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. 

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.