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JACL National Board votes to end the printed edition of the Pacific Citizen with an issued letter from National President David Lin.

After 86 years of publishing social justice and civil rights news for the JACL and the community-at-large, the Pacific Citizen will end its official printed legacy.

The Pacific Citizen will now transition into an all-digital publication starting March 2016 after a unanimous vote was made during the JACL National Board Meeting in Chicago on Oct. 3.

JACL VP of Membership Toshi Abe was not present; however, the motion still passed with an undisputed vote.

JACL National President David Lin wrote a letter, informing members of the transition and assuring them that based on a review made by the National Board “it was determined that the best course of action for the Pacific Citizen and for the JACL as a whole is to transition the Pacific Citizen to digital to reduce current and future expenses in a financially sustainable manner.”

President Lin’s full letter can be found on here.

The plan hopes to deliver issues faster through email with an attached link for the PDF file issues. Outlined procedures on delivering issues to members without access to email or the Internet will be discussed at a future time. At this time, it is understood that resources and expenses to print and mail PDF copies to members will be taken care of by individual JACL chapters.

Members inquiring about the distribution of printed PDF versions of the Pacific Citizen are asked to contact their local chapter presidents.

In the approved plan, the Pacific Citizen will continue to be published bimonthly, in PDF format, beginning March 2016. Only a few special issues will print and reach mailboxes, such as the annual Holiday Special Issue and the Scholarship issue.

Moving forward, the National Board has asked the Pacific Citizen to notify JACL members and nonmember subscribers of this official transition. Instructions also include informing current advertisers of the plan and “reassure then that there will not be any decrease in the number of exposures of their advertisement through this transition,” according to Lin.

However, at this time, it is unclear how the digitization of the Pacific Citizen will impact JACL membership as well as the paper’s advertising revenue. No surveys or research have been conducted to provide data about this decision.

“There is no doubt that there will be an impact on some members who feel that the P.C. is the most  important benefit,” VP Planning and Development Chip Larouche said during the board meeting. “Some will find it more convenient to have a digital version.”

In response, Lin assured the board that “there will be no impact on membership revenue if everything is done correctly.” He went on to add that “we collect the names and addresses of those who need printed versions.” A person dedicated to contacting subscriber information and tasked to execute an outreach campaign has not been identified at this time.

Other P.C. revenue-generating items that could potentially be affected by this announcement include paid obituary tributes, donations to keep the printed paper, paid subscriptions — revenue will be a
challenge with this new change.

Current advertisers have not commented on whether or not they will continue doing business with the Pacific Citizen after the transition. As for nonmember subscribers to the paper, it is unclear what steps and procedures will be taken to ensure a refund.

The Pacific Citizen Editorial Board’s response is printed in the Oct. 16 paper.

“Letters to the Editor” are highly encouraged and should be sent to or mailed to the P.C.’s new address in Little Tokyo.

A full report addressing the finances and budget will print in the next issue, Oct. 30, along with reactions and responses to the National Board’s vote and President Lin’s plan.

During the National Board meeting, other items included JACL National Director Priscilla Ouchida’s request for JACL to sponsor the 110th anniversary of the San Francisco Japantown in 2016.

JACL was asked to host an event in support of the anniversary and donate $1,000 in support of the celebration. A motion was carried and approved as “the staff in San Francisco feel this is important,” Ouchida explained. “Because we are part of the community, JACL is the third-largest organization in the area.”

Ouchida updated the board on the Smithsonian sponsorship, which stands at roughly $11,000 received and $40,000 outstanding. At this time, only a handful of chapters have been contacted about the $10,000 level donation as fundraising efforts for 2015 come to a close.

A motion was carried to approve taking payment for the Smithsonian from the national reserves.
In addition to the Smithsonian fundraising efforts, JACL National pushes forward in promoting the
annual fund drive.

Secretary Treasurer Matthew Farrells gave a financial report, informing the board that net revenue is $33K below for the period a year ago or down 13 percent over the same period. “Membership income and fundraising are strongest performances,”

Farrells says. However, expenses are over budget by 13 percent. Contributions, contract servers and travel expanses are standing over budget. General operations are over 17.8 percent as well.

The Finance Committee is looking into recommendations to improve and reduce the deficit.

For the 2017 JACL Convention, the board approved to host it at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, a motion was carried to authorize VP of Membership Toshi Abe, who was not at the meeting, to initiate the notification of chapters not in good standing in accordance with Article II, Section 5, starting the process of charter validation.

In the Governor’s Caucus report, IDC District Governor Jeanette Misaka will end her time on the board as well as PSW District Governor David Kawamoto. PNW District Governor Sheldon Arakaki will be the new Governor’s Caucus Chair.

The next National Board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2016, in San Francisco at JACL’s National Headquarters in Japantown

One Comment

  • Chip Larouche says:

    Actually, the next National Board meeting is scheduled for February 6, 2016 in Los Angeles.