Call to Order and Introductions
The meeting was called to order at 9:03 p.m. Eastern time by BOP Chair Deb Lewis. The following members and guests were present: Deb, Penny, Paul, Zelda, Susan, David, Jeff, Debbie, Jason, Bob, Katie, and guest, Carla Ruschival. Sharon was absent.
Adoption of the Agenda for the January 7, 2020, ACB Board of Publications Meeting
Penny moved and Zelda seconded a motion to adopt the agenda as presented, and the motion carried unanimously.
Approval of the Minutes for the December 3, 2019, meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Paul moved and Zelda seconded the motion to approve minutes from the December 3 BOP meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
No topics were discussed.
BOP presentation at ACB Midyear Leadership Meeting—who will do it? What will they talk about?
Deb noted that, traditionally, the BOP provides an update during the ACB mid-year meetings at the Sunday Presidents’ Meeting. Deb will provide the BOP update at the board meeting, which takes place on Saturday, and we need BOP members to provide this year’s update for ACB affiliate presidents and others who attend the Sunday meeting
Deb prepares an agenda for her BOP update to the board, and she will share that agenda with the presenters at the presidents’ meeting. This year, Penny and Zelda will present the update. The presentation will focus on concrete things that the BOP is doing; touch on new policies that may have been adopted by then; focus on our collaboration with ACB communications entities, such as ACB Radio and our e-mail discussion/announcement lists; emphasize the BOP’s availability to provide assistance to affiliates with their newsletters; and explain and encourage attendees to nominate candidates for BOP awards.
Update on ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes
Susan agreed to send a reminder about our next ACB Braille Forum themes to Leadership as soon as she has access to that list again. Jason will correct the problem(s) that have prevented her access to several lists, and as soon as she is subscribed again, she will post upcoming themes.
Update from Paul’s work group on seminar planning
Paul said that their first seminar topic will be, “Gaining Access to ACB Communications.” He hopes to have the first seminar ready to go by the end of January. Meanwhile, his seminar-prep group scheduled a meeting for the following week.
BOP Chair’s Report
Deb said that things have been somewhat slow since the holidays, but the steering committee structure is evolving, which will necessitate including even more meetings on her already crowded schedule, with the expectation that outcomes for ACB communications will be positive ones. She has met with Jeff, Dan, and Eric since our last meeting.
BOP Editor’s Report
Sharon had submitted the editor’s report in advance of the meeting, as follows:
Nutshell Report January 2020
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 96
Electronic distributed: 6,800
Electronic returned: 0
Electronic return rate: 0%
Electronic received: 6,800
Large print returned: 4
Braille returned: 2
Cartridge returned: unknown
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Braille to be distributed: 673
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,434
Email distributed: 4,563 *
(* - this number is due to the conversion to Constant Contact, which eliminated a number of duplicate email addresses.)
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 96
I am currently working on the February issue of the Forum. I did all the proofreading before leaving for the holidays; now I’m working on the layout and design. When I returned to the office yesterday, there were so many death notices in my inbox that I reworked the Passings column.
The January 2020 issue of the Forum is the first one to go out using Constant Contact, rather than brailleforum-L@acblists.org. Converting to Constant Contact winnowed a number of the duplicate emails, plus a fair amount of phony or spam email addresses. It went to 4,563 recipients (down from the 6,800 on brailleforum-L, a 32.9% decrease). The process is going to take some getting used to; for one thing, Constant Contact doesn’t allow me to include links from the table of contents to the articles, nor does it allow me to hyperlink email addresses. It does permit web addresses to be hyperlinked, though, thank goodness.
I also worked with Nancy Becker on the annual affiliate certification memo and update process. Several of our affiliates began making updates before Thanksgiving, and a few more began between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that the database is officially open for updates, I hope the affiliates keep up the good work! If any affiliate you work with has changed its membership person, please have that affiliate’s president let me know.
I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Update on draft of convention recordings policy
Deb said that the ACB Radio team will be meeting soon to discuss the proposed policy regarding ownership of recordings made by ACB Radio for affiliates such as BITS and GDUI. They will reach consensus and share ACB Radio’s recommendations with the BOP at our February meeting. Paul and Deb concurred that the recommendation we eventually approve and promote will have generalized applicability to any ACB affiliates that produce programs which are recorded by ACB Radio, not just BITS.
Paul said, what we’re trying to do is to develop a policy that will create more inclusion, while assuring that ACB gets everything that comes out of the convention.
ACB Email Lists
Jason and Susan shared information that will help him make the e-mail lists she can’t access work for her, and he and Deb discussed some possible ways to solve other list issues including bouncing messages and message senders’ not being able to access some messages they have sent to lists.
Debbie said that she and Jason are excited about their new responsibilities as Managing Director and Managing Technical Director of ACB Radio. They continue to make plans and prepare promos for new programming and have been talking with BITS about how much that affiliate may want to become involved with Main Menu.
Jeff discussed current progress toward moving ACB infrastructure into the cloud, which will provide more resources and more security. They are making progress on ACB Link 2.0, which will have its own built-in audio player, and which will include the capability to dynamically control streams on the server. He said that changes at Apple will make it possible to provide more push notifications and to associate sounds with different kinds of notifications. He said that the Android version of ACB Link 2.0 will need to be updated as well, and that ACB Link 2.0 will be released for iOS and Android at the same time.
ACB’s Michigan affiliate runs a radio station, and ACB Radio certainly has an interest in partnering with them, which would benefit both entities. Paul and Katie can put Jeff and Debbie in touch with the Michigan folks so that they can explore partnership possibilities.
Jeff will inquire about getting both Debbie and Jason ACB e-mail addresses. That will give them access to the ACBRadio Support folder and allow members to contact them directly.
ACB Email Lists
Bob had distributed e-mail list statistics for December, as follows:
Email List Statistics for December 2019
Bob had also distributed several messages from ACB-L, posted earlier in the day, as a means of focusing our discussion on the need for addressing discontent expressed by members of that list.
Bob said that some list members are concerned that, when they try to get a discussion started regarding ACB, there are few responses and the discussion doesn’t go anywhere. Some of this, Bob and others believe, is because Social Media has become more of a venue for discussions than e-mail lists. He suggested the possibility of sharing “Dots and Dashes” with ACB-L as a way of encouraging more discussion of ACB-related topics. And, when questions come up regarding specific advocacy-related topics or current issues (e.g., recent FCC decisions), he is considering forwarding those messages to Eric or Claire or others involved with ACB policies to solicit their responses. Some members are feeling disconnected with ACB leaders – a persistent concern for organizations like ours.
Deb said that she is recommended that the Communications Steering Committee take on the issue of better defining and possibly reorganizing our e-mail lists as their first priority. It is likely that ACB will subscribe all members to the Announce list, and this will be where Kelly sends out her announcements. Then the Leadership list can concentrate on leadership-centered questions and issues – and everyone who is a member and wants to will have already received the announcements which Kelly sends out, which will, hopefully, eliminate the annoyance of encountering the same information over and over again on diverse lists. When everyone received all announcements from Announce, there shouldn’t be any need for Bob to post Dots and Dashes on ACB-L, and Bob agreed to wait until Deb’s proposed change(s) have been implemented to see if the new approach works for promoting more discussion on ACB-L.
Deb also said that BOP members should be on ACB-L, and that she will encourage ACB leaders at all levels to also be members of that list.
Carla asked who would be deciding what gets posted to the Announce list and pointed out that this issue will be of immediate concern to affiliates, especially special interest affiliates. Deb responded that this will be part of the discussion for the Communications Steering Committee and will be addressed as list purposes are better defined and rules tightened up.
Carla said that it will be important to allow non-members to subscribe to our Announce list as well, and BOP members expressed their agreement with this guideline.
Penny said that announcements like those that ACB will presumably be distributing on the Announce list should be posted, not only via e-mail, but also through social media, and in a special “announcements” section on the ACB.org web site, and she hopes the Communications Steering Committee can include this among topics that can be addressed soon. Deb said that there are social media “dots” that still need to be connected, and this will be included under the responsibilities of the Communications Steering Committee.
Penny also said that she joined ACB initially because of the good experience she had on ACB-L, which, in the mid-1990s, was a friendly, welcoming place where no blindness issue was off-topic and where good conversations dominated. Paul agreed that ACB-L was an excellent venue for discussion and for recruiting members, and one of the things that promoted discussion and a feeling among list members that they were being heard was a requirement that ACB leaders at all levels had to be on that list.
Discussion ensued regarding Facebook and how items are – or are not – posted there, and there was general agreement that guidelines need to be updated about what gets posted, how, and by whom. Carla pointed out that many important events either don’t get posted there or are not posted often enough, for example, the topics of holiday auction and upcoming convention. Penny said that we used to promote convention in advance via news releases, but she doesn’t know if we even do this any more. Katie said that the cost of news releases is a barrier to using this mechanism as often as we used to.
Paul suggested that extending Jeff’s very popular convention calendar to a year-round calendar could be an effective way of keeping people informed. We could make it a year-round smart-phone app and/or make it available on our web site.
Kelly had distributed the following social media statistics for December:
Casting Call for Apple TV+ Series “SEE”
4,399 people reached
44 likes and loves
Pick of the Litter article and release announcement
1,943 people reached
48 likes and loves
A guide dog’s night before Christmas
1,267 people reached
57 likes and loves
Holiday Auction announcement
Sarah Herrlinger from Apple talks about accessibility
1,149 people reached
A guide dog’s night before Christmas
Public Relations; Update on ACB Wikipedia page
A draft has been prepared for the update, BOP members will comment, and we will approve a final draft at our February meeting.
The meeting adjourned shortly before 11 p.m. Eastern time. Our next meeting is scheduled for February 4, 2020.
Penny Reeder, Member
ACB Board of Publications