Call to Order and Introductions
The August 4th meeting of the American Council of the Blind Board of Publications was called to order by Chairperson, Deb Lewis, at 9:02 p.m. Eastern time.
Penny called the roll as follows: Deb, Penny, Zelda, Paul, Susan, Sharon, Jeff, Katie, David, Debbie Hazelton (also representing ACB Radio) and Dan were all present. Bob was absent.
Guest Attendees: Michael Malver, Mary Haroyan, Shaun Field, and Sandra Sermons.
Adoption of the agenda for the August 4th, 2020 ACB Board of Publications meeting
The agenda was approved unanimously, following a motion made by Zelda and seconded by Susan.
Approval of the Minutes for the June 2, 2020 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Penny moved and Susan seconded approval of the minutes from the June 2020 meeting of the BOP, as submitted, and the motion carried unanimously.
Deb announced that beginning in August, Penny will be the BOP’s liaison to the ACB Board of Directors. She will continue in this role until at least next year’s convention.
Open Forum — Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
Mike Malver offered to help with email lists and transitioning of them if Bob is unable to do so. Deb said we do not need his official help at this time, but welcomed his input on the email list issue as we welcome anyone’s personal input.
Next came a non-agendized item raised by Penny, who proposed that the Board of Publications recommend that an item be added to editorial policy stating that anything ACB publishes or that is released under our logo should include pronouns that are gender neutral (they or their instead of he, she, him, her). This, she believes, is in keeping with ACB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Deb responded that we do not actually have a Style Guide as such in our editorial policy manual other than guidelines pertaining to large print. Katie said that this issue is on the road map for those on the PR committee. The Public Awareness group will be addressing this issue during the next few months. Deb proposed that we formally ask the Public Awareness Steering Committee where this item ranks in their work line-up. It is an important enough item that it needs to impact more than just the BOP’s work, which includes only our magazines. It needs to be an umbrella issue for the entire ACB membership. To impact a broader scope of documents as well as overall ACB philosophy, it will be better addressed by the Public Awareness Committee. Deb proposed that we ask the Public Awareness Steering committee to place this item on an upcoming agenda. Katie, who serves on this committee, can report back to the BOP on any action items that are proposed or taken. We agreed by consensus to move forward as proposed here.
Recap of BOP activities at ACB 2020 virtual Conference and Conventions the Newspaper; BOP seminar July 4; Awards; pre-banquet wrap-up session
The Saturday July 4 BOP seminar seemed sparsely attended on the Zoom side of things (around 36 people), but the presentation itself went well. All award presentations went well, and the convention wrap-up was more fun than we expected. If our convention is live next year, we will resume our town hall activities, and if it is virtual, we hope that virtual voting will be possible so that we can implement the town hall via Zoom. All sessions appeared to have had twice the number of attendees as they would have had in the live convention setting. Overall there were 55,900 Zoom connections. We all thanked Sharon for overseeing production of the convention newspaper. People enjoyed hearing the newspaper read as part of each day’s pre-show. Next year we may try to stream the paper twice a day. We should also try to streamline the recording process, a challenge given that all volunteer readers potentially use different equipment and approach the job from different skill levels.
Discussion of email list reorganization
ACB has begun to use Constant Contact, which is its basic distribution system for communications in the office. It's used for major email blasts: convention announcements, announcements to all members, etc. It matches up with our database. It conforms to Donor Perfect. However, it has various accessibility problems. Paul and Jeff both commented that Constant Contact works OK for our smaller documents, but not for longer documents like the Forum. When Constant Contact sent us their accessible template, it actually made things worse by stripping out document format entirely. BOP’s position: Either Constant Contact commits to fixing this problem, or we move to a different platform. Once this problem is solved, the next premise is that we would stop the duplication of email across all of the platforms. If you receive a message once, it will not be duplicated on multiple lists. This is because we’ve received feedback from constituents that the amount of email needs to be less. Once a sound email system is in place, we would turn the ACB announce list off, and announcements would be consolidated.
With regards to ACB-L and ACB-Chat, we may consider having those lists moderated by the people who moderate our Facebook group, being that the FaceBook group is now so active. Moderators could post items related specifically to blindness to both ACB-L and Facebook. This would involve us seeding those conversations at first to make sure that important information was reaching people. So we would close down the ACB-L list as it is, reinitialize it as something like ACB Community mail, and see how it did. We would discourage those who simply forward mail from doing so. We would close down ACB-Chat on the grounds that it is not, strictly speaking, a blindness list. It is also a difficult list to moderate. There was some dissent in this discussion, especially with respect to the Chat list, and the feeling that moderation such as what happens within our Facebook group, would prevent some of the edgier yet healthy discussions currently happening on Chat. No decisions regarding the lists were made during this meeting.
Under the new email structuring, the Leadership list would be restructured as a blog and email for ACB leaders, with affiliates encouraged to designate member participants. We would discourage the posting of things like recipes, and people’s personal tech questions. In other words, list postings would focus on larger topics.
Update on ACB Braille Forum and E- Forum themes; Sharon’s Report
People responded well to Sharon’s call for articles. She has received enough articles on the ADA and enough articles on sports to carry us through October and part of November. This means that for now we will place the themes for October and November on hold. Current volume of articles places us at 20,000 words, which fills 2 full Forums and part of a third.
Sharon asked us for disclaimor language that she can use when forwarding announcements to affiliates that might interest their members, but that are informational only, and not necessarily reflective of ACB policies or endorsement. Jeff said that we have such language for ACB Radio, and then he will forward it to Sharon.
BOP Chair’s Report
Since the convention, Deb has been working on website review for the parks portion of ADP.
The ACB Radio team is working on consolidating all of our podcasts in one place or network. They are also making community calls available to members more quickly by editing them less. A bit like Jiffy braille, we sacrifice some editing for the sake of timeliness. They will also be updating media players. No more Win Amp etc. Jeff says there are some good WordPress plug-ins for media.
ACB Email Lists
No new report.
No new report.
No new report.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 9 p.m. Eastern
The meeting adjourned at 10:50 p.m. Eastern time.