IALJS Annual Business Meeting Minutes



Minutes from meeting held at IALJS-15 via Zoom on 21 May 2021.

19.00 – 20.00 Copenhagen Time (UTC +2)

First Vice President Rob Alexander called the 2021 annual business meeting of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies to order at 19.00. He was chairing the meeting because President Tom Connery could not attend the conference. Pablo Calvi asked for a correction to the minutes from the 2019 IALJS annual meeting in Long Island, New York to reflect a discussion of the December 1 research deadline for the annual conference, which several members expressed was difficult for people in the southern hemisphere to meet. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes with the suggested corrections. The motion carried unanimously. 

Treasurer Bill Reynolds reported that since January 1, 2021, $1,535 in membership fees and $180 in student fees have been paid. Two issues of the journal were produced in 2021, at a total cost of $3140:  $1500 in costs for editorial and $1640 for design. He anticipates additional costs for a third issue of the journal, which will come out in June 2021. Alice Trindade, the chair of the Finance Committee, reported that the committee reviewed IALJS financial documents and determined that the organization has a sound financial situation. She emphasized the valuable contribution IALJS is making to scholarship worldwide, particularly now that the journal is indexed and offered to readers around the world. 

Corresponding Secretary Jacqueline Marino reported that IALJS was domiciled in Ohio three years ago and the process has gone well every year, thanks to Bill and his financial reports. She announced she would be stepping down as secretary this year and working on a seamless transition to the new secretary. 

Membership Secretary Mitzi Lewis reported the association has been building membership right up to the conference start, with 149 members from 24 countries.

Research Chair Lindsay Morton reported an increase of submission and acceptance rates from IALJS-14. The research committee received 7 research paper submissions and 44 work-in-progress submissions. This is an increase from IALJS-14 but still slightly less than Vienna. Of the seven research paper submissions, six were accepted. Scores ranged from 2.9 to 4.0. Out of the 44 WIPs received, 32 were accepted, with scores ranging from 2.0 to 4.8. Overall, the acceptance rate for both categories was 75%. Taking into account panelists and moderators (not presenting), an initial count of conference attendees came to approximately 82 people.  This year also saw an increase in the number of WIP submissions from graduate students. While there was only one submission of a research paper, 12 WIP were submitted and 10 were accepted. These numbers are comparable to Vienna, while last year at IALJS-14 there were only five WIP submissions. Given the strong showing from graduate students, Chad Hegelmeyer raised the possibility of one or more graduate panels, but there was a lack of interest from the graduate students who preferred to be placed on thematic panels. 

Following the postponement of IALJS-15, a poll was sent out to canvass moving ahead online or postponing. Lindsay reported there were 63 responses to the poll, with 86% of respondents indicating they were definitely planning to attend if the conference proceeded online. Of these, 57% indicated their preference to present live, 10% preferred to pre-record, and 33% had no preference either way. Since the poll, 11 submissions have been withdrawn, leaving us with 71 presentations, including the panels. The decision was made not to pursue further submissions through a limited Call for Papers because of the online format. It was felt that a shorter conference with a condensed format would be appropriate and work against “Zoom fatigue.” The times allocated for presentations have also been shortened for this reason. Lindsay said moving ahead we’ll need to discuss the format because 10 minutes has felt very fast. The online format has increased accessibility. Another change to previous conferences is that the President’s panel was moved to the first session on the first day. This decision was made to accommodate a full program where the first panel of the conference is attended by all participants. Similarly, the Conference Host’s panel is now at the end of the first day to bring everyone back together and create a maximum sense of community while we are online.

Lindsay said given the global membership of the association, it was difficult to decide when to schedule the sessions, and not everyone could be accommodated comfortably. Sessions are being recorded and sent out so everyone can catch up in a timely manner. If an online or a hybrid format is adopted next year, more discussion will be needed on how best to accommodate the wide range of time zones. She thanked the reviewers and conference organizers, and Rob thanked her for all the work she’s done.

Rob gave the program report. He said despite the postponement of the conference, we didn’t lose a single panel and the panels remained intact. Ten out of 12 panel proposals were accepted, the same rate as for the Stonybrook and Vienna conferences. There were eight research panels and two teaching/professional panels. This year’s panels were organized by people from seven different countries, compared to six in 2019. He noted the diversity on panels is increasing, with panelists from nine countries, compared to seven in 2019, six in 2018, five in 2017, 11

in 2016, and seven in 2015. He urged people to start working on panel proposals for IALJS-16, as the call will go out on August 15. 

Awards committee co-chair Isabelle Soares thanked the awards committee for their work keeping the awards going for two years during COVID. The 2020 John C. Hartsock Prize for the Best Article in Literary Journalism Studies was given to James Rogers; the David Abrahamson Prize for the Best Article in the Literary Journalism newsletter went to Lisa Phillips. Isabelle noted that she did not vote on the 2021 awards because she co-edited the journal special issue on Portuguese literary journalism.  The 2021 John C. Hartsock Prize for the Best Article in Literary Journalism Studies was given to Marie Vanoost, and the David Abrahamson Prize for the Best Article in the Literary Journalism newsletter went again to Lisa Phillips 

Host Committee Chair Christine Isager gave the annual conference report. She said the COVID pandemic set the agenda for her time as conference host, given the postponement of the original conference date and the online conference format. Her main mission has been to provide the technical support for hosting the conference over Zoom, and everything was going smoothly. She thanked all the support she’s gotten from the IALJS leadership. She noted that 43 people registered as conference observers, which suggests the potential benefits of a hybrid format in the future. 

LJS Editor Bill Reynolds said the journal is going fine despite difficulties working around COVID-19 protocols, including limited access to research libraries and difficulties with the printer. The next issue will feature a long essay on chronica and a new look at Hersey’s Hiroshima.  The December 2021 issue will feature a special section dedicated to Danish literary journalism. Upcoming special issues will focus on German literary journalism and Australian literary journalism. Book Review Editor Nancy Roberts said she is always looking for reviewers and longer book review essays. Members should email her with ideas. Roberta Maguire announced that Miles Maguire took a buyout from their university and is now devoting himself to his own local online and news site, the Oshkosh Examiner. He has stepped away from his role as an associate editor of LJS responsible for bibliography.  Roberta will be doing the bibliography on her own. She said a preliminary review suggests that there has been no lag in publishing research on literary journalism in English over the past year, so stay tuned for her overview in an upcoming issue of LJS.

Newsletter co-editor Kate McQueen noted that the newsletter has grown in size. Rob Alexander guest edited a special issue in October 2020 on pandemic pedagogy. The newsletter is actively promoting new publications by members, so let her know about new books of all genres. Jeff Neely is stepping down from his role as co-editor, so she is looking for one or two people to join her.  She and Jeff are forming a Digital Development Committee with the goal of improving the organization’s social media presence and moving the newsletter to a new digital platform. Email her if you are interested in getting involved.

Bill Reynolds gave the website report. He said the web administrator is doing a very good job for 250 dollars twice a year. He noted that it’s become much faster to put PDFs of the journal online, which has helped a lot during COVID-19.

Global Enrichment Committee Chair Monica Martinez said there was a bright side to the pandemic, as the Brazilian Association for Journalism Studies (SBPJor) conference was held online, allowing participation from participants from other countries, including Robert Alexander, Alice Trindade, and Isabel Soares, in addition to other Brazilian members of IALJS, such as Mateus Yuri Passos and herself. The committee is considering organizing short 20 minute online talks, TED-style, where members of the IALJS from different countries could deliver the results of their research, followed by a 10 minute Q&A session. She asked people with ideas to email her or Rob. Rob commented that the global engagement committee was formed to focus on what it would take to more fully realize what’s involved in being an international organization.

Pablo Calvi brought up the idea of creating a committee to revisit the way IALJS conducts elections. He thought that representation was uneven in terms of women and men and also in the global North and the global South. Rob pointed out that no one responded to a call for membership in the Global Enrichment Committee and reiterated that he is interested in getting others to join. Anthea Garman said that the Global Enrichment Committee is important but emphasized that members voiced interest in looking at the transparency of the organization in governance and voting, in particular how people are chosen as president, keynote speaker, and other important roles. An extensive discussion of the issue ensued. A motion was put forth to form an ad hoc committee to discuss IALJS governance. It was voted down, with nine in favor out of the 19 remaining in attendance. After additional discussion, the slate of candidates for 2021-2023 was voted in unanimously with the provision that, upon a vote of the entire committee during the closing convocation, voting and governance processes would be revisited at next year’s conference. 

At the closing convocation at 17.30 on May 22, 2021, John Bak proposed sending out a survey to all IALJS members asking them if they would like to revisit the IALJS constitution and the way the organization is governed. The measure was approved by a majority of those present.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 21.30.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Phillips, Secretary

International Association for Literary Journalism Studies

Lisa A. Phillips is an Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Digital Media and Journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is the author of Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession (HarperCollins) and Public Radio: Behind the Voices (Perseus). A former public radio reporter, she focuses her journalism and nonfiction writing on issues related to love, heartbreak, and mental health, with bylines in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan, Longreads, and Salon, among other outlets. Her scholarly research interests include first person journalism and media ethics. phillipl@newpaltz.edu

Lisa A. Phillips

Previous Post

Next Post