Sept. 9, 2019 Meeting Minutes
SPJ/LA Board of Directors
Maria’s Italian Kitchen
10761 W Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
In attendance: Joel Bellman, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Stephanie Bluestein, Tom Bray, Elizabeth Marcellino, Kathryn Mora, Frank Mottek, Nathan Solis, Lori Streifler, Robi Wax, Julia Wick, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.
The board approved the July 8 meeting minutes. Zahniser moved, Mottek seconded. Wick abstained.
II. President’s report.
Bluestein reported on SPJ/LA receiving the Circle of Excellence Award for Diversity from SPJ National, along with other activities from the annual conference in San Antonio. Bluestein also reported that Oct. 16 is the date selected to celebrate the donation of approximately $35,000 to SPJ/LA. The event will be held at CBS Studios and board members should look to attend. The board voted to budget $750 for the event, with an authorization of up to $1,000 if necessary. Windsor moved, Blaize-Hopkins seconded.
III. Treasurer’s report.
Since there wasn’t a board meeting the prior month, Marcellino provided reports for July and August. Marcellino said chapter revenue in July was 100% based on national catching SPJ/LA up on membership dues. Expenses were based on scholarships. The Bank of America and Morgan Stanley accounts saw no activity at all in August. The board accepted both reports. Windsor moved, Bellman seconded.
IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees.
a. Awards. Streifler said the chapter will need to start getting the word out about awards in October. The board will cast votes on the nominees at the November or December board meeting.
b. Banquet. Suggestions were made about possible keynote speakers
c. Courts. No report.
d. Diversity. Bray suggested a program on the changes being made to newsroom style guides. Wick said Buzzfeed has been at the forefront of such changes, and suggested someone from that organization might work for such an event.
e. Ethics. Bellman held off so he could speak during new business.
f. FOI. Zahniser suggested a panel on reporting on the migrant crisis at the border. Streifler said she believed a similar program had been scheduled by PEN in September. Bellman also proposed a program on whistle blowers, given the activity in Washington, D.C. Zahniser said he would look into both.
g. Generation J. Blaize-Hopkins deferred her report until new business.
h. Membership. No report.
i. Nominations. No report.
j. Scholarships. No report.
V. Old Business.
VI. New Business.
a. SPJ/LA investments. Marcellino updated the board on the chapter’s new Morgan Stanley account, asking the board to weigh in on the way the funds are invested. Several board members said they preferred a more conservative approach. Marcellino suggested investing through a mutual fund or index fund. The board voted to set up a wire transfer between the Morgan Stanley account and the chapter’s Bank of America account. Bellman moved, Wax seconded.
b. Robert Hernandez workshop. Blaize-Hopkins discussed the upcoming Sept. 26 workshop, staged in partnership with the Online News Association, featuring USC associate professor Robert Hernandez. The event, titled “Building Empathy Through Virtual Reality Journalism,” will look at ways technology can be used to better cover marginalized communities.
c. Ethics panel. Bellman updated the board on plans for a panel on ethics involved in reporting on mass shootings. Working with the L.A. Press Club, Bellman found a venue that would cost $350 (split evenly with the Press Club). Bellman said there had been an exhaustive, but ultimately unsuccessful, search for a less expensive venue. The board approved the expenditure for the Oct. 22 event. Zahniser moved, Marcellino seconded.
d. Future of local news. Bluestein said she is inclined to push this event into the new year.
e. AAJA Trivia Bowl. Bluestein said the Asian American Journalists Association is seeking a sponsorship for their popular Trivia Bowl fundraiser, which raises money for journalism internships. The board agreed to purchase a $750 sponsorship, as the chapter has done for the past couple of years. Zahniser moved, Blaize-Hopkins seconded.
f. SPJ resolutions. Bluestein said the issue of resolutions at SPJ National conferences would be tabled until the board’s October meeting. Zahniser voiced disappointment with SPJ National’s handling of sponsorships for the second consecutive year. Zahniser said SPJ National was aware that sponsorships were a hot-button issue for multiple chapters in 2018, yet plowed ahead without any outreach or request for input from SPJ/LA.
Zahniser moved, with Wick and Bellman seconding, to adjourn in memory of John Dart, former SPJ/LA chapter president and longtime religion writer for the L.A. Times and an editor of the Christian Century; Steve Hunt, editor and publisher of the Victorville Daily Press and former managing editor of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News; K. Connie Kang, longtime L.A. Times reporter; and Vic Nastasia, who had a 40-year career in local TV.