Call to Order and Introductions
The May meeting of the ACB Board of Publications was called to order shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern by BOP chair Deb Lewis. All members of the board were present, as well as several guests. The meeting was also streamed over ACB Radio.
Adoption of the Agenda for the May 4, 2021 ACB Board of Publications Meeting
Deb read the agenda, which had been circulated via e-mail earlier, and it was adopted unanimously following motions from Paul and Zelda.
Approval of the Minutes for the April 6, 2021 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Paul moved acceptance of the minutes from our April meeting, and Zelda seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
Guest Mary Haroyan asked if any progress has occurred with respect to Constant Contact’s efforts to make their messages more accessible by including appropriate mark-up for HTML headings. Deb, Dan and Katie reported that there is an ongoing active discussion with Constant Contact, and the company is working to respond to our insistence that the issue of accessibility is addressed in the messages that Constant Contact distributes. When Kelly reposts the messages in Dots and Dashes e-mail and on the web site, she includes headings to facilitate screen-reader navigation, and when messages are redistributed in text format, Sharon includes asterisks to designate transitions between topics. However, ACB has not forgotten that Constant Contact still has an obligation to make their messages accessible for people who use screen readers, and work continues to make this happen.
All Things Editors
Zelda said that she had heard from all but five of the affiliates naming their editors or other members who are responsible for communicating news and important information to affiliate members. As soon as she had names and contact information, she shared it with Rick, and he immediately created an e-mail discussion list for the affiliates’ editors. The list is already quite active, with at least four separate topics having been discussed already, and editors seem very pleased by the discussion and the amount of information that has already been shared among members.
The BOP discussed how to schedule the quarterly meetings that so many editors have requested, and determined a good schedule to be June, September, November and March, at 9 p.m. Eastern on the second Friday evening of each of those months. Dan suggested that it will be advisable to monitor whether younger editors attend the Friday-evening meetings, and if their attendance turns out to be sparce, to entertain moving the scheduled day and time to something else, with Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Eastern being another good possibility.
Zelda suggested possibly focusing the November call on topics that will be especially interesting to newly appointed newsletter editors and to people who may be considering taking on that role for their affiliate.
Of the 64 affiliates whom Zelda heard from, 23 do not have designated newsletter editors. This is a good reason to define the focus of the list on communications as a whole, rather than newsletters specifically.
All BOP members (including Sharon and Katie) who have not already joined ACB-Editors will join the list.
Candidates Page and Candidates’ Forums: Process and Timeline
Deb wrote the article for the May ACB Braille Forum which has been published and is in the distribution process. Here is the remaining schedule:
May 31: Submissions for the web page close.
June 15: Pages are posted and announced. Candidates are invited to submit radio promos etc.
June 29: (this is a 5th Tuesday) we hold our first forum.
June 30: (fifth Wednesday we hold our second Forum.
Deb also plans to send all of this information to each incumbent candidate, and she will be available on various community calls so as to make sure that everyone who is planning to run for office will be aware of these dates and guidelines.
She will be sure to send the information to Koni Sims, who can then mention the BOP process whenever she is discussing voting procedures and process.
If Deb decides to run for an office, she will be unable to participate in the process of creating questions for and moderating the candidates’ forums. Nor will incumbent BOP members who plan to run for another term be able to participate in these processes. If we don’t have enough active BOP members to develop questions and moderate the forums, Deb is considering contacting former BOP chairs and asking them for help — possibly including Denise Colley, Ron Brooks, Mike Duke, and Kim Charlson. She may also suggest to candidates’ forum moderators that they may want to approach affiliates who do not plan to host their own caucuses this year for help with developing questions.
BOP Awards Status
Deb reminded BOP members that the absolute deadline for submitting their votes for BOP awards winners is May 10. Once we know who the winners will be, we will determine who wants to present which awards and plan to record those presentations in advance of the actual ACB Conference and Convention. This planning will take place on our BOP discussion e-mail list and will need to have been completed before our June meeting. Sharon needs the wording for the plaques by May 17.
The BOP agreed to name this year’s convention newspaper, “The Digital Daily, Second Edition.”
Deb said that she already has heard from a couple of people who want to volunteer to read the newspaper aloud. This year, she plans to pre-record some of the segments that repeat in each day’s paper. She urged any BOP members who want to volunteer as newspaper readers to let her know.
Jeff suggested that there are some good digital voices available for reading in the Microsoft Edge Immersive Reader application. Any of these voices might be a good choice for use with items that repeat daily.
Dan said that Tony Stephens is preparing videos for both the corporate sponsors and the individual sponsors, and ACB plans to present them on both Monday and Friday. So, we could simply grab those and plug the recordings into readings of the daily newspaper.
We will publish convention newspapers each day, beginning on Friday, July 16, and concluding with Friday, July 23. If there’s an overflow convention day to accommodate voting for contests for which there isn’t enough time during the week, we will not publish a newspaper on that final Saturday.
Deb will ask Janet if the convention committee would like BOP members to provide a convention wrap-up as we did last year during the “happy hour” which immediately preceded the banquet.
BOP Chair’s Report
Deb reported that she had been managing all of the items listed above.
BOP Editor’s Report
Sharon submitted the following report:
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 5,202
* Lots of “vacation/auto reply” and “mailbox full,” along with “blocked” and “suspended” accounts.
Electronic return rate: 5.8%
Email received: 4,901
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Large print distributed: 2,241
Braille distributed: 657
Cartridge distributed: TBA
Email distributed: 5,185
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Deadlines for the Next Issues
July 2021 (hard copy): theme TBA; deadline, May 25th
August 2021 (E-Forum): International Relations Committee, The World Turned Inside Out. Deadline: June 25th
September 2021 (hard-copy): theme TBA, July 26th
I continue to record the information about ACB’s community calls into our phone system. Each day has its own separate box on the phone system. Wednesday has two boxes, one for before 7 p.m. Eastern, one for after 7 p.m. Eastern, due to the volume of calls held that day. And we may have to do that in the near future for a couple of other days, too.
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 just finished November 2000, and have 1990 through 1999 yet to work on.
I am working on an update for the Job Connection, and hope to have it ready to post by mid-month. I receive job listings from a variety of sources — the Department of Justice, various states’ Lighthouses for the Blind (South Texas is prolific), Industries for the Blind, and other departments and organizations.
On Friday, I recorded a major update for the Washington Connection – 6 boxes plus the menu.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon added that she is now working to digitize the December 2000 Braille Forum.
Deb told Jeff that she and Penny will meet with him to discuss how to approach providing the Braille Forums on the ACB Media Network whenever we all have a chance to get together, hopefully before our next BOP meeting.
Rick reported that ACB Radio is busy migrating streams over to Live 365. They are also building streams in preparation for convention, and that they had streamed their first hybrid affiliate convention on the previous week end for FCB. Paul reported that it went very well. He said that if people who were attending on Zoom had good microphones, they sounded like they were in the meeting room. Dan said, one of the things we need to learn about streaming hybrid meetings is how the people attending in person can get attention while still assuring that people on Zoom get the same kind of attention.
Still, everyone on this BOP call who had participated in the FCB convention agreed that it was a major success, and that Katie was indispensable in her role as coordinator.
Rick also said that Jason will be coming onboard for a month to help with a number of tasks that will help ACB Radio gear up for convention.
Deb and Rick both expressed apprehension about the possibility that community calls and podcasted programs could illegally stream copyrighted material. Both agreed that developing a policy with respect to copyrighted materials, and providing training to hosts and streamers regarding copyright protections are essential goals for the ACB Radio team and this issue needs immediate attention.
Meanwhile, Deb is asking all of the 135 moderators for convention streaming presentations whether or not they have copyrighted content and whether or if they need permission to stream or rebroadcast.
Dan said that Cindy has included information about copyrighted content in her community calls guidelines, but he doesn’t believe that training has been provided as yet on this topic.
No social media statistics were available at this meeting.
Katie noted that ACB’s Communications Manager has begun work at ACB, and she will participate on next week’s Public Awareness Steering Committee call. The Steering Committee will be discussing ACB’s plans for Memorial Day coverage on ACB Radio and in the community.
E-mail statistics had not been collected for the lists. Lisha reported that things are going well now on ACB-Conversation. Deb noted that Leadership will become a moderated list.
There was no additional business.
The meeting adjourned at 10:33 p.m. Eastern. The next meeting of the ACB Board of Publications will take place on June 1.
Submitted by Penny Reeder