Feb. 13, 2010  

Minutes of Feb. 2, 2010

1. Roll Call

Roll called. All members were present, except Julie Kay and Sam Terilli. Lisa Lucas was conferenced in by phone. Meeting started at 7 p.m.

2. Approval of Jan. 9 Minutes

ACTION: Lucy made a motion to approve the last meeting’s minutes. Dori seconded the motion. Vote was taken by voice. Motion passed unanimously.

3. Committee Updates

Finance. (Darcie) They plan to have a draft of the 2011 fiscal year budget ready by the April meeting so the board has time to look over it and can be ready to approve it during the July meeting.

Bylaws. (Darcie) The committee is having a conference call Friday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. They should have more ideas by the next meeting.

Marketing. (Michele) The members have been set. Rachael from the board along with two new SPJ members Kevin & Mallory who have very different media backgrounds. Michele said the committee has a good mix of experience and perspectives to bring to the table. SoFla SPJ now has a Facebook page and the committee is working together to create guidelines for updating it.

Scholarships and Student Affairs. (Michael) No Committee members needed for the scholarship committee because the year is already set.

Membership. (Dori) She is talking to people at SPJ national to get some ideas. Asking for people to join her committee. Tim offered his help. He already sent her some ideas.

Programs. (Sergy) Her goal is to have one program a month. Reverse press conference — was thinking about using that format for an event to reach out to the Haitian community before the earthquake happened. Now they are going to fashion the program after the first program Michael did. More later. Working with Jason to reach out to the gay community. Jason met with the president of the Gay Journalists Association.

Education/Professional Development. (Paola) So far just three members (Jake, Lucy, Paola).

– (Darcie) Darcie wants to receive the names and contact info of any new committee members so they can be posted on the website. Tim added that he can put them in an eNews update.

– Jason asked for clarification on how the committees are supposed to work. He questioned why decisions by the Sunshine State Award committee were enacted without first coming to the board.

– Darcie’s overview: The committees are like advisory committees. All big decisions have to come in front of the board, but all the work is done in committee. The idea is to delegate responsibility. The quick movement in the Sunshine State awards was an exception because it was late.

– Darcie said that anyone with ideas for a committee who isn’t in that committee should just contact the chair.

– Bill asked if we should put out an email asking for people’s input on the bylaw revisions. Tim: What about circulating the draft? Bill: We should try to get it to SPJ members before we have a draft. Solicit ideas. It will make things feel more collegial.

– Michele said we should send out an email with all the committee chairs and members and the contact info – not just focus on the bylaws.

– Darcie said we should do a committee update email in three weeks. Do all at once. Don’t want to overwhelm people with emails.

4. Sunshine State Awards (Tim Dodson)

Update from Tim: Awards committee met via conference call last tuesday. Went through the 2009 entries and discussed all the categories using the comments from last year’s board. Dropped five or six categories and consolidating a few more. Still have 62 categories. We still have a category for everything people could possibly want to enter for. Revised the timeline for this year’s awards program and circulated it to the committee. Friday, March 5 is the entry deadline. March 6 is the sorting day. We need five volunteers. It takes about a week to ship (UPS ground). Five weeks for judging. That means we should be able to announce finalists by the end of April. The event will be in early June. Call for entries went out yesterday to the 3,000+ email list.

– Michael wondered how much money is being lost by giving our chapter members one free entry. Tim didn’t think it was much. Michael said we should make it more prominent when talking about the Sunshine State Awards that SPJ members get one free entry. Need to use this more to get membership.

– Michele agreed to talk to Jamie, the web administrator, about that.

5. Review SPJ’s Coming Out Party (Dori)

Dori’s Summary: Got some coverage from The Miami Herald and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association noticed and decided to come. About 40 to 50 people showed up. Many didn’t know that there was a local SPJ chapter. People were happy the event was in Boca. It was very successful. A handful of people from Miami showed up. It brought a lot of people (from Palm Beach County) who didn’t consider coming to our local SPJ events before because of the commute. Should try to rotate where the events are between the counties. Darcie said she got a few emails saying it was good.

6. Update on Parachute Training (Michael)

– Michael passed out cards with discount codes and fliers. Already at 30 (Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers have agreed to pay for a set number of attendees). Have 10 people registered from Martin County. They have room for 90 total.

– Michele mentioned that it was the same weekend as bar camp and word camp (other multimedia events for journalists who already know the techology), but the news of our event has been circulated at the Herald and Sentinel.

– Michael said this event is for people who don’t know about video, multimedia, etc. It’s for print journalists. You can find a session list online. He asked that the board talks to people working as print journalists.

– Michael said that we should have a membership table at the event and if we haven’t spent all the money from the event, we should get people to sign up right there as members and we’ll reimburse them for the event.

– Paola suggested that it should be the first 10 people to sign up who get the discount – create an urgency.

– Michael said ONA is spending $2,300 for the event. We spent $250. Good deal for SPJ as a co-sponsor.

7. $100 Grant for Inlet Grove Community High School (Michael)

– The grant is to sponsor 20 high school students from a low-income area in Riviera Beach who want to attend the FSPA conference in Tampa. They originally needed $1,600, but they raised all they money except for $100. Michael thinks this conference will give them an appreciation of journalism.

– Darcie added that this is well worth the money, and we should support it.

– Michael said the students receiving this scholarship have agreed to be our volunteers for a First Amendment Free Food Festival later this year.

ACTION: Jake made a motion to approve the grant. Paola seconded the motion. Vote was taking by voice, and the motion passed unanimously.

8. Sponsorship of Project Invictus, $600 request (Michael)

– Darcie expressed concern that we were tripling the budget for this year. Last year we paid only $200. What did people get out of the event?

– Lucy went to the event and liked it. It’s alternative. It’s different. It was trying to encourage journalists to think differently. Same idea with people who work in combat situations. Encouraged us to be in touch with ourselves as humans.

– Darcie wanted to know what the increase in money was for. “We need to make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck.”

– Michael said the budget for the event is increased because they want to have twice as many people at the first event, which has about 20. The money is needed to rent the space and for food. He said that as long as we don’t go below $300, we will get the $300 grant from the Dart Society.

– Lucy suggested gearing invites to the people who have been through trauma. (Darcie) We should try to bring in more SPJ members.

– Michael said this event will look good for SPJ. Part of a good mix of events for the year.

– Some of the board members’ concern stemmed from confusion over what the benefit of the event was. A suggestion was made to make it more clear to invitees what they could expect to get out of the event, since the nature of the event itself requires that many of the details remain a mystery beforehand. Michael agreed to make up something catchy for marketing the event in an email blast.

ACTION: Lucy made a motion to approve the full amount requested for the event. It was seconded by Paola. All voted by voice, and the motion passed unanimously.

9. Sponsorship of Haiti Forum, $500 request (Sergy and Michael)

Brief Overview by Michael: Sergy will be the host. There will be a panel discussion about how the press is covering Haiti. We want to get people from the Haitian community to attend. We want to get the president of Haiti on conference call if possible. They are shooting for a weekend in April to host the event. A $500 “donation” (would be the maximum) is needed if we want to use UM’s studio. We need a space that will accommodate an audience.

– The board briefly discussed other options to get around having to pay. (Darcie). We don’t have a problem with the program but would rather not pay. Michael and a few other board members agreed to work on alternatives.

ACTION: Darcie made a motion to provisionally approve the event and the $500 with directions to the program chair (Sergy) to try and not pay. Jason seconded. All voted by voice. Motion passed unanimously.

10. Harry Chapin media awards, $25 request (Michael)

– Michael briefly explained that we are eligible to enter the issue produced by one of our events last year – the Will Work for Food takeover of the Homeless Voice last April – for this award. If we win, we could get $1,000, which could be put toward doing the event again this year.

ACTION: Lucy made a motion to approve the $25 entry fee request. It was seconded by Jake. All voted by voice, and the motion passed unanimously.

11. Lynn University SPJ chapter, $200 request for an event that will explore starting a Boca Raton college student chapter (Michael)

– Michael gave a brief overview of the event. Mission is to get a few profs to join SPJ in order to create a student chapter. This $200 may not pan out until next year because of the time it takes to get a student chapter approved.

– Michele asked: If there is a student chapter, does that mean that students can’t be part of the pro chapter? Will those already members of the pro chapter be grandfathered in?

– Darcie said that once there is a student chapter all the students from the pro chapter would be moved to the student chapter.

ACTION: Jason made a motion to approve the $200 request, which was seconded by Sergy. Vote was taken by voice. The motion passed unanimously.

12. New Business

Reviving National Writers Workshop (Lucy)

Lucy gave a brief overview: There was no NWW last year. The Sun Sentinel sponsored it the year before that. She would like to revive the NWW in South Florida for 2011. It’s a lot of bang for your buck. Great speakers for a cheap price. Kathy Bushouse, who planned the NWW for the Sun Sentinel, has agreed to volunteer her time to help. The only one scheduled so far for this year is at Harvard.

What is needed from our chapter:

1) Seed money: The Sentinel made money on the event, which cost them $20,000. Could maybe curtail cost of flying speakers in. (Darcie) If we do this, it would have to be run like a business.

2) Location. Where should be do this? Maybe we could run it through FAU. Look for a smaller-budget place than Pier 66, where the Sentinel held the last one.

3) Should we mirror the NWW model or deviate from it to make it our own event?

4) Board needs to volunteer.

– Bill suggested that if we do this right, this event could be an alternate revenue stream for us. The Sunshine State Awards is drying up a bit.

– Brief discussion on who we are marketing it to. (Rachael) Maybe journalism teachers could offer extra credit to their students if they attend.

– Dori suggested combining the NWW with the Sunshine State Awards reception.

– (Tim) This could be a good opportunity to bring something to people who haven’t been interested in SPJ events. This is big stuff.

– Jake suggested having vendors come – could be another source of revenue.

– Darcie suggested we create a committee to work on this. She is comfortable with the chapter spending $10,000 or $12,000 to hold a NWW. “We want to do it right.”

– The board supported Lucy on this idea. She will do more research.

ACTION: Jason made a motion to adjourn the meeting. It was seconded by Sergy. All approved.

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