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Board Minutes March 28, 2016

The Media Co-op Meeting

March 28, 2016

Present: Vanessa, Tami, Ashley, Geordie, and Arielle

  1. Check in

  2. Special Issue Update

  3. New board members

  4. Social Media Policy: strategy, influence, content. Intersecting with recruitment and fundraising

  5. Board strategic planning

  6. Financial update

Special Issue Update:

-Layout person, April 8th

-Launching in May

-National Launch parties

    MTL – dance party/month of anarchy – co-organizing with CKUT

    Victoria – Either screening of Lelu’s Last Stand or presentation with a land defender

    Vancouver – street party

-Inclined to tie it into the re-launch of the VMC
- Lisa Barret – Rising Tide Coast Salish has showed an interest in getting involved with VMC

        -Tami needs access to administration of VMC Facebook Group – Isaac and Dru still has it

-Minutes don’t have a folder – the idea is to have them posted on the website eventually but right now they are only in the emails.

Arielle will put the minutes (and back minutes) into a folder on the drive this week

    Toronto – Launch party – we likely have a venue and food (the venue that we usually get)

- MTL Anarchist Bookfair

    We need a table (May 20th) – Arielle will do it

- Toronto Anarchist Bookfair

    Table is great for outreach –

    Grassroots (Nov – Dec)

    UofT (May –June)

- Victoria Anarchist Bookfair

    Table – keep an eye out for one in Van too

New Board Members:

- Moira Peters – has taken over as staff for HMC for the past month

    - approve their person

- If they want a board rep, with their collective’s approval, they can be automatically assigned to the board or if they don’t than we would nominate a person ourselves.

-Is there a collective in HMC? Yes, they are discussing the next steps. Miles has resigned, according to Moira.

    -Normally there would be an AGM, HMC would nominate someone and we would vote on it.

    Lately there’s been a minimum of board members

    They need to be ratified by us first.

    Ar - As long there’s minutes, decided collectively by the HMC, then good to take on their person.

    T - It’s important for the economy and self-organizing of the locals, but there’s a need to be more of a collective organization of that process. Yes locals are autonomous, but there should be some sort of collective agreement to prevent toxic locals. Sometimes people leave and we don’t follow up on possible problems in the local.

    D – Miles used to be involved more, but he left the board with major issues of the centralized nature of the co-op.

    G – Moira said, yes he resigned but not sure why. It’s a separate issue from this issue.

    D – Pass a motion to allow their nominated person to be the board person.

    V – There needs to be a conversation about structure on a local, and overall level to prevent alienation of individuals and have conflict resolution structure.

    Suggestion to put this on the agenda for discussion for either today or the next meeting.

    D – It’s important to have a HMC board member

    G – Motion to approve any board member nominated by the HMC

    D – Seconds

    Ash – friendly amendment for the HMC to include their minutes

    Ar- Resolve to discuss structure at a local and national level at next meeting

    V- Supports that

    T – Supports the amended motion

    Motion Approved

V - Brayden Stevenson has done some organizing in Kamloops and is interested in getting involved on the board

Social Media Policy:

D -one of the Toronto editors is social media savvy and they are critical of how the Media Co-op uses our social media. Darryl agrees with them.

    They try to share stories as much as possible on national site about journalism, but they try to promote people on the Media Co-op to write about it.

    Criticism on sharing links from Rabble and Ricochet

        Rabble is transphobic

        Members in Toronto stopped paying attention because we share things from Rabble and Ricochet

    Ricochet is problematic because of the founder – Ethan Cox is inappropriate towards women

    -We can use social media for fundraising (kickstarter) and recruitment

        -Mon on recruitment; Wed on fundraising

    -Use our analytic tools – FB and twitter – admins get notification if something is getting spread wide – pin those posts

    We need to utilize social media to our benefit

Ar- The problem is we don’t have anyone to do social media, and she noticed we had no social media presence at all and we have 10000 on FB and 2000 on twitter, so she started posting things she saw that were posted on the page, and as a result we got 3000 views a week from nothing. We should be posting things from our page. She thinks we should post stuff from other media sources, the more traffic we get the better. We should be doing this all the time to promote traffic. As for Rabble and Ricochet, she wasn’t keeping track of where she was posting things from. Also, Carolin been doing it since December and Arielle since October.

T – What is our policy about this? Tami has been part of the social media storm of calling out Rabble and appreciates what Darryl said. She’s completely divested herself from Rabble because of Megan Murphy.

The pages that are publically liked by the Media Co-op includes Rabble.

We should be following guidelines on how we operate our social media.

D – We don’t have a social media policy. People feel alienated by Rabble and Ricochet and they go to Media Co-op as an alternative and then they see the same media being represented. Would be okay if we vet who we post on social media

T – She’d be willing to draft a document about roles and responsibilities for people who participate in elected admin roles, including twitter, FB, etc.

V – Should there be a separate committee drafting this policy together?

    What is our purpose in posting content? Who is responsible and for how long?

Ash – for vetting Rabble and Ricochet

D – has seen Ethan act in inappropriate ways towards women

G- there will always be problematic folks within organizations and he gets nervous about blacklisting entire organizations.  If we do that than we must vet the CBC and the Star, etc.

V – we need an ongoing conversation about a social media policy – is anyone interested in working on a draft policy with Tami

D – interested in helping

Ar – interested but busy. Google doc? Should we have an interim policy to communicate to Carolin in the meantime to ensure it doesn’t go dead.

Van – she feels like it’s already dead; never sees anything from it. If there is an interim policy what would that entail?

Ash – Are there posts from more mainstream sources that are problematic?

Ar – not so much anymore but around the election, yes.

D – the people who found Ricochet and Rabble problematic, also found the mainstream stuff problematic. Rabble doubled down on supporting Megan Murphy while Ethan Cox is not just a writer, he’s the founder. Of course, it’s good to post more from the Media Co-op.

Ar – Should we post from media organizations that we find problematic or just media sources outside of our organization.

Ge- personal take is, in the interim, is to not repost anything from Rabble and Ricochet till we figure it out. FTR, Murphy got fired from Rabble.

T- When was that and where is that information?

Ar- She’s still on the website

G- got fired from staff in the last month, but she might still write for them.

T – We should unlike Rabble on the page and we should stop re-posting their stuff. This speaks to a larger issue of lack of policy.

Ash – Rabble is transphobic and we should stop posting their stuff and unlike their page.

Van – Proposal to unlike Rabble from the FB page, and stop posting their stuff.

D – seconds the motion and adds that Tami will make a more long term policy

Ar – We need more than one person to post stuff.

T – offers to get involved in posting social media stuff

Van – wants to be part of the committee

    Proposes to have a committee of Tami, Van, Dar, and Arielle make the social media policy

Van – what’s our voting process? Is it Roberts Rules? Or is it consensus?

    If we need to we can talk things out to consensus, but we’ve never had to do that.

Ar- Should she make Tami and Van editors of the page?

Van – just make Tami admin

    1st proposal – To make the committee– Arielle seconds

    In favor – Ash, Dar, Tami, Ari

    Motion passed

2nd motion – in the interim suspend promotion of Rabble and Ricochet from our social media in general and unlike them from the facebook page – Ash seconds

    In favor – Darryl, Tami, Arielle,

    Motion passed

Report back from CRTC hearing – tabled for next

Strike the Canadian Heritage Committee – no longer relevant

Board Strategic Planning Documents:

G- Staff admin manual, etc. trying to put it all together. Tasks board does or could do. Eventually would like to turn it into something that can help new staff and board members get involved, for training purposes.

D- Will help in any way he can. Drop box for the Dominion.

T – Would appreciate transparency. Important information that’s not shared when we’re talking about this stuff. Is it online? Is it in a folder?

Ar – Admin handbook is what she does in addition to publishing the Dominion.

D – can send over the dropbox to Tami

T – At the end of 2010, part of when the strategic planning session happened. She hopes that info would be in the dropbox. A policy on the vision of the media co-op and dominion. It’s problematic for an organization to be focused simply on production, and not on organization, and how we organize, and what kind of content we produce – if that’s not present, she won’t stick around. The things she’s been envisioning since being here, the fact they haven’t been addressed is a reason the co-op hasn’t been growing.

Van – any other comments related to board strategic planning?   

D – Is Geordie speaking about gathering the content or changing it?

G- Since 2014, didn’t get an orientation, no training, didn’t even know about the drop box. He wants to get all the stuff together so that people can see it and have it readily accessible.

Financial Update:

Ar – Roddy is in the process of producing a breakdown of how we are doing financially but the situation from what she understands is that we’re in the red. We’re producing the special issue and her and Carolin have managed to fundraise a couple thousand, but Roddy has had problems finding advertisers. There’s still some grants that we can apply to but the impression is that we’re in the red in funding this special issue and it would be good if the board brainstormed ways to get funding for the special issue, because we need it badly. Funding is an ongoing problem for the media co-op. Every Dominion is a scramble. Staff is underpaid, less than minimum wage. It’s a serious problem. We need a better structural model because our financial structure right now is unsustainable.

Ash – We need subscribers to be sustainable and not have to beg for money all the time filling out grants. It’s beyond important to get past the tipping point in our number of subscribers that will be able to carry the financial weight of both the Dominion and the Media Co-op’s operating costs. Furthermore, the proposal to scrap the Dominion is illogical as it carries the Media Co-op’s financial burden and without it we would be relegated to being a charity case. We NEED Subscription drives. We NEED subscribers! This should be our focus in terms of how we operate financially. We should be striving towards a sustainable financial model by growing our number of subscriptions and promoting The Dominion.  

Ar – If we get 1500 sustainers we are automatically eligible for a number of grants – she thinks it’s a federal grant but not sure.

Dar – agrees with Ash’ assessment, happy to help out on the ground.

Van – crowdfunding in the moment can be helpful, not long term but in the meantime, considering our situation of being in the red till we can rely on our subscribers.

Ar- agrees. If we’re going to pay for this issue we need grants right now.

Dar – We should table outreach for next meeting

    We need drives for everything: outreach, membership, the AGM.

Ge- docs will be sent around on this. He’s sent Roddy a list of 8 or 9 grants.

Ar – Can you send them to all of us because we’ve all been writing grants for this issue?

Ge – Is not okay with our staff getting paid minimum wage. We should have a proposal to not pay our staff minimum wage. Our staff should have reasonable wages.

Van – are there specific grants that apply to us?

Ar – We can apply for grants to fund this issue specifically. So far, Carolin and Arielle have applied to social justice organizations at Universities and the social action fund in QC. But anything that is related to media is helpful.

Ash – should we make a motion to pay our staff a reasonable wage right now?

Ar – we don’t have enough money at the moment. After Roddy finishes the report, if we have enough money would like to be paid for additional hours in March, but that’s down the road. We need to pay our writers for this issue.

T- We need a policy that enumerates on our staff getting paid in an equitable way.

Ar – We should get a minimum of $15/hr, but we don’t have the money right now. The extra hours she does, she doesn’t get paid for it. It’s difficult to work here because of this…

Van – keep track of your extra hours and when we are in a better financial place we can recompensate you.

Next meeting, Darryl will take the lead on organizing the next meeting using Doodle and Calliflower.



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DSRichardson (Darryl Sean Richardson)
East York, Toronto, Ontario
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