Minutes from the Annual General Meeting

Sep 14, 2009

Minutes from the Annual General Meeting

Minutes for Dominion Newspaper Co-operative's AGM on September 5, 2009



1. Meeting Process

2. Words from Reader Representative and Contributing Representative on Dominion Board

3. Review of financial statements for the financial year April 1, 2008-March 31, 2009 (attached)

4. Six Months in Review

5. Special Resolution


**Our apologies to all members who were not able to participate in the AGM, or who were only able to partially participate, due to technical problems.**


Present on the call:

Halifax, Nova Scotia:

Hillary Lindsay, Editor Member, Board Member

David Parker, Contributing Member

Bruce Wark, Contributing Member

Laura Landon, Reader Member

Janna Graham,

Ben Sichel, Contributing Member

Glen Canning, Contributing Member

Cape Breton:

Moira Peters, Editor Member, Board Member

New Brunswick:

Tracy Glynn, Contributing Member (Board Member)

Montreal, Quebec:

Tim McSorley, Contributing Member, Facilitator of the Meeting

Christian, Reader Member

Shira Ronn, Contributing Member

Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, Contributing Member

Dru Oja Jay, Editor Member, Board Member

Stefan Christoff, Contributing Member

Luc Bourgeois, Contributing Member

Van Ferrier, Contributing Member

Toronto, Ontario:



Chrissy, Reader Member

British Colombia:

Dawn Paley, Editor Member

Harjap Grewal, Reader Member, Board Member

Marla Renn, Reader Member, Minute Taker

Dave Markland, Reader Member


International, Honduras:

Sandra Cuff, Contributing Member


1. Process

-questions that go on chat board are repeated by the moderator (Tim McSorley)

-speakers list will be used if necessary


2. Words from Reader Representative and Contributing Representative on Dominion Board

-Tracy Glynn (Contributung Member on the board)

asks that if members have suggestions on engaging writers to please contact her at tracy@jatam.org


-Harjap Grewal (Reader member on the board) says that purpose of sitting on board is to be representative on behalf of readers, and have reader issues followed up for example, content that want to see, lay out of web site. To contact him with suggestions, email harjap@resist.ca



3. Review and adoption of financial statements for the financial year April 1, 2008-March 31, 2009 (attached)

Hillary: review of particular points of income statement

Income total: $38,198.00

-looking to reduce reliance on grants

-sustainer initiative way up about $1000/month doubled since July and this is great as a reliable source of money

-total subscriptions has gone up (about 40 new) to total of 300


-accounting fee $2400, which is a lot considering the revenue coming in and therefore wanting to pass special resolution, to have compiled instead which costs over $1000.

-2 people paid for working part time (which is double than precious year)

-doubled the amount paying journalists but still looking to increase the amount and number

-Sending out monthly call pitches is also helpful in getting high quality work

-printing costs have gone up, because of increasing subscriptions

-postage costs down because of increasing number sending out and therefore deals with Can post make it cheaper

-travel costs came from tours/launches of media co-op locals



Dawn clarify that the 2 travel expenses don’t include the Vancouver tour and will be on next years financial statement


Sophie Anne moves to receive financial statement

Maya seconds

no objections


4. Six months in review: 


Launch of the Halifax Media Co-op


-1st local and launched Feb 09

-presentations to labour unions, groups, indiv: what is lacking in your media

get word out, focus to build up sustainers, get folks writing

-in one year have increased 25 sustainers, now pay 1 journalist and 1 organizer

-upcoming features: militarization of Dalhousie and the state of midwifery in Nova Scotia.

-lots of new media being produced on grassroots activism, Black community, what’s happening to local mainstream media

-have done 3 skill shares to bring more folks in

-added on website how to contribute

-now focusing on content, and will return to push to reach 50 new sustainers

going well, more folks participating and producing content

No Questions


Vancouver Media Co-op


-soft launch on media co-op in June, 5 or 6 presentations

result: more folks accessing and posting content on the site

-some features on the co-op were picked up by other news eg: Tyee

-Still looking at partnering with more indy media

-focus started on members and promoting around it being independent media site around olympics and not signing up sustainers and therefore don’t have enough sustainers too pay anyone yet

-focus on getting it going before olympics in Feb 2010 this will be only open news wire media source and working closing with those involved in resistance

-sustainer push starting now and into winter

-everywhere the co-ops will be set up, are different


Membership month


-May held the membership drive

-In April sent out email notice and some mailouts: asked people to become sustaining members (1 each day was goal) and asked current sustainers to recruit more folks.

-Yves donated BlackBook and we gave those out as prizes

-result in May:  22 new members

-hit 100th sustainer

-also solicited random reader feedback: main thrust: lighten up

-there was also a contributor survey:  Contributors generally felt that rhw relationship wth editors was positive, and said the response time for articles was too long.  They also want to be paid.  Results will be complied

- Next time: earlier prep, really good prize (sailboat?)

Questions re membership month?

-Harjap suggested following up with specific organizations that want to become suscribing members.

-What is meant with “lighten up”?  Moira: The paper is visually dense and content dense, more positive, less super dense stories, more humor to balance




-realized in 1st year of media co-op that need a fundraiser to expand the membership

- we asked a former doner to fund the position for the first year.   Hired Amy Miller to work with the membership, stay in contact, and build up our sustainer base.  Sustainers have increased week by week.   Also have made modifications to database etc so that people kept in contact. kept track of better


Questions: Is Amy’s position going to be renewed?  She started in early summer. It is a year-long position, and then we hope that we have enough $ to continue to expand and continue that work.


The Dominion's upcoming special issue on the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver


-still need a title… help if you have one.

-trying to take in feedback from surveys and online form at mediacoop.ca in terms of putting it together.

-received over 12 pitches many from people who had never written for the Dominion before.

Question: Pat: doing work around child-trafficking, and hoping that the issue is followed up on.  Pointed to contribute suggestion on the Vancouver media co-op site

Anyone thought of comparing what happened in Montreal?


Dawn: what will be in the issue will be limited because of space: there will be someone looking at police infiltrating/attacking alternative media in Montreal 1976.  BUT it is very important that folks make suggestions, do the research and add the content through the Vancouver media co-op web site.


5. Special Resolution not to appoint an auditor for the financial year of 2009-2010.


Special Resolutions

Special Resolution brought forward by Dominion Editors

Due to the high cost of having the Dominion's books audited, members of the Dominion Newspaper Cooperative resolve not to appoint an auditor for the financial year of 2009/2010.


Hillary: Would like to clarify that the $2400 spent in the previous financial year was not to have the books audited  but somewhere between audited and compiled.  Auditing is done by an accountant and it is an accountability check.  Attempt to be as transparent as possible but want to use the money to pay journalists instead.  The books are being compiled (part of process for taxes) and this does catch inconsistencies


Question: are the books under NS juristiction


Hillary: the Dominion is a national cooperative, federally regulated


Tim: It is very common for non-profits are not audited b/c of the cost so this process is more commonly used to ensure that there is generally the paper work to show how/where $ is being spent.


No more question

Luc Bourgeois: Moves to adopt

Matt Hawkins: seconds

No objections, resolution adopted


Meeting ended, Now general discussion


Direction of print/ web based

Dru: print is still really impotant, but the media co-op local is totally web based, though there is an idea to get into radio.  But the media co-op locals enable a distribution path especially with the special issue

every month there are 400-500 print sent out, but 4000 hits reading on the web.  A lot of videos going online, and some audio as well.


Ben: developing video component on site so that there is possibility of creating video reporting.  There is a video working group working on this as well


Dru: working groups

starting with locals, and looking at setting up more but now turing focus to start working groups that may or may not be part of a co-op local

-idea to bring more people to be involved in general and participating in the production of the coverage people want to see

-philosphical base is pushing the ideas

-how does co-operative media look different

-being funded by readers rather than advertisers is key