Support SPJ/LA’s Distinguished Journalists Banquet

It’s never been more important to support the work of journalists. You can help by sponsoring the Distinguished Journalists banquet hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in January. The Distinguished Journalist honorees are longtime regional journalists practicing in print, radio, television and digital media. They are: Hector Becerra, editor with the Los Angeles Times; R. Scott Moxley, investigative reporter for the OC Weekly; Greg Habell, editor for KNX 1070; Adrienne Alpert, general assignment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News; and Ken Bensinger, Jeremy Singer-Vine and Jessica Garrison of BuzzFeed News. unnamed-1  unnamed-2 unnamed-3unnamed

Our keynote speaker is Brooke Binkowski, managing editor of

Three sponsorships levels are available: Platinum ($5,000):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, event signage, logo included on banquet website and in emails, one complimentary table at the event. Gold ($2,500):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, logo included on banquet website and in emails, five complimentary tickets to the event. Silver ($1,000):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, logo included on banquet website and in emails, two complimentary tickets to the event. You can also support SPJ/LA by purchasing an ad in the banquet program:

  • Full page ad on back of program: $500
  • Full page inside program: $350
  • Half-page ad inside program: $250
  • Quarter-page ad inside program: $150

If you can’t make it to the banquet, please consider sponsoring a student. For $80, your donation will cover a journalism student’s attendance at the event. The awards banquet will be held Jan. 26, 2017 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets for the event are:

  • $100 for SPJ/LA members
  • $140 for non-members
  • $80 for students
  • Tables of 10 are available for $1,000

A no-host cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. For details on sponsorship or to make a reservation, please contact Alice Walton at or (310) 595-5612.

Meeting Minutes: November 14, 2016

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Monday, November 14, 2016

7 p.m.

Louise’s Trattoria

10645 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Michael Fleeman, Sarah Favot, Richard Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino, Frank Mottek, Richard Saxton, Julia Seifert, Lori Streifler, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser

I.               Approval of minutes from Oct. 10 board meeting

a.     Wax moved, Walton seconded to approve the minutes. Cocca, Zahniser, Hendrickson and Fleeman abstained. The motion carried.

II.             President’s report – Marcellino for Nonahal

a.     SPJ/LA is reviewing the national board structure and has issued a call for feedback and volunteers for online focus-group discussions. Marcellino encouraged the group to participate if interested.

b.     Christina Cocca has been invited to attend SPJ’s Scripps Leadership Program in Las Vegas in December. The board voted to cover her expenses and registration fee totaling $527. Bellman moved and Wax seconded to cover the cost. The motion carried.

III.           Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson (via email)

a.     The LGBT group’s mega mixer fee finally sent their check and will deposit by the time of the December report. All the scholarships winners have cashed their checks.

b.     Windsor moved to receive the treasurer’s report and Walton seconded. The motion carried.

IV.            Standing Committees –

a.     Awards – Marcellino

i.     The board reviewed the nominees for the 2016 Distinguished Journalist Awards, which were sent out via email to the board prior to the meeting. The board went into closed session for the vote.

ii.     The results are: R. Scott Moxley, Investigative Reporter for OC Weekly, for print under 90,000 circulation; Hector Becerra, California Editor, Los Angeles  Times, for print 90,000 or more circulation; Adrienne Alpert, Reporter, Producer and Host, Newsmakers, ABC7, for television; and Greg Habell, Editor KNX, for radio. The digital category was postponed pending an online vote. No FOI award will be given this year.

1.     UPDATE: The board voted via email to award the digital category to Jeremy Singer-Vine, Ken Bensinger, and Jessica Garrison from BuzzFeed News.

b.     Banquet – Walton

i.     No report

c.      Courts – Marcellino

i.     No report

d.     Diversity – Nonahal

i.     No report

e.     Ethics – Bluestein/Hendrickson

f.      Wax said a photo curator at the LA Public Library shared historical photos highlighting changes in journalistic ethics over time. She gave the example of rape victims’ names and addresses being routinely disclosed in news stories. Wax will review to see if photos could be the basis for an SPJ/LA ethics panel.

g.     FOI –Zahniser

i.     No report

h.     Generation J – Bluestein

i.     Bluestein said the event on Oct. 22 had about 200 high school students in attendance, some from as far as San Diego.

i.       Membership – Saxton

i.     Saxton just renewed his membership and said that renewal was easy online – if you fill out all the information in the form, you can renew chapter dues at the same time. Previously the local chapter did not pop up for him as an option. However, Saxton said, it is still possible to pay a membership fee without being prompted to consider a local chapter, because the completion of the form is not required. Saxton agreed to follow up with national to see if this could be changed.

j.       Nominations – Bellman

i.     Bellman said we have six seats up for nomination this year. Four people are running for reelection. Bellman encouraged the board to suggest candidates within two weeks.

k.     Scholarships – Audi

i.     No report

V.              Old Business

a.     Nov. 2 storytelling mixer at the Redwood – Peschiutta

i.     Mixer was fun!

VI.            New Business

a.     SPJ/LA Holiday Party – Dec. 7 – Mottek

i.     The holiday party will be at the Shanghai Grill on Dec. 7.

VII.          Next board meeting: Dec. 12 at Louise’s, 7 p.m.

VIII.          Adjournment

a.     Windsor moved to adjourn, Zahniser seconded. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Christina Cocca




Meeting Minutes: October 10, 2016

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Monday, Oct. 10, 2016

7 p.m.

Louise’s Trattoria

10645 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90064

In attendance: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Sarah Favot, Khalil Garriott, Elizabeth Marcellino, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Richard Saxton, Lori Streifler, Jeff Wald, Roberta Wax, Alice Walton, Natalie Windsor.

I. Approval of minutes from Sept. 12 board meeting: On a motion by Wald, seconded by Bellman (with Favot abstaining) the minutes from the previous board meeting were approved.

II. President’s Report: Nonahal thanked Bluestein for attending Excellence in Journalism ’16 in New Orleans and serving as a chapter delegate along with Lauren Bartlett. Nonahal announced that at EIJ ’16, the chapter received an award for chapter communications and said it will be framed and placed in the chapter’s office. She thanked Walton and Christina Cocca for their social media efforts and said. With regret, Nonahal said she would accept Wald’s letter of resignation, which was necessary due to work commitments. She warmly thanked Wald for his contribution to SPJ-LA and wished him well during what would be his last board meeting.

III. Treasurer’s Report: Hendrickson was absent so Nonahal delivered the report. There are two outstanding checks—one to the Franchise Tax Board and another to the chapter’s accountant—that have not been cashed. It will be looked into. On a motion by Windsor, seconded by Wald the reporter was received.

IV. Standing Committees:

Awards—Marcellino said she sent out a notice about nominees, which included the deadline of Oct. 21. The board will choose honorees at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Banquet—Walton announced the banquet will be Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Omni Hotel. The reservation has already been made.

Courts—No report

Diversity—No report

Ethics—A panel discussion exploring sexist and racist media coverage of the Summer Olympics was held Sept. 22 at USC Annenberg. Panelists were Jackie Pepper, a sports journalist who produced short-form videos for Yahoo Sports during the Olympics; David Wharton, lead Olympic reporter for the L.A. Times and affiliated newspapers who was in Rio; and Marcella De Veaux, Ph.D., a tenured Associate Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge (CSUN); Bluestein was the moderator. Board members in attendance were Favot, Michael Fleeman, Dick Hendrickson, Marcellino, Nonahal and Wax. Public attendance was lacking and a greater push will be made in the future to notify those connected with the host venue to ensure that locals are aware of the event.

FOI—no report

Generation J—A journalism competition, expected to be attend by 200 high school students, is scheduled at CSUN on Oct. 22. On a motion by Mottek, seconded by Bellman the board approved a $500 contribution towards expenses.

Membership—Saxton suggested making a push to get newsrooms to join SPJ as a group. He will send emails to newsroom leaders asking them to share with their colleagues. It was suggested that we ask a student to capture testimonials at the banquet that could be used for a promotional video in exchange for complimentary attendance. Mottek said we need to push for more membership millennials. Marcellino suggested we should let the public know that if they join SPJ before the banquet, the discount they receive will cover their chapter dues for a year.

Nominations—no report

Scholarships—no report

V. Old Business—The last karaoke mixer for 2016 was on Oct. 4. Three people were in attendance, plus Navid. Claudia is the life of the mixer. Navid says we need to move on to another event. One month, board games, storytelling. Once or twice a year would be good–Navid. It would be more special if it wasn’t as often.

VI. New Business–On Nov. 2, a storytelling mixer titled, “Horror Stories from the Campaign Trail,” is planned with L.A. Press Club at the Redwood.

Wax said she has an idea for a program at the downtown Central Library working in conjunction Wendy Horowitz, the librarian of the photo collection.

Windsor distributed two articles about the issue of media embargos. Following some board discussion, in which Saxton said it was discussed at a previous regional conference, Windsor said she will send the information to SPJ Ethics Committee Chair Andrew Seaman. It was mentioned that perhaps there could be a panel discussion on the topic at a future national conference.

VII. The next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Louise’s Trattoria in West L.A.

VIII. Adjournment—Mottek adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m. in honor of Wald’s excellent service to SPJ. Garriott seconded the motion.

Submitted by Stephanie Bluestein




Meeting Minutes: September 12, 2016

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Monday, Sept. 12, 2016

7 p.m.

Louise’s Trattoria

10645 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90064


Present: Tammy Audi, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Michael Fleeman, Richard Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.

Guest: Lauren Bartlett

I.               Approval of minutes from July 11 board meeting

a.     Wax motioned, Zahniser seconded. Bluestein abstained. Motion carried.

II.             President’s report – Nonahal

a.     Discuss issues coming up at the 2016 Excellence in Journalism convention – Lauren Bartlett

i.     The board voted online to have Bartlett and Bluestein as the chapter’s delegates for the convention.

ii.     Bartlett said one of the big issues coming up is about representation at conventions for people not affiliated with chapters. The second issue is regarding tweaking the bylaws and possibly creating a new membership category called “SPJ Supporters,” which would help redefine the Associate membership category. These supporters would help attract people interested in journalism and protecting the First Amendment but who may not be practicing journalism. This category is for people who are not necessarily qualified to be full members.

iii.     Nonahal asked whether it would help or hurt the chapters’ memberships in the long run. Bartlett said it more directly affects national because these Associates would support the larger mission and cause of SPJ. Bartlett said she does not see any direct impact on local chapters.

iv.     The chapter delegates will vote on these matters at the convention.

v.     Another issue that will come up at the national convention: a resolution submitted by the SPJ Ethics Committee. Essentially SPJ would “speak out against any person or group using money to manipulate or silence the media.” Zahniser mentioned the Gawker/Thiel and Ailes/NY Mag suits. Marcellino inquired whether it is better to resolve general principles than call out a specific person.

III.           Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson (via email)

a.     The BOA balance on 8/1/16 is $40,861.83. Statement on 8/31/16 is $40,853.84.

b.     Balance on the books as of 8/31/16 is $40,518.84.

c.      Morgan Stanley balance as of 8/3/16 is $71,292,94. 7/1/16 was $71,219.82, with a gain of $73.12.

i.     The LGBT group from the mega mixer still owes SPJLA money. Separately, the scholarship reward checks will be getting sent to the recipients soon.

ii.     Hendrickson will send the next two reports via email due to his teaching schedule conflicting with upcoming board meetings.

d.     Windsor motioned to receive the report and Zahniser seconded. The report was received.

IV.            Standing Committees

a.     Awards – Marcellino

i.     Marcellino mentioned 2016 award recipients receiving their awards in the earlier part of 2017. Walton said we could check on venue availability for January, and Wax said that there was a lag due to waiting on the availability of the speaker. Nonahal agreed that we should move up the banquet date.

ii.     Marcellino will set a deadline for board members to suggest nominees. Suggestions after the deadline will not be considered.

b.     Banquet – Walton

i.     No report.

c.      Courts – Marcellino

i.     No report.

d.     Diversity – Hendrickson

i.     No report.

e.     Ethics – Bluestein/Hendrickson

i.     Panel discussion on sexist and racist media coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics on Thursday, Sept. 22. Bluestein will moderate. Two of the four panelists were in Rio covering the Olympics.

f.      FOI –Zahniser

i.     No report.

g.     Generation J – Bowen

i.     No report.

h.     Membership – Saxton

i.     Ad hoc membership committee – Marcellino/Nonahal – No report

i.       Nominations – Bellman

i.     No report.

j.       Scholarships – Audi

i.     SPJ/LA’s 2016 scholarship winners:

1.     Emily Lee: Ken Inouye Memorial Scholarship for $1,500

2.     Angel Carreras: Bill Farr Scholarship for $1,500

ii.     The board voted via email to approve the winners.

iii.     Audi said the board will give $1,500 each to the winners instead of the usual $1,000 because there are only two recipients this year and they are very deserving. Additionally, the chapter did not have to use any money from the Morgan Stanley account to fund the scholarship money.

V.              Old Business

a.     Aug. 3 and Sept. 7 karaoke mixers at the Redwood recap – Peschiutta/Walton

i.     Walton said Peschiutta plans to do one more karaoke-themed mixer for the year.

VI.            New Business

a.     Storytelling mixer with the LA Press Club – Peschiutta

i.     Nonahal said she is hoping to do a mixer in November with the LA Press Club. Last year the theme was Halloween. Nonahal said Peschiutta needs help planning and getting people involved. Any board members who can help should reach out via email.

VII.          Next board meeting: Oct. 10 at Louise’s, 7 p.m. – Please note that our October board meeting is on the second Monday of the month.

VIII.        Adjournment

a.     Zahniser motioned to adjourn, Windsor seconded. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Christina Cocca

SPJ/LA Announces 2017 Officers and Newly Elected Board Members

The Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has elected its 2017 officers. 

Stephanie Bluestein, a journalism professor at California State University, Northridge, will serve as the chapter’s president beginning on Jan. 1, 2017

Christina Cocca, lead editor of news curation at BuzzFeed, will serve as vice president. Sarah Favot, a writer with LA School Report, will be the chapter’s secretary, while Richard Hendrickson, a journalism professor at California State University, Northridge, John Carroll University in Cleveland and UCLA Extension, will continue to serve as treasurer.

SPJ/LA also elected five candidates to serve three-year terms on the group’s 15-member board. 

The incumbent board members who were re-elected are: Hendrickson; Elizabeth Marcellino, a reporter with City News Service; and former L.A. Times reporter Alice Walton. The newly elected board members are America Arias, a producer with ABC 7, and Irene Moore, a digital desk producer for NBC4 Southern California.

Automotive multimedia journalist Richard Saxton was re-elected to fill the remaining year of an open three-year term. 

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to promoting high standards of ethical behavior and encouraging the free practice of journalism. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. The Greater Los Angeles professional chapter was chartered 25 years later in 1934.