By Karen T. Braeckel
HSPA Foundation

Happy New Year!

After a few days with our family in town, the house seemed deafeningly quiet Jan. 1 – and the office felt like a foreign country the following day.

Then it all came back.

Annual Conference and Golf Outing

First, we should let you know the outcome of another survey and committee meeting.

By now you probably miss the usual bombardment of information about a winter Annual Meeting. But we already told you we gave up the battle with Mother Nature based on the attendee survey in the fall.

In December we asked the golfers to answer another survey. Only one of 24 respondents wanted to return to a separate format, while eight had no preference.

The review committee for the 2014 Annual Conference discussed moving up the tee time and distributing awards immediately afterward at the course. Guests who played last year but did not come to dinner at the hotel could not pick their prizes.

This means one less piece of mail will cross your desk this spring. We will combine the golf outing with the Annual Conference again in 2015.

The committee also voted to hold the conference in downtown Indianapolis. While working out the final details of the contract, we asked The Alexander Hotel to hold space for us Sept. 17-18.

The relatively new boutique hotel on Delaware Street fits our space needs well and allows us privacy during our meetings. Its lounge and outdoor seating will serve as a great after-meeting gathering spot.

The artwork, curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, undoubtedly will catch your eye as will the description accompanying each piece throughout the hotel.

Please mark your calendars for Sept. 17-18 and plan now to attend.

Host an intern

Editors and ad directors may sign up to host interns through two different Foundation programs now.

Register for an advertising intern by Friday, Jan. 16.

In this program the newspaper promises to pay the intern minimum wage per hour, plus at least a 1 percent commission (although we recommend 5 percent). The Foundation will funnel applicants to you. You make the decision whether to hire. (See details in story below.)

The Eugene S. Pulliam Internship Program provides 10 college students 10-week internships at member newspapers. The HSPA Foundation grants $3,300 toward the students’ stipend, and newspapers pay $330 to cover FICA and Medicare taxes that interns cannot recover.

Candidates must have an Indiana connection either through residency or college attendance and have at least one semester of coursework remaining after their internship.

If you have an applicant in mind, you may both apply and let us know of the agreement. If the committee selects the student (and you did not have a Pulliam intern last year), we will honor your request.

Please note both the newspaper and the student must indicate the arrangement on the application form. Registration closes Friday, Feb. 27.

Please complete the online registration forms for either program at www.HSPAfoundation.org. Click on internships.

Another personal note

A few days before the Newsroom Seminar, our daughter in Miami called my cell phone in the middle of the morning.

She doesn’t do that. She works too. She asked, “Are you sitting down?”

I don’t like calls that start this way.

Her next words hit me right in the gut. We knew our younger daughter who lives here had a colonoscopy that morning. But none of us really expected bad results.

So I had to figure out how to tell her Daddy, an almost-two-year pancreatic cancer survivor, that his “little girl” had colon cancer at 44. (And she had to decide how to tell her 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.)

Thanks to the intervention of John’s surgeon, Keely got an appointment quickly with a specialist at IU and had her surgery Dec. 19. All evidence pointed to stage I or II – small tumor, no enlarged lymph nodes – and probably no chemo.

But as our son-in-law feared, the tumor developed what he called a Napoleon complex. When lab results came two days after Christmas, we learned it was still curable, but bumped up to stage III and would require six months of chemo.

With this news I need to adjust my work schedule. HSPA Executive Director Steve Key and I are currently planning to reduce my hours and change my focus a little. I will share more details about the arrangement in next month’s column.

I love my job and newspaper people. (My editor father probably instilled the genes.)

But as John continues to battle the side effects of chemo and radiation, and our Keely begins her fight against this devastating disease, I need more time for these loves.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.

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