Welcome and Review of Agenda
The November 2 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications convened at 9 p.m. Eastern. Katie read the agenda, and the order of topics for discussion was changed to permit discussion of ACB Media to occur first. The modified agenda was approved.
Penny called the roll. All members were present except for David Trott who sometimes participates as ex officio member in accordance with his position as ACB’s treasurer. There were two guests.
Approval of October Minutes
Following a motion by Zelda and a second by Cachet, October minutes were approved without alterations or additions.
Public’s Point of View
Guest Jamaica Miller asked if recordings of state conventions might be placed on an ACB Media channel (perhaps Channel 10) to accommodate people who cannot listen to podcasts on smart phones or computers.
Rick responded that, by the end of the year, ACB projects they will have at least 80 hours of state-convention recorded content available as podcasts. Rick told Jamaica that he will teach her how to access podcasts on demand.
ACB Media Updates
Rick said that ACB Media is focusing on creating podcasts for all the recent state conventions that have been streamed and on creating an efficient process for keeping up with the demands associated with streaming weekly-occurring state conventions and editing and converting the recordings into podcasts.
Now that Media Channel 6 is earmarked for ACB business, the ACB Media team would like to map out anticipated business events that will need to be scheduled and streamed. Rick wondered if there is a tentative board meeting schedule already in place.
Dan responded that, in addition to the three constitutionally mandated board meetings (at the Leadership Conference, the ACB convention, and the scheduled fall board meeting), there is, in fact, a tentative schedule, for meetings that might occur during months when a fifth Monday makes scheduling a board meeting less complicated.
Since many ACB special events are planned well in advance, ACB Media’s goal is to create a corresponding schedule that will allow them to handle ACB Media 6 events more efficiently.
Dan said that the ACB Board meetings dealing with the budget will not be streamed, but he would like to hold a post-budget-approval event where board members can provide an overview of the budget for ACB members.
Rick and Jeff said that, as part of developing the process for streaming, editing, preparing podcasts, and planning for coming events, they also need to include a process for vetting content to determine what is appropriate for streaming, and which channels should be allocated for which kinds of programming. In addition, which events need to be streamed live and which can be recorded and made available for playing on ACB Media later on.
ACB Media’s team plans to take advantage of anticipated “down time” during the holiday break to develop these operational processes and define how various kinds of content will be handled.
Rick said ACB Media will bring their preliminary plans to the BOP, and those plans can serve as a starting point for further discussion.
Rick clarified the roles currently assigned to specific ACB Media channels, i.e., 6 and 7 are for ACB business; 5 is for community; 10 is for material that is less immediately time sensitive, like the Braille Forum, resolutions, convention daily schedules. Rick and Jeff both indicated that developing a calendar which will allow them to easily communicate a daily schedule is a major priority for ACB Media.
A recurring problem has been that the ACB Media team is often the last group to know that someone has committed to streaming something on ACB Media. Rick and Jeff both pointed out that the increased demand for ACB Media’s involvement in streaming holiday events has an impact on the limited resources that ACB Media can call upon to pull those events off. They both made clear that, when anyone in ACB contemplates involving ACB Media in any project, Media needs to be consulted at the beginning of the planning process – not informed after the fact and ACB Media’s capacity has to be taken into account.
Dan said that members’ interests, expectations, and wishes are also a part of the equation that determines how ACB Media’s resources can be tapped.
Cheryl pointed out, and others agreed, that we may have reached a point where we are seeing such a demand for what ACB Media can do that we need to re-evaluate the resources that we have allocated to ACB Media. It is apparent that demands on ACB Media’s capabilities are not decreasing. Members are accustomed to having a number of events available, and they don’t want those programs or events to go away.
Culture, work-life balance, resource capacity, members’ expectations and budget are all facets of the current situation which Rick and Jeff and Deb described, and all of these considerations will feed into any solutions that address issues related to finite resources, lofty expectations, and high demand.
Editors’ List and Workshop Updates
Zelda said that the second Editors’ Workshop is scheduled for Friday, December 10, at 8 p.m. Eastern. She said that she would like to address large print guidelines for newsletters. Part of this discussion will involve how large print guidelines relate to similar readability considerations that are applied to digital publications. Sharon and Kelly Gasque will be consulted, as well as, possibly, WCAG guidelines.
This, as well as information from David Kingsbury’s September presentation, is information that lots of people can use. Penny had promised to send the formatting guidelines to ACB Board members, Chris Bell and Doug Powell, and Zelda will send the written document which David provided to the board e-mail distribution list. As discussion continued, BOP members decided to share these kinds of training materials on the Board of Publications web page for the benefit of anyone in ACB who will find them helpful.
In preparation for the December 10 meeting, Zelda will bring the print-size topic up on the Editors’ list and ask which formats people are distributing their newsletters in.
Blog Criteria and Process Discussion
Katie had shared proposed blog guidelines on the BOP e-mail list, in advance of the meeting. These included that the main focus of the blog should be on ACB. In addition, the Public Affairs Steering Committee calendar, as well as ACB affiliate-related events and issues, should provide direction on blog topics for any given month. For example, in November, the blog can focus on audio description and diabetes.
Zelda and Penny both expressed their concern that the guidelines focused too narrowly on ACB.
Cachet said that in a personal blog, it’s appropriate to focus on whatever topic the writer chooses, but in the ACB blog, some amount of focus must be connected with ACB.
Zelda said that the common denominator for all entries should be their focus on real-life issues that affect people with vision loss.
BOP members agreed on these points:
- Blog entries should be from 300-500 words.
- We encourage blog posts to correspond with the ACB Public Affairs Steering Committee calendar, or feature affiliate and chapter-related content, or address issues important to the visually impaired community.
- Writers will be made aware that by submitting content, they acknowledge that ACB reserves the right to edit the copy for content, style and clarity.
Dan said, “At some level, we want to keep the fun in the blog!”
We can inform writers about current expectations for themes, in Dots and Dashes.
Katie had submitted a sample form which will need to be completed when writers submit content for the blog. The BOP approved the form.
Cheryl will contribute language for the blog guidelines that talks about cultural inclusion and diversity.
The BOP agreed to share proposed final guidelines with the Public Affairs Steering Committee which will meet on November 16, and at which all BOP members will now be invited participants.
ACB Braille Forum Report
Sharon had submitted the following editor’s report in advance of the meeting:
Editor’s Report, November 2021
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 5,033
Email bounces: 77
Email unsubscribes: 5
Spam notices: 1
Email received: 4,956
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 655
Large print distributed: 2,171
Cartridge distributed: TBA (will be a little later than usual due to COVID)
Email distributed: 5,022
Deadlines for the Next Issues
January 2022 (hard-copy): Affiliate Roundup - special-interest affiliates (and maybe some state ones too), November 22nd
February 2022 (electronic): “Touching Blindness,” focusing on the importance of the sense of touch, especially to people who are blind, December 20th
March 2022 (hard-copy): ACB Women’s Committee? Deadline: January 15th
April 2022 (electronic): Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee, February 23rd
December’s Table of Contents
The December issue is in progress. I haven’t received anything (yet) on holiday traditions. I have a couple of poems from a 1970 edition of the Forum that are perfect for reprinting, plus a good poem from Ann Chiappetta that will go nicely with them, and a very packed Passings column. I’ll see what comes in overnight.
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, Duxbury and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I have finished the year 2011, and am going back and double checking the braille files. I may have to redo some of them. The years 2001-2010 are done - Word, text and braille. I will work through 2011-2020, checking, cleaning, formatting, etc. Then I will start on 1990-2000.
I have updated the Job Connection, and it went live on October 28th. Jobs continue to come in; I will be working on an addendum for the job bank once December is done.
I updated the Washington Connection October 26th. Calls started taking a noticeable upswing afterward. The most popular topic in this one was the Social Security COLA increase.
I also work with the oral archives committee and Kim Charlson on preserving and digitizing old recordings of ACB events, such as conventions, leadership seminars, legislative seminars and affiliate presidents’ meetings, etc. More to come about that in the future - the archives committee is meeting Wednesday afternoon.
And with 2022 not too far away, the awards committee is taking a look at the awards, the process, and the article that runs in the Forum. The committee will be meeting on Thursday evening.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311
She explained that, having received no articles focused on holiday traditions, she looked through older Forums and found two holiday-related poems, which she is reprinting in the December 2021 ACB Braille Forum, as described in her report.
Cheryl reported that the Women’s Committee is willing to submit articles for the March 2022 Braille Forum, but they are wondering how many articles they should plan to write. Sharon responded, four to six articles, 500-1,500 words for each.
Deb told Cheryl that BOP members are happy to help members of the committee with writing articles if they want us to.
Dan said that he is pleased to note from the Constant Contact report that the number of bounced Braille Forum e-mails has decreased to just 77.
Zelda asked if failure to return cartridges continues to be an issue, Sharon said that she doesn’t usually get this information until she receives a bill for the cartridges. She will share what she learns from the next cartridge bill.
Sharon agreed to share information about returned cartridges, missing cartridges, bounced e-mails, and other statistical data in a spread sheet format. Katie suggested that we could take a look at summary statistical data related to the Forum, perhaps once a year. Such a review would logically coincide with the annual report that Sharon provides at the July board meeting. Then, we can rely on that information when we send out the requests for bid in August.
Braille Forum Themes
We have themes through April, and we will look at the topic again at our next meeting.
Public Awareness Steering Committee Update
Dan has asked Kelly to add all five of the BOP members to the membership of the Public Awareness Steering Committee. The next meeting was scheduled for November 16.
Next Meeting: December 7, 2021
Although there have been years when the BOP elected to forgo a December meeting, it was the consensus of the group that there are too many issues that require our attention to skip this December’s meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m. Eastern.
Submitted by Penny Reeder.