Oct. 12, 2015  

Minutes from Oct. 8, 2015


SPJ Florida Board of Directors Meeting 7:30 pm | Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 Panera Bread | Fort Lauderdale


Dori Zinn, president PRESENT

Christiana Lilly, executive vice president PRESENT

Jason Parsley, membership vice president PRESENT

Michele Boyet, programs vice president PRESENT

Christopher Persaud, treasurer PRESENT

Abbi Perry, secretary PRESENT

Brandon Ballenger, immediate past president PRESENT

Rachel Wang, student member PRESENT

Megan Fitzgerald, director PRESENT

Andrea Richard, director PRESENT

Michael Schottey, director PRESENT

John Sotomayor, director REMOTE

Dina Weinstein, director REMOTE

Betty Wells, director PRESENT

GUESTS Michael Koretzky, SPJ region 3 director PRESENT ____________________________________________________________


  1. Approve last meeting’s minutes — Brandon makes a motion/Andrea seconds. All in favor. PASSES
  2. Meetings from now on (Dori) — The goal is to have board meetings every other month, but because we do so much, we’re going to move all SPJ Florida related discussions to Slack. Our group, spjflorida.slack.com, is open to anyone who would like to join, not just us board members, but it will help us keep track of everything we are doing. The goal is to move away from email, since we tend to lose things there. Board meetings should be about overall updates about projects we’re working on or upcoming events and less about new ideas.
  3. Current financials (Chris)
  • The numbers:
    • Checking: $40,797.81
    • Savings:  $32,467.04
    • Paypal:  $1,594.09
  • Chris discussed the budget, which is basically the same as the 2014 Fiscal Year. The final budget is in the budget Slack channel for viewing. Dori made a motion to approve the 2015 Fiscal Year budget. Brandon seconds. All in favor. PASSES.

Committee updates

Membership (Jason) We got 5 new members in the past two weeks. Jason reached out to 130 – will continue to reach out. Reached out to Nationals to include Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands in the Region 3 group. Programs (Michele, others)

  • New Idea: Speed dating in a network style. For example, there will be three tables: Social Media, Freelancing, SEO….three speakers at three different tables, each speaker gets 20 minutes to talk and facilitate discussion, then everyone gets up and moves to another table if they would like or can stay at the current one.
  • Word Camp: It’s February 19-21 at FIU. We are interested in partnering with them. We would like to supply the speakers for them for a journalism track, of sorts. They are currently asking for sessions and speakers. Ideas?

Scholarships (Christiana) This year we had 16 students (majority from UF). We utilized social media (especially Twitter) to reach more applicants, and have a Google Doc of all the schools and contact people there to reach out to for next year.

Student Affairs (Megan, others) Ways to support high schools in upcoming conferences. Spoke with Plantation High – they lost their budget to the print paper. We have various members representing at conferences. FSPA at NSU – Oct 21 deadline to sign up. Many high schools are left to fundraise on their own, which is extremely difficult for them. Possible idea is a free membership to SPJ for high school students is being considered. If the school paid for an advisor to join, students could become members.

Sunshine State Awards (Jason) Up 7 entries from the year before. The past 2-3 years we’ve gotten more each year. Looks like we are changing our awards system to Open Water and away from BetterBNC. Next year we don’t want the banquet to be part of any event – we want it to be it’s own event, so there won’t be a conference with it like we did this past year with Forging the Future.

Drone (Brandon)

  • We need to name the drone. Put your ideas in Slack.
  • Two major events happened:
    • FAA blew their deadline in Congress to submit flying drone regulations.
    • FAA issued a record fine of $2 million dollars to a commercial company who was flying a drone around in NYC – where you are not allowed.
  • Brandon did a training at Forging the Future to about 12 people. It was cut short due to the bomb threat.
  • We need to find a good project for the drone. Put them in Slack. Betty mentioned beach erosion. Legally, the drone can’t be within five miles of an airport.
  • You are allowed to fly the drone for personal reasons (as a hobbyist) as long as you are not making a profit out of it.

Website (Dori)

  • We are going to update our website with a revamped Jobs page that Chris is working on.
    • Chris is looking into adding a “Sharing our salaries” area. The goal is to make the journalism industry more transparent, what is considered a “media job.” We can set the tone for this.



Slack — Dori New hub for every discussion about SPJ Florida business. What do you think? If this isn’t working, let’s chat.

  • Available to the public. Dori will put out a notice out in hope to attract potential new members.
  • Please make sure to tag people if the topic concerns them so they don’t miss out.
    • You can adjust how often you get notifications and even mute them, but this is where most of the new ideas and discussions should happen.

Upcoming Conferences — Dori

  • FSPA District 7 conference is Nov. 7 at Nova Southeastern University. Koretzky will be speaking. Anyone else want to present? Deadline to submit sessions is Oct. 21.
  • JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention is Nov. 12-15 in Orlando. Dina and Megan are going.
  • ACP/CMA (National College Media Convention) is Oct. 28-Nov. 1 in Austin. Dori, Megan, and Koretzky are presenting.

Sunshine Coalition Summit — Jason

  • Jason is going on Nov. 16 in Orlando.
  • Goal is to form an official coalition to come up with a mission statement about sunshine laws in Florida.
    • First Amendment. Open government and public records laws. Florida has the best laws in regards to public records but the worst enforcement. A lot of agencies get away with not supplying records because there is no one to enforce them.

Social Media — Christiana

  • Encourage people to share, repost, retweet our stuff—it matters! You don’t have to do it all the time but we get much more engagement when you all share the chapter’s posts.



EIJ15 — Dori, Christiana, Michele, Brandon, Jason

  • Five board members went to Orlando in September for the national SPJ conference.
  • Jason ran for Secretary/Treasurer and lost, but the good news is that everybody knows who SPJ Florida is now. 🙂
  • Dori: the best session, aside from the WDBJ panel, was the one on high schools. That is why I feel so compelled to make that one of my biggest missions this year for our chapter, to work as much with high schools as we can.
  • Brandon: notes are in Slack, but favorite session was on Virtual Reality by Robert Hernandez.
  • Sergi (past board member who moved to New Orleans) announced that SPJ Louisiana launched! 2016 SPJ National Conference will be held in New Orleans.

Koretzky Time

  • New Voices – North Dakota passed a law protecting students from any censorship as long as they are a public university. Now other states want to duplicate this. It would be amazing to get Florida on board. Motion by Betty: SPJ Florida to support New Voices Act. Michele seconds. It passes.
  • WWFF (Will Write For Food). Shelter moved from Ft. Lauderdale to an hour outside of Orlando airport. What do we do with this program? Kill it or expand it? If we expand, it could be an alternative Spring Break. Discussion still going on in Slack. Share your thoughts and opinions.

Professional Journalists —  Betty

  • We need more support for current professional journalists. Idea: A survey that says in Florida in the last x number of years….this amount of newspapers have died….this amount of jobs have decreased.

Dori – Motion to end the meeting. Brandon seconded it. Passed. Minutes were approved at the Dec. 9 board meeting.

1 Trackback or Pingback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

… " /> … " />