Call to Order and Introductions
The May meeting of the ACB Board of Publications was called to order at 9:02 p.m. Eastern time. Those present were: Deb, Chair; Penny; Paul; Zelda; Susan; Dan, ACB president; David; Jeff; Jason; Katie; Bob; and Sharon.
Guests were Jim Denham, Ralph Smitherman, Denise Colley, Richard Villa, John McCan, and Ray and Karen Campbell.
Adoption of the Agenda for the May 5, 2020, ACB Board of Publications Meeting
The order in which several items on the agenda were covered was changed by request, and following a motion from Penny and a second from Susan, the agenda was adopted unanimously.
Approval of the Minutes for the April 7, 2020 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Jeff made a motion to approve the minutes from the April 7, 2020, meeting, and Susan seconded it. The motion was adopted unanimously.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
Richard Villa, president of BITS, and other BITS board members brought the recording of convention programs by ACB Radio to the BOP’s attention. Richard said that BITS has been recording their convention programs, themselves, for many years so as to make them available to BITS members who could not attend convention. Lately, they have been using Zoom to record meetings, editing the recordings summarily, and then making them available to members thereafter. BITS would like to make a BITS member available during the Zoom webinar BITS sessions, handle recording editing, themselves as well, and make the Zoom recordings available to their members as soon as they are available, rather than waiting for ACB Radio to make recordings of their sessions available for distribution 90 days after the conclusion of the virtual convention. They have no objection to ACB Radio’s making the recordings widely available within 90 days of the close of convention, but BITS would like to accommodate their own members more quickly.
Deb said that, considering the virtual nature of this year’s convention, BITS’ request seems perfectly reasonable.
Jeff pointed out that conventions may become virtual, to some extent, for the foreseeable future, and Paul said that it may be premature for us to adopt a policy regarding special-interest affiliate recordings this year, but that approving BITS’ proposal for this particular year is an appropriate action for the BOP to take.
He made the following motion: The BOP authorizes ACB Radio and ACB to enter into an agreement with BITS to create a mutually acceptable agreement with BITS, only for this year, regarding recordings of BITS convention programs and making them available.
Penny seconded the motion.
Following discussion, Dan suggested changing the language of the motion in this way: The BOP authorizes ACB Radio to record all convention program sessions with their webinar Zoom licenses, and, if requested, to make them available to the affiliates upon completion of recordings, and that the affiliates have exclusive rights to the recordings up to 90 days. this year, with the stipulation that this motion shall not necessarily represent a final policy that ACB will develop with respect to future ACB and special-interest affiliate convention programming.
Paul accepted Dan’s suggested language and added this language: This motion shall not represent the final policy that the Board of Publications will develop for future years. Penny accepted the revised wording, as well.
The motion was adopted by the BOP unanimously.
ACB Radio Report
Jeff said that ACB Radio is finalizing the merger of ACB Radio Interactive and the ACB Radio Café, and “Interactive” will go away as of May 16.
What was formerly the ACB Radio Interactive stream can now be used for the ACB Community Events stream.
There are lots of new shows and ratings are growing. Anthony Corona’s Sunday Edition was very popular, with the number of listeners close to what we expect for Main Menu.
We have about 18 people ready to help with streaming the convention, and we are still recruiting people to help. It’s hard for people to make firm commitments right now because lots of people are still unaware of what their work situations will be in July.
Jason said that the new call-in number for people who read the Braille Forum using their phones is (518) 906-1820, and that information is included in the next Braille Forum.
Lots of artists are wanting to become more involved in the Café, e.g., Dianne Shor, Ann Davis.
Affiliate ads are trickling in, and several affiliates have seen membership grow because of their ads and their increased exposure on ACB Radio programming, for example BITS with 40 new members.
ACB is able to keep better track of statistics, and Jason is having weekly meetings with Eric and Tony. Jason is working to find better ways to collect and display statistical information so that Tony can make better use of it for fund-raising purposes.
Deb said that one thing the BOP needs to do – after convention – is to revisit our data collection, i.e., what do we want to collect, how, what do we want to measure, and what do we want to do with it?
Update on BOP activities at ACB 2020 virtual Conference and Convention—Name the Newspaper; BOP Seminar July 4; Awards logistics
The Convention Newspaper: We have usually run the newspaper from Friday through Wednesday. This year, there will not be a business meeting. But, there are Friday events. Deb asked, should we run the paper from Friday until the following Friday?
After discussion, the BOP agreed to run the newspaper from Friday to Friday, and to fill the second Friday issue with resources for further information.
Then, discussion turned to how to allow people who do not have e-mail access to hear the daily newspaper read aloud. Paul, Susan and Denise volunteered to read the newspaper aloud at 9:00 a.m., ET, each day that it is published.
We agreed to name the newspaper the Digital Daily.
The BOP Seminar will take place on July 4 from 11:30 a.m., to 12:45 p.m. Paul will be the presenter, and Susan will provide technical assistance. There will be time for live questions. Paul says that he has three out of the five segments ready already on a thumb drive, and he will be sending the rest to Debbie on Wednesday. The seminar will consist of interactive demonstrations utilizing the Victor Reader Stream.
Awards: We have winners for all three awards. We will present two at the banquet on Friday, and the Henley will be presented at a different time. Penny will present the Henley, and Zelda will present the others.
Deb said that she expected to talk about the BOP’s pre-banquet show with Janet on Wednesday, May 6, to be sure the event is inserted into the program.
Once again, the BOP will be summarizing each day’s programming for the ACB Braille Forum. Deb will summarize the board meeting. We will decide who covers which day(s) at our meeting in June, as the schedule will be more finalized then.
Update on ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes
We have June and July (both concern convention) and August themes. The August theme is Coping with Covid-19. For September, we have exercise and recreation. Next month, we will discuss and choose themes for October, November and December.
Update from Paul’s work group on seminar planning—schedule
Paul proposes to host the Forum on the Forum BOP event on May 22nd. Penny and Zelda will serve as panelists, as well. Katie will assist with running the webinar ZOOM aspects of production.
BOP Chair’s Report
Deb has been busy with convention planning. She met with BITS last week, prior to their Sunday meeting and the proposal they presented to the BOP tonight. She said that there have been some issues with Constant Contact and the fact that their distribution of the Braille Forum and other longer items does not seem to contain navigable headings. This was discussed at the most recent Public Outreach Group meeting, and Kelly is going to acquire a template for accessibility from them and see if this solves the problem.
BOP Editor’s Report
Jason said that he received his copy of the ACB Braille Forum electronically, but he misses his hard-copy braille. Deb and others responded that hard-copy braille is not available now because Clovernook is closed because of the COVID-19 virus. Following discussion included the information that Sharon makes the BRF file available via the web site (thus enabling anyone with an embosser to create a hard-copy braille copy).
Sharon said that about 670 people currently receive the Forum in hard-copy braille.
The BOP agreed that Sharon will include a notice in the next Dots and Dashes that explains that the closure of Clovernook is currently preventing us from acquiring hard copy braille issues of the Forum.
Sharon had submitted her Editor’s Report in advance of the meeting, as follows:
Editor’s Report May 2020
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 77
Email distributed: 4,862
Return rate: 5.3%
Email received: 4,599
* The vast majority of returns were because the recipient’s account was suspended. Others were returned for reasons like “mailbox full,” or because they were using their work emails and weren’t in the office to receive them. In some cases, their Internet service provider blocked the message due to file size.
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 669
Cartridge distributed: 628
Large print distributed: 2,414
Email distributed: 4,824
The May issue went out via email on April 30th. Kudos to Cindy Van Winkle and the posse for their assistance in researching the bouncing email addresses.
I am currently working on the June E-Forum, and aiming to have it out the door next week. Clovernook is still closed; I will check this week to see whether they’re open yet. I created the braille-ready file for May, which is posted on acb.org, so our braille readers would have that option while waiting for Clovernook to reopen. I am also putting together the May Job Connection, which I plan to send out later on this week, once the Forum and the Mini Mall catalog are done.
We have combined “Dots and Dashes” and the “Weekly Update” in an effort to cut down on the email clutter.
All of us at the national office are still working from home, and will be until June 10th, unless Gov. Ralph Northam decides to change the date.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Deb asked Sharon to compile a list of newspaper-related tasks that BOP members can help her with during convention.
ACB Email Lists
Bob had sent his report in advance of the meeting, as follows:
Please find the stats below my name.
Email List Statistics, April, 2020
Ray brought the concern of a member to the BOP which concerned a recent e-mail promoting a benefit for ACB members interested in purchasing an Orcham product. The member was concerned that ACB might be selling e-mail addresses to a third party (Orcham) and Deb assured Ray that we are not. She will look into whether messages delivered by Constant Contact can be separated into different streams, one being for people who do not wish to receive advertising or any other such messages. However, she pointed out that this particular message simply offered a special discount to ACB members and was done tastefully and should not be considered advertising.
Deb distributed statistics which Kelly had shared with her, as follows:
Hi Deb, here are the social media stats for April 2020:
ACB accessible voting letter to congress (w/ 75+ other disability organization signing on)
669 people reached
29 likes and loves
Vital Coronavirus Info is Failing the Blind Community
714 people reached
23 likes and sad reactions
What’s a blind Paralympian to do? Advocacy Update podcast
1,256 people reached
ACB Advocacy Update w/ Will Butler from Be My Eyes
ACB accessible voting letter to congress (w/ 75+ other disability organization signing on)
ACB Accessible Voting Complaint to DOJ
Executive Assistant & Multimedia Design Specialist
American Council of the Blind
Katie said that she and the public awareness group are working on figuring out exactly how to handle the video aspects of convention presentations. They are considering creating some kind of a guide and perhaps creating a webinar to teach people how to position the phone camera and to go over other best practices.
There was no other new business to discuss. The next BOP meeting will be held on June 2. That will be our last meeting before convention, and we will finalize all remaining convention-related items.
The meeting adjourned at 10:40 p.m. Eastern time.