Mar. 9, 2020  

Jan. 13 Meeting Minutes

SPJ Florida Board of Directors Meeting

Jan. 13, 2020 | 7 p.m.





Emily Bloch, president 

Cassidy Alexander, vice president 

Lulu Ramadan, VP of programming 

Michele Boyet, VP of membership 

Brendon Lies, secretary 

Christopher Persaud, treasurer 

Christiana Lilly, past president (excused late)


Richard Gaspar

Lindsey Kilbride

Hannah Lee 

Carina Mask (excused)

Suzette Speaks 

Kristen Grau, student rep 



  • Michael Koretzky, Region 3 





Motion to start the meeting by Richard, Brendon seconds it. The meeting has started.


  • Kristen makes a motion to approve. Richard seconds. It passes.







  • Past Programming


      • Holiday Mixer (Christiana) 
        • It went really well, there were 4 or 5 organizations and 30 people who attended, they really liked the location, lots of networking and pictures. Something that’s an ongoing thing, some organizations don’t have access to their own money, they’re on reimbursement but not much to do about it, and everyone always pays
          Emily: Maybe pre-paying would help? Since we always run into this? Or maybe we can work something out with the venue, or have the bill ahead of time?
      • Jax Mixer (Emily) 
        • We did a smaller more intimate mixer the day after Christmas, downtown in the 5 Points area at a bottle shop called Alewife. They were great to work with and we can definitely do future events there. They also have a “classroom” area for presenting. Went really well, about 10 or 15 people, mix of different publications and radio, we had a few of the alt-weeklies come out, people said they want to see more stuff like this as a chance to meet each other. We also played Journalists against Humanity and it got rave reviews.

      • Lulu, a rundown of past shows: we just had another show in palm beach at the library, it got really great turn out, a bit low, but we had good response, I switched up the slides so it was revamped… we ended with a list on the international fact-checking network, which gives criteria for fact-checkers, a way for people to find the most trustworthy way to look up their news.
        • West Palm Beach County Library programming with FNGS and Order in the Court


  • Upcoming Programming


    • FNGS (Lulu needs volunteers for the ones that are coming up. Please reach out to her on Slack if you’re interested)
      • FNGS @ PBC library in West Palm (Feb. 22) need volunteers!
        Lulu: We also need help with Order in the Court!
        Christiana: We’ll want to change Order in the Court to be more adult, since in the past it was more middle school. We can start a revamp for that presentation!
        Christiana: is it possible on facebook to set up Palm Beach Library as a co-host?
        Lulu: Yes, and we did that on Saturday and it helps, it’s shared on both pages.
        Emily: Anything you would change?
        Lulu: This time went well with all new headlines and new info, new blurbs, when you come up with headlines, I’ll share that tonight with everyone, it was more of an experiment… a lot of people really found the changes helpful.
      • FNGS @ Women’s Center in Boynton Beach (Feb 2020) (Lulu) 
        • Weekend event at a gated, 55+ community
      • FNGS @ South Broward HS in Hollywood (2020)
        • Weekday event during the day

    • So your newsroom wants to unionize. Now what?
      Emily: This is a webinar we want to do about newsrooms that want to unionize, what they need to do, how to start, etc. … I’m in the beginning stages and have been working with the News Guild, a union sponsor that works with different newsroom unions around the country. I’m putting together a panel, one representative from the enquirer, several others, will note them more in detail in Slack … we’re shooting for March 12 to have a webinar, as more comes together I’ll keep you all posted! Anyone can access it, we want it to be anonymous so there are no repercussions for employers who might be snooping around, that’s what we’re playing with right now. Any other questions, drop them in slack!

    • Conventions
      • ACP (Michele and Emily)
        • Emily: Next month we’re heading to San Francisco to do things among Fake News Game Show, Michele will be doing an SEO session, we’re really looking forward to that. Will bring a few decks of Journalists Against Humanity to really make it an extravaganza and use decks as prizes for FNGS. 
      • Christiana: EIJ20 registration opens in March, will be in Washington, if you want to register, Emily has a leftover scholarship from last year, and that’ll be covered by next year’s budget so don’t worry about this year… in the past we email the president why you want to attend and how you represent the chapter, then we can take advantage of early bird prices.
      • FSPA Orlando (Kristen) 
        • Last meeting we mentioned this, any updates?
          Kristen: That’ll be in April, I think I won’t need a hotel, but we mentioned if I did, the money would be there… I’m hosting it for the first time (FNGS), with Christiana at the palm beach library next month, where I’ll get practice… I tagged along with Lulu last weekend and it went really well, that’s about all the updates I have!

    • Undated/Coming soon
      • Koretzky’s Under Fire event gun event (Koretzky)
        • Emily: Moving forward in April, for real this time!
      • Loan-A-Drone/Drone Tour (Carina)
        • Emily: Also moving forward, we’re getting Dr. Drone back into shape, might involve buying a new ipad for the drone but if so then we’ll have the funds… but we’ll worry about that when we get there!
      • News Swap
        • Emily: There wasn’t enough to get it going last semester, but this semester it looks like it’d be going?
          Kristen: Well, we had people who were interested in it, just a matter of finding something that works for everyone… aiming for march, but I’ll keep you updated!






  • High school grant award winners (Christiana)


      • Christiana: We had 33 applicants for the high school news grant this year, from all over the state. Of the 33, though, about 15 were from the same newsroom. But anyway, we have until the end of the day wednesday to announce the winners we’ve narrowed it down to. Pretty much all of them get 0 support from the schools. Last year was a lot of camera equipment, but this year is a lot of printing costs. I asked MPPA if they do any sort of donation program, Koretzky gave us great resources, and reached out to find printing costs that might be done generously to at least help out non-winners.
        Michele: I’m also looking for other vendors we’ve worked with in the past that might be able to help with next steps
        Richard: At Suncoast, there is also a group discount rate
        Emily: If you could send that to Christiana, that would be great!


  • Proposal to name the Sunshine State Awards broadcast sports beat award in honor of Edward Aschoff (with fiance’s permission) 


      • Christiana: So it was Christmas Eve, Edward Aschoff died unexpectedly from pneumonia. He went to UF, loved the gators, covered sports, then went up to the big leagues at ESPN … with permission, if we could maybe rename the sports award to honor him, everyone always talked about how much he loved his job, how he was a journalist and fiance even wanted to give the facts of what happened to him in his honor
        Richard: We also have Tom McCullian, Aron Andrews, etc, other great reporters, but have we ever had maybe a series of names, or temporary names? There are other broadcasters who are living who we could honor as well, or whether we’ve considered in the past as a group other names?
        Emily: That’s really valid, maybe we could do it just for the year?
        Christiana: Well in the case of awards, we typically name them after people who have passed, i.e. Molly Turner award. I’m open to one time, or not at all, but in the past like the Pulse shooting, we did something in the slide show, which was just another idea.
        Cassidy: I like the idea, but maybe we should set up some criteria on how we set up awards in the future, so people don’t come back in the future.
        Christiana: After the Capital Gazette shooting, one was from the PBP, and we didn’t have anything named after him, so criteria would be good, even an in memoriam on our slideshow would be nice.
        Suzette: I do think it’s appropriate for at least a year, but then we can maybe decide.
        Emily: I’m fine with putting a pin on this and moving it over to slack to decide whether something like this would be temporary or permanent.
        Christiana: I’ll also share a story by him so we can become more familiar with who he is.


  • Need to figure out SSA size categories ASAP


      • Emily: We need these sizes so we can move forward, it’s linked in the agenda if you need to refresh yourself; in the past we had large and small newspapers by circulation, but today most journalism rates have really died, so even big newspapers didn’t qualify for large circulation. But we need to figure out a better way to do that.
        Brendon: Maybe by staff numbers?
        Cassidy: I’ve also seen by population numbers covered?
        Christiana: The Florida Magazine association does it by circulation, idk how newspapers do it, but magazines have to be audited to prove circulation.
        Emily: It’s also messy, are we counting digital? I kinda like market area, that makes the most sense. I think it would be up to the publication to make the call.
        Richard: We have issues with categories at student newspapers as well…
        Christiana: Also, with staff size, would we count full-time only, or freelancers as well?
        Richard: Staff can be manipulated more easily
        Lulu: We could just reference the new average
        Emily: Maybe we just make our number lower, re-evaluate that and the Bulldog analysis… we can look at that, it wouldn’t take long, but we do need to do sooner than later … so like Lulu said, maybe we can just pinch our numbers a bit. As long as we use something like over 50,000 or even 40,000 for large, and under for small.
        Lulu: I think the papers you would consider large would all be over 45,000 anyway
        Emily: I’m glad this is in Slack, I think we can just go back to Jason and tell him to keep it as circulation but just reduce the numbers. I think 40,000 would be a good number. We’ll see what Jason says, and we can talk about it more in Slack.


  • Conversation is in Slack
  • Influx of $ because of OpenWater confusion — can we put some in long term savings?


      • Chris: $3,600 checking
        Chris: So the software that we use for SSAwhere our applicants submit, we apparently overpaid by $7,200, so we got that back.
        Emily: To clear it up, it’s because we were splitting it with Region 3, and the back and forth didn’t get cleared up until now.
        Chris: So we have that money to invest or save
        Emily: I can have Chris do a report before we decide, but I think we should take a chunk of that and put it in Vanguard, then look at the rest later, for grants, etc… we’re about to have that open water contract come back, is it gonna be $7,000 just every other year?
        Chris: That’s something to talk to Koretzky about.
        Emily: Then yea, go back to Koretzky and see how much we have to work with, then let us know what we have to still work with… maybe, since we have so many highs chools who need printing, maybe we could come up with a new printing grants? Maybe an alright idea? But we have $7000 extra to work with.


  • Community Engagement Grant (Cassidy)


    • Cassidy: So we had talked about how communities are good for networking, how to come up with money to help newsrooms, and how to further engage… I talked to my editor on how he does it at his newspaper, he says they never spend more than 100, to meet with the communities and engage, especially in times when there aren’t people to go out and meet communities… wanted to see how you guys feel on it, or spending money on it?

      Emily: I think it’s a great idea, for newsrooms who would love to meet their readers! Maybe we could build a little page on our website, what other newsrooms do to reach out, and stories of people reaching out to their readers… and saying if you want to cater to your readers, up subscriptions, here’s what to do, we’ll front the bill, and then we can consider applicants. I think that’s a really cool idea!
      [Cassidy and Chris volunteer]

      Emily: Excellent, you guys talk about what it would say, you don’t have to build it yet, just come back with ideas on what it would say. I would think we could allocate up to $100 for each newsroom, maybe we could say up to $100 for each, up to 5 applicants this school year?

      Chris: Cassidy, do you think it would be more small publications editors?

      Cassidy: I don’t think it would be exclusive to any size of newsroom, it would really benefit everyone. Even a radio station, anyone would benefit. It really fits our goals for media literacy, so it would be good to push those groups together.

      Emily: I’m fine voting a blanket version now! Up to $100 for 5 applicants this school year, so $500 tops?

      Lulu makes a motion, Chris seconds, all in favor … motion passes.

      Emily: And of course we could adjust if we need to.







  • Are you on a committee? 


    • If not, go on Slack and see what interests you!
      Emily: If there’s a program you want to do, please let us know! Lindsay is moving forward on podcast, I’m working on this webinar, so if you have a big idea for this year, please let us know! Anything else to add? [silence] Good!
      Chris makes a motion to adjourn, Christiana seconds it, and the motion passes. The meeting is adjourned.


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