Aug. 20, 2011  

Minutes from August 9, 2011

SPJ South Florida Pro Chapter
7:15 pm, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011
University Press at FAU
777 Glades Road, Boca Raton



Members present: Michael Koretzky, Dori Zinn, Lucy Reed, Rachael Joyner, Jason Parsley, Bill Whiting, Michele Boyet, Lisa Lucas, Sergy Odiduro, Darcie Lundsford 


ACTION: Michele motioned to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Dori seconded. Motion passed unanimously.


This is our second year of deficit spending. Tim recommended that we find another stream of revenue. We won’t be spending $500 per year on tax returns anymore because they raised the amount of income needed to file. We will also be saving on expenses next year because that national convention is in September. Our accounts: $37,000 CD; $21,000 checking, $10,000 savings.


 ROCK OF AGESwhat happened with protest and lawsuit – Jason

The city filed a response saying that the charges should be dismissed. We have to now file another response. The city hired outside counsel to take on the case. Basically, we are battling for damages now. If our side wins the case, our local chapter will receive the money for damages. No matter what happens with the lawsuit, we made our point and protected the First Amendment. This endeavor was a success.

WILL WRITE FOR FOOD third annual incarnation of this journalism event at a homeless shelter – Michele

We got some amazing applicants ― more than we needed to select. Students from FAU, UCF, UF, Flagler were chosen, along with eight students from out of state, including one from Alaska. We’ll be giving the out-of-state students a $100 voucher toward their travel, and they will pay the rest. Everyone seems talented and edgy. Gideon Grudo, editor of the University Press (FAU’s student newspaper), will be the editor of the issue. We also have a lot of people coming in to be advisers. One difference this year is that we will spend more time covering the community. The event is Labor Day weekend. All production will be done on Sunday night of that weekend.

Koretzky: If anyone is interested in helping, let me know. Dori will be covering the event from SPJ’s perspective, something that hasn’t been done before.

PAPER BALLquick details on doing it again, with SPJ national money – Koretzky

They got coverage from local and national media. The blog covering the event got 73,000 page views.

Gideon: We are ready to duplicate the project, with all the supplies packed up and ready to go. I think it will be a really neat event for other students to put on. It really makes you appreciate how easy we have it now.


1. SUNSHINE STATE AWARDS BANQUET BREAKDOWNthe numbers, your opinions of the evening, and your ideas for next year. – Michele

We did a great job cutting our expenses from last year, but we spent a little more because we moved the contest online. This year we had to pay the initial setup fee, which is why it was extra money. The contest is a great idea for us. The question is: Do we want to have the banquet again? We barely ever break even on it. This year we had 75 attendees, and the year before we had 100.

Koretzky: This year we expanded the college awards and partnered with FCPA. This will be an extra revenue stream for us in the future ― this year it brought in a little over $500.

Michele: The big thing we are missing is the ability to pay for entries online. That is something we are looking into for next year.

Jason: In order to cut the cost we should try to piggyback the banquet on another event. We need to make it worth people’s while to drive down. Especially since papers aren’t paying for their employees to come to this event anymore.

Karla: How did the banquet start?

Koretzky: Many SPJ chapters hold awards banquets and are successful in places like Chicago. It is harder in places that are more spread out like us.

Darcie: The year we held the banquet at the Cultural Center was much better. The venue was more conducive to getting people to show up and mingle.

Koretzky agreed that we need to partner with another organization or event. He suggested that next year we make it part of the regional convention in Fort Lauderdale.

Darcie and Lucy said that making the event late in September may not be a good idea. It is too far out after the news cycle.

Dori: What if we made it part of the regional convention?

Koretzky: Do we want to get rid of the banquet?

Most of the group agreed that it is important to do something, but it needs to be redefined. What are we doing with it? Should our goal be to make the banquet revenue neutral?

Lucy talked to most of the people who came to the event. They liked the food and the shortness. Many wanted a speaker. She thinks we should not worry about making it revenue neutral. We should treat it as program. We owe it to our chapter members to recognize the good work they do.

Darcie: What if we make it a celebration of journalism?

Koretzky suggested that we set up a banquet subcommittee to come up with the options, research them, and bring them back to the board at the next meeting. Michele was selected to chair the committee.

2. CHAPTER ADMINISTRATORwe talk about Tim behind his back: what he makes, what he does, what we want him to do. (Tim knows about this and has some cost-saving ideas of his own) – Jason

We pay Tim $12,000 a year to be our chapter administrator. We have discussed this already with him. Tim suggested taking a three-month furlough each year that would cut his pay by 20%. The months would be whenever we choose, and they would not have to be all together. This would put his pay at $9,000 per year.

Lisa read off his job description and wondered how many of these things he still does.

Michele: Right now we have an active board, but what will happen when we aren’t here? Also, is there anything we want him to do that he isn’t doing now?

Darcie: Other chapters do fundraisers that bring in a lot of revenue. Maybe we could get Tim to work on that.

Lucy: I first thought we should give him more money and get him to be the executive director for our chapter. But now I’m torn. His fee shouldn’t be nearly half of our spending budget for the year.

Sergy: Tim is a resource, and he is efficient. However, his job description does have a lot of duplication. Maybe we should re-evaluate his salary on a yearly basis based on what we need.

Koretzky: If we cut his salary to $5,000, we could balance our budget. We shouldn’t be spending 50% of our budget to him. Tim will do anything you ask him to do, but he isn’t taking any leadership and he should for the money we are paying him now. Koretzky requested a subcommittee be formed to look at: 1) Just paying Tim to handle the Sunshine State Awards – What does he think they are worth?; 2) Offering him a bonus for getting extra entries and sponsorships; 3) What will he do for $6,000?; 4) What duties can we throw to other people for less money? Jason will chair the subcommittee.

3. HELEN THOMAS AWARDwe need to make a decision on this resolution – Brandon Ballenger

Since he spoke in May, three pro chapters have signed on to the resolution to reinstate SPJ’s Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. The language has been changed a little to acknowledge that her comments were regretful and that it is a free speech issue.

Darcie gave an overview of why the national board made the decision to retire the award. The award’s namesake became more important than the people who received it. This is not a First Amendment issue. Darcie thinks that the board needs to make a decision on where they stand, and the chapter membership should be considered.

Brandon: Retiring the award is bad for SPJ’s image because it looks like SPJ bows to pressure.

Each board member weighed in on the resolution. Everyone had mixed feelings, but the majority leaned toward reinstating the award.

ACTION: Jason made a motion to support the reinstatement of the award. Dori seconded. Rachael, Michele, Dori, Sergy, Lisa, and Jason voted for. Lucy, Bill, Darcie, and Koretzky voted against. The motion passed 6 to 4.

4. NEW ORLEANS SPJ’s national convention is Sept. 25 in New Orleans. Who are we sending? – Koretzky

Darcie: We need to decide if the delegates vote their conscience or vote how the chapter decides.

ACTION: Michele made a motion to let the delegates vote their conscience. Bill seconded. Everyone voted in favor except Darcie. The motion passed 9 to 1.

Sergy won an award to go to the convention. Her airfare, hotel, and convention entrance are paid. Koretzky is going because he is running for regional director. SPJ member Gideon Grudo (FAU student newspaper editor-in-chief) wants to run for the student national board seat. He is from New Orleans, so he doesn’t need anything but airfare and admission to the conference.

ACTION: Rachael made a motion to cap the spending for sending delegates for the national convention at $2,500. Darcie seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

ACTION: Darcie made a motion to approve Sergy, Lisa, and Brandon as delegates and Dori as an alternate. Michele seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

5. SCHOLARSHIP REVAMP moving forward for a 2012 rollout – Bill Whiting

The plan is to formalize the process and give out a larger scholarship. The idea is that a larger award will help a person get an education to become a journalist. The scholarship will be awarded to high school students or recent grads. We will target students who are excelling in school and demonstrate a desire to seek employment as a journalist. The deadline will be Feb. 1, 2012. This will allow us to announce in time for spring school award ceremonies. The award will be $2,500. We will heavily publicize the winner. The scholarship subcommittee will bring the finalists to the board, which will choose a final winner.

Koretzky: Maybe we should task Tim with trying to organize fundraising to support our scholarships, and we could put names on them. We need to vote on this item at our next meeting so we can start publicizing it.

ACTION: Dori made the motion to adjourn the meeting. Darcie seconded. Motioned passed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 9:56 p.m.


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