SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, April 13, 2015, 7 p.m.
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
In attendance: Tami Abdollah, Tammy Audi, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Michael Fleeman, Khalil Garriott, Dick Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.
Approval of Minutes: Wax moved to approve the minutes, Bluestein seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
- Annual report: Nonahal said SPJ/LA’s annual report is due to national by April 30. Zahniser and Hendrickson are working to prepare it.
- Region 11 Conference: Nonahal reported she would miss the SPJ Region 11 Conference due to the recent death of her father. Saxton has agreed to represent the chapter at the event. Windsor moved to have Saxton go in Nonahal’s place, and Walton seconded. The motion carried.
- Federal court issue: Walton provided a report on behalf of board member Claudia Peschiutta, who was unable to make the board meeting. Peschiutta has raised concerns about a decrease in access at the federal courts in recent months. There have been issues with audio and video recording and, in one recent instance, reporters were excluded from a hearing altogether. Clerks also have not been providing hearing information, Walton said.
Abdollah said she would check with some of her contacts in the federal courts. Zahniser said he would like a more formal list of the issues, ranked by importance. Hendrickson suggested the board write a letter and pursue the issue in coming weeks. The board agreed to seek more information at its next meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: Hendrickson distributed the treasurer’s report, saying he recently received several payments from the Christmas party, plus some checks from the banquet. One payment is still expected from Cal State, Northridge.
Nonahal asked whether there would be a full accounting of the annual banquet at the next board meeting. Hendrickson said yes. Windsor moved to accept the report and Wax seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Awards: No report.
Banquet: Walton gave a lengthy report on the annual banquet, telling the board that based on preliminary figures, this year’s event brought in $14,805 from tickets, sponsorships, auction items and program ads. Expenses are currently in the $5,000 range. Walton, who ran the banquet for the first time, said the board owes Wax a huge debt for handling it for so many years.
Based on this year’s experience, Walton proposed that the board kill the auction, since it brought in only $500, an amount that is not worth all the time involving in collecting the items. A better strategy, she said, would be to focus more on selling ads for the program. If the board sold two ads next year, it would match the auction revenue.
Abdollah asked about the possibility of a raffle or live auction. Walton said a live auction was tried one year and did not go well. The banquet committee also recommends no longer having student volunteers at the event, since there isn’t much for them to do.
Walton said there was a problem with ticket buyers not showing up this year. Although that doesn’t cost the chapter any money, it’s a waste of food and looks bad, as far as table seating arrangements. Windsor recommended organizations that actually pick up uneaten banquet food and make sure that the food reaches the needy in future years. Wax said attendance frequently hinges on who the honorees are.
Walton said the bar also closed too early. Nonahal said she will look into the cost and size of banners to see if SPJ/LA can have a banner at next year’s banquet.
Courts: No report.
Diversity: No report.
Ethics: Cocca said there has been a strong response to the April 16 ethics event, to the point where there are worries about continuing to allow people to register. Cocca said she does not want to be in a position where she needs to turn people away. Matt Goldberg, NBC 4’s managing editor, will be moderating. Panelists include Justin Pritchard of the Associated Press, NBC’s Andrew Blankstein and Elizabeth Aguilera of KPCC 89.3
FOI: No report.
Generation J: No report.
Membership: No report.
Nominations: No report
Scholarships: Audi, Abdollah and Windsor reported on the students recommended for SPJ/LA scholarships this year. The committee went into detail the strengths of each student, and asked for guidance on the amount that should be awarded this year.
Wax moved that the board use last year’s unspent scholarship money to augment the Bill Farr Memorial Scholarship so that two recipients — Santa Monica High School senior Bianca Gonzalez and USC student Jordyn Holman — can each receive $1,000. Hendrickson seconded. The board approved the motion.
Zahniser then moved, and Bluestein seconded, a motion to affirm the committee’s scholarship choices: Giving the Ken Inouye Scholarship to USC student Kevin Tsukii; the Carl Greenberg Memorial Scholarship to UCLA graduate Katie Shepherd; the Helen Johnson Memorial Scholarship to Cal State, Northridge student Naomi Ogaldez, plus the two Farr scholarships.
The motion carried.
- April 8 Mixer recap: Walton reported that Booze and Board Games was a success, bringing in 25 people at the Redwood. The back room was totally packed and people stayed till 9 p.m. The next one will be held May 6. Zahniser mentioned that the March 11 panel on drones also worked out well and thanked Elizabeth Marcellino for her help with the video backdrop and the search for panelists.
- Linda Deutsch roast: Wax said the roster of roasters has been finalized for the May 21 roast at the Omni, with one new and noteworthy addition: television and radio host Larry King. The Elvis cover band has been confirmed. Walton asked if the band could play during cocktail hour to free up more time for presentations. The board also discussed, and decided not to pursue, a raffle for a free trip to Turkey.
- Office space: Marcellino said it looks like SPJ/LA will be able to obtain space at the Criminal Courts Building, which will allow the chapter to have insurance and an office. It’s on the 18th Floor in the press room. Nonahal will need to get the key.
- Job listings: Fleeman said he is helping to launch an entertainment news web site, which has two contract positions available. The job starts in two weeks. Wax said Harvard-Westlake, the private school, has a post open for a high school newspaper advisor. The board then discussed whether to have a regular job board. Board members said the job listings should be placed on the chapter’s web site.
Next board meeting: May 4 at Louise’s, 7 p.m.
Adjournment: Wald made a motion to adjourn. Zahniser seconded. The motion carried.