SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria 10645 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064
Present: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Sarah Favot, Richard Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino, Navid Nonahal, Richard Saxton, Lori Streifler, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser
Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.
I. Approval of minutes from the Nov. 6 board meeting
Marcellino moved to approve the November meeting minutes, Windsor seconded. Wax abstained. Approved.
II. President’s report – Bluestein
Bluestein reported about the statement from national regarding the LA Weekly sale. She received an email from a communications director at national about the statement and asked if we would like to post it on our chapter’s website. Bluestein spoke to some board members about whether the chapter should issue its own statement but within hours the paper’s new owners had revealed their identities. National had said they would consider updating their statement with comment from our chapter. Zahniser said our Chapter should weigh in on layoffs that happened at LAist and the Weekly, in addition to the ownership question. Zahniser said there is a hunger for that voice as the LA journalism community has taken such a hit and SPJ-LA needs to be that voice. Walton also expressed frustration about the recent developments and suggested the chapter host a mixer. Zahniser suggested February. Bellman will reach out to Andrew Seaman to see if national will give us a head’s up in the future if they make statements related to our chapter.
III. Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson
Hendrickson reported the Chapter’s Bank of America account showed a beginning balance as of Nov. 1 of $30,164.11. The Dec. 1 bank balance was $30,381.13, same as the ending balance on the books. Hendrickson reported that the MB Accounting fee for our 2016 tax return preparation was $400. We will pay a $10 fee to the state Franchise Tax Board.
Favot moved to pay MB Accounting $400 for the fee to prepare our 2016 tax return, Bellman seconded. Approved.
Hendrickson reported that he will create a separate bank account for the Regional Conference the chapter will host in April. He will transfer $1,000 as a loan to this new account.
Zahniser moved to transfer $1,000 to the new account. Wax seconded. Approved.
Zahniser moved to accept the amended Treasurer’s Report, Marcellino seconded. Approved.
IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a.) Awards – Streifler
Streifler reported we sent out the press release today announcing the honorees. Walton said she will introduce herself to the honorees going forward to prepare them ahead of the banquet on March 1. Streifler thanked Marcellino for preparing the press release.
b.) Banquet – Walton
Walton said Jacob Soboroff of MSNBC has confirmed. She will send out a release announcing him as the banquet keynote speaker next Monday.
c.) Courts – Marcellino
d.) Diversity – Arias/Nonahal
e.) Ethics – Bellman
Bellman asked board members if they feel the board should issue a statement about journalists who have been accused of sexual harassment. Walton said we could plan programming around the issue, pointing to an op-ed in the NY Times about the men who are directing news programming and what they are doing in their private lives and how their choices in newsroom affect coverage. We will have a panel at the Regional Conference about covering sexual harassment with Kim Masters of the Hollywood Reporter. Board members expressed we aren’t in a position to give journalists advice about potential sexual harassment. Walton will brainstorm with the Diversity Committee on whether there will be programming before the Regional Conference on this topic.
f.) FOI – Zahniser
g.) Generation J – Bluestein
h.) Membership – Nonahal
Marcellino reported the Membership Committee would like to set up membership registration on our website where journalists can register to be members of the LA Chapter so that we can manage this process directly rather than relying on the SPJ national site.This is for members who are already national members, but not members of our Chapter.
Zahniser moved to put Paypal on our website to register members for the chapter. Favot seconded. Hendrickson abstained. Approved.
Marcellino said the committee will send emails welcoming new members. Hendrickson suggested offering a discounted chapter fee for students.
i.) Nominations – Favot
Favot reported Wax, Mottek and Saxton are running for re-election. Four new candidates are running to fill two three-year term seats and one two-year term seat: Sandy Mazza, a reporter at the Daily Breeze; Tom Bray, a senior editor at the Southern California News Group; Kathryn Mora, a freelance journalist; and Julia Wick, former editor of the LAist.
j.) Regional Conference– Hendrickson and Favot
Favot and Hendrickson reported they will circulate the list of panelists to board members to see if they can come up with an overarching theme for the conference.We are taking suggestions for a closing speaker who would end the conference on a hopeful note. We are asking board members for suggestions on web designer/flyer designer.
k.) Scholarships – Audi
V. Old Business
Directors & Officers Insurance
Bluestein got answers to questions board members had from an insurance broker recommended by our attorney. The coverage protects nonprofit organizations and their board members against lawsuits they may face.Insurance coverage for events would require liability coverage for a specific event rather than D&O. Nonahal reported she emailed RTNA, LA Press Club, FLA chapter and SD Chapter about their coverage. Nonahal sent an application for an additional quote through Berkshire Hathaway – requesting a quote for D&O, for liability and employee dishonesty insurance in one package. She’s still waiting for the quote. She will give him one more week and if he doesn’t get back to us, RTNA gave her their insurance broker to contact. Bluestein said she would like the board to make a decision at the retreat.
Formation of a Communications Committee for the chapter
Bluestein said we need to be coordinated when we want to make public statements on breaking news matters related to the news industry. Some board members said they don’t think we need a committee. Walton said the Chapter president has the authority to speak on behalf of the chapter as long as at least two other board members have reviewed the statement. Bellman proposed that president have the final say, which is what the by-laws seem to indicate. If members feel strongly about an issue they should reach out to Bluestein and maybe the member who chairs a committee that relates to the issue could draft the statement. Streifler said the board should be prepared to act quickly.
VII. Next board meeting: Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. at Wax’s house
Bluestein presented Cocca with a small token of appreciation for her work on the chapter as she leaves the Chapter.
Zahniser moved to adjourn at 9 p.m., Bellman seconded. Approved.