Call to Order/Introductions:
The August meeting was called to order by BOP Chair, Deb Lewis at 9:03 p.m. Eastern on August 13, 2019, via ZOOM conference meeting.
Members present: Deb Lewis, Chair; Zelda Gebhard; Penny Reeder; Paul Edwards; Susan Glass.
ACB employees and contractors present: Sharon Lovering.
Ex officio members present: Katie Frederick, Public Relations; Jeff Bishop, ACB Radio.
Guests: Steve Dresser, Doug Hunsinger.
Adoption of the Agenda for the August 13, 2019, ACB Board of Publications Meeting:
Deb read the draft agenda. At Paul’s suggestion, the issue brought to our attention by a letter from Michael Malver was added to the agenda under other business. Paul moved and Susan seconded adoption of the agenda as amended. The meeting agenda, as amended, was approved.
Approval of the Minutes for the July 6, 2019, meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Meeting minutes from the July 6 meeting were distributed, via e-mail, in advance of the meeting. Paul moved, and Susan seconded, adoption of the minutes. The minutes were approved with no additions or corrections.
Selection of BOP secretary for 2019-2020:
The next order of business was choosing a secretary to prepare minutes for BOP meetings. Penny volunteered.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items:
Steve Dresser expressed concern about the inconsistent performance of several ACB e-mail lists, which, he said, had been problematic for him for at least the last six months. Jeff said that, until recently, there were not adequate server resources for the server to do what it needed to do. Now, the capacity of the server has been quadrupled. He said that lately list performance has improved, although list members with ISPs from Verizon and Comcast can still experience problems receiving mail because the commercial ISPs sometimes block mail from lists that are especially busy. Jeff suggested to Steve, and has also suggested to all ACB list members, that they contact him when experiencing problems with ACB lists so that he can address and correct problems. Jeff should be contacted via the email@example.com e-mail address, rather than the ACB Radio address.
Convention recap and wrap-up: What went well, what should we do differently next year? Feedback on program formats; workshop; candidates forum and town hall meeting; other:
Deb said that BOP-sponsored events at the 2019 conference and convention went well, and she thanked everyone for their participation and contributions. Preparation of daily summaries has never gone completely smoothly although, over the years, the BOP has utilized several strategies for preparing the summaries for ACB Braille Forum convention coverage. We will reconsider our approach for creating the daily summaries when we get closer to the 2020 conference and convention. The writing workshop was very successful, as was the town hall meeting. We will consider lessons learned from this year’s events as we plan for BOP participation at next year’s convention.
Sharon said that she really liked the way the room was set up for the town hall meeting, as the set-up made it easier for her to run the microphone.
Our town hall meeting conflicted with the ACB committee chairs’ meeting, which is something we need to address with Janet (and try to avoid for next year). We also need to remember to tell people listening on ACB Radio how to ask questions and to assure that the e-mail address for meeting participation is correct.
Paul asked Zelda to appraise the large print program, and she replied that it was much better than past programs have been. Deb said that, overall, comments which she has received on the large print program have been positive. Members also appreciated the html format. Janet is collecting data from ACB conference and convention attendees via a survey right now, and this feedback will be helpful for evaluating this year’s program.
Feedback regarding the convention calendar was mixed, and next year, the BOP may consider hosting a pre-convention call to familiarize people with how to use the calendar.
Discussion of ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes and Process:
Deb said that we are behind in creating themes for upcoming issues, although we do have themes for several months (e.g., “Dog Days” for August; “Transportation for September; “International Relations” for December). We decided to make the theme for October “The 2019 Convention,” and Susan volunteered to write the article about 2019 awards for that issue. Susan will also be responsible for letting people know about themes for coming months via ACB e-mail discussion lists and possibly inside the Braille and E-Forums themselves. We all agreed that people need enough advance notice about upcoming themes to have adequate time to write articles for specific themes. The theme for November will be “Gratitude;” deadline for November is September 23. For January, the theme will be “Planning and Seeking Life Balance;” for February, the theme will be “Leaders and Leadership,” and will feature a profile of Dan Spooned. March will have a blindness theme and should include topics like SSDI, ABLE accounts, how to acquire a Real ID, and other aspects of managing life as a blind person.
Vendor contracts for production of ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum:
Eric and Sharon have primary responsibilities for distributing the RFPs and evaluating responses from vendors/contractors. Deb is becoming familiar with the process and will review the RFPs for possible changes in criteria, and she will sit in on meetings during which vendor responses will be evaluated. Deb said that the BOP needs a plan of action for when things don’t go well (e.g., when the magazine is published with errors in formatting, pagination or inclusion of content).
Preliminary discussion of BOP 2019-20 Strategic Plan:
We will have an in-depth discussion of the BOP’s strategic plan for the coming year at our next meeting, when Dan can be present to discuss the direction he envisions for ACB during the coming year, the first year of his presidency. Items included in the BOP work plan for last year were included in the minutes from our July meeting. One of our goals last year, which continues into this new year, is further clarification of the role of the BOP. We made a good start on achieving this goal with the statements about the role of the BOP which we included in the revision of the Editorial Policy Manual. Another goal we have already verbalized is the need for the BOP to be better connected with ACB’s members. Deb pointed out that we have been making progress toward meeting this goal with our decision to assign themes for the Braille and E-Forums, and by including public participation and feedback on each meeting agenda.
Paul said that the workshops we have hosted during conventions have also contributed to meeting this goal, and he suggested we should consider holding one or two public conference calls during these months between conventions to explore issues such as how to produce and organize a magazine or an affiliate newsletter; or what readers would like to find in the magazine that isn’t there now. We can also utilize the conference-call meeting format to explore new directions for ACB Radio with our members.
Susan pointed out that the more we do in between conventions, the more involved our members will want to be, which is our goal. Deb said that we should consider hosting at least two such meetings this year, utilizing ACB Radio and all of the tools at our disposal (such as Zoom), which will help members become more comfortable with new communications technologies and allow us to hone our skills as well.
BOP Chair’s Report:
Deb distributed her report regarding her first several weeks as BOP Chair via e-mail. Paul moved and Susan seconded acceptance of the report, and the motion carried. It is pasted below.
- Completed draft minutes for the July meeting and developed the agenda for the August meeting.
- Met with ACB President Dan Spoone and established recurring meeting schedule.
- Met with ACB Executive Director Eric Bridges and Editor Sharon Lovering and established recurring meeting schedule.
- Began a review of existing production contracts and letters previously used to solicit proposals for the magazines.
- Participated in a meeting of the ACB Radio management team working on the reorganization of ACB Radio.
BOP Editor’s Report:
Sharon said that the Rochester Communication Center was one of the best convention experiences ever! The center used 17 full boxes of braille paper, and kept three embossers running nearly full-time!
She noted that she may be in and out of the office in coming weeks because of the illness of a family member. BOP members all expressed our availability to help in any ways that we can.
Sharon distributed the editor’s report via e-mail. Susan moved acceptance of the report, and Paul seconded. The BOP approved the report unanimously. It is pasted below.
Nutshell Report August 2019
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 691
Braille returned: 7
Braille received: 684
Return rate: 1%
Cartridge distributed: 689
Cartridge returned: unknown to me
Cartridge received: unknown
Return rate: unknown
Large print distributed: 2,488
Large print returned: 27
Large print received: 2,461
Return rate: 1.1%
Electronic distributed: 6,761
Electronic returned: 3
Electronic received: 6,758
Return rate: 0%
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Electronic distributed: 6,768
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 689
Cartridge distributed: unknown
Large print distributed: 2,471
Electronic distributed: none yet
Deadlines for the rest of the year:
October 2019 (electronic) – convention wrap-up issue: August 23, 2019
November 2019 (hard copy): September 23, 2019
December 2019 (electronic): October 25, 2019
I am currently working on the files for the September issue – the large print and regular print Word and text files, and will send out the email version on August 30th. I will have the files in Sande’s hands by the 20th. The August “dog days” issue has been very popular with readers, with one exception so far, which I sent out to the BOP list earlier yesterday.
In late July I received all 20 of this year’s resolutions, which I proofread, added the boilerplate language (“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2019 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y. …”), prettied up, put on letterhead and shipped to Sande at Louisville Web Group for posting. I also wrote the resolution summary; all are now posted at
I also received the constitution and bylaws and the amendments that passed, incorporated those into the constitution, proofread it, ran it by John Huffman and Jay Bader to double check, and then sent it up to Sande for posting.
I am working on the next Dots and Dashes, which I plan to send out on Friday. Last Friday I recorded the newest Washington Connection and sent it to Sande at Louisville Web Group for posting. I also updated the convention information and the fall 2019 state convention information on our phone system. In addition, I am working on the next ACB Job Connection.
I have completed the transfer of my files from legal to letter-sized folders, and they are all stowed neatly in my file cabinet. The braille editions of the Forum that were hanging around in boxes are now neatly organized in the bookshelves in Clark’s office. Items that weren’t being used, such as the CD duplicator, are now housed in the storage closet in the back of the office. Gail Sherman, the interior decorator, came by last Thursday and took photos of the office.
Kelly has received the hard drive containing the 2019 convention photos taken by Dennis Becker. I will see if there are some good ones we could use for the October convention wrap-up issue.
In Larry’s absence, due to illness and current hospitalization, Jeff provided the ACB Radio report, and he expects to do so during coming months.
He discussed the current status and planning for the ACB Radio World information stream. Right now, ACB Radio calls on seven feeds from which they stream programming. Several of these feeds are from commercial sources. We believe that we have the right to air them, but there are no written documents that verify this. Just keeping up with many of these feeds requires an exorbitant amount of effort.
A key goal for ACB Radio is to expand focus on ACB in all programming. They are making progress toward meeting this goal and are considering adding even more ACB-focused content, perhaps with a magazine-type format which pulls content from convention presentations. They are talking with Cindy Van Winkle about bringing back the Affiliates in Action show, and exploring bringing back Tuesday Topics.
Another goal is to expand Mainstream into two distinct streams, possibly an East Coast Stream and a West Coast Stream, to better accommodate time-zone differences for listeners, and they would like to repurpose world news and information to fit into the revamped Main Menu streams. Once this change has been approved, they will make an announcement on the world news stream explaining that it is no longer available as a separate channel. When there’s enough content on the revamped Mainstream stream, they will add the international content there.
Penny asked if they have statistics that would indicate how large the audience is for the international content. Jeff said that they do not have statistics for right now, but historically, that content has attracted the lowest listener counts as compared with other kinds of content. He also said that that kind of programming is available from many other sources, and it’s not that difficult to find it.
Paul moved that the BOP approve ACB Radio’s discontinuance of the world news and information channel, and Penny seconded the motion. The board approved the action. Jeff said that ACB Radio will also make the related changes on the ACB Link app.
Paul and Jeff discussed getting some of the BBC and RNIB blindness-related content on Main Menu, and Jeff said that he had already begun the process of requesting permission to air “In Touch,” as well as another BBC program on Main Menu. Paul offered to help with this process.
Since it won’t now be as easy to find the kind of blindness information that has been featured under the ACB Radio world news banner, Paul suggested that Jeff write an article for the ACB Braille Forum or the E-Forum describing how to find internationally focused blindness information online.
On other topics, Jeff said that general session archives are all now available and as podcast feeds, and they have been receiving positive feedback from listeners. Rick Moran is working to edit other recorded content from convention, and they expect to make these recordings available on Mainstream when they are ready.
The merging of Interactive and Café is well underway.
Friends in Art is interested in producing a show for this stream, featuring their members.
Production engineers are expressing interest in getting more involved with ACB Radio.
General feedback from members regarding changes in the Mainstream schedule has been positive. The three-hour content box is being well received.
ACB Radio is installing free and robust software that will collect extensive statistical information regarding our podcasts. Deb said that this will be particularly helpful to the BOP and relevant to our mission.
Deb told Jeff that she has discovered that instructions for subscribing to ACB-L are incorrect as posted on ACB-L e-mail messages and on the ACB web site. Jeff said she should send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will address the problem.
The BOP accepted Jeff’s report on ACB Radio.
ACB Email Lists:
Bob was not present when we got to this point in our meeting, but his statistics had been made available via e-mail, and his report was accepted. Bob’s report is pasted here:
Note the spike in number of posts for June on ACB-L which is normal and expected due to the upcoming ACB Conference and Convention.
June; Members: 344; Posts: 239
July; Members: 348; Posts: 137
June; Members: 161; Posts: 168 July; Members: 166; Posts: 172
Kim had reported statistics for ACB Leadership as follows:
Number of Subscribers: 282 Number of Messages: 124
Kelly sent out the social media stats to the BOP e-mail list. Here is her report for July:
TV Show “In the Dark” seeks blind actor
9,517 people reached
76 likes loves and wows
Eric and Dan Spoone live from Rochester Convention
2,246 people reached
80 likes, loves, and wows
Live with the UniD Project & Clark Rachfal
2,107 people reached
55 likes and loves
Katie said that she will prepare a Public Relations Committee report for the next BOP meeting after she has an opportunity to meet with members of the new administration. Paul said that he will continue representing the BOP on the PR Committee for the time being.
Deb thanked Paul and said that assignment of BOP liaisons will be a topic for next month’s meeting.
Michael Malver sent a letter to the BOP describing the very inaccurate Wikipedia entry for ACB. Katie volunteered to work with Kelly to rewrite our Wikipedia pages. Paul suggested that a good place to find content is the “About Us” section on the ACB.org web site.
The meeting adjourned at 10:49 p.m. Eastern. The next BOP meeting will take place on September 3, at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Penny Reeder, Member
ACB Board of Publications