jamaica Miller asked if the ACB Media presentation regarding the DC Leadership Conference program and schedule would be made available via podcast, and Rick responded that the podcast was already available. He said that he would send a link to the podcast to Jamaica, and he will let her and ACB Media listeners know which stream will be replaying the podcast in rotation.
Blog Discussion, March Content and Other Items
Katie reported that she had met with Jennifer Flatt, Tony Stephens, and Deb last week to discuss upcoming themes for the BLOG, and they agree that, in recognition of the upcoming Legislative Seminar and members’ scheduled meetings with legislators and their staff members, we should encourage blog submissions that reflect members experiences with advocacy. This request will be included in the early-March Dots and Dashes. Then, we can highlight those submissions that we receive in response in the later-March Dots and Dashes, encouraging more visitors to come to the blog.
There were two submissions in response to ACB 2nd Vice President, Ray Campbell’s January blog which he submitted in conjunction with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.
Penny said that Cachet had already responded to that blog, we had published her response, and she suggested that both of these additional responses, which are well written, should be published as well. She said that it is standard procedure for an online blog to solicit comments from readers and to publish those comments and response to a blog.
All BOP members agreed that we need to publish all of the responses to the Ray Campbell blog submission, and that the responses should be linked to the original January blog.
Cachet said that it is important to let Ray Campbell know about the responses to his blog and that we will be publishing those responses.
Deb suggested that we should include information within the ACB Voices instructions that will tell blog writers how to access any comments that their blogs engender.
These two responses were submitted in a formal way that differentiates them from a simple comment, and we will publish them as separate blog entries, while linking back to the original blog for which they have submitted a blog entry in response. These are independent blog entries that happen to refer to an earlier blog.
Dan commented that the sentiments expressed in these responses to the original blog constitute a learning opportunity for all of us. He said that, just as we in ACB needed to learn about gender neutral pronouns, we need to learn about the importance of understanding and acknowledging the differences between the Black community’s struggle for civil rights and the civil rights advocacy of other communities, including people who are blind and people with disabilities that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Dan proposed that the BOP refer our organization’s need for further understanding of this topic to the ACB Board with the suggestion that they refer the issues raised by the BLOG and responses to it to the ACB Multicultural Affairs Committee (MCAC) for their advice on holding a constructive conversation that can educate members in a thoughtful and respectful way.
He said that he and Cheryl Cumings, who, in addition to serving as a member of the BOP, also chairs the MCAC, agree that it will be useful for ACB to bring in a professional who will be qualified to help us work through these issues (in the same way ACB and our BPI affiliate brought in a professional to guide us through an understanding of gender neutral pronouns when that issue arose two years ago).
Cheryl said that she believes a discussion of this kind needs to be facilitated by a trained professional who has worked in this space before.
Dan said that he plans to bring this issue up at the ACB Board meeting, scheduled for March 11.
Dan said that, since the BOP was the board to whom the issue was directed, it would have value if the BOP were to recommend the need for further discussion and education to the ACB Board and the Multicultural Affairs Committee.
Cachet moved that the BOP redirect the issues raised by the blog discussion to the attention of the ACB MCAC asking for their recommendation regarding further professionally facilitated discussions. Zelda seconded the motion.
During discussion, Penny said that she doesn’t believe that it is within our purview as a board that monitors publications to decide what the organization should or shouldn’t discuss. She continued that she believed it would be within the purview of the president and executive director, to whom the cover letter which introduced the two responsive blogs which raised the issue was sent, to make such recommendations, but not a BOP responsibility.
The motion carried with four members voting affirmatively and Penny voting against. Penny said that she is not against holding a discussion, she just doesn’t think it is something the BOP should recommend.
ACB Media Updates
Rick and Larry, now officially in their roles as decision makers for ACB Media, presented the report.
ACB is still working to define the criteria for streaming content on ACB Media.
ACB Media Channel 2 was converted over the weekend to stream ACB Leadership meetings. Media 2 will no longer shuffle programs. Listeners can locate them via a published schedule.
Rick said that having to rely on the existing and outdated ACB Media infrastructure lengthened the amount of time it took to set all of this up.
To further address this situation, Rick and Larry are continuing to grow the team and to train streamers and editors, which are still in relatively short supply.
Rick continues to spend time on planning for technical aspects of producing the hybrid convention, while getting set up for the March Leadership meetings.
Dan said that he continues to hear complaints from members who access ACB Media via telephone using Zeno Media. Rick said that, although ACB Media has looked for an alternative, there really isn’t anything else out there. Deb said that there is not likely to be anything in the future because technology is changing and utilization of telephone lines to access online streaming content (and even person-to-person calling) is disappearing.
Rick said he would expect Zeno Media to simply drop the service, altogether, one day, without notice and providing no other available alternative.
Deb suggested that ACB should possibly look for grant funding that we can use to find ways to help people to connect to our streams without relying on the telephone (which is destined to disappear as a means of connecting to streaming media).
Deb, Rick, and Larry all agree that the telephone as a means of accessing our content is going to go away and may well be completely unavailable in as little as five years from now. Even Zoom is having difficulty keeping their telephone support up.
Paul Edwards suggested that the small NLS Talking Book machine which NLS is just beginning to develop with a proposed production/distribution date four or five years from now may, in fact, provide a solution for those people who are relying on telephones right now, since it will have a hot spot built in. He continued that it makes sense for ACB – and the blindness community, in general – to make our interest in this device known to the NLS, i.e., to become involved at this early development phase so that our needs as consumers will be important considerations for the developers from the very beginning.
It was suggested that NFB is dealing with similar issues related to Newsline users’ accessing their digital content telephonically, and ACB and NFB might well want to approach the NLS together.
Large Print Guidelines Recommendations Update
Sharon has begun to receive some feedback from ACB Braille Forum readers regarding the large print sample which appears in the March issue. She will continue sharing that feedback with the BOP via the e-mail list, and we will remind people that we are looking for their feedback in the next Dots and Dashes. Zelda also alerted affiliate presidents about the large print sample in the March Braille Forum at their February 27 presidents’ meeting, and our request for feedback will also be on our agenda when the BOP speaks to the presidents’ meeting during the D.C. Leadership Conference.
CCLVI has received data which confirms their members’ approval of these guidelines, which they have been using in their newsletter for two years, and Deb said that it will be useful for them to weigh in about the Braille Forum sample as well. Zelda will encourage CCLVI members to share their comments on the March Braille Forum sample.
BOP Awards Process
Sharon will send out the list of articles eligible for the Freeman award, as well as newsletters which are under consideration for the Liggett award and expect BOP members to share the results of their individual scoring by April 1. She described how the process works for new members.
Deb reminded Katie to mention our need for Henley nominees to Kim and Clark, who have often been familiar with media which qualifies producers for consideration as recipients of the award. Mike Duke is another person who has nominated recipients in past years. Nominations can come from anyone, but these particular ACB members have been reliable sources for media worth our consideration in the past.
National Braille Press, who creates the plaques for award winners, needs the information for each plaque by April 30 in order to deliver the plaques in time for presentation at the convention.
ACB Braille Forum Report
Sharon had submitted the following report via the BOP e-mail discussion list:
Editor’s Report, March 2022
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 650
Braille returned: 4
Braille return rate: 0.6%
Braille received: 646
Large print distributed: 2,159
Large print returned: 8
Large print return rate: 0.4%
Large print received: 2,151
Cartridge distributed: 469
Email distributed: 4,998
Spam reports: 0
Return rate: 1.98%
Email received: 4,899
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 5,026
Spam reports: 0
Return rate: 2.09%
Email received: 4,921
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Braille to be distributed: 641
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,145
Email distributed: 4,987
Deadlines for the Next Issues
May 2022 (hard copy): theme TBA; deadline: March 25th
June 2022 (electronic): focuses on the convention; deadline: April 25th
July (hard copy): potluck - whatever articles I haven’t had space for yet; deadline May 23rd
August (electronic): IVIE; deadline June 24th
… … … …
Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the April Forum. I received an amazing variety of articles from the Multicultural Affairs Committee.
Another big project is the annual membership updates. The updates just keep on coming! There are still a few affiliates I haven’t heard from. And the deadline is two weeks away.
I continue to work on cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to current large print standards, and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive (at the moment, from the 1990s through today). I’m including Word, text, and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I am currently working my way through 2014.
Last week I sent the updated March ACB Job Connection to Sande, which is now live on www.acb.org.
I continue to work with the archives committee and Kim Charlson on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, such as conventions, board meetings, leadership seminars, legislative seminars and affiliate presidents’ meetings, etc. The committee is meeting this afternoon.
I’ve also been working with the awards committee. I’m pulling together the list of Freeman-eligible Forum articles already, as well as compiling the submissions from affiliate newsletter editors.
We’re also preparing for the D.C. Leadership Conference next weekend. I’m sure there will be plenty of document preparation even though it is virtual this year.
I’m also looking ahead to convention, and trying to come up with a good name for the newspaper. “The Omaha Cornhusker,” anyone? I’d love your ideas and suggestions.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Katie reported that, as of right now, May’s theme is open. The turn-around time is too soon for the International Relations Committee to provide content. Meryl Scheckter, who was attending as a guest, said that the committee has been considering adopting December.
Sharon said that she has enough articles waiting for space to create a potpourri issue for May.
In addition, we can expect to receive convention-related articles.
April is the issue when the BOP will need to describe and promote the candidates’ page. Katie will submit that article.
Zelda reminded the group that the next editors’ meeting is scheduled for March 18. Steve Dresser will be presenting on Duxbury braille translation software. The meeting will begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Next BOP Meeting: April 5, 2022, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern
The meeting adjourned at 10:57 p.m. Eastern.