Mar. 25, 2012  

Minutes from March 8, 2012

SPJ Board of Directors Meeting

7:30 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2012

Newsworthy Café | Fort Lauderdale


Board Members Present

Michele, Jason, Brandon, Rachael, Lynn, Koretzky, Devin, Rebekah, Cassie, Lucy, Gabriel, Sergy, Gideon


1. Approve last month’s minutes –

MOTION: Rebekah made a motion to approve; seconded by Brandon. All approved.

2. Last two meet-upswonderful video by Gabriel, great work Dori and Devin

– Quick review of the first two meet-ups. The board discussed why the second event had lower attendance. The consensus was that the first event appealed to people looking for a job, and the second event was more specialized.

3. MOE Awards judgingThank you – Brandon

Brandon thanked the board for judging. He gave a quick review of how it went. We were the only group that got all our judging done on time. Kudos all.

4. Regional conventionMarch 23-24 at University of Florida

– Rebekah & Gideon are going. They will be representing our chapter.


1. Sunshine State Awards505 entries as of 6 p.m. today. There was a spike today, and tomorrow is the last day. Last year total: 714. Extend one week? – Michele, Jason, Lucy

We expect to get more entries tomorrow, but Michele suggested extending the deadline another week.

– Jason said a lot of the top 100 newspapers entered fewer pieces. This is likely due to the fact that publications aren’t paying for entries for their employees as much anymore.

– (Michele) We have to start thinking about next year’s event. Planning needs to start soon if we are going to revamp it.

MOTION: Rachael made a motion to extend the Sunshine State Awards contest entry deadline one week; Cassie seconded. All approved.

– The board discussed how to market the deadline extension. It was agreed that everyone needs to reach out to individuals. Jason also suggested that we reach out to radio and TV stations, telling them we’ve separated the categories. Jason will draft the press release and Lynn will create a list of TV and radio stations to send it to.

– We will be judging awards for Pittsburgh and San Diego SPJ chapters. Michele will send out the info later this month.

2. Scholarship 10 applicants, committee choose one winner for $2,500 prize – Bill

(Bill) The deadline was March 1. We had 10 candidates from a good cross section of institutions. The candidates are outstanding. The committee came to a consensus, recommending a candidate from Miami-Dade County for the $2,500 award. Bill went on to give details about the person. The plan is to announce the winner by April 1. He plans to present the award during the Sunshine State Awards banquet.

MOTION: Rebekah made a motion to approve the committee’s recommendation. Devin seconded the motion. All approved.

3. Mike McQueen GrantWe voted to make it $1,000, Bill did some research, use Northwest Broadcast News Foundation’s application as a model – Bill

– Bill did some research on how other organizations similar to ours handle awarding a grant to a working journalist. He suggested awarding a $500 grant this year to test the waters, and then do it again next year to see if there is a big demand for this type of assistance. He thinks it would be wise to give this award out over a couple of years because this is supposed to be a memorial grant. He wants to “get McQueen’s name out there.” He would like to name a winner at the Sunshine State Awards.

– Lucy thinks we can come up with a way to raise $500 per year for this scholarship. Even if we just pass a hat around for donations at our events. Lucy said we need to make the grant more focused – not just an award for a working journalist.

– Bill suggested that it be awarded to a journalist who is interested in continuing his/her education. Michele said we need to be sure that we give the award to a journalist who is working. Bill’s committee will do some research and make a recommendation.

MOTION: Rebekah made a motion to approve the use of $1,000 for the scholarship split into two awards to be given out over two years. She also made a motion to push the research back to Bill’s committee; Brandon seconded. All approved.

4. First Amendment Foundation Approve $265 for annual dues, we have been a member for years (as long as Tim has been involved with the chapter, at least) – Michele

– Lucy wanted to know more about the organization before our chapter gives them money. Koretzky agreed to do some research to present to the board at the next meeting.

– The issue will be tabled until the next board meeting.

5. Meet-ups How planning is going for the next two – Rebekah

– Norm Kent and Carlos Miller will be presenting at the next meet-up on photography and their scuffles with the law. The plan is to host the event in Miami. Rebekah is trying to get approval to have the event at Miami-Dade College. She will be posting the event info within the week. The date and time: March 26 at 7 or 7:30 p.m.

– The next event will be a quick guide to backgrounding for a story. Lynn and SPJ member Karla Bowsher will be speaking. The event will be in West Palm Beach; Rebekah is still trying to decide on a place.

– Rebekah said if these meet-ups are going to be a priority for the chapter, we need to get a projector and screen so we don’t have to keep searching for a borrowed on at the last minute. Koretzky said he could probably get some discounted ones. She said we could also use it for the Sunshine State Awards.

– Michele suggested that the board collaborate more with Rebekah so we can plan more events ahead of time, perhaps make a Google doc to foster communication. Rebekah said she needs help. Michele would also like to get a quote on what the projector would cost before we vote on it.

– There will be no meet-up in June because of the Sunshine State awards. The SPJ National Convention is in September in Fort Lauderdale, so we could attach our meet-ups to those.

6. Future programming? – All

Sunshine State Awards Banquet

– (Michele) Is everyone OK with having it in June? Lucy said that in committee metting they discussed dates. Some felt June was a little late. She thinks we need to just look at a calendar and pick a day. We will continue having the event on Saturday night because people drive here from distant places. – Jason visited Gulf Stream in Hallandale as a possible location for the event.

– The board discussed how to handle the budget: Should the goal be to have a revenue-neutral event? Koretzky said that if we spend money, the event should have some kind of journalistic value. Lucy said that the event does have value because people like to be recognized for their work. Koretzky suggested having a speaker. Jason said that a few of the winners should talk about the “story” behind their story. The board went back and forth discussing whether to have a speaker or not.

– Michele is the chair of the banquet committee, and they will discuss the event in further detail. Jason, Cassie, Lynn, and Sergy will be on the committee.

Event idea – Lynn suggested doing some kind of job event that involves the concept of speed dating. Rebekah said she will put the idea in the meet-up Google doc for more discussion.

7. Next meetingBack to Boca in May? – All

– We will continue to alternate between meetings in Boca and Fort Lauderdale to be fair to everyone on the board. Michele will send out a Doodle.

MOTION: Lucy made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Rebekah. All approved.

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