SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Present: Joel Bellman, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Stephanie Bluestein, Sarah Favot, Ricardo Lopez, Kathryn Mora, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Richard Saxton, Roberta Wax, Alice Walton
Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.
I. Approval of minutes from July 9 meeting
Bellman moved, Wax seconded. Bluestein, Saxton, Nonahal, Mottek abstained. Approved.
II. President’s report – Bluestein
Bluestein introduced visiting guest Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, a full-time professor at Santa Monica College, who is interested in joining the board. The board introduced themselves.
Bluestein reported there were 20 people at the video-editing workshop on July 19 at CSUN conducted by former board member Mike Fleeman. We received a total of $100 from 10 attendees who were non-members.
In November, we’d like to honor Dick Hendrickson, our board member and treasurer who died in July, and have dinner with his wife, Carol. His memorial is Saturday, Oct. 13 in Cleveland.
III. Treasurer’s report – No report.
Bluestein reported she and Nonahal will be going to Bank of America on Thursday to make changes to the bank account now that Hendrickson is no longer with us.
Carol Hendrickson, Dick’s wife, would like to create a SPJ/LA scholarship in her late husband’s honor. We will be accepting donations from board members and the public. Some board members and people in the community have already donated.
IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards –Streifler and Marcellino
b. Banquet – Walton
The banquet will be March 20, 2019. We’ve paid the deposit for the Omni. Walton is looking for ideas for speakers.
c. Courts – Marcellino
d. Diversity – Lopez
Lopez had two panel ideas. One of the ideas is a panel on pay disparities for women and minorities in newsrooms, as various studies have been released about the issue.
The other panel idea could be the challenges of covering the migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the US/Mexico border.
The board was interested in the panel on pay disparities in newsrooms. Lopez will reach out to potential panelists and plan to schedule the event in early November, possibly on Nov. 14 at USC.
e. Ethics – Bellman
Bellman gave an update on our Public Records Act request to UCLA for emails about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s visit. Bellman received another correspondence last week from UCLA which they stated they’ll respond to our request in November. The university has delayed for more than 8 months to respond to a simple, narrow request about a specific event.
Bellman would like to go public about the feet dragging from UCLA regarding our Public Records Act request.
Walton suggested posting a news release on our website and social media channels expressing our frustration with the delay from UCLA. We then could ask other journalism organizations to sign on to our cause.
Bellman and Bluestein will draft a statement.
f. FOI – Zahniser
g. Generation J – Bluestein
h. Membership – Nonahal
Nonahal reported she received information from National about our membership. She will share the information with the board.
i. Nominations – Bray
Bluestein said Bray had reached out to someone who is not available to consider being on the board until June 2019. She encouraged board members to send Bray suggestions.
j. Scholarships – Saxton
Saxton reported that Hendrickson sent checks to the scholarship recipients.
Hendrickson had requested that we consider doubling our scholarship amounts. We will consider it for next year.
V. Old Business
VI. New Business
a. Resolution in honor of Dick Hendrickson – Nonahal
Nonahal would like to submit a resolution in Hendrickson’s memory to SPJ National’s Resolution Committee. She distributed the resolution to board members. If approved, the resolution will be voted on during the EIJ National Convention later this month. Nonahal will also reach out to the Cleveland Chapter to see if they would like to sign on.
Nonahal will also speak about Hendrickson during her remarks at the convention when she receives the Howard S. Durbin Outstanding Pro Member Award. Hendrickson, along with Wax, nominated Nonahal for the award. Nonahal asked board members to send her suggestions for her remarks.
Nonahal moved, Wax seconded to submit the resolution to SPJ’s Resolution Committee in memory of Hendrickson. Approved.
b. Appointment of interim treasurer – Bluestein
Marcellino has offered to be our interim treasurer.
Nonahal moved, Favot seconded to appoint Marcellino as our interim treasurer. Approved.
c. Vote to remove past treasurer from bank account – Bluestein
Nonahal and Bluestein will go to Bank of America on Thursday morning to remove Hendrickson’s name from our account. For now, Nonahal and Bluestein will remain on the account. A letter has been drafted that Bluestein, Bellman and Favot will sign making this request to the bank.
Bellman moved, Lopez seconded to submit the letter to the Bank of America. Approved.
d. SPJ sponsorships at EIJ national convention – Bluestein
Nonahal and Bluestein, as delegates, want to know how the Chapter feels for any motion that might be submitted to the convention floor.
Board members expressed their concern about Koch Industries, one of the sponsors at the national convention, given the attacks that the organization has made against a New Yorker journalist.
Bellman said national’s Ethics Committee chair told him the donation was not signed off on by the committee.
Some board members said they would like national to return the donation, however it will likely be too late as the convention is in three weeks. Bellman cited Koch’s attack on Jane Mayer, a journalist SPJ should be defending, as a reason SPJ should return the donation.
Saxton noted the Koch’s generous donations to numerous journalism organizations and cancer research and questioned the evidence and any proof that the Kochs “attacked” New Yorker writer and Dark Money author Jane Mayer. Saxton said the donation should be accepted and that SPJ donation protocol should be reviewed.
Bluestein agreed national’s 2003 policy should be updated, specifically regarding the provisions that a SPJ staff member can approve donations (we believe sponsorships should be voted on by a committee) and who SPJ will not accept donations from, which reads domestic and foreign governments and political organizations. (We believe donations from organizations that attack journalists and our mission should not be accepted).
Nonahal will check with national to see when the deadline is to submit a resolution.
Bluestein will check in with the Chicago and Florida chapters to see if they are submitting a resolution.
The direction of the board is to express that we would like to see the policy updated and we were outraged to see that the donation was not vetted through a committee.
e. Endorsements for national elections– Bluestein
Matt Hall, our Region 11 director, is running to be SPJ Executive Committee’s treasurer-secretary and has asked that we endorse his candidacy.
Wax said we’ve never endorsed a candidate. Board members felt that we couldn’t speak for our entire Chapter and declined to approve an endorsement.
f. High School Journalism Workshop contribution (Oct. 20 event) – Bluestein
The high school journalism workshop at CSUN has requested a donation. The event is a chance for high school journalists to compete in news, feature, sports, opinion contests. The money is used for breakfast and lunch for the students. We have donated $500 in the past.
Mottek moved to donate to $1,000 to the High School Journalism Workshop, Bellman seconded.
Bellman moved to amend the motion to donate $750 to the High School Journalism Workshop, Lopez seconded.
The amended motion was approved.
g. College grad request–financial assistance for EIJ ’18 – Bluestein
A CSUN graduate student has asked financial assistance to attend the national convention. She has made several efforts to raise funds.
Board members said they weren’t inclined to give a donation for a student to attend the conference without opening up the opportunity to other students and were wary of the precedent it would set. Bluestein will tell the student the board declined to give her a donation and will encourage the student to apply for a scholarship.
h. Possible Grading the Media event – Bluestein
Bluestein received an inquiry about holding a “grading the media” event. We’ll discuss this next month.
i. Walton requested $250 to buy appetizers at the Long Beach Post event on Thursday
Wax moved to authorize Walton to spend a maximum of $300 for appetizers at the Long Beach Post event, Mottek seconded. Approved.
j. Mottek reported that the Shanghai Grill where we hold our annual Christmas party has closed. He will find a new location. We have scheduled the party for Dec. 5.
Bluestein moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 p.m. in memory of Sue Manning, a local AP editor, who died on July 16; L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold, who died on July 22; and our own beloved board member Richard Hendrickson who died on July 29, Bellman seconded. Approved.
Next meeting: 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 at Louise’s Trattoria