Explanation of proposed bylaw changes

1. The Organization
(A) Changed the word “newspaper” to “member organization.” This change is made throughout the bylaws, at least as regards newspapers as members.

(B) Rewritten.

2. Membership
(A) Is completely re-written, outlining categories of membership. It is broken down into member organizations (what used to be called “newspaper”) and individual membership. The individual membership is now described in (B), with all following sections re-lettered. The old associate membership category is abolished, though much of it shows up in the new individual membership category.

The language for sports websites changes a bit. I kept the part about “generally accepted newsgathering processes.” The “general interest” goes out the window, along with the three-person staff requirement and the part about them paying dues at the highest rate. HOWEVER, I’ve inserted specific wording that the executive committee has sole authority to determine website membership. I have inserted language about websites run by professional and amateur sports organizations (mlb.com, ncaa.com) that specifically excludes them.

I have added a category for national sports publications. This is a look toward publications like SI and The Sporting News. I originally had this under member organizations, but there was no consensus that this was a good thing so I dropped it into the individual membership category.

I have dropped wire service membership into the individual category, which is a small step down for them. Jack says we only have one wire service member at present.

(C) This is a new section, giving the executive committee broad authority to oversee who qualifies as a member, and to set dues. If these bylaws pass, some decisions will need to be made. For instance, a committee could be appointed to decide website membership, or it could be done as it is currently, by vote of the executive committee. The language about dues payment has been folded into the section.

(D) This is a new section that prohibits an organization from dual membership by entering a newspaper and its website separately. It may be evident, but I think we ought to have that language in there somewhere.

(E) I have included the terms sexual orientation, ethnic background, age, physical disability and religion.

(G) Interestingly, our bylaws have a mechanism for termination of associate memberships and for website memberships, but there is no way of terminating a newspaper membership. With the changes here we need to re-think this, and I think the only way to do it is to apply the same standard to everyone. I suppose it could come up with newspapers, for instance, if a paper drops below the five-day-a-week provision. It also could happen with websites if we decide we’ve gone too far in what we’re including and want to draw back.

So I created this new section to deal with it. It demands a 75 percent majority of the Executive Committee to terminate a membership, which is the same level as before. It also offers an appeal, of sorts, to the general membership, and you may argue that that’s one step too many. That makes it harder to kick them out than to bring them in, but I think that’s right. Once you invite someone in, you shouldn’t be able to throw them out because the wind changed directions. It should only happen when we all feel strongly about something.

(H) Took out unneeded wording that AP sports editors may serve on committees “at their discretion” upon invitation from the APSE president. Also took out unneeded wording that they may attend region meetings, since anyone can attend region meetings.

3. Officers and executive committee

(B) I redefined past presidents eligible to vote as those actively working at APSE member organizations, or those that would be eligible for membership (in other words, if the Knoxville News Sentinel decided to drop its membership in APSE, Phil would still have his past president vote, because he’s working in the industry at an organization eligible for membership). Past presidents would not keep their vote if they retire or move to a job outside the scope of our membership. This eliminates some (but not all) inconsistency in the difference between email and on-site votes, and follows a rough consensus I got from last year’s survey.

Added wording that allows a region chair to appoint someone to serve in their place, should they not be able to attend an executive committee meeting. This seems like a common-sense change.

Added wording to say that the first vice president may chair the executive committee in the absence of the president.
Added wording to close a loophole for emails votes. Currently, there is no way to determine a quorum for an email vote. I simply make it a majority of those who respond.

Increased the prior notice of email votes to 10 days.

Changed wording to say that minutes are published on the website, instead of in the newsletter. Changed the spelling of website throughout to conform with AP style.

(D) On the advice of Jack, I added the word “additional” to “four additional candidates” that can be nominated by the executive committee, to make it clear these candidates are in additions to the others who are eligible to run.

(E) Changed wording to say the third VP comes from the “smallest member organization’’ instead of newspapers in the smallest dues category, and left that determination up to the executive committee. This opens to the door for small websites to be considered a part of the small newspaper caucus, if we someday invite such members (there is a sports website in my area that competes with me and fits that description). It also reinforces the right to have a different cutoff for third VP than exists in the dues structure, which we are doing now.

(G) Currently, you can’t remove an officer at any time unless you’re sitting in quorum at the summer or winter meetings. It’s not possible to do so an email vote. To the best of my knowledge this clause has never been invoked, but it’s something you have to have and I think we need to modernize it. If some kind of scandal broke in August, you wouldn’t want to wait until February to take care of it. I’ve provided for electronic vote, with at least 10 days’ prior notice.

(F) In the fifth paragraph, added a line to the end to make it clear that all positions will be filled in the order of the amount of votes received. Jack felt this was a good idea.

4. Duties

(A) In all instances when the bylaws say that an officer should work with the convention coordinator or secretary-treasurer, I have added “or executive director.”

(B) The second paragraph is new. The first sentence of that paragraph is taken from above, but I added the rest. It gives the Executive Committee the power to determine how different members fit into the contest, or whether they can be in the contest at all. That power is implied in the current bylaws, but I think it’s important to spell it out now, given the new categories of membership we’re offering. This also opens the door to us giving full membership to magazines and whatnot, without fear that they’d wreck the contest because they don’t publish every day. We could let them without access to the contest, let them into some parts of the contest, or have a separate contest for them.

In the final paragraph, the budget for the year can now be presented at either summer executive committee session. The current bylaws say it’s the first one, but in practice, nobody does it that way.

(C) All references to the newsletter and yearbook are removed and replaced by the website. It doesn’t mean we can’t still do a newsletter on the website, but it removes the requirement of arranging things in a newsletter, which is really not needed.

(D) I haven’t changed the wording here about the third vice president’s role, but I’ve always wanted to. The clause in there about helping the president organize the general membership meeting has never been used, as far as I know. You don’t really need any help. We also have – or have had talks about – appointing a separate person to handle recruitment, thus eclipsing the 3VP’s role. I’d like to find some other duty for the 3VP.

Changed the word “insure” to “ensure.” Jack spotted that. Not sure how long that’s been sitting there.

(E, F) I removed language requiring appointment and removal of appointed officer(s) take place during a meeting “in quorum.” Especially now that we have a single person as executive director – and God forbid something happen to Jack – but if something did, I think it would be ruinous to wait up to 7 months to be able to fill that role.

(G) This is a new section authorizing the combination of convention coordinator and sec-treasurer into one executive director position. I am almost sure we had changed this language, but it doesn’t appear in the bylaws as written. I’ve left the language in about the separate jobs because it’s easier to write it that way and leave the option of having an executive director. Besides, some day (hopefully deep in the future) when Jack retires, we may want to have two separate people do this.

(H) Removes references to the newsletter and replaces them with website.

5. Meetings and Conventions:

(A) Here and in all other places, changed winter workshop to winter meeting.

(F) Took out references to “preliminary and finals’’ judge, which is not needed. We no longer use the old system of getting outside editors to do finals judging.

(G) Combined sections G and H into one, on bylaws revisions. I have rewritten parts of it to offer two methods of approving bylaws changes.

One is during the summer convention, requiring two votes in the Executive Committee, along with presentation to the general membership, which is how the old bylaws had it. At any other time the Executive Committee can change the bylaws by a 75 percent majority, as long as the membership is notified at least 10 days prior. I presume this would be the most attractive alternative.

I think it’s right to have a 75-percent threshold, with prior notice. Changing the framework of an organization’s bylaws ought to have broad support. But you still have the 51-percent majority option if you’re willing to jump through the hoops of the original bylaws.

I also made all bylaws changes effective upon adoption, unless otherwise directed by the executive committee. Presently, changes take effect after the summer convention, unless otherwise ordered.

Jack said there was some feeling that the term Summer Convention should be changed to Summer Conference. I can do that, but I think there ought to be a consensus before we make that change.

6. Regional Meetings:

(B) I took out the part about regional meetings being partly devoted to business dealings with the Associated Press. During the survey last year, there was some sensitivity to us being viewed as an organization dependent upon the AP, so I think this is a reasonable, though it really has no effect.

(F) Took out the time frame for when region caucuses must be held at the summer convention.

6. APSE Regions
Added a preamble which states, in part, that the executive committee will determine where organizations outside of North America be placed. We have had members from the Virgin Islands, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, and there hasn’t been anything in the bylaws about where they should go. You could decide to put them in with Canada and make it a quasi-international region (J is rewritten to open up this possibility), or more likely, you could attach them to the closest region (for instance, Virgin Islands in the Southeast, Japan in the west, etc.)


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