Mar. 20, 2014  

Minutes from October 10, 2013

SPJ South Florida Pro Board Meeting
Oct. 10, 2013 – 7:30 p.m.
Panera Bread | 5050 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton


Present: Jason Parsley, Brandon Ballenger, Dori Zinn, Lynn Walsh, Chris Persaud, Andrea Richard, Gabriel Tyner, Dina Weinstein, Christiana Lilly

Gideon Grudo joined via Skype

Not here: Caity Kauffman, Sergio Nahuel, Jenn Stone, Michele Boyet 

Special Guest: Michael Koretzky, Region 3 Director 

Approve the August minutes: August minutes approved unanimously

Elect a student to the student board position: Natalie and Dylan are running for the board — Dylan appointed to the student board

Expand service area to all of Florida: Would exclude areas covered by the Mid-Chapter Pro and North Central Pro. If board approves motion, must be voted on again at next meeting and must be announced to the membership with at least 7 days advance notice. Cost up to $300. Joey Cortez will be updating the site and the logo — he has done work on the site before and is familiar with it.

Roll over the money approved from last year’s WWFF to next year’s event: Unanimously passed to roll over money from WWFF money into next year’s event. Budget $630.

Unethical Press: April is Journalism Ethics Month. FAU puts out an issue violating as many code of ethics (letter to the editor explains this) making a statement about the state of journalism ethics today. Ask them to match $250 for winner and $100 for runner up. Will need judges from around the country, including this chapter (you will read issues via PDF and judge them according to if you like it, was sound, funny, well done, you’re good to go). Winner receiving $250 and the runner-up $100. I’m looking for a match and co-sponsorship. Dori, Lynn, Chris, and Brandon volunteered to be a judge. Unanimously passes.

SPJ-FIU requesting $100 for food at our First Amendment Free Food Festival: Taking place Oct. 23 from 12-1 p.m. at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. We have done this before at University of Florida, Flagler College. Passes, Gideon abstains.

Update on our financials and budget:

Per Christopher:

The chapter shows a net loss, “on paper,” of $2,606.09 for the fiscal year. In a nutshell, it is primarily because the 2012 and 2013 student scholarships both hit the checking account in the same year. So, if you remove the $2,500 scholarship expense for 2012 from the 2013 books, we’re within $100 of breaking even for the year. (Likewise, the net profit of $3,916.39 for last year would be reduced by $2,500.) So, the chapter is still in a very good financial position.

My further analysis follows.


– We did well on the Sunshine State Awards, keeping expenses low and maintaining our entry count. Net profit was comparable to 2012.

– We had $500 of unanticipated income from the lawsuit settlement.

– We also had additional chapter dues income due to National’s reissuance of some dues checks for the previous year that were never received.

– We earned about $225 extra in interest over 2012 because we cashed out the CD.


– Programming expenses jumped dramatically: $6,506.07 versus $3,932.46 in 2012. You can see the detailed list of every program-related expense in the report.

– National & Regional Meeting Attendance jumped to $3,056.14 — approx. $500 more than in 2012 — due to expenses for sending members to the Scripps event. Those expenses totaled $674.20.

– In January 2013 we began receiving bills from MailChimp for $50/month, or $350 total for the year. Prior to that, we were not being billed. Perhaps there is an opportunity to find another e-blast provider.

– The Scholarship account had the biggest impact on the results, by far: we spent $5,500, versus zero the previous year. The student scholarships for 2012 and 2013 both happened to hit the checking account in the same year. Had the 2012 scholarship check been cashed in the previous year, we would have been much closer to break-even for 2012 rather than having shown a sizable net profit. The chapter also awarded $500 in training grants to professionals, which was a first.

– Likewise, we were hit for two charges for annual First Amendment Foundation dues renewal in the same year, at $265.00 apiece.

– The purchase of a projector from Amazon for $890.97 is the final big, unanticipated hit.

– The Ledger and Income Statement include Koretzky’s Region 3 activity, since we continue to hold Region 3 funds in the chapter’s checking account. That will be changing soon, as we plan to set up a separate Region 3 checking account.

Update on our membership numbers: 120 active members in the chapter. Probably going to change; some former board members moved, may leave. Membership has been declining, possibly turned off by $15 fee by SPJ. Dina suggests a twice yearly membership drive on our social networks.

Board openings: We have two positions open on the board. A journalist from Palm Beach Gardens just asked us how she can get involved. Asking people to reach out and find replacements.

Should SPJ change its name to Society for Professional Journalism? Effort spearheaded by Koretzky. Change name of the society of professional journalists to Society of Professional Journalism, be more of an advocacy group, get chapters to talk about it, people who are interested in journalism and supporting it can join, low costs associated to changing (RTDNA changed and did the same thing), nothing else is going to get a conversation started, Koretzky says “I will personally pay for changing the stationery!!” Would like to vote on it next meeting so that we can have this proposal for the next convention in Nashville in September 2014.

SPJ South Florida name change update: We changed our own name and expanded to entire state save for who is covered by Mid Chapter and North Central, also the region three membership includes Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. We are already doing programming across the state.

NAHJ partnering with SPJ Florida on an awards contest: NAHJ partnering with us on an awards contest. Dori, Dina, and Lynn volunteered to be on awards committee.

Possible event updates:

1. Update on cartoonist/illustrator/artist & founder of the Sequential Art Workshop Leela Corman to talk about how cartooning and journalism collide. She is the author of the graphic novel Unterzakhn ( This could be a collaborative event with Next@19th & Temple Beth Am’s author series.

2. Workshop to help journalists set up WordPress sites promoting themselves. Can be presented with the WordPress meet-up group.

3. Radio Boot Camp presented in collaboration with local radio journalists/ed. institutions and/or an outside organization like or or Atlantic Public Media or an NPR trainer.

Dina is working on making these three events happen. Seeing if her contacts at Betsy Hotel can house cartoonist. For WordPress event, Christiana and Andrea volunteered to help. Radio Boot Camp might need to be tweaked to work with our membership and price point.

One Wild Weekend: Event is officially dead. Had very little response from people, national parks are closed, → Koretsky will bring it back

Pimp My Profile: Dylan planning, at FAU, UP funding, free sponsorship (Nov. 5), social media workshop by Michelle (Dylan will email)

Votes held in between meetings: Appoint Christiana Lilly as our new secretary, Ayes – 6, Nays – 1, passes. Purchase iPad to help Gabe’s high school journalism program, Ayes – 5, Nays – 1, fails.

iPad not purchased, Christiana appointed

Joe Hosey: Jason approved $300 to help out the troubled journalist. Joe Hosey $300 for daily fine, no one else volunteered, SPJ needs to be more involved

Region 3 Conference update: Zombie Stories, Regional 3 Conference in New Orleans, have $1100 left to spend (Oct. 26 hosting). Koretzky brought t-shirts.

National Conference update: Lynn attended, three Circle of Excellence Awards, Lynn said it had a lot more energy, younger crowd this year.

Appointed a new student liaison from FIU, Brittny Valdes.

Open committees: Sunshine State Awards. Awards Banquet. FOI. Ethics. Diversity. Marketing. Fundraising.

Black Shade Awards update: FAF awards, Lynn will send out with a post that we can put up, sponsoring Sunshine Tour for SPJ members $10

Update on FSPA: Christiana will do sessions with Lynn.

One Night Stand: Event is officially dead. Gideon and Katie moved away

Mixer: Three new organizations have signed on to our next mixer. South Asian Journalists Association, the American Jewish Press Association, and the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (which is FREE to join).

Partnerships: SPJ Florida has partnered with Free Speech Week, LGBT History Month, and the Broward College’s Broward speaker series featuring such well-known journalists as Bob Woodward and Soledad O’Brien.

Programming: More partnerships. → two VIP for speaker series. Gold Coast PR Council wants to donate money, legal defense fund. Free Speech Week with prisoner through Lynn (his paper that goes to prisoners inside jails is allowed in every state except Florida → complaint is about the advertising, invite Department of Corrections and lawyer representing him, venue? Probably not in time for Free Speech Week.

Q&A progress: We’ll be running through November and taking off in December.

SFMJ Update: Food has been secured.

Will Write For Food: NAHJ South Florida initially wanted to co-sponsor the event, but has since backed out. NAHJ National now wants to be a co-sponsor. SFBJA is also on board, but hasn’t officially voted yet.


These minutes were approved at the January 15, 2014 SPJ Florida board meeting.

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