Nov. 9, 2018  

Minutes from October 18, 2018

SPJ Florida Board of Directors Meeting

Oct. 18 | 7 p.m.

Boca Magazine | Boca Raton



Christiana Lilly, president

Abbi Perry, vice president

Brandon Ballenger, VP of membership (absent)

Emily Bloch, VP of programming 

Brendon Lies, secretary

Christopher Persaud, treasurer

Dori Zinn, immediate past president


Cassidy Alexander (remote)

Michele Boyet 

Richard Gaspar (remote)

Carina Mask (remote)

Lulu Ramadan

Suzette Speaks (absent)

Hope Dean (student rep)


Michael Koretzky, Region 3 Director

Jason Parsley, past president

QUICK UPDATES // REVIEWS 2 minutes each

  • Approve last meeting’s minutes


  • Committee updates
    1. Membership (Christiana speaking for Brandon)


  • We are down six members; drafted an email to send to lapsed members and will share in slack for feedback; he’d also like to use MailChimp to reach members, but will need training.


    1. Programs (Emily)


  • PAST


    • Helped promote SPJ-Google News training
    • EIJ 18: was really informative, with a lot of great people.
      • While there, we also got runner up of chapter of the year.
      • Sunshine Seminars are ongoing
        • Naples Nov. 2, Orlando Nov. 28, Jacksonville Nov. 29, Tallahassee Dec. 6


  • Visual Journalism Workshop with NPPA Oct. 13 (Carina)


      • Working with them to get more involved with visual media sessions, setting up Loan A Drone program. She said it was smaller than anticipated, but a lot of photographers were called into Hurricane Michael. But it was a great way to connect, and Carina did a lot of work in Orlando connecting SPJ with photographers and drone enthusiasts. A lot of good feedback, and people asking about the costs of joining SPJ.

Carina (speaking remotely): There were several members, including one in Gainesville, asking if there was any potential to travel to different parts to do training for the Loan-A-Drone program.

Christiana: I talked to someone who also wanted to help coordinating to Gainesville also, so that would be great.

Carina: Originally we were slotted for 40 minutes, but it turned into a 90 minute q&a session. We talked about paying equality, one of the speakers was with Nat Geo and spoke on her experience, another spoke on their work in the Times… many very different careers but all very accomplished.


  • Mock press conference with UM Business School, Oct. 20


        • Got together with a group of six or seven journalists, found a great press photographer; we’ll be giving them questions, they’re very happy with what we’ve put together for students. Afterwards, we’ll be asking questions. That goes into teaching our Journalism by Non-Journalists.


  • Facebook for Journalists in Orlando, Nov. 2


      • Lynn Walsh flies into Orlando on Nov. 2 to present her Facebook Tools for Journalists session. It’ll be held at the Orlando Sentinel, free and open to all local media. They’re handling everything, very hands off for us. Attendees have to RSVP to the Sentinel. We gave them promotional material and have promoted online and on social.
    • FSPA at NSU Nov. 10
      • We hold panelists every year; sometimes it can be pretty far away even for those up north and the panhandle’s a mess right now… but Christiana, Suzette, Abbi and Dori have interactive seminars and a mock press conference, adding details, using social media, etc for practice… and then Brandon will be doing a drone session.
    • Holiday mixer in December
      • Looks like it’ll be in Broward this year. 
    • Palm Beach County Libraries reached out and wants to have Fake News Game Shows
      • The library program coordinator reached out to us, so we told them about the fake news game show but they were into it. We’ll be talking to them about time of year, location, but we can get it going at different library locations. 
    • Journalists Against Humanity
      • Emily: We got the $500 grant. We started teasing it on social media, so we’ll resume once things cool down a little in mid-December. The idea is to have people register digitally, get suggestions for card promps, the grant is paying for printing. We could also say at the beginning, we’ll collect your ideas. Even at the mixer might be good. We’re trying to think if there would be separate platforms for registering or suggesting.
    1. Scholarships (Christiana)
  • High School Journalism Grant is live
    1. Sunshine State Awards (Jason)
  • Board voted to new two-year contract with OpenWater
    1. Drone (Brandon)
  • Promoting Loan a Drone
    • Carina discussed at NPAA workshop (see earlier)
    1. Finances (Chris)


  • Chase: $23,255.94.
  • Vanguard: $49,756.17
  • If we stick to our budget, we’re set to come ahead by $6000. But we were discussing taking $10,000 and putting it into our vanguard, but at the end of fiscal year we would be down $4000…. We could then withdraw the difference. We invested $50k, but it’s gone down so we’re out a few hundred in stocks… I’ve been keeping an eye on how many temp employees are working. And their company seems stable with temp work, which is a good sign for business. We need to vote with $10,000 whether that will go into vanguard.


Lulu makes a motion to invest 10k

Abbi seconds.

All in favor? Yes, motion passes.




Announcements (Christiana) 2 minutes

  • We got runner up for Chapter of the Year at EIJ, SPJ San Diego got first place



DISCUSSION 15 minutes

  • Update on sponsorship protocol at EIJ
    • Background: There was concern about sponsorship from the Koch Foundation, but it was said that they have no say in where their money goes. So Chicago made a resolution where they want a sponsorship committee to come up with a protocol for whose money could be accepted. Christiana went to them to speak on our questions, which would be likely representative of others, and Chicago was happy that the motion passes. However, Koretzky learned new information that the Koch Brothers WERE able to influence who could be influenced – mind you, this was an ethics journalism board that was influenced.

Koretzky: I asked, and it turns out that while they hadn’t suggested panelists initially, but once the panelists had dropped out last minute, the Koch Brothers were reached out to for providing suggestions. But it’s a bit convoluted, we were getting nervous convoluted explanations. Our attorney said is you can’t stay apolitical, the foundation doesn’t want anything political going on at the session. So they said the panel was totally cool and had no problems, but it matters that we’re not getting any answers, and the president doesn’t want to speak on it.

Christiana: I also had another chapter reach out to us asking about this and what we’re doing to get it done…

Discussion: should we put put a statement?

  • Donate to the News Herald?
    • Was posted in slack showing video of what the storm did to their newsroom; the ceiling is down, they can’t work with it. Channel 13 just reached out to us: “we’re exhausted from working the last 10-12 days straight but we’re ok.” Once things settle a bit more, or if anyone else has any leads, we can decide to reach out again and see if there’s any way we can help.
  • Canadian ad agency looking to do a “fake news” commercial. They will do it for free, but understandably, the actor who would be hired would like to be paid for their work. Koretzky is suggesting splitting the roughly $1,000 with us (Koretzky)
    • They reached out to SPJ national; we read the script, but it’s a bit… according to national, ‘controversial.’ However, Koretzky caught wind and reached out to them. Anyway, they agreed. A question: why is it so expensive? It might help more with travel; Koretzky told the company that we would get enough for raising money for the actor.

The reason it was suggested is because ‘fake news’ is so prevalent, it’s worth getting behind. It’s more than just a jab at Trump, it’s a cultural phenomenon.

Abbi makes a motion to end the meeting. Lulu seconds it. All in favor, it passes.


Minutes approved at Dec. 13 meeting.

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