Jun. 9, 2011  

Minutes from May 25, 2011

SPJ South Florida Pro Chapter
Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 7:30-9 p.m.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood

Roll Call

Members present: Michael Koretzky, Rebekah Monson, Dori Zinn, Lucy Reed, Jake Cline, Rachael Joyner, Jason Parsley, Bill Whiting, Arlene Satchell, Tim Dodson (chapter administrator). Excused absences: Michele Boyet, Sergy Odiduro, Darcie Lunsford, Lisa Lucas



1. Awards Stuff (Tim)

–      Tim: He gave an overview of the entry process. For the most part it went well, but a few key publications who entered last year didn’t. At least one of them was because they never got the email soliciting entries. Next year may directly contact, but they were on the list to receive the emails.

–      Rebekah said that it may be worth investing in paper announcements for next year.

–      Tim: He discussed the need for scholarship sponsors. One key sponsor pulled, and he hasn’t heard back from the other.

–      Tim: We have 23 RSVPs so far, which is pretty good. This includes zero board members, which means we need to go online to RSVP.

–      Koretzky will do the presentation PowerPoint. The board has agreed to MC in segments. Michele will spearhead that. Rebekah agreed to design and print the programs.

–      Koretzky said there will be no scholarship presentation.

–      Tim: Silent auction/raffle – Last year we netted $296 from it. We had very few bids. Not really worth it from all the work that we did. He secured a 2-night stay at the Betsy Hotel in South Beach and free breakfast, a $1,000 value. We need more prizes. Tim proposed putting the few items we have online so our whole membership can bid. Rebekah said we could sell raffle tickets to everyone and do the drawing at the event. Koretzky suggested we email about this further.

–      Koretzky: He thinks that goodie bags are not a really good use of the board’s time. He wonders if we should continue it. The board deliberated and no one seemed to think they were a big deal. Lucy said that usually goodie bags are filled with sponsor stuff.

–      $44,000 was the cost for the reception last year. The money we took in was $39,000. We charged $39 per head. Jason said we need to make it affordable but we can’t price people out of it.

–      Koretzky: He thinks we need to change the way we do this event because we are losing money on it. We should be spending that money on scholarships and programs. If we are doing this event, we need to plan it way in advance and do it right so we don’t lose money. He thinks that we shouldn’t worry about fixing it this year, but plan on changes for next year.

–      Rebekah: On behalf of the board offered a big thanks to Tim for all his hard work this year.

2. Chapter Finances

–      $23,538.58 checking account, $45,425.44 savings account. Tim is working on the chapter annual report and Koretzky offered to help. Due June 1.

–      Jason: He gave an overview of opening a new CD. Bank United is waving all the requirements. We just need to sign some paperwork. Then we have to move the money from Bank of America to the new bank. $33,700 is the amount we are putting in.

–      Lucy: Should we put more of our money in a CD? Tim said the interest we earn is negligible.

ACTION: Jason made a motion to put $35,000 into the CD. Lucy seconded. All in favor.

3. Meet-ups (Rebekah and Dori)

–      Next one is in July, writing for SEO, probably held at the downtowner in Broward. We will probably be doing one every other month. We will be partnering with the UM chapter for a build your own blog/website meet-up once school starts (August or September, most likely). We are always looking for more speakers. We want to keep this a free, casual event.

4. Paper Ball (Koretzky)

–      The event will be at FAU this summer on a Saturday afternoon. The student newspaper is paying for the bulk of the event, and Koretzky got a grant. We are looking for people who worked at newspapers before computers. He will get back to us for a specific date.

5. Unethical Press (Koretzky)

–      He gave an overview of the event. FAU completed in April over the course of two weekends. It was lauded by SPJ national. He passed around the issue. Everyone had a great time. Other schools want to do it next year. The money SPJ put it went for food for students and advisers over the course of the two weekends.


6. Will Write for Food

–      Rachael: Overview of the event. Now in its third year, our chapter has sponsored this event, which brings in students from around the state (and some from around the country) to take over the Homeless Voice, which is the largest homeless publication in the country and is based out of Hollywood, Fla. and run by the COSAC shelter, located in Hollywood. Students write, edit, design an entire paper over Labor Day weekend in September. Funding is for meals and hotel rooms near the shelter for the students to stay in.

–      Koretzky: We need $1,000 from the chapter to do it again. We are getting matching grants from FCPA and SPJ national. We also need advisers. We will have this year’s event on Labor Day weekend. We will vote on the budget by email.

7. Scholarship Revamp (Bill)

–      Bill: He sent out an email offering an overview of his findings. He did a review of other orgs. giving out scholarships. We are giving them out the same way we did 30 years ago. We need to come up with a formal process and program.

–      Koretzky: In the past, the scholarship program was controversial because one person ran it and the people from their paper won for most of the years. Koretzky took it over and didn’t have time to make it better. What does Bill need from the board to execute his plan?

–      Bill: Needs parameters from the board, but he thinks that one larger award would be our best bet. He thinks we need to set aside a bulk amount of money for our scholarships.

–      Koretzky: In the past, the amount of the scholarship varied a lot.

–      Bill said he will put together a formal proposal.

–      Lucy suggested further conversation at a committee level. We will get more done that way. She said she would help. Koretzky and Arlene want to help, too.

–      Rebekah thinks it is also important to keep those spot scholarships. They are good for drawing people to events.

8. Helen Thomas Award (Brandon Ballenger, SPJ member)

–      Brandon: Went over a resolution to reinstate the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. He cited several prominent SPJ figures and journalists who do not agree with the award being retired. He took issue with how SPJ didn’t take the membership’s opinion into account before making their decision. He believes that it was not a democratic process. He wants everyone to be involved in the decision. “It looks like we are punishing her for her speech.” He disagrees with Darcie Lunsford’s position to retire the award. If 10 chapters sign the resolution, they can put it to a vote from the membership. He wanted to make us aware. Email him if you want to get involved with SPJ reform, the group he’s a part of.

–      Koretzky asked what the board thinks. Rachael thinks that we should ask our membership what they think since we represent them. Dori agreed.

–      Bill: SPJ made a mistake naming an award after her in the first place.

–      Board decided to table vote until next meeting on where we all stand on the reform. Will put info on website for membership to read and comment.

9. Rebekah motioned to approve minutes from April 7. Jake second. All in favor.


Rachael motioned to adjourn meeting. Koretzky second. All in favor.



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