The Steering Committee of the Global Investigative Journalism Network — consisting of representatives of GIJN’s member organizations — will gather for its biennial meeting at the 8th Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro. The event takes place on Sunday evening, October 13, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, in the RDC auditorium of the conference venue, the Pontifical Catholic University.
The meeting is open, but voting will be limited to a single representative from each of GIJN’s member organizations.
GIJN’s membership includes 91 nonprofits, NGOs, and educational institutions in 41 countries. Its missions include sponsoring global and regional conferences, training, and promoting best practices in investigative and data journalism.
GIJN was founded in 2003 when more than 300 journalists gathered for the second Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Copenhagen. In October 2011, at the 7th GIJC in Kiev, Ukraine, representatives unanimously approved creating a provisional secretariat to better manage the GIJN’s activities. David Kaplan was approved as director of the new office, which was launched in February 2012, and the Volunteer Committee was elected to act as an informal board to oversee GIJN activities until the next conference in Rio.
The Volunteer Committee has met four times over Skype between the Kiev and Rio conferences. Since establishing the secretariat, GIJN has grown significantly in membership and reach, including extensive activities on its web site, in social media, conference planning, and responding to requests for assistance. A report on the secretariat’s progress, Report to GIJN Steering Committee by Provisional Secretariat, is now available.
To address GIJN’s growth and activities, the Volunteer Committee has voted to propose that the Steering Committee (which is composed of one representative from each member organization) consider a number of issues regarding GIJN:
• whether to make the secretariat permanent;
• create a new board structure and adopt by-laws;
• seek nonprofit registration;
• change the voting requirement from three-fourths majority to a simple majority;
• renew the director’s contract;
• decide where to hold the global conference for 2015;
• And, if the new board structure is approved, endorse the current Volunteer Committee plans to oversee an electronic election for the new board in November 2013. (Note: GIJN co-founder Nils Mulvad is accepting nominations for a potential new board, but there is no need to submit candidates until after the meeting, when GIJN decides on whether to adopt a new board structure.)
GIJN member groups not present in Rio may vote through a designated representative who will be present at the meeting (by “proxy”). Groups will be contacted by GIJN co-founder Nils Mulvad about who will represent them.
The Volunteer Committee drafted the following agenda for the Steering Committee Meeting:
MEMBERSHIP MEETING AGENDA, GIJC13
RIO DE JANEIRO, OCTOBER 13, 2013
- Call to Order.
- Roll Call.
- Review of Last Meeting Minutes.
- Proposal to change from three-quarters majority to majority rule (more than half) on approval of any action by the Steering Committee (representatives of GIJN member organizations).
- Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation to establish a permanent secretariat
- Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation of David Kaplan as executive director of the secretariat.
- Proposal to approve seeking nonprofit registration of GIJN, to be carried out by a new board,or, if a new board is not created, by the Volunteer Committee.
- Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation to create a nine-member board.
- (If previous proposal passes) Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation of how to elelect board members and how to implement the election online.
- Discussion and approval of next conference site.
- New business.
EXPLANATION OF GIJN AGENDA ITEMS
Proposal to change from three-fourths vote to a majority rule (more than half) on approval of any action by the Steering Committee (representatives of GIJN member organizations)
GIJN’s founding document states that “The Global Investigative Journalism Network will be guided by a steering-committee composed of one representative from each participating organization. At all times, the network will attempt to work through consensus. If necessary, votes may be taken on decisions and those votes will require a three-fourths majority to prevail.”
To better manage GIJN, it is proposed that its voting be made similar to most nonprofit organizations, by requiring a simple majority vote.
Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation to establish a permanent secretariat
In October 2011, at its previous meeting in Kiev, the Steering Committee unanimously approved creation of a provisional secretariat to better manage GIJN, and approved David Kaplan to manage the initiative. Approval was given for a six-month trial basis, to be renewed as appropriate by the Volunteer Committee. The provisional secretariat was launched in February 2012, and on August 27, 2012 the Volunteer Committee extended it through the GIJC in October 2013. It also named David Kaplan as director. At its April 17, 2013 meeting, the Volunteer Committee unanimously recommended to the Steering Committee that the provisional secretariat be made permanent.
Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation of David Kaplan as executive director of the secretariat.
Since February 2012, David Kaplan has served as manager and then director of the GIJN secretariat. At its August 30, 2013 meeting, the Volunteer Committee unanimously recommended that Kaplan’s term be extended and he be made executive director. It is proposed that this be for a three-year period, with 90 day notification if either party wants to end the relationship. It is proposed that this be for a three-year period, with 90-day notification if either party wants to end the relationship. A memorandum of understanding would be drafted after such approval outlining the agreement.
Proposal to approve seeking non-profit registration for GIJN or identify a different form of organization — to be carried out by a new board or, if a new board is not created, the Volunteer Committee.
GIJN grew up as an informal network of organizations. It currently receives funding through the fiscal sponsorship of the Investigative News Network and through partnerships with member organizations. By registering as a nonprofit, GIJN would be able to directly receive funds and would be an independent legal entity with a formal board of directors. There is another proposal within the Volunteer Committee to keep GIJN informal and run by a rotating Secretariat which would receive funds on behalf of GIJN.
Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation to create a nine member board.
At its April 17, 2013 meeting, the Volunteer Committee unanimously recommended that the Steering Committee approve the following proposal for a new nine-member board that ensures broad geographical representation, with four-year terms and elections held every two years:
(If previous proposal passes) Proposal to approve Volunteer Committee recommendation of how to elect board members and how to implement the election online.
The Volunteer Committee has recommended that the Steering Committee approve an electronic election for the new board. GIJN co-founder and Volunteer Committee member Nils Mulvad has volunteered to supervise the election, overseen by a Volunteer Committee elections group. He will brief the Steering Committee on the online voting, which is planned, pending approval, for November 2013.
Discussion and approval of next conference site.
At each GIJC, the Steering Committee votes on the site for the next Global Conference. There are three proposals submitted, from Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (Amman, Jordan); the International Reporting Program of the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada); and the Norwegian Association for a Critical and Investigative Press (SKUP) (Lillehammer, Norway). These proposals have been posted on the GIJN website since early September.