Jun. 17, 2019  

Minutes from May 2, 2019 Meeting

SPJ Florida Board of Directors Meeting

May 2, 2019 | 7 p.m.

South Florida Gay News | Wilton Manors





Christiana Lilly, president

Abbi Perry, vice president (remote)

Brandon Ballenger, VP of membership (absent)

Emily Bloch, VP of programming (remote)

Brendon Lies, secretary

Christopher Persaud, treasurer (remote)


Cassidy Alexander (remote)

Michele Boyet

Richard Gaspar (absent)

Carina Mask (absent)

Lulu Ramadan (remote)

Suzette Speaks

Hope Dean (student rep)



Michael Koretzky, Region 3 Director

Jason Parsley, past president



QUICK UPDATES // REVIEWS 2 minutes each

  • Approve last meeting’s minutes
    • Christiana makes a motion to begin the meeting, it passes. The meeting begins.
    • Christiana: We need three officers to approve the chapter report, look over the budget and confirm the report by May 20th; Chris is not able to do this. (Lulu, Hope, and Koretzky volunteer.)



Finances (Chris)

  • Chris: We have $8,637.16 in our Chase account.
    Our Vanguard investment account, which we invested $60K in, is up $1,953.98Update via email.
  • Christiana: Our priority with budget is making sure it looks good.
  • Chris: The budget is on slack, if you want to take a look at. / Christiana: if we could look at this by May 20, that would be great.

Membership (Brandon)

  • Christiana: Brandon is gone, so I can’t get an update. But anyway, the database isn’t listing properly, so please check your membership and make sure it didn’t lapse. Some members are struggling to renew, either logging in or not getting notices… don’t just refer to the database.
  • Abbi: looking into renewing, but shouldn’t have needed to this soon
  • Koretzky: if it makes you feel better, there are two national members not listed on the database. They just need to make sure those who are listed are members… I’ll check on your case, Abbi.

Programs (Emily)


  • CMA New York (Emily and Michele)
    • Emily: Was a big success; talked to students who had Fake News Game Show at their school, and one was so successful that it got a grant from their college. Continues to be a big hit, shared across the country.
    • Michelle: it’s always wonderful to educate students.
  • Region 3 Conference (Christiana)
    • It was basically a theme around trauma and stress in journalism. I got panelists for speaking there, one spoke on weather, another started a trauma facebook group and was from Orlando. It was really great, the attendance was kinda low, about 50 people but that counted panelists. Wasn’t very strongly promoted by the school. But, Shannon put together a really great program, included topics like reporting on the U.S. Mexico border… two people who were psychologists. Was really successful.


  • FSPA State Convention (Koretzky)
    • Koretzky: Was nice to keep a continued relationship. Their new Executive Director is keen with working with all the juralist organizations. I said I couldn’t promise anything… He said he would love to have SPJ, NAHJ have a table at the convention. One thing he mentioned was scholarships, have people apply on site for their scholarships to help drive people to your table. If you have a highschool student scholarship, he said he’s totally down with that.
    • Christiana: I sent him that, I think he’s the reason we had so many high school grant applicants.
    • Koretzky: There’s a lot of opportunity… $50 amtrak ride and $15 uber to the hotel. I would go again just because I like this guy, and nationally SPJ needs to do more with highschool. Won’t cost you guys much, will look good, and will set the tone for how other chapters handle scholastic press.


  • Say What?! in Lake Worth (Christiana, Chris and Lulu)
    • Christiana: We went to this event, to keep up with our efforts in partnership with libraries
    • Lulu: I had to duck out a bit early… it was fantastic, there was a really good group of people who came in. I thought it was a really good mix, a poet came up first, they did a Q&A, people got drinks then played scrabble…
    • Chris: Christiana had refereed a team, I refereed a couple, couple people from the Palm Beach Post were there…
    • Christiana: Some mentioned it was stressful, and we said this is how it is on deadline!
  • Young Authors Program in Vero Beach (Koretzky)
    • We won a chapter grant for $500, which will reimburse us for this event and can go towards more
    • Christiana: Thank you Emily for applying for that, they actually gave us more money than we requested.
    • Koretzky: Not only did the guy we sent have a good time, but the school district that does this program and the millionaire who runs it now love and adore SPJ… if we can put this in a box and do more stuff like this, that would be awesome. SPJ is trying to do more stuff with highschool. It’s like crystal meth, you have to get them young. You guys have also done with SPJ a program where highschool teachers can email SPJ and get journalist speakers in their class, between Palm Beach and Miami Dade… it’s important to me that you apply for chapter awards, because I love the sour looks on other faces when you win.


  • Detained webinar with NPPA (Christiana and Suzette)
    • Christiana: The last big event of our calendar year… we did a webinar with the National Press Association, one said how he got detained by DHS… so he wanted to do something about how to handle detention, I said let’s do something together. Photographers get targeted more with big equipment… Suzette did a wonderful job moderating.
    • Suzette: It was really cool, we had (four) guests, we had a robust discussion with several attorneys and organizations like the Knight Foundation, who help journalists when they need police force during situations when they’re trying to do their jobs. And we don’t often know what to do when we’re a freelancers, so it was really great bringing a lot of issues to light what one might do in unexpected situations. We got a lot of feedback online, questions were pouring in. (Christiana: 78 people registered) I think it was good, gae both organizations exposure. And great value for those who were watching… Even some people who contacted me afterwards really liked it.
    • Christiana: There was a glitch, so the webinar wasn’t recorded, unfortunately we don’t have that this time. But all the journalists did have contact, which we can still share with people.



  • WordPress workshop at General Provision May 16
    • Previous one didn’t have a good turn out, so we postponed it and moved it to a weekday
    • Christiana: Now we’re aiming for a weekday, there will be pizza. If you’re interested, we have that on our facebook events.
  • Continued partnership with Palm Beach County Library System
    • Fake News Game Show in Boca Raton on May 9
      • Emily: Lulu hosted a fake news game show, now we’re doing another on may 9 at one of the boca raton branches. Same game as the last round, we’re looking forward to it.
      • Christiana: If anyone wants to volunteer, let us know. Even if you haven’t done it before, then we have more people who would know how to do it in the future.
      • Emily: None of it is very hard labor, more just having bodies and moral support and counting basic tally marks.
    • Summer reading list
      • Christiana: Would be cool to have books relating to journalism, they just want to have us with books and any posters of people pretending to read, if you have any books on journalism that you would like to share with the library that you’d like to get added on that reading list, just reach out and email to me or Emily. And if you have any cool banned books that you would recommend.
    • Media matters panel
      • They’re rescheduling that for July, so we’ll have another programming item that month.
  • Journalists Against Humanity
    • Emily: The background is, we have a card deck drafted, it’s been cleaned up, we’re moving forward with getting them printed. Koretzky went to the printer he used in the past, and looked for the smallest sample we would get before we go on to a bigger production. We also got a $500 grant to help with production.
    • Koretzky: The mininum you can print is 5, it’s $42 per deck. More decks is cheaper, this company is the cheapest company I’ve found to do this work reliably. Turnaround time is about 3 to 5 weeks. It’s paying for the experiment, when you order 25 decks or more, it’s half the cost. And with another discount, it can get down to about $15 per deck… I can finish the cards this weekend. I basically reverse engineered cards against humanity, I’ll send it to them whenever you’re ready.
    • Christiana: We have $500 for this, so we can use it all, or spend less on it… Emily: we should go all out, if it’s a couple hundred more, maybe we could have a cut-off, and have other people be able to download them.
    • Koretzky: SoI can just work with Emily within these $500 dollars, I’ll reach out to you (emily) this weekend.

Scholarships/Student Affairs (Christiana)

  • College scholarships
    • We still have a month to go, and I know scholarships are low, so if everyone on the committee could do a second round of emails telling people to apply… let’s try to get those numbers up.

Sunshine State Awards (Jason)

  • We are now planning the ceremony (late July), if anyone is interested in being a part of that, please reach out to Jason or Christiana
  • Please help with sponsorships and raffle items
  • Christiana: I’m working with the Dalmar Hotel to use their space, and am finding sponsors and out of town guests. Will be finalizing that in the coming days, if you’re interested in planning that, let me know. Pilar, because she’s awesome, got a sponsorship from Brightline, SFGN always gives money… we already have $2,000 in sponsorships. If your company wants to do a monetary sponsorship or donate items, ask your boss about that. If you want to help, let me or Jason know.

Drone (Brandon and Carina)

  • Christiana: I’ll speak on behalf of Brandon and Carina. No one reached out to that classroom that reached out to us in January… should we discontinue the program, or sell to Region 3?
    • Koretzky: I could buy it back. My goal is to use the grant for the Loan a Drone, so I’ll find someone with the region who can use it if we need to.
    • Christiana: I’m going to have a more serious conversation with Carina to see if she can at least be a classroom visitor. It’s not about the promotion, it’s more about having someone who can go to classrooms and take over.




Announcements (Christiana) 2 minutes

  • The executive director of SPJ resigned, we have signed a letter with SPJ DC and other chapters sharing our disapproval of how the word got out.
    • Christiana: We found out at midnight, they didn’t put it on social media, wasn’t sent out to regions… SPJ DC emailed me, and was also feeling very slighted, so they put together a letter of other chapters coming together, including us, that’s linked on the agenda if you want to read… it states we stand for transparency, but this wasn’t done here. The president of SPJ put out a statement saying she’s gone but everything is fine…
    • Koretzky: I incurred the wrath of our president by replying to the people who wrote that letter, and we’re told not to say anything because of negotiations. So I said I think we could have handled this better. But essentially, I am not alllowed to discuss the contents of this dispute, but because they are being very Maduro about this, is if the board takes a vote, and if you don’t like the vote, you can’t say anything. But because she hadn’t taken a vote and she’s an “autocratic asshole,” I can talk about what I want, and they can’t talk “shit.” We’re still working out for a meeting to clarify what happened… The board is very mild and doesn’t always speak up to ask what happened, so I get a lot of off-list emails that ask why I didn’t say something, those “pussies.”
  • The Excellence in Journalism conference is Sept. 5-7 in San Antonio. Early bird registration deadline is June 28. If you are interested in representing the chapter, please write Christiana why you’d like to go and your contributions to the chapter.
    • Also, because in the past we’ve had a lot of people who wanted to go, just let me know why you should be able to go and what great things you’ve done for the chapter.
    • Emily: Will they announce the winners of the fellowships before or after early bird?
      • Koretzky: Yes, and thank you for the reminder.
      • Christiana: Suzette, you were interested? You have until tomorrow.
      • Jason: We got an email last week that only four people had applied, but Brendon just applied. So you guys have a good shot.
    • Koretzky: Christiana is giving a session, and it was approved, so she’s going.
    • Christiana: There’s also a Scripps leadership conference in Atlanta on May 31 and June 1 coming up, and I went a few years ago with Dori and Michele… you network, meet people, learn about new apps, so this might be something that your jobs like you to go to, we would just need to cover your plane tickets
      • Koretzky: and $75 per application, but it’s hard to say, this is run by the executive director of SPJ. She’s supposed to be speaking there, but I don’t think she will be. If anyone wants to go, send me an email and I’ll try to get you info.
  • Christiana: This is our last meeting before elections. Think about if you’d like to return to the board and in what capacity. It would be nice to get some contested elections, if you have anyone to recommend.



DISCUSSION 15 minutes

  • Request for $500 matching grant for News Swap program (Koretzky)
    • The paper’s biggest critics get to publish an issue. Whatever they want in there. And the editors will help.
      • Koretzky: Like always, I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t getting money back. The basic gist of this program is to give the people at FAU who hate the newspaper a chance to run the newspaper themselves, and are going to have a chance to learn for themselves how hard it is to run a newspaper. If this works, I will apply for an SPJ Foundation national grant to spread this nationally, just so you know every time you’ve funded something that’s successful, it’s been very easy to go to the foundation to ask for more.
      • Jason: Do you think they’ll actually participate? They hate the newspaper but they’re lazy
      • Koretzky: The one time we did something similar, we invited the president of the university to stop by, and all the administrative people will come if they know they’ll get to see the president there. I think we’ll learn a lot from this, and I’ve gotten grants from similar stuff to this in the past… You funded these programs, and they were successful. We’re gonna set it up so they’re the editors and we’re basically the staff. The grant will pay for the printer to print for us, since they normally don’t print over the summer.
      • Christiana: motion was made by Chris to approve grant. All in favor say aye… motion passes.
  • Jason: So I was thinking about where my money would go when I die and I was thinking about SPJ Florida. But some people wouldn’t like sponsoring a nonprofit, so I think we should become our own nonprofit and get into the Community Foundation of Broward so that people who want to give up donations could do so to us as a non profit. We would still be SPJ, I’m sure there are other chapters who are tax exempt.
    • Koretzky: You guys can create your own foundation, any chapter can do that, it’s just a lot of paperwork, but it can be done.
    • Jason: Anyway, the Community Foundation in Broward creates a lot of different funds, and especially in the era of Trump, this is a great time to say, support the media.
  • Christiana: Before we go, I would like to congratulate Jason and SFGN for winning an SDX award.
  • Christiana: Motion to end the meeting: Brendon makes a motion, Hope seconds. Meeting is officially over.

Meeting minutes were approved on Oct. 10, 2019

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