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01 Peter-Langan 160

 

 

DEAR FELLOW MEMBERS,

Firstly, I have to beat the drum again about the Club's upcoming GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON MARCH 20 (WEDNESDAY), STARTING AT 6:30 P.M.

If you are a Regular Member of the FCCJ, please mark this date in your calendar. Even if you don't plan to attend the meeting, we will still need Regular Members to "show up," so to speak.

The GMM is where Regular Members vote to approve the Club's Budget for the year ahead, as well as deal with many other resolutions required for managing the FCCJ.

If you are a Regular Member and you don't vote or send a proxy in the days running up to the March 20 GMM, you will get a phone call from the office or the front desk. In fact, you may get more than one phone call, along with reminder emails.

If you are a Regular Member and have no interest in playing any part in voting on Club resolutions at the GMM, well the Board has been thinking about you, too. A group of Associate and Regular Members is reviewing the FCCJ Articles and Bylaws and one matter under consideration is creating Voting and Non-Voting Regular Member categories. These two categories would grant all the same privileges to current Regular Members, except one category will have the right to vote, the other won't. It will be an entirely optional choice, but its purpose is to reduce the number of Regular Members needed for establishing a quorum.

The irony of this is to adopt such a resolution, Regular Members who wish to be removed from voting on FCCJ matters will need to vote on this FCCJ matter...
The drumbeat ends here (for now) but to all Regular Members I repeat again that if we don't form a quorum on March 20, we can't pass the Budget; if we can't pass the Budget, we can't run the Club. The choice is yours.AT THE JANUARY BOARD MEETING, I invited the Publications Committee to give a presentation on the Number 1 Shimbun. For those unaware, we no longer have advertising in the magazine (long story) so it's costing the Club around \600,000 a month to generate content, edit, design, publish, print and distribute the magazine. In my view, it's a mistake to view the magazine as just a cost, because it fulfills many other tasks as a voice of the Club. Also, I cannot imagine a press club without a publication, not least in these times, to highlight attacks on freedom of speech and the turbulence engulfing journalism, as well as events happening within the Club itself. (Not to mention that the magazine has won design awards.)

So the Board and the Publications Committee have been discussing ways to fund the magazine's operation. "Ideas" include introducing a \300 monthly subscription fee for all members; switching to a digital-only publication to cut out printing and distribution costs (about \300,000 yen of the total); or moving to a quarterly print magazine with more substantial content, also reducing print and distribution costs. I stress, these are ideas, though we will need to come up with some options for the GMM on the future course of the magazine.ON ANOTHER TOPIC, THERE is a phenomenon in newsrooms around the world known as the "drive-by editor." This is the individual who fires a bunch of story directions at a reporter's desk and then walks away, expecting all the work to be done in their wake. I'm beginning to identify a similar phenomenon in the "drive-by FCCJ member."

The FCCJ most certainly needs feedback from members, but if you have, say, comments about the food or service, let us know about them. The General Manager and the F&B Committee have provided comment cards to fill in and hand to F&B staff or the front desk. This way we can compile comprehensive views from the members on how to improve the menu and service, and give those suggestions back to the kitchen. It's also an opportunity for positive feedback.

nother option for the drive-by-inclined is to join one of the many committees staffed by volunteer members that form the backbone of the FCCJ.Finally, I'm very happy to announce that the Board at the February meeting voted to grant Life Membership to Sandra Mori. Sandra has been a member of the FCCJ for more than 40 years, during which she has chaired the Entertainment Committee, moderated many press conferences, was instrumental in founding Saturday Night Live and served twice as a board member. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Sandra.

See you in the Club.

- Peter Langan

 

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