SPJ/LA Board of Directors Retreat Minutes
Jan. 11, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Present: Penny Arevalo, Joel Bellman, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Stephanie Bluestein, Tom Bray, Alexi Chidbachian, Sarah Favot, Xavier Higgs, Susan Jacobs, Elizabeth Marcellino, Kathryn Mora, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Nathan Solis, Lori Streifler, Matt Tinoco, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.
I. Breakfast and Coffee
II. Minutes — Windsor moved to approve the minutes for the Dec. 2 board meeting, Blaize-Hopkins seconded. Motion carried.
III. Treasurer’s Report – Favot moved to accept the report, Nonahal seconded. Motion carried.
IV. President’s Report
• Welcome – Zahniser welcomed the new board members for 2020. He said he’d like to see SPJ/LA have a transformational year in 2020, expanding our volunteer base and strengthening some of our operations.
• Approval of chapter officers — Favot nominated Blaize-Hopkins to the serve as vice president, Arevalo seconded and the motion carried. Nonahal nominated Marcellino as treasurer, Mottek seconded and the motion carried. Marcellino nominated Solis as secretary and Bellman seconded. Motion carried.
• Slate of associate board members– Favot nominated Chidbachian, Higgs, Mora, Streifler, Tinoco and Windsor as associate board members for the 2020 calendar year. Mottek seconded.
V. 2020 SPJ/LA committee assignments. Zahniser said he has not yet made committee assignments, in part because he wanted to have a discussion first about our 2020 priorities – a conversation that could touch on what committees we have.
VI. SPJ/LA: What we do well, what we could improve – Board members talked about SPJ/LA’s strengths, including programming, advocacy, partnerships with other journalism organizations and mixers to bring Southern California journalists together. However, some felt SPJ/LA could work more on the promotion of its events – both before and after they occur – and communication with its members and on social media. Board members discussed the idea of creating a new committee to focus on how SPJ/LA communicates, upgrading our web site and redesigning our logo. The board also discussed the creation of an advocacy committee and the eliminating of the courts committee, folding those duties into FOI. Bluestein pointed out that certain committee changes will require amendments to the bylaws, which takes additional time.
VII. Snack break
VIII. Programming ideas – Board members offered up several possible events, including reporter/producer safety in the field, newsroom trauma, gentrification’s impact on communities, and a How We Did It series of events featuring journalists who explain how they covered a particular story. Workshop possibilities a Know Your Rights session on public access/public information; coverage of LGBTQ communities; coverage of suicide and mental health; media literacy for youth. Jacobs raised the idea of helping students prepare for job interviews. Board members said they want more partnerships with other journalism groups and more online video footage of our events, possibly in a podcast format.
IX. Old business
• Banquet update – Favot reported on initial efforts to secure tables and ads for the Distinguished Journalists Awards banquet, which will be held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, March 25. Zahniser said the search for a banquet speaker continues.
• Holiday Party – Mottek reported that the holiday party, held at El Floridita in East Hollywood, was a success. Around 60 people attended. The board had lowered the entry price for non-members to $25. As a result, the event cost the chapter $512. Bluestein suggested having dessert available in future years.
• Chapter Election – Bray reported asked for feedback on the 2019 election for the SPJ/LA board of directors. Nearly 50 people voted, about the same number of people as in 2018.
X. Adjournment. Windsor moved, Mottek and Bellman seconded. Motion carried.