Board of Publications chair Katie Frederic called the May meeting to order at 9 p.m. Eastern. She reviewed the agenda, and no one suggested any changes in the proposed agenda. Penny called the roll, and all BOP members were present, including ex officio members David Trott, ACB president Dan Spoone, ACB Braille Forum Editor Sharon Lovering, and ACB Media representatives Rick Morin and Larry Gassman. Several guests were also present, and the meeting was streamed on ACB Media, Channel 6.
Minutes from the April meeting were approved without additions or corrections following a motion from Cachet and a second from Zelda. No guests offered comments during the opportunity for public comment portion of the meeting.
Consensus among BOP members is that our current arrangement for editing and publishing blog submissions is working well. Penny will take the lead in editing blog submissions during May, and Cachet will follow up as a second editor for May submissions. Zelda will take the lead, and Cachet will serve as second editor in June.
Everyone indicated frustration with the amount of e-mail we had all been receiving from ACB lists. Discussion followed regarding how we might possibly decrease the number of ACB-list messages in our inboxes. Deb said that she and Dan are continuing to work on their long-term goal of restoring ACB-Leadership to its original intent. Dan is looking at currently subscribed list members with the goal of sharing with affiliate presidents who is on the list and who is representing which affiliate(s). Deb is developing revised proposed Leadership guidelines to share with Dan, the ACB Board and the BOP for consideration.
Right now, postings related to coming events generate excessively high traffic on Leadership, despite the fact that many of these announcements and reminders are already posted daily on the Community e-mail that goes out each morning. It is unfair that some people can post their events on Leadership and others, who are not list members, cannot. Leadership is not the right venue for posting events. In addition, there should be less general discussion on Leadership (ACB-Conversation is the more appropriate venue for general discussion.)
Dan said that there are currently around 350 people on the Leadership list. The default list of people who should be automatically subscribed according to list guidelines is around 150. Around 40 people who are deceased have been removed, and now we will need to work with affiliate leaders to determine who should be subscribed as their three Leadership list representatives.
Terry Pacheco, who was a guest at the meeting, and was the person who originally activated the Leadership list and moderated it during the seven years when she worked for ACB as Affiliate Services Coordinator, explained the thinking that went into developing the guidelines for Leadership and offered to help in any way to restore the list to its original purpose. She also pointed out that there are a number of ACB leaders who refuse to join ACB-Conversation because of the presumed amount of traffic on that list, and she wondered if it might be a good idea to split the conversation list in two – with one list focusing on ACB-related conversation, and a second component focusing on blindness-related conversation. One more factor that contributes to the high traffic on all of ACB’s Groups.IO lists is members’ difficulty in responding only to a message sender – i.e., every response is, by default, shared with the whole list.
Rick suggested that list guidelines will be different for messages exchanged among members and messages exchanged between ACB staff and members.
ACB Media Updates
Rick began by explaining that we need to protect our online reputation with groups.io by making sure that we decrease the excessive number of bounced members among our ACB list subscribers. A subscriber who is bounced is the only person who can address their status, and remove themselves from that status. It ought to be group moderators who take on the responsibility of helping members in bounced status to follow the groups.io instructions for removing themselves from bounced status, if individuals need help in following those instructions. Once we get the number of bounced members down, it will be easier for Rick to monitor the status of all our lists on groups.io and decrease the number of bounce probes that groups.io shares with our members.
ACB Media had streamed the Bay State and the Illinois conventions on the weekend prior to the meeting. Both went well, and the Illinois affiliate convention, which was streamed by Byron Lee, was a successful hybrid convention that also provided good learning opportunities to the ACB Media team who will be streaming our ACB national hybrid convention in July.
Rick expressed pride in ACB Media’s successful streaming and replaying of the “We’re With You” concert which supported blind people affected by the war in Ukraine and has led to substantial contributions to the World Blind Union Unity Fund by people who are blind and visually impaired. During the ACB Media concert replay, there were about 60 people listening at any point in time.
The ACB Media team continues to work on finalizing criteria for re-streaming community events and evaluating the infrastructure changes that will be needed to increase the number of events and programs that they plan to stream in the future. Their expectation is that more pre-recorded events will be streamed as time goes on. Making the necessary changes in infrastructure is a rock for the 4th quarter.
Rick anticipates that the team will be able to do what they need to do in order to provide a successful hybrid national convention within budget.
Stats: The total number of listener hours for the month of April was 12,766. The number of unique users was approximately 4753. An average person listens for 2.7 hours each day. Deb pointed out that a person who tunes in to a program and, because they have already heard it is not interested in hearing that content again, immediately disconnects is counted in the same way as a person who tunes in and decides to keep listening until the program completes. Deb and Rick agreed that the value in knowing these statistics lies in identifying trends by comparing statistics over time.
In order of most-to-least listenership during the month of April the ranking was Community, Treasure Trove, Café, Mainstream, and then rankings diminish from there.
Rick hopes to put similar stats together for podcasts, but not until after convention.
Larry added that ACB Media hopes to put a guide for presenting/streaming hybrid conventions together for the affiliates and also plans to share that guidance with ACB affiliate chapters who will then be able to make chapter meetings hybrid events. Penny suggested that, once it’s ready, ACB Media should make the guide available in lots of places, perhaps including the ACB Braille Forum, definitely on the ACB Media web site, and perhaps through community calls, as well.
ACB Braille Forum Report
Sharon had shared the following report with BOP members in advance of the meeting:
Editor’s Report, May 2022
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 5,139
Email received: 5,079
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 647
Cartridge distributed: TBA
Large print distributed: 2,145
Email to be distributed: 5,105
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 96
Deadlines for the Next Issues
July (hard copy): potluck; deadline May 23rd
August (electronic): IVIE; deadline June 24th
September (hard-copy): Theme TBA; deadline: July 25th
… … … …
Right now I’m working on the June E-Forum.
While Kelly has been on maternity leave, I’ve been putting together the Dots and Dashes newsletter. I’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes there is more news than will fit! But at least that gives me something for the next issue or two.
I continue to work on cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to current large print standards and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive (at the moment, from the 1990s through today). I’m including Word, text, and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. As of today, I am three-quarters of the way through 1999.
I also continue to work with the archives committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, such as conventions, board meetings, leadership seminars, legislative seminars and affiliate presidents’ meetings, etc.
I got all the plaque wording sent to National Braille Press on time, and had to trim down the wording on the Henley. Thankfully, it fit on the second try. (Whew!)
I’m looking forward to the convention in Omaha. If any of you have a few hours you could volunteer in the communication center, I’d be most grateful. Several of my usual crewmates aren’t going to be able to come this year. The Goldenrod Gazette will be published Friday through Tuesday. I will be arriving in Omaha on June 28th to get the communication center set up, install Duxbury, set up and load the embossers, etc.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon added that she is recruiting people to help in the convention communications center. She will let BOP members know when she anticipates needing their help in the communications center.
The convention newspaper will be published only through Tuesday of convention week, this year.
Zelda and Cachet will be in Omaha and agreed to present BOP awards.
BOP members indicated our willingness to do a hybrid convention wrap-up event, possibly immediately before the banquet, similar to the events, summarizing what we all liked best about convention we did last year and the year before that. Deb and Janet and Katie will investigate best times for scheduling this year’s BOP convention wrap-up event.
Deb said that Jeff is hoping to make the convention newspaper available via the Microsoft Jenny voice. If it turns out that he is not able to do that because of work commitments, the BOP will need to identify people who will be willing to read the newspaper early in the morning for streaming on ACB Media throughout each day.
Braille Forum Themes
In response to our need for a theme for the November Forum, Zelda shared that November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Diabetic Eye Disease Month, as well. She suggested that November would also be a good month for sharing family stories. Cachet added that November is National Literacy Month, which would present a good opportunity for soliciting articles from ACB Families and ACB Teachers. Paul Edwards, who was a guest at the meeting, said that both BRL and LUA would be willing to provide something for November if we decide to use the Literacy Month theme.
Terry Pacheco suggested that a good focus for the January Forum would be on articles that talk about ACB’s accomplishments from 2022. Dan agreed that the year in review would be a good theme for January, which goes out in braille and is delivered to all 5,000 subscribers.
Zelda said that the next scheduled training for editors will take place on Friday, June 10. After discussion, Zelda decided to convene a panel to talk about outward-facing and inward-facing communications and how to thematically link those communications products. Possible panel participants might include Tony Stephens, someone representing the Bay State’s newly formed Communications Committee, and someone from Next Gen, who focus on Facebook, Clubhouse, and other more innovative communications venues. Paul Edwards told the BOP that BRL is now utilizing one person to coordinate their communications products, including the Braille Memorandum, their web site, and other kinds of outreach, and he suggested that either he or Judy Dixon, who is assuming that responsibility, would probably be available to participate on Zelda’s panel.
Terry Pacheco suggested that Kathy King and Cheryl McNeil Fisher would be ideal participants on the panel, as well, as “Writing Works Wonders” is a perfect example of effective outward-facing and inward-facing communications.
Deb noted that theirs is not the only community call that does a good job with communicating to diverse audiences. The crafters also do a great job with this.
Deb reminded us that we need to send out a reminder message regarding the candidates’ pages, including the deadline for responding to the questions posed there, to incumbent candidates who may be running for office again this summer, and to the ACB Announce, Leadership, and Conversation lists. Deb said that she will be available again this year to help any of us who are running for office with recording an announcement to be aired on ACB Media, between program segments, during the weeks leading up to convention.
The next BOP meeting is scheduled for June 7 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
When the meeting adjourned for non-members and guests, the BOP went into executive session, during which BOP awards were announced, and decisions were made regarding which BOP members will be presenting which awards.
The meeting adjourned shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern.