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Media Co-op AGM July 21 2010 Minutes

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

July 21, 2010: AGM Dominion/Media Co-op meeting notes

Agenda

1. Appointment of facilitator
2. Appointment of secretary
3. Approval of Agenda
4. Go around
5. Approval of minutes from last AGM & SGM
6. Motion to extend temporary membership to Local Media Co-op members
7. Bylaw amendment to include Local Media Co-op members in national Media Co-op
8. Board elections
9. Year in Review: Presentation and adoption of Directors Report/Annual Report, including:

  • Launch of the Vancouver and Toronto Local Media Co-ops
  • Olympics Special Issue & Coverage
  • G8/G20 Special Issue and Coverage

10. Presentation and adoption of Financial Statements 2009/10 Fiscal Year
11. Special resolution to forego auditing
12. Budget/budget process presentation for 2010/11 Fiscal year
13. Other business
14. Adjournment

1. Appointment of facilitator

Dru Jay moved, Amy Miller seconded appointment of Tim McSorley as facilitator.

APPROVED

2. Appointment of secretary

Amy Miller moved, Maya Rolbin-Ghanie seconded appointment of Ben Sichel as secretary.

APPROVED

Later in the meeting, Ben requested someone in Montreal be secretary as most of the technical information was happening locally in Montreal.

Ben Sichel moved and Dru Jay seconded that Martin Lukacs be secretary for half the meeting, and that secretarial duties be transferred to Jeff Stevens once taking notes got too much for him.

APPROVED

3. Approval of agenda

Cam Fenton moved, Martin Lukacs seconded approval of the agenda.

APPROVED

4. Go-around

Montreal:
Martin Lukacs, contributor
Philippe Morin, reader
Tim Groves, editor
Amy Miller, contributor
Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, contributor, returning officer
Laith Marouf, public
Cam Fenton, editor
Niko Block, public
Dru Oja Jay, editor, board member
Laura Kneale, public
David Widgington, reader
Ted Rutland, reader
Nisha Platzer, reader
Kevin Gould, reader
Jeffrey Stevens, reader
Tim McSorley, editor, facilitator

Vancouver:
Franklin López, editor, returning officer
Murray Bush, editor
Tami Starlight, contributor
*Dawn Paley, editor *Dawn came in online late.

Halifax:
Hillary Lindsay, editor, board member
Ben Sichel, contributor, returning officer
Kaley Kennedy, editor
Aaron Beale, reader
Jane Kirby, reader
Gianna Lauren, contributor
Emily Davidson, reader
Lindsay Miller, reader

Toronto:
Nacera, public
Nacera’s sister, public
Geordie, editor
Megan Cotton-Kinch, contributor
Justin Saunders, contributior, returning officer
Kevin Sutton, contributor

Fredericton:
Tracy Glynn, contributor, board member

Victoria:
Stuart Hertzog, public

Winnipeg:
Macho Philipovich, reader

Edmonton:
Angus Perry, reader

France:
Moira Peters, editor, board member
Christopher Cohoon, contributor, returning officer

Online:
Krishna, public
Jiivan, public
GTA, public

Total editor members present: 11 (Quorum: 3)
Total contributor members present: 11 (Quorum: 5)
Total reader members present: 12 (Quorum: 12)
Total members of the public: 9

5. Adoption of Minutes from AGM September 2009 and SGM May 2010

Moved by Amy Miller, seconded by Tim Groves to adopt minutes.

Amendment proposed by Moira Peters to add the wording of the special resolution that was the purpose for the special general meeting. Moira volunteered to amend the minutes.

AMENDMENT APPROVED

6. Motion to extend temporary membership to Local Media Co-op members.

For the rest of the meeting, members of the Locals in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax are members for the duration of meeting.

Moved by Tim Groves, seconded by Cam Fenton.

APPROVED

7. Special Resolution read by Tim McSorley.

Whereas the growth of the Cooperative has meant that the current definitions of membership do not adequately reflect the scope of people involved with the work of the Cooperative,

Be it resolved that Article 2.15 of the Cooperative’s bylaws be amended as follows:

a) Each Contributor Member must have either:
i) contributed to two issues of the Dominion prior to becoming a member. A contribution to the Dominion includes but is not limited to: photography, illustration, comics, editing, copy editing and writing; or
ii) contributed four editor-reviewed posts to any Media Co-op local website in the past year.

Moved by Amy Miller, seconded by Maya Rolbin-Ghanie.

DISCUSSION:
Kebera: Does contribution have been accepted and published?
Tim: Yes, it needs to have been published. Anything that’s put up on the media co-op gets posted, unless its libelous, racist, homophobic, etc.
Geordie: Really wanted to second that last motion!
Tim: you can second the next motion.
Geordie: BOOSH!
Laith: Why is it two contributions for Dominion publication, and four for media co-op? Doesn’t that bias the Dominion?
Tim: There is a lot less chance to contribute on a regular basis to Dominion than the media co-op.
Laith: Two video pieces for instance takes as much work as two written articles.
Laith: Propose amendment to Motion:

AMENDMENT: 15 a. ii) contributed two editor-reviewed posts to any Media co-op local website in the past year

DISCUSSION:
Tim Groves: The work is hastier on the Media Co-ops than the Dominion. Has reservations about the motion.
Frank: there are differences in the two media. Work that goes on the VMC could take even more time than a Dominion article but it doesn’t stick around as long. We need to consider the differences between the two media.
Niko: How about two audio or two video posts or four text-based posts.
Dru: friendly amendment to amendment:

AMENDMENT: 15 a. ii) contributed two editor-reviewed posts to any Media co-op local website in the past year
iii) A contributor member can be chosen by the editorial committee of the Local he/she works with.

Laith: It should just be two contributions.
Halifax: 4 posts to the Co-op is good.
Toronto: 2 posts, so long as they are editor approved – Toronto favours Laith’s motion.

[PROCEDURAL NOTE: need to strike down previous amendment before you move to the next amendment]

Maya: The problem is that on the local level pieces might just featured quickly. Suggests that there is specification around what editor-approved means.
Cam: Content is not always produced for the Local co-op (news releases etc). Supports an amendment that gives more power to local committee to decide who is a contributor member.
Frank: What is the concern around expanding membership? Expanding membership is a good thing, increasing sense of ownership.
Stuart: Agrees with amendment.
Dru: No concern in principle with having a vast number of members. In practice, the problem is when someone posts two news releases, and they become a contributing member. It becomes difficult to achieve quorom. We need to have 2 per cent participation by members to receive quorom – so this becomes difficult if members rapidly escalate. Not the most important concern, but worth considering.
Cam: Could tip the geographical balance, because more established co-ops could dominate.

Call the question! by Geordie Dent, seconded by Kevin Gould.

Halifax: 0 in favour
Vancouver: 3 in favour
Montreal: 3 in favour
Toronto: 1 in favour
Stuart: in favour
Kebara: favour

Halifax: 8 opposed
Montreal: 9 opposed
Vancouver: 0 opposed
Toronto: 1 opposed
France: 2 opposed

Laith: The Dominion is being put on a pedestal, compared to the Media Co-op network.

Point of order, called by Cam Fenton: Those motioning may not in fact be members.

Tim McSorley: Lesson for future meetings – make sure people are members before they make motions & vote.
Dave: Hierarchical difference between Dominion and media co-op contributions – maybe they could be equalized

Geordie proposed amendment to the original motion.

AMENDEMENT: 15. A iii) LOCAL media co-op editorial committees can designate people as contributor members

Moved by Megan Kitch, seconded by Geordie.

DISCUSSION:
Dave: This is too vague, there is no criteria. A rogue local could designate anyone as members and take over the co-op network.
Murray: In support of the amendment because there are people in Vancouver who do work at the co-op that aren’t posting of articles, audio or video. Work should be recognized.
Kaley: Let’s drop the amendment because we don’t seem to be moving to a point where we will all be happy. Let’s put it off until another meeting, because it requires hashing out.

Calling the question! by Dru Jay.

Tim: abuse of privilege, Dru.

Question seconded by Jeff Stevens.

22 of 33 meeting participants are in favour of the amendment.

AMENDEMENT PASSED

Return to main motion.

15. Contributor Members
a) Each Contributor Member must have either:
i) contributed to two issues of the Dominion prior to becoming a member. A contribution to the Dominion includes but is not limited to: photography, illustration, comics, editing, copy editing and writing; or
ii) contributed four editor-reviewed posts to any Media Co-op local website in the past year.
iii) LOCAL media co-op editorial committees can designate people as contributor members

Call the question! by Dru Jay, seconded by Frank Lopez.

Stuart: section b) has not been amended in equivalent fashion.

Dru point of information: the individuals who become contributors will be eligible to be involved in next years AGA, and can participate in decisions about new contributor member eligibility

Overwhelming majority in favour of the motion.

BYLAW AMENDED

round of applause

Special Resolution read by Tim McSorley.

Whereas the growth of the Cooperative has meant that the current definitions of membership do not adequately reflect the scope of people involved with the work of the Cooperative,

Be it resolved that Article 2.14 of the Cooperative’s bylaws be amended as follows:

14. Managing Editor Members
a. Each Managing Editor Member must have worked (not necessarily paid work) for at least 20 hours per week for the Co-op for three months before becoming a member.
b. To maintain their membership, Managing Editors must have day-to-day involvement with the Dominion, Media Co-op and/or Local Co-ops, with breaks away from the network lasting no more than three months, unless a formal exemption for up to 6 months as approved by the Board.
c. Each Managing Editor member must support the objectives of the Co-op and pay an annual membership fee as set by the Board of Directors.

Motion to accept special resolution moved by Moira Peters, seconded by Dave Widgington.

Call the question! by Dru Jay, seconded by Cam Fenton.

Online: This is to maintain managing editor of Co-op?
Dru: clarifies criteria for contributors and readers.
Amy: stopping work as an editor bumps you to contributor member status?

No opposition to calling the question.

29 votes in favour of the motion.

MOTION PASSED, BYLAWS AMENDED

Kaley Kennedy moves to move the budget agenda item to earlier in the agenda (point 10 becomes 9, point 11 becomes 10), seconded by Hillary Lindsay.

APPROVED

8. Board Elections

Dru: Editor members only vote for editor Board position. Ballots to be collected in each local.

Elections closed with on a tie, waiting on one vote from Toronto.

9. Financial Statements, presented by Hillary Lindsay

Income Statement for April 2009 to March 2010:
Doubled sustainer income this year: $,25,000.
Vancouver and Toronto sustainers have increased since march 2010.
Total Income: $57,552.96.
Expenses: paid journalists $8,000, up from $2,000 last year.
Promotions and advertising took more money this year.
Paying rent for office in Montreal.
Contractors: editors who are being paid.
Total expenses $51, 856.45.
Surplus income of $5,696.51.

Approval of the financial statement moved by Dru Jay, seconded by David Widgington.

DISCUSSION:
Philippe: What are the total assets? How much is in the bank?
Hillary: We don’t have any assets… a printer.
(Confusion over the question)
Philippe: For some grants you can”t have too much cash if you want to qualify.
Laith: The budget will have that info; this is an income statement.
Online: Is there a legal obligation to be audited?
Tim: We will deal with that question with the next resolution.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS APPROVED

Financial statements available upon request.

10. Special Resolution to forgo an audit.

Special Resolution read by Tim McSorley.

Due to the high cost of having the Dominion’s books audited, members of the Dominion Newspaper Cooperative resolve not to appoint an auditor for the financial year of 2010/2011.

Hillary gives background: Our accounting is a significant part of our budget; it is common for non-profits to vote to forgo an audit.

Motion moved by Cam Fenton, seconded by Ben Sichel.

Call the question! by Angus Moore, seconded by Dave Widgington.

One opposed the question.

One opposed the motion.

SPECIAL RESOLUTION PASSED

DISCUSSION:
Online: How much is accounting cost?
Hillary: over $1,000.

11. Annual Report, presented by Moira Peters

Moved by Hillary Lindsay to accept annual report, seconded by Ted Rutland.

Annual report available upon request.

DISCUSSION:
Online: Is there a simultaneous increase in articles and pages in each Dominion with less print issues?
Moira: No, we simply produce 8 issues in 2010, but subscribers still get ten issues. Moving to 8 issues allowed us to better handle special issues, AGMs, etc this year.
Online: Congratulations to all! Bodes well for the future of grassroots journalism in Canada!

ANNUAL REPORT APPROVED

12. Budget process, presented by Dru Jay

Some considerations:
a) We want the budget to reflect the consent and meaningful participation of the membership;
b) Crafting a budget requires analysis of the whole of Media Co-op operations and priorities, which is difficult for full time staff and effectively impossible for casual participants;
c) We want to facilitate as much meaningful participation in the budget process as possible, and get as many members as possible as close as possible to an accurate understanding of the workings of the organization.

As such, we propose a three-phase process for our annual budget, with a tentative schedule:

1. Consultation. Media Co-op staff will explain the considerations that have gone into previous budgets, with an outline of some of the tradeoffs that are possible, what the core costs are, and so on. Staff will set up an area on mediacoop.ca where people can submit questions, assert their priorities, and talk to each other. (August-Sept)
2. Formulation. After this ferment has some time to bubble and froth, a committee (ideally involving representation from each local, minimally empowered by and in consultation with the locals) is struck to formulate a proposal. (Late Sept)
3. The proposed budget is submitted to the membership for review and further discussion. If significant concerns arise, revisions can be made. The committee submits its final proposal to the board, which puts it to a vote. (October).

DISCUSSION:
Tim: This is not a motion, so at 10:25 we’ll cut off the discussion.
Martin: Who is the media co-op staff explaining to?
Dru: To the membership and anybody else interested.
Martin: Open to public or just memebers?
Dru: For the public to view, members are invited explicitly to take part.
Stuart in Victoria: does this include Local budgets?
Dru: No, the Locals are purvey to the Local co-ops.
Tim: All the membership dues are collected federally and then distributed to Locals.
Stuart: how will we form a local co-op in Victoria?
Tim: No more discussion. We’ll enact this in August as is slated.

13. Other business

It’s late!

Dave W: The MMC is participating in the citizen media rendez-vous, at Palais de Congress, live-streamed too.

Cam: The deciding vote goes to… Moira Peters
(Tim tips his hat to Moira.)

Motion to adjourn moved by Dave Widgington, seconded by Tim Groves

MEETING ADJOURNED! Thanks all!

Online chat conversation available upon request.


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