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. 

SPJ/LA Will Conduct Board Elections Online Voting Will Take Place Dec. 19 – 21

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host an online election for its Board of Directors.
Voting will take place beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 19. Members may vote until 5 p.m.on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Results will be announced within a week after the online election closes.
New board members will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2017.
For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Navid Nonahal, SPJ/LA president, via email at or telephone at (818) 317-2234.

Be Eligible To Vote For Your SPJ/LA Board Members

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host an online election for its Board of Directors next week.
National members who are also a part of the local Los Angeles chapter are eligible to vote in the election. Don’t miss your chance to be counted! Log onto SPJ’s website to make sure your information is correct.
Only SPJ/LA chapter members may vote so if you joined SPJ national but haven’t yet joined the L.A. chapter, please log onto the national website’s membership page and join today. Dues for the Greater Los Angeles Pro chapter are $20.
Like everything in journalism, there’s a deadline: please update your contact information before Dec. 16 to be included. The online election will be open from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21.
If you need to renew your membership soon, why not do it now? Get that professional business expense deduction onto your 2016 returns!
For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Navid Nonahal, SPJ/LA president, via email at or telephone at (818) 317-2234.