Meeting Minutes: September 11, 2017

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Monday Sept. 11, 2017

7 p.m.

Louise’s Trattoria

10645 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90064


Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Sarah Favot, Richard Hendrickson, Elizabeth Marcellino Frank Mottek, Julia Seiiefer, Lori Streifler, David Zahniser, Robi Wax, Natalie Windsor

Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:17 p.m.

I.          Approval of the minutes from the July 10, 2017 board meeting

Cocca moved approval of the minutes, Favot seconded. Approved. Hendrickson abstained.

II.         President’s Report — Bluestein

Bluestein reported that board member Irene Moore resigned from the board last month because she is attending graduate school in London, England. Her position will be filled when the board holds its election in December.

Bluestein and Navid Nonahal were the chapter’s delegates at SPJ’s Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim that took place Sept. 7-9.

Bluestein noted that Lauren Bartlett, a past chapter president, won at-large director in crowded field of candidates.

With a delegate vote of 86 to 14, the national board size will be reduced to 9 from 23 members. There will be a phased downsizing over two years. One of the benefits of a smaller board is discussion will be more focused and the board will be more nimble when responding to issues. One student was pushing for student representation.

The resolution coming from the Florida Chapter about free speech ended up not being considered by the delegates.

Other election results: Alex Tarquinio was elected president-elect, Sue Kopen Katcef was elected VP of campus affairs. Hayley Harding and Rahim Chagani were elected student reps, and Ethan ChungMatt Hall was re-elected to represent Region 1011. The other races only had one candidate.

Our Chapter donated two baskets to the silent auction: one went for $55 and another went for $14 to benefit SDX, the Sigma Delta Chi foundation.

Bluestein gave board members a tote bag from the conference, courtesy of Linda Hall, office manager in the national SPJ office.

Bluestein reported that our chapter does not have Directors and Officers liability (D&O) insurance, which would protect the board in the case of a lawsuit. For example (i.e., if an attendee tripped and fell at one of our events and sued the board.) Bluestein has spoken to the San Diego Chapter board members, who do have this insurance coverage. She has one insurance broker getting us a quote and will seek a second quote as well to consider at our October board meeting. Several people have told Bluestein that we should have it. Board members were interested in finding out what the premiums and deductible would be.

III.        Treasurer’s Report — Hendrickson

Hendrickson reported on the Aug. 1 Treasurer’s Report. The BofA balance as of July 1, 2017 was $$38,010.64 and as of August 1 was $32,294.40.  There was one outstanding uncashed check for the $500 room deposit at Molly Malone’s for the Mega Mixer in July, so the balance on our books was $31,794.40. The Morgan Stanley balance as of Aug. 1 is $72, 256.23, which includes a gain of $152.24 from the previous month.

Hendrickson reported on the Sept. 1 Treasurer’s Report. The BofA balance as of Aug. 1, 2017 was $32,294.40. and as of Sept. 1, was $31,786.41. There were no invoices owed or due, so the balance on our books was $31,786.41. The Morgan Stanley balance as of Sept. 1 is $72,557.22, which includes a gain of $300.99 from the previous month.

Hendrickson reported on the different organizations that contributed money to the Mega Mixer held in July: Chicano News Media gave $150, NABJ gave $150, AAJA gave $150, ONA gave $150 and IRE gave $200 totaling $800 in contributions. The total cost for the Mega Mixer was $913.09: a $500 rental fee and $413.09 for food and name tags. The Chapter’s contribution was $113.19.

Zahniser moved to receive the Treasurer’s Report, Wax seconded. Approved.

IV.        Standing/ Ad Hoc Committees

a.) Awards – Streifler

Since Moore has left the board, Seifer said she will help Streifler with awards that will be given out at next year’s banquet. They will send out a press release seeking nominations soon. March 1, 2018 is the date of the banquet

b.) Banquet – Walton

No report

c.) Courts – Marcellino

Marcellino said everything is quiet at the courts. No issues. No complaints, she checked in with RTNA.

d.) Diversity – Arias/Nonahal

No report

e.) Ethics – Bellman

No report

f.) FOI – Zahniser

Zahniser reported he is trying to plan an FOI event in November. We have a game night mixer planned in November. Zahniser will check with Claudia Peschiutta to see if she would mind moving the event so we can have a FOI event and not have two events so closely together.

g.) Generation J – Bluestein

Bluestein reported that she heard of a Chapter doing a “lunch with a journalist” event so students can have lunch with a journalist as a way of reaching out to students who are interested in the profession and getting them aware of SPJ. It could happen at colleges or high schools. Some board members were interested in participating.

Bluestein told board members that Oct. 21 is CSUN’s High School Journalism Day, which the Chapter co-sponsors.

h.) Membership – Nonahal

Marcellino reported there are still some outstanding discrepancies between national’s data and our Chapter’s membership data. We have 147 members, according to our count. Membership is down significantly over the past couple of years, which mirrors the trend at the national level and among local chapters. The good news is we’ve had six new members sign up within the past few weeks. We’re targeting national members who haven’t signed up for the Chapter fee, which is only $20. There are 100-200 people who are national members who aren’t SPJLA members. The committee is working on another campaign for lapsed Chapter members. We’re reaching out to people who attended any of our events who aren’t members. For recent grads, we would like to offer them a one-year Chapter membership for free as an incentive to get them to join our Chapter.

Cocca mentioned that some recent grads could pay the three-year membership fee, so we would have to reach out to them individually after one year to get them to pay the Chapter dues in the second and third years.

Wax moved to allow the Membership Committee to start a campaign to waive the Chapter membership fee for recent college graduates who sign up for a professional membership within a year of graduation. Cocca seconded. Approved.

Marcellino reported the Membership Committee is considering offering a 20-percent discount on the registration fee for the regional conference our Chapter is hosting in April 2018 for new members joining the Chapter, as an incentive to join the Chapter.

Marcellino will circulate a draft by email to be considered by the board.

i.) Nominations – Favot

Favot will start reaching out to members who are up for re-election to see if they would like to run. We will have one open seat to fill Moore’s vacancy.

j.) Regional Conference – Hendrickson/Favot

Hendrickson reported that the regional conference ad-hoc committee met before the meeting and discussed potential topics for six panels that we will offer and possibilities for the opening session and closing session potential speakers, in addition to a Mark of Excellence student awards luncheon speaker.

Members discussed several of the potential panels that would appeal to journalists.

k.) Scholarships – Audi

No report

V.         Old Business

a.) Re-cap on Mega Mixer

We had more than 100 people at the mixer on July 11 at Molly Malone’s. It was a successful event with numerous other journalism organizations participating, as mentioned during the Treasurer’s Report.

VI.        New Business

a.) SPJ LA Participation in USC Fall Career Fair on Sept. 14

USC asked Bluestein if SPJLA wanted to be part of their job fair. In addition to employers, there will be other professional groups. The initial cost to participate is $500. The price for non-profit organizations is $350. Members said there was not enough notice and the price was too high to participate. Bluestein will decline and say we might be interested next year.

b.) Video editing workshop with Mike Fleeman on Oct. 7

Bluestein reported Fleeman will host a video editing workshop at CSUN on a Saturday in a computer lab. He hosted this event last year and it was very popular.

Windsor moved that SPJLA, seconded by Marcellino to host the event and charge $10 for non-members. Approved.

c.) Freelancers Job Fair

Bluestein has an idea for the Chapter to host a job fair for freelancers. Cocca suggested we consider it at next month’s meeting due to the late hour.

d.) Nov. 15 game night mixer

Zahniser will check with Peschiutta about this event.

e.) Windsor brought up the new restaurant Fu’s Palace Restaurant, which has a private room. Bluestein encouraged members to visit.

VII.       Next board meeting is Monday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.


Wax moved to adjourn at 9:05 p.m., Windsor seconded. Approved.


Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Favot

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