By Karen T. Braeckel
I finally caved last week and put her on the hit list. I tolerated her as long as I could, but my lack of patience finally won out. I’m done.
Mother Nature pulled the ultimate punch – knocking out one of our events. Now I just need someone to take her out.
I can handle her most of the time. I came to grips with not seeing the ground until late March. But her dumping piles of white stuff on us last week caused a complete ruckus.
In the end we pulled the plug on the Annual Meeting, realizing not all of our publishers had snowmobiles, and our three out-of-state speakers would need the National Guard to airlift them here. (Two of our speakers’ flights were canceled anyway, and the third avoided the harrowing experience of driving from Chicago on I-65 following a 12-inch snowstorm.)
Fortunately we will not take a financial blood bath on the cancellation. In October both boards of directors discussed trying a new format for the Annual Meeting. We already planned to do a new annual conference in September combining three events and two board meetings. We had not signed a contract yet, so choosing a hotel became quite simple.
By rescheduling the Annual Meetings, we avoided paying liquidated damages (not penalties, mind you, as specified in the contract) to the hotel for canceling.
Please mark your calendars with the following dates:
Thursday, Sept. 25
• HSPA & Foundation Board meetings
• Foundation Golf Outing
• Governor’s Reception and dinner
Friday, Sept. 26
• Four-track conference for publishers, ad directors, sales reps and circulators
• Advertising gala and awards
We will hold the sessions and meals at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, where the winter Annual Meetings were scheduled.
If you prepaid for the event, you received an email giving you the option of a refund or holding over registration fees for the September event.
The Newsroom Seminar will remain separate on the first Saturday in December.
Canceling a conference sounds easy. Yet three days later we still wrestled with details. After three attempts we finally got the right amount of space reserved for September. We made quick decisions due to hotel deadlines.
We notified speakers to stay home by their fireplaces and forget boarding flights through Chicago. Then we had to cancel flights, ground transportation – and, oh yes, notify all of you.
Once the dust settled, we looked around the office at the nametags, signage, and all of the paperwork necessary to make a conference run smoothly – then shared a few choice words for Mother Nature (all in a most professional manner).
Most importantly everyone remained safe, and no one complained that we canceled. (One person did call us a bunch of wusses, but the rest of his message supported us. Good thing, too. He almost landed on the transportation committee!)
We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this caused our members.
After announcing our new advertising sales internships at the Job Fair and notifying advisers of the program, we received a great response from both students and faculty.
We will update you next month on the first-year program. The Foundation must receive student applications by Friday, March 14.
Eight newspapers (or groups) signed up for the program, agreeing to pay at least minimum wage and a 1 percent commission if they hire a student. Newspapers may decide to pay more than the required amount.
Students will rank the papers where they can work in the summer. We will not subsidize those who relocate from their campus housing or home. We instructed them to keep this in mind.
The board did not want to place an Indiana study or residency requirement on the advertising internships, so any student may apply.
The Foundation must receive newspaper and student applications for the Eugene S. Pulliam Internship program by Friday, Feb. 28.
If you know students who would benefit from this experience, please encourage them to apply. Applicants must have at least one semester of course work remaining after this summer and attend an Indiana college or university or be an Indiana resident.
If you and a student have an agreement for the summer, please let us know. If the student is selected, we will pair you – unless you had a Pulliam intern last year and are ineligible.
Stay warm – and remember this too shall pass. (Mother Nature knows she’s on borrowed time!)
Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation. Her column runs in the second issue of each month.