2017 NPPA Board Meeting: New Member Benefits and Plans to Increase Broadcast Representation on Board

At work during the 2017 NPPA Board meeting, from left, Past President Mark Dolan, President Melissa Lyttle, Vice President Michael P. King and Secretary Seth Gitner. (Photo by Tom Burton)

ATHENS, GA. (February 8, 2017) New and improved member benefits and a plan to increase broadcast member representation are some of the significant changes from a productive 2017 National Press Photographers Association Annual Board Meeting, held Feb. 4-5 at NPPA headquarters at the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“I’m really excited by an energized and empowered board,” said NPPA President Melissa Lyttle. “It’s always a great weekend when we can get some of the brightest minds in the industry together in one room to have really constructive and productive conversations about the future of this organization.”.

NPPA officers were elected at the meeting. President Melissa Lyttle and Vice President Michael P. King were reelected to second terms. Kyle Grantham was elected treasurer. .

In an effort to improve member representation on the NPPA Board, there was unanimous approval to develop a plan to increase broadcast representation on the Board of Directors. The plan will be finalized at the summer meeting and be in effect for the next Board election in November. Board members acknowledge that there’s been an inherent bias in the election process favoring the election of candidates from the still photography discipline. There are many dedicated and driven broadcast members who deserve a voice on the Board and Executive Committee, and their participation and guidance should be ensured through the bylaws and election procedures..

"Our broadcast members represent a vital part of our organization, and it's critical that they have guaranteed representation on the Board of Directors,” King said. “Having a voice among NPPA's leaders is necessary to ensure the still and broadcast membership are full partners in the advancement of our profession, and the improvement of our association. This is the right thing to do, and it's long overdue.”.

The NPPA budget was an important issue. Grantham was attending as a member of the Board of Directors and had not intended to run for treasurer but he changed his mind as he saw the significant work done by outgoing treasurer Hall as she meticulously balanced revenue and expenses for the proposed 2017 budget..

“After the discussions the board had over the course of this weekend's meetings, it became increasingly apparent to me we needed someone going forward to continue Carolyn's standard of maintaining balanced budgets and a hawk's eye for the budget,” Grantham said. Hall was finishing a two-year term as treasurer and was not on the ballot for reelection..

Education was also a topic at the meeting. The board actions included offering discounted NPPA memberships to academic instructors who advise NPPA student chapters and to speakers and workshop leaders at NPPA workshops such as the Northern Short Course, the Video News Workshop and the Multimedia Immersion Workshop. .

Also, the board’s education committee has been redefined to develop new workshops and programming rather than just overseeing existing workshops and programming. The goal is for more training in the expanding roles of visual journalists..

“We’re much more attuned to the voices of independent visual journalists, our broadcast brothers and sisters, and to how we can best prepare our student members for the real world,” Lyttle said..

The Board noted the continuing dedication to improve and expand NPPA member benefits, pointing to new equipment insurance offer from Lockton and a telemedicine health program through Capstone insurance that has just launched. .

In other action, the Board adjusted the timing and procedure of electing the Regional Chairs Representatives and their associates and adjusted the manner in which vacancies are filled. There were also breakout sessions to develop ideas for engaging the membership, education, thought leadership in photojournalism, branding the NPPA and internal guidelines that ensure that good ideas become realities.