Jan. 24, 2012  

Minutes from Jan. 10, 2012

SPJ South Florida Pro
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
University Press at FAU
777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

The 2012 Board

Michele Boyet, president                                             Devin Desjarlais, director

Jason Parsley, executive vice president                 Rebekah Monson, director

Brandon Ballenger, treasurer                                    Cassie Morien, director

Rachael Joyner, secretary                                           Lucy Reed, director

Dori Zinn, membership vice president                   Gabriel Tyner, director          

Lynn Walsh, programs vice president                   Gideon Grudo, student member

Michael Koretzky, immediate past president        Sergy Odiduro, director

[Approved minutes, March 8, 2012]

Board Members Present

Lucy, Devin, Michele, Rachael, Jason, Dori, Koretzky, Rebekah, Gabriel, Brandon, Cassie, Lynn; excused: Gideon and Sergy


Minutes from Oct. 18 board meeting approved. Motion by Jason, second by Michael Koretzky.

  1. 1.     Financial statusquick look at our money, fiscal year ends Jan. 31 – Michele & Jason

We have a budget of just over $66,000 among all our accounts. Jason will hand over his financial duties to Brandon before the next meeting, when we will have a more detailed update.

  1. 2.     Scholarshipsupdate on this year’s HS/college awards, deadline March 1 Bill & Michele

Lucy, Arlene and Koretzky are on Bill’s committee; contact him if anyone else wants to join. He is chair of the scholarships committee. Rebekah will help make flyers for our new scholarship program. She wants to see a lot of applicants.

  1. 3.     MOE Awards judging if you’ve signed up to judge, starts next month – Brandon

Thanked all for signing up to judge. Judging will be done online. He will provide more updates as the date approaches. Judging opens Feb. 6 and closes Feb. 27.

  1. 4.     Regional convention March 23-24 at University of Florida, who wants to go?Koretzky

Koretzky doesn’t have many details about the convention yet. Our chapter will pay gas and hotel stay for any board members who want to go. We need to have at least one person representing our chapter. Rebekah and Gabriel expressed interest in going. Koretzky suggested they each present a session at the convention.

  1. 5.     Membership updatewe’ve lost some members, we’re going to get them back – Dori 

Dori said we now have 114 members. We lost 38 people last year and 45 the year before. She has a breakdown of the membership trends for our chapter over the past several years.

– Michele suggested dividing up the list of people who didn’t renew and reaching out to them. Dori will make a Google doc. Rebekah suggested using our content management system to automate sending out reminders to renew a month or so before. Devin said we should make the email more creative with a hook to get people to review. Rebekah said we should make a packet available for people to renew at our events.

– Michele suggested making a committee to handle these issues. Dori will chair it; Devin and Brandon volunteered to be on it.

– Lucy: What’s the benefit of having more members? Koretzky: We get local dues money and the more members we have, the more delegates we are allotted at the SPJ National Convention election. Now, however, it is easier to vote for SPJ national positions, and the delegates aren’t as important. Rebekah thinks it is important to get more members, even if we aren’t reaping any financial benefits.


  1. 1.     Sunshine State Awards – category changes and plans for this year’s awards Lucy

– They had two successful committee meetings. They nearly finished putting together the categories. They discussed pushing the application deadline to the end of February to avoid conflicting with a few other large contests. A guy in charge of the submissions for the Orlando Sentinel suggested changing the categories to reflect the style of writing rather than the content, such as deadline story. They also suggested having categories that recognize excellence in a particular beat and have the writer submit several stories. Feb. 3 is Lucy’s expected launch date. She is holding off making the final decisions about categories until she gets the opinions from the board. Michele said we trust her judgment and that she should move ahead with the decisions based on what she’s heard in committee meetings. We need to decide now so we can promote this event a lot. Lucy said she will have the category list to everyone on Friday for thoughts, and then she will send it Tim on Monday.

– Michele: We also need to figure out our marketing strategy. Lucy: Tim needs to be more involved with the marketing. Rebekah suggested doing a postcard to send to the newsrooms (she will design it). The group agreed that postcards will be more effective than emails. We also need to create a list of media contacts for the state, a job that Tim could do.

  1. 2.     McQueen scholarshipmoney was donated to the chapter in McQueen’s name,
    what are we doing with it?

We haven’t done anything in the past few years with the money, $630. Michele: We should give it out at our Sunshine State Awards banquet.

Motion: Rebekah made a motion to add money from our chapter’s scholarship fund to make it $1,000; seconded by Brandon. All approved.

Motion: Lucy made a motion to move the money to the scholarship committee to research McQueen and decide the criteria for awarding someone with the money; Jason seconded. All approved.

  1. 3.     Website improvements Adding SPJ news briefs and testimonials – Dori

Dori put up a blog post with news briefs. This is something she wants to do often to get people to look at our website. She asked the board to be on the lookout for info. She wants to do it once a week. Lynn suggested also highlighting the work that our members are doing. We could ask them to submit ideas. Dori said a few hundred people a week visit our website. Koretzky wondered if it was worth our time investment to do this. He thinks SPJ National does a good job marketing SPJ stuff, but it is just buried on their website. If we want to drive people to the website for hits, we could hire a person to blog about media news, following the model of the Daily Pulp. He suggested spending our time devoting a page to each winner of the Sunshine State Awards — it would be a good way to drive traffic to our site. Koretzky agreed to be in charge of it. Lynn and Cassie said they could help.

  1. 4.     2012 goals, program ideaseveryone

Media guide – Lucy suggested creating a media guide. She knows other chapters make money with it. Koretzky said PRSA used to make one. Michele will find out if they still do it. If they don’t, we could make a guide online that is searchable.

More meet-ups – Rebekah wants to have more in Miami and Broward. She thinks we need to have more little events throughout the year. The hardest part in the past was securing a location. We need to find consistent places in each county to hold the event and then rotate them. Michele’s goal is to set up three in advance before starting the first. Rebekah will chair the committee on this and create a list of tasks. Devin and Gabriel volunteered to help.

Brandon’s ideas – We need to meet some of the things we say we do in the mission statement, such as diversity. We should also do a survey to ask members what they want. Cassie suggested doing it on Facebook or Twitter. Lynn said that we could make the survey short, five questions or so. Rebekah, Michele, and Cassie will work on the poll project.

Combining STA banquet with programs – Koretzky wants to have the SPJ regional convention down here and do it whenever we want instead of in March/April, when it is traditionally done. We should combine our STA banquet with the regional convention and have great programs and sessions. He would even consider having the regional convention down here permanently if it’s awesome. We should try to combine all our ideas for programming into the regional convention. Koretzky is willing to put in the work for this if the board is interested. We could shoot for next year.

  1. 5.     Next meeting – Lucy’s groovy new Newsworthy Café in Fort Lauderdale?

– Lucy gave an overview of her new Newsworthy Café. We discussed using it as a venue for meetings and other events.

– We will shoot for our next meeting at the end of February. Michele will send out a Doodle.

– Rebekah said we should have a networking event at the end of January just to get people together and talk about what they want out of our chapter for the year. She has people asking her when SPJ’s first event is. Several people suggested making it a regular event, maybe the last Monday of the month and a different county each month, from 7 p.m. to 9ish. The first event is Jan. 31. Rebekah will find a place by the end of the week.

MOTION: Jason made a motion to adjourn the meeting; seconded by Rebekah. All approved.


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