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Proposed bylaws changes, membership criteria, up for vote in 2012 OWAA election

Updated March 29, 2012.
Editor’s note: At its 2011 summer and 2012 winter meetings, the Board of Directors approved the following proposed bylaws amendments for a vote in the May 1, 2012, Board of Directors election. They also approved, on March 28, 2012, a proposed membership criteria revision. The ballot will include 2012 board candidates as well as the following proposed bylaws amendments and membership criteria revision. Active, Senior-Active and Life members should return ballots before the May 1 election. Members are encouraged to post comments below.

Bylaws proposed change No. 1 (relating to membership meeting quorum)

The OWAA Board of Directors, by electronic vote on Aug. 29, 2011, proposes the following change to the OWAA Bylaws, for the purpose of adjusting the required number of members present at the annual membership meeting to constitute a quorum.

Paragraph 5.1 shall be amended by replacing the word “fifty” with the word “twenty-five.”

Bylaws proposed change No. 2 (relating to standing committees)

The OWAA Board of Directors, by vote on Feb. 11, 2012, proposes the following changes to the OWAA Bylaws, for the purposes of adding regular duties for the Education Committee and adding two additional committees to be appointed annually.

(1) The subparagraph of paragraph 9.2 dealing with the Education Committee shall be changed to read as follows:

“An Education Committee, which shall be in charge of selecting recipients for OWAA scholarships and increasing involvement of student members.”

(2) There shall be added two additional subparagraphs to paragraph 9.2 following the subparagraph dealing with the Finance Committee, to read as follows:

“A Marketing Committee, which shall identify target audiences and create marketing plans for all OWAA programs and products.

“A Membership Committee, which shall review and suggest revisions to OWAA’s membership criteria, establish and implement plans to recruit and retain members for all categories of membership, and conduct surveys of members and former members to assess the value of OWAA and its programs and products.”

Bylaws proposed change No. 3 (relating to Mission Statement)

The OWAA Board of Directors, by vote on Feb. 11, 2012, proposes the following language as a slightly amended version of the OWAA Mission Statement and as a replacement for paragraph 2.1 of the OWAA Bylaws:

“The mission of the Outdoor Writers Association of America is to improve the professional skills and opportunities of our members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and mentor the next generation of outdoor communicators.”

Proposed membership criteria revision

The OWAA Board of Directors adopted by unanimous vote on March 28, 2012, a complete restatement of the OWAA Criteria for Membership and, as required by paragraph 18.2 of the OWAA Bylaws, now submits this new Criteria for Membership to the members for final approval:

You qualify as an Active Member of OWAA if you meet one of the following:

1. You have sold and published — in any media — five stories, articles, photographs, videos or illustrations on outdoor-related topics in the past year.

2. You have published a book or worked on an income-producing film on outdoor-related topics in the past five years.

3. You are a full-time outdoor communicator in any media. Please see below for a list of qualifying positions.

4. You are a citizen journalist who writes for a blog or other digital media that is updated with original content at least twice a month and receives 500 AUVs (Average Unique Views) per month over a 12-month period, or generates income.

If you do not qualify for Active Member status, you qualify as an Associate Member if you produce some work described above. A student enrolled at a college or university pursuing studies involving outdoors or communications qualifies as a Student Member.

OWAA’s bylaws and Board regulate the membership classes, criteria, and application process, and supplement and control what is said here. All applications must be made on a form approved by the OWAA Board, which will require that the applicant agree to be bound by certain principles of the organization, including the OWAA Code of Ethics.

Applicants for Active or Associate Member status must be sponsored by an OWAA Active Member. Both the applicant and the sponsor must verify that the applicant qualifies for the membership sought. Headquarters may be able to recruit sponsors for those desiring to apply and lacking a sponsor. An applicant for Student Member status must submit verification from an instructor or administrator that the applicant is enrolled in a qualifying course of study.

All members must continue to meet membership criteria while in OWAA and may be subject to periodic credential reviews.

OWAA individual membership is intended to improve the personal and professional skills of our members. Individual membership should not be used to promote products, agencies, organizations or businesses.

Professionals working in the following areas qualify for OWAA membership. Other professionals may apply; consult with headquarters with questions.

A. Newspaper or Magazine writer, columnist, editor, designer or staff member: Works in one of these capacities for print or online publications
B. Newspaper or Magazine freelancer: Works for print or online publications on a contract basis.
C. Photographer/Videographer: Works for magazines, E-zines or other outdoor-related publications.
D. Illustrator, Cartoonist or Artist: Published in any medium.
E. Film Editor, Scriptwriter, Director or Producer: Works in one of these capacities on a full-length film or video.
F. Broadcast Scriptwriter, Editor, Photographer, Director or Producer: Works on television or aired video production in one of these capacities. Guest appearances do not qualify.
G. Book Author, Editor, Designer or Producer: Works on a published book in any of these capacities.
H. Lecturer/Educator/Instructor/Nature Interpreter: Works in any of these capacities.
I. Full-Time Employee of Nonprofit Conservation or Recreation Agency: Public relations, publications and public information staff, and others who disseminate outdoor or recreational information.
J. Employee of Outdoor-Related Industries, Agencies, Associations or Organizations: Public relations and marketing staff. ◊

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