SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Agenda
Monday, May 6, 2019
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Present: Penny Arevalo, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Sarah
Favot, Richard Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino, Kathryn Mora, Navid Nonahal, Alice
Walton, Roberta Wax, Nathan Solis and David Zahniser
Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.
I. Approval of minutes from April 1 meeting
II. Presidents’ report – Bluestein: On April 29, Bluestein, Bellman, Windsor plus two
board members from the Press Photographers Association met with Michael De
Dora, Washington advocacy manager at the Committee to Protect Journalists
who leads CPJ’s efforts to advance press freedom around the world with the U.S.
government and other policymakers in Washington, D.C. De Dora was in town
for an event and reached out to introduce himself to us. In another matter,
Bluestein updated the board that AB700 was pulled from consideration for this
legislative assembly session. Bellman notified the board of AB992 which would
allow open meetings to be conducted through social media platforms by Kevin
Mullen from San Mateo. In addition, the chapter has joined an amicus brief in
support of the Palisades News in a defamation lawsuit. The brief was filed by the
Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press on behalf of the newspaper and
two of its editors, who have been sued by cannabis entrepreneur Stephanie
Smith for alleged defamation. An email vote was conducted on April 16 by the
board, which unanimously agreed to sign on. Bluestein reported the SPJ
executive director has resigned. The D.C. chapter drafted a letter calling out the
national office about how the news was announced and reached out to different
chapter presidents about their concerns. Nine boards and 13 individuals,
including Bluestein, signed on. Bellman says there will be an interim person, but
it’s not clear who will be in that position.
III. Treasurer’s report –
a. Marcellino said all the activity this month was related to the banquet. Except
for reimbursement for Bluestein’s travel to the regional conference and the
PenAmerica event food –
b. Nonahal reported that the chapter received a bill from the IRS for approximately $2,000 for tax year 2015. Our CPA called the IRS on our behalf and asked for the penalty to be waived. The invoice has been forwarded to the chapter’s COPA office, who is looking into it.
Motion to receive report – Favot moved. Nonahal seconded. Approved.
IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards – No report
b. Banquet – Walton – No report
c. Courts – Marcellino reported the L.A. Superior Courts has a new
communications person, Ann Donlan, in who has a background in journalism.
d. Diversity – Solis reported a panel has been finalized for the May 18 racism
panel at the SAG/AFTRA headquarters.
e. Ethics – Bellman updated the board that UCLA complied with a records
request for a visit by Steve Mnuchin. It’s the same six emails other
organizations, that also made a CPRA request, received from the same week
in February 2018. It appears UCLA had a misunderstanding with the DOJ
about posting video from that meeting. UCLA relented. Bellman said we now
have some type of closure and he will write up a summary on the SPJ/LA
website and link to previous posts. The response took 14 months.
f. FOI – Zahniser – No report
g. Generation J – Blaize-Hopkins – No report
h. Membership – Nonahal said membership is down to 101 for the national
roster. She followed up in emails to those who lapsed and is willing to set up
for a recruitment drive aiming for December. Nonahal encouraged everyone
to recruit three members. It was suggested that the lapsed list should be
circulated so those members can be nudged, but some board members said
they would feel uncomfortable nudging friends and colleagues.
i. Nominations – No report
j. Scholarship – Saxton discussed the new Hendrickson memorial scholarship,
in honor of our chapter’s late treasurer. It is designated specifically for a
text/print journalist, per his widow, Carol, who requested the amount be
$2,000. Based on the donations that have already been received for this new
scholarship, we should be able to give a scholarship in his name for the next
10 years. Discussion then ensued about increasing the amount of our existing
four scholarships from $1,000 each to $1,500 each. Bluestein said if the
board commits to bring in $2,000 more for the banquet ads or something in that area we would have the scholarships rise in costs covered. Walton added that profits generated from the banquet depends on who are the honorees and income from the banquet is inconsistent and would take a commitment from board. A news release will go out soon and it will be emailed to colleges, high schools with j-programs in L.A., Orange and Ventura counties. The
deadline is June 15 and the winners will be decided at the July board
meeting. Carol, Richard’s widow, wants to be part of the notification process
for the Hendrickson scholarship.
Motion to raise the scholarships offered from $1,000 to $1,500 for the four
scholarships. Marcellino moved. Blaize-Hopkins seconded. Motion approved.
Motion to set The Richard D. Hendrickson Memorial Scholarship at $2,000.
Nonahal moved. Zahniser seconded. Motion approved.
V. Old business
a. Debriefing on Pen America training session – Blaize-Hopkins said the
PenAmerica event was successful. Approximately 60 people attended and all
the journalists responded well to the reception.
b. Debriefing on the KCRW tour on April 26– Blaize-Hopkins said 11 students
toured the studio and sat in on a new show taping and they met with the on-
c. California Public Records Act Request of UCLA – Bellman already covered in
d. Journalism Leadership Dinner update – Bluestein and Favot met for a dinner
on April 11 with leaders of the local journalism organizations. About 20
people were in attendance, representing about 12 local journalism groups.
The purpose of the dinner was to begin to form a stronger connection and
bond with the other groups.
VI. New Business
a . Richard Hendrickson Memorial Scholarship – approved under Scholarships
b. Annual summer Mega Mixer tentatively set for July 10. Saxton will organize.
c. Search for new board meeting location – Bellman, Wax and Bluestein will
scout of new locations.
VII. Adjournment at 8:58 p.m.
Marcellino moved. Favot seconded. Approved.