Jul. 1, 2018  

Minutes from June 20, 2018

SPJ Florida Board of Directors Meeting

7 p.m. | Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Boca Magazine Main Office | Boca Raton


Christiana Lilly, President

Abbi Perry, Executive Vice President

Ryan Dailey (via chat), VP for membership

Emily Bloch, Vice President of Programming

Brendon Lies, Secretary

Chris Persaud, Treasurer

Dori Zinn, Immediate Past President


Brandon Ballenger, director

Michele Boyet (via chat), director

Brittany Ferrendi, director

Aurora Dominguez, director (ABSENT)

Richard Gaspar, director (ABSENT)

John McDonald, director

Kerri-Marie Covington, student representative



Michael Koretzky, Region 3 Director

QUICK UPDATES // REVIEWS 2 minutes each

Approve last meeting’s minutes

– Motion passes

Membership (Ryan)
– We’re up 15 members, from 104 in April to 119 today. Ryan going to look into why the sudden bump.

Dori: It could be national’s database. I feel like maybe 5 would have joined, there was something up before where we couldn’t even see all our members. But our membership determines how many delegates we get at National.

Christiana: As it is, I think we have three delegates. That’s pretty normal for us. But per our records, National says we have 131, even though Ryan sees 119. This is an ongoing issue that we need the database fixed, we’ve been trying to get them to work it.

Dori: Since I joined, they said they were fixing the database, and that was 10 years ago. But, it makes us have delegates at National. So as a member you get to vote for our board, but delegates get to vote for important issues at EIJ. So being a delegate is super important.


PROGRAMS (Emily) Two minutes each

Spring Training: Pitch an All-Star Story (Emily)

This happened in April, and it was a pretty successful event; about 30 participated, several people even told me in the last week they got jobs out of it, with Debt.com and UPI who hired a few freelancers. So that was at Burger Fi, and we want to pursue that partnership a bit more; they were great to work with, they gave us free drinks and a 10% food discount, reserved signs and bracelets.

Christiana: They were very excited to the idea of having another event. We gave away tickets to a Marlins game as well as to a batting practice.

Emily: We made $18 from the raffle, which helped us get SPJ swag bags. Speaking of which, there will be a lot of swag given away at EIJ18.


Parkland Shooting panel at SFBJA job fair (Lulu)

That was a really good panel; it wasn’t a huge group in the room, but the career fair itself got a lot of people so people came in and out. We had a good range of journalists, print, video; really good questions about what it’s like on the ground, a lot of people who participated were just starting out with their own career and had a lot of good questions about how to deal with it, even the psychological toll.


IRE conversation (Lulu)

I just got back from IRE, I was on a panel on stress management… it was a really good panel, we got journalists at different stages of their career, like Kent Armstrong, Pulitzer Prize winning writer, he was monitoring the panel. They were the most amazing reporters, it was really great, I definitely recommend. They had a lot of really great panels, including a panel on organizational tools, we brought some back to our newsroom.


High School Journalism Awards (Emily)
So we partnered with the Sun Sentinel and TeenLink. Every year they do adviser of the year but not high school journalist of the year, so we pitched them on partnering and sponsoring. We got a lot of new eyes on us from it.

Pros: We got a lot of high schoolers’ eyes, new scholarships, and we got to award a junior at MSD who is the co-editor-in-chief at the Eagle Eye.

Cons: They were really unorganized, we weren’t on the program, and we ended up not having an award for our winner, we had nothing to hand her when she got up on stage. We just need to make sure we’re in charge of it, and do the award, and take care of our specific certificate. Also, I had signed us up to judge some categories, but on the day of, we were handed out literal printouts of what needed to be judged — so next year we’re doing Google Drive.

Christiana: Thank you all, it was great to reach out to those high school students… All the students were retweeting.


Facebook Tools for Journalists (Koretzky)

Just like SPJ had partnered with Google, Facebook teamed up… I think there were 11 of us.

Kerri: We had a couple new people without much experience; for the pros though it was pretty useful, just with different ways to find sources.


Chicas Ponderosas layoff event (Christiana)
This group set up this really cool event at the Ironside in Miami. A bunch of them had been at Univision and were laid off. Panels included getting new jobs after being laid off, turning to freelance, etc — and the big takeaway was that it’s not your fault. It was really good; a little bit disorganized. Panels didn’t end on time, which staggered the following panel times. But they had a cool yoga stress management session; they made a wall of post it notes on how to practice self care… I made some good connections. They were also interested in partnering with us. Ironside in Miami partners with them, so that would be a good space for panels. I was talking to Emily about doing something with them and NAHJ on bilingual reporting.


Under Fire (Koretzky)

It’s $112 to $135 in different places, doesn’t count the cost of ammo; will require ammo. Austen Erblat was supposed to hook us up but it fell through. I want us to fire AR-15, but they’re $120 per person for lessons. I emailed Florida NRA, Florida Gun Clubs of America (for partnerships)… The attorney said, if you do this, are you going to film? I said it’s not about us reporting, it’s about us learning. So we don’t have to. We’re not trying to ambush them. If you guys have any ins or connections… I looked at all of them.



F*ck Words With Friends (Emily)

For those not familiar with the program… It was basically a way to get back to where Words with Friends came from. It was journalists challenging themselves with words; we already have equipment set up, and we’re talking about locations; we mentioned to Burger-Fi, waiting to hear back from them. I think Burgerfi because they have beer. I’m also talking to Brew 5-points in Jacksonville, they’re gritty and do a lot of political events, they’re super into it. We could do a Jacks reachout. So same event, two different regions.

Emily: Something we’ve been talking about is a build-your-own-workshop, I think it’s something we could easily do. We have a few possibilities.

Christiana: Wix just opened their office in Miami

Dori: There’s a WordPress developer who’s always looking for journalists to present at WordCamp, he made it sound like he’d be interested in leading.

Emily: I’m reaching out to different libraries to see if we can host a Fake News Game Show at a library.

Dori: The Pompano one just opened.

Lulu: Spanish River in Boca has a beautiful terrace, very friendly, but it would probably cost.


Scholarships (Christiana)
– Committee is reviewing applications (8/12)

– We had a hiccup with our program; we had 12 applicants for our general scholarship this year but eight didn’t attach any documents. Reached out and half immediately send their paperwork. I’ll be talking to you guys about possibly not doing a 2nd place… next year we might eliminate it since we promised it this year.

Dori: Koretzky had a scholarship a few years ago, that might be a good time to offer a $250 scholarship.


Lyle Landon is reviewing Molly Turner applicants (3)

Christiana: Also for some reason it defaulted that the oldest you could be was born in the year 2000. So we need to revamp that in general, plus make it more detailed and show you can apply for both.

Dori: Yea so basically revamping how we present our scholarships in general.


Sunshine State Awards (Christiana) 5 minutes

– Aug. 4 at University of Miami

About a third of our budget has been covered by sponsorships.

Dori: We always lose money on our ceremony, until last year. As you know, Sunshine State Awards is the one money making event of the year. If you’re volunteering for Sunshine State, you come for free. If not, you pay the SPJ rate of $35. If you need something to do, please contact Christiana.

Christiana: Levy PR went in with $500, and I reached out to a new company that does AR in Boca Raton… So we can always use more sponsorships. If your company would like to be a sponsor, that would be wonderful.


Drone (Brandon) 10 minutes

– I posted an update in Slack; it’s moving slowly. I asked for feedback after the last meeting; main feedback was more video. So I pulled more clips of what we’ve done just in florida. It’s like a two-minute clip, I’ll have to re-render it for the text on the video; but I did examples of what you can use this for. I’ve got pricing information on there, and a couple of things I’d like feedback on, like Dori suggested to start an Instagram.

– Another thing; we have a PayPal, do we want to use a Square card reader?

Emily: That hooks up to paypal so we should be good.

Dori: This (or Venmo) seems like a pretty useful way of collecting money. And the forms we have now for the job posting and scholarships we can just set up another.

— The other thing is while pulling footage, I was thinking of social media of doing little promo videos; two ideas would be 4th of July, and stuff after Irma from after the hurricane to talk about environmental stories. If you have any other ideas of what to shoot, that would be great.

Dori: If you want to cut a few videos, this could be our launch of an SPJ instagram.

Christiana: Also if we get it up before Sunshine State awards, people will tag us.

Emily: Is there something like a club doing something outside?

Brittany: Like maybe the FAU Archery Club, they’re very dedicated.

Christiana: Maybe we could fly the drone at the SPJ event, depending on the circumstances… we would have to take a look at the setting.


Finance/Current financials (Chris Persaud)
10 minutes

– We have $58,779.36 in our account right now

Probably in August we’ll have to have a budget meeting.


Bank of America account closed, Chase opened
– We are done with them. Chase is opened

Christiana: I have the debit card and we used it today. We got all our money back from Bank of America. After we got it back, we told the lady we’re not coming back and she said ‘we understand.’


Working on Vanguard account (Chris)

– Vanguard is open, Chase isn’t linked yet, we have to get notarized. We need mine and Christiana’s and Koretzky’s present for that. We will make more money investing by Vangaurd than by savings interest.

Dori: So we have a good chunk of change and want to make more off of that.

Christiana: One issue is that the banking laws change so frequently that by the time our paperwork filed, we already had a new sign to form.


Announcements (Christiana) 2 minutes each

– Looking to add new people to the board; not everyone has gone to Dori yet, please let her know and help us get some new voices and people. If you have anyone in mind, let us know. The only real commitment needed is to attend the meeting and to be an SPJ member. Everyone who is running again, make sure to renew your membership. Board members anywhere else in Florida would be great, we need to expand our reach. And Florida members have no dues, we make our money off of the Sunshine State Awards.

– If you are interested in going to EIJ18, let Christiana know; consider applying for two fellowships available to SPJ members. I’ll be closing it on July 1st, I (Christiana) am also looking to go. If you want to go, I just ask you share why you want to go and what you want to do; any questions, let me know!

– Mid Florida Scholarship; with Dori being a finance writer, she noticed there’s a Mid-Florida SPJ Scholarship due in October. So we’re reaching out to them to see what this is about.

DISCUSSION 5 minutes each

– Put out a statement about the First Amendment violations going on at the detention centers. We probably want to get this up Friday. Lulu and Ryan will help.

Dori: Reach out to Barbara Petersen at First Amendment Foundation or Frank from Brechner Center.


Abbi makes a motion to end the meeting, Dori seconds it. All in favor, and the meeting is officially over.


Minutes approved at Aug. 30 meeting.

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