SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday July 10, 2017
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
America Arias, Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Lori Streifler, Sarah Favot, Robi Wax, Navid Nonahal, Alice Walton, David Zahniser
Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
I. Approval of minutes from the June 5 board meeting
Bellman moved approval of amended minutes, seconded by Nonahal. Approved. Zahniser abstained
II. President’s report – Bluestein
Bluestein reminded the board members that tomorrow is the deadline for the early bird registration fee for the Excellence in Journalism conference taking place Sept. 7- 9 in Anaheim. She noted that the conference is in Baltimore next year.
III. Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson
Favot reported on behalf of Hendrickson that the BofA balance as of June 1, 2017 was $37,626.47 and as of July 1 was $38,010.64. There are no outstanding invoices owed or due and there are no uncashed checks, so the balance on our books is $38,010.64. The Morgan Stanley balance as of July 1 is $72, 103.99 which includes a gain of $32.26 from the previous month.
Zahniser moved to receive the July Treasurer’s Report and Bellman seconded. Approved.
IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards – Moore/Streifler
b. Banquet – Walton
c. Courts – Marcellino
d. Diversity – Arias/Nonahal
e. Ethics – Bellman
Bellman reported he is part of a group called Jews United for Democracy and Justice formed by former LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. The group is involved in advocating for a free press in the wake of the attacks on the press by Trump, in addition to supporting other First Amendment issues. Bellman is involved specifically with First Amendment, access and transparency issues. He wants to make it clear that he is speaking out on behalf of JUDJ and not SPJ/LA. Journalism organizations wouldn’t be involved in other aspects of JUDJ’s organization, just transparency, First Amendment and access issues. JUDJ might ask our Chapter for support on a specific issue, (such as to sign on to an op-ed about freedom of the press issues for example), at which time Bellman would recuse himself. Bluestein said any letter of support or protest that she should sign would be voted on by the board.
f. FOI – Zahniser
g. Generation J – Bluestein
∙ Request for funding for annual high school J fall competition
Bluestein reported the competition at CSUN brings together 100 journalism students who write news stories on the spot and are judged by professionals, journalism professors and college students. The money is used to provide the students with doughnuts and muffins for breakfast and Subway sandwiches for lunch. In previous years, the chapter has given $500. The CSUN Journalism Department sponsors the event, in collaboration with Southern California Journalism Education Association (SCJEA), SPJ/LA and the Los Angeles Times’ HS Insider. There’s no cost for the students to participate.
Cocca moved to donate $500 to the annual high school journalism competition, Bellman seconded. Approved.
h. Membership – Nonahal
The committee will meet to consider strategies to improve membership on July 22.
i. Nominations – Favot
j. Regional Conference– Hendrickson and Favot
∙ Approval of regional conference venue
Favot reported on the conference and the search for a venue for the regional conference that our Chapter will sponsor on April 28, 2018, with an evening networking reception on April 27. The ad hoc committee had discussed detailed proposals that we received from two hotels, which were narrowed down from a list of five hotels. The committee recommended the Universal City Hilton, which was the most expensive option, but it was decided that this hotel could potentially attract attendees and sponsors due to its location near Universal City and sponsors because of the caliber of the location. The other option was the Embassy Suites Glendale. Reviewing the proposal from the Universal City Hilton, we discussed that the wifi cost at $15 per device for up to 100 devices and then $20 thereafter, was one of the more expensive aspects of the proposal. Walton suggested having a sponsorship level for the wifi.
Bluestein encouraged all board members to attend the conference.
Bellman discussed the that ad-hoc conference committee discussed the benefits and downsides to hosting the event at the more expensive location.
Windsor moved to accept the Universal City Hilton as the location for the 2018 Regional Conference. Walton seconded. Approved.
∙ Creation of ad-hoc committee to oversee sponsorships
Favot reported that Bluestein suggested creating an ad-hoc committee to organize and solicit sponsorships specifically for the conference, since we will relying on sponsorships to offset costs.
Former SPJ/LA board member Jeff Wald has committed to helping. Bluestein will reach out to Frank Mottek.
Bluestein said she would like to have sponsorships secured by Nov. 1.
The first task is to determine the levels of sponsorship and prepare a one-sheeter to send to potential sponsors.
Bluestein asked board members to send any ideas they have about panels and speakers we could have at our conference by July 30. We are planning to have opening speaker, a keynote speaker, a speaker at the Mark of Excellence luncheon, and a total of six panels.
Wax suggested picking out the top panels that we hosted during the year and doing an updated version of them.
Zahniser suggested a covering disasters panel.
Wax said panels for freelancers usually have good attendance. She also suggested an LGTBQ panel and a panel on entertainment reporting.
Walton has a list of attendees of the last regional conference that our Chapter hosted in 2012 that she will share with the committee.
k. Scholarships – Audi
∙ Vote on scholarship applications
Windsor reported there were 27 students who applied for the scholarships, which was more than in previous years. She brought copies of some applications for reference and for board members to review if they wanted.
Bellman moved to approve the scholarship awardees recommended by the Scholarships Committee, Favot seconded. Approved.
V. Old Business
a. Re-cap on advocacy panel on June 22– Bellman
Bellman reported we had a small, but lively turnout of about 20 people. The venue at the Association was great. They provided free audio equipment. We did a Facebook live-stream from Bellman’s Facebook account. Next time we will use the Chapter’s account. Zahniser noted there were competing journalism events happening downtown on the same night, which could have contributed to the relatively low attendance.
b. Mega-mixer—July 11 – Saxton
Bluestein reported that it looks like we will have a full house tomorrow night looking at the RSVPs for the annual mega-mixer at Molly Malones. Bluestein said she will create a Save the Date card for our Regional Conference to hand out to the journalists at the event.
VI. New Business
a. Proposals for chapter grant funding
Bluestein reported that SPJ national has $500 grants for chapters to generate excitement about their chapter. The money should be used for an event that the Chapter would normally spend money on like chapter programming. The deadline is Aug. 31, so Bluestein asked for ideas for a grant proposal we could submit.
b. Windsor reported she attended a meeting at Fu’s Palace on Pico Blvd that is nearby and thought it could be a good location for our board meetings. They have a party room that we could use as a meeting room. They also have a free parking lot and are willing to do separate checks. Bluestein said that we could meet at Louise’s in September and then decide if we’re going to try out Fu’s Palace for the October meeting.
c. Windsor reported they are looking for donations for the silent auction for the Excellence in Journalism conference. Bluestein will store items for the auction, which benefits the Legal Defense Fund. Windsor has reached out to Trader Joe’s for a basket.
VII. Next board meeting: September 11 at 7 p.m. (no August meeting)
Windsor moved to adjourn at 8:49 p.m. Zahniser seconded. Approved.