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Peter Langan 160px

Dear FCCJ members,
I write this as July’s prolonged and deadly heat wave finally broke after setting temperature records, only then to be followed by a typhoon. This of course on top of the devastating and also deadly floods in western Japan. I’m sure you will join me in extending all our sympathies to those who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in these natural disasters.

Such events remind again of the important public service provided by news organizations. News flashes and bulletins assist emergency services to warn the public, update developments, and provide guidance on how to get assistance.
Later analysis of such events allows reporters to speak with survivors, officials and a variety of experts to present ideas and reports on how to mitigate future calamities.

This is where the FCCJ’s Professional Activities Committee also plays a role in hosting speakers of all different stripes for press conferences. PAC is discussing an event to bring in flood control experts to offer an analysis of what happened in western Japan.

Other PAC events in July brought speakers on Cambodia’s elections, Japan’s casino plans, and space exploration, to mention just a few. This is a platform we need to broaden and deepen.

On July 18, the newly elected Board met for its first official gathering. Here is a snapshot of the discussions:
General Manager Marcus Fishenden updated the Board on the search for an F&B provider and the preparations for the Club’s move, including furniture selections (some examples are on show in the Library to try out and give feedback).
Also note that the office is organising visits to the new Club premises before the official move in October. Please contact the office if you would like to attend a tour, though understand that numbers are limited while the building is still in the construction stage.

Treasurer Willem Kortekaas provided an update, reaffirming many of the points he made to the recent General Membership Meeting regarding the impact of the move on the club and the ways and means to rebuild our finances.
As mentioned before, this will include membership drives, particularly on the back of having a brand new facility. Willem separately noted that we have had a positive response to our call for donations and he offered his thanks for the generosity of the membership.

Donations offer an important means to keeping the club financially viable. Hence, we have also kicked off an initiative to approach non-members for donations to support the FCCJ and its role in promoting freedom of the press. (As an aside, The Economist magazine reports that Asia has a population of 4.5 billion but only Japan and Taiwan are considered to have a free press. Whateverone thinks of that definition, it’s a sobering thought that again highlights the role of the FCCJ.)                                                                                                          The Treasurer also led a discussion on the draft five-year business plan, an attempt to provide a long-term vision for the club’s future and to serve as a springboard for further conversations. Willem has broken down the plan into targeted chunks and the Board intends to put specific items on the agenda for meetings throughout the coming year. Hopefully this will help focus and
decision-making.

The Board also discussed the role of the volunteers on the Club’s various committees, which provide invaluable support to the club’s operations.
One goal is to revitalise the role of board liaisons for committees to help improve com- munications. In that respect, committee chairs and deputies have been invited to an evening of drinks and conversation on August 1 to discuss how the Board can help committees better do their job and vice-versa. I also plan to invite committee chairs to future Board meetings to get direct feedback.

-Peter Langan

 

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