Join us for SPJ/LA’s Annual Holiday Party

‘Tis the season… for news and good cheer!

You are invited to join the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for our festive annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 5th in Hollywood. Enjoy the beautiful holiday atmosphere as we gather to celebrate the season at El Floridita. The party this year includes the Jennifer York Quartet, a generous dinner buffet holiday feast and a no-host cash bar.

Space is limited.

SPJ/LA Holiday Party with the Jennifer York Quartet

6:30 – 9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018

El Floridita restaurant, 1253 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Corner of Vine and Fountain)

El Floridita

$25 for SPJ/LA members and $40 for non-members (check or credit card only)
Non-members who join SPJ/LA the night of the event will enjoy the member price.
Give yourself the gift of SPJ/LA membership at

No host cash bar

In Vine Fountain Plaza parking lot

Please RSVP at

Navid Nonahal
(818) 317-2234

Meeting Minutes: October 1, 2018

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Agenda
Monday, October 1, 2018
7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Dave Zahniser, Roberta Wax, Frank Mottek, Kathryn Mora, Elizabeth Marcellino, Richard Saxton, Sarah Favot, Lori Streifler, Ricardo Lopez, Julia Wick.

Favot called the meeting to order at 7:22.

I. Approval of minutes from Sept. 4 meeting. Saxton moved to approve. Zahniser seconded the motion, Wax abstained.

II. President’s report – Favot read a report from Bluestein, including a summary of the conference. Wax spoke about how proud she was of Bluestein’s work at the conference and said that Navid Nonahal used her acceptance of award to give a beautiful eulogy for Dick Hendrickson, our board member and treasurer who died in July.

III. Treasurer’s report – Marcellino read the treasurer’s report and reported on the bank balances. The only substantial expenses over the last month were paying for our scholarships and putting a deposit on the Omni Hotel for the 2019 banquet. We currently have about 850 dollars (including a pledge) for the Hendrickson scholarships. Zahniser moved to receive the treasurer’s report. Wax seconded. All approved.

IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees –
a. Awards –Streifler gave a short report and said that the release calling for nominations will go out on Oct. 3.
b. Banquet – No report.
c. Courts – Streifler raised an issue that has been happening at the OC courts and others discussed looking into it to see if other reporters had faced similar issues.
d. Diversity – Lopez is working on finalizing a date for the November event at USC. The date and place will hopefully be finalized by the end of the week. Panel will be on pay disparities that have led to some of the union efforts. Wick will make a flyer for the event when the date is finalized.
e. Ethics – No report.
f. FOI – No report.
g. Generation J – No report.
h. Membership – No report.
i. Nominations – Favot said that Bray had said that he had some ideas.
j. Scholarships – No report.

V. Old Business
a. Susan Zakin Book Signing – Favot said that the crowd was relatively small.
b. Long Beach Post mixer – Walton was not at the meeting but had reported that it was well attended. About 30 people showed up and about half were Long Beach Post employees. Walton thought that the event succeeded because it had a built-in audience and was a timely topic.

VI. New Business
a. Possible Grading the Media event – Bluestein was not present
b. Holiday Party– Mottek has tentatively selected Xian Chinese restaurant on Canon. It is “an upscale Shanghai grill.” Mottek said that he is concerned about the size of the space but that, pricewise, it is “very attractive.” The other option is El Floridita in Hollywood, which serves Cuban food. Mottek is still waiting on a price for that venue. The actual Shanghai Grill, home to last year’s Christmas party, has unfortunately closed.

VII. Adjournment
Zahniser moved to adjourn at 8:23. Lopez seconded. Approved.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at Louise’s Trattoria

Meeting Minutes: September 4, 2018

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Joel Bellman, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Stephanie Bluestein, Sarah Favot, Ricardo Lopez, Kathryn Mora, Frank Mottek, Navid Nonahal, Richard Saxton, Roberta Wax, Alice Walton

Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.

I. Approval of minutes from July 9 meeting
Bellman moved, Wax seconded. Bluestein, Saxton, Nonahal, Mottek abstained. Approved.

II. President’s report – Bluestein
Bluestein introduced visiting guest Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, a full-time professor at Santa Monica College, who is interested in joining the board. The board introduced themselves.
Bluestein reported there were 20 people at the video-editing workshop on July 19 at CSUN conducted by former board member Mike Fleeman. We received a total of $100 from 10 attendees who were non-members.
In November, we’d like to honor Dick Hendrickson, our board member and treasurer who died in July, and have dinner with his wife, Carol. His memorial is Saturday, Oct. 13 in Cleveland.

III. Treasurer’s report – No report.
Bluestein reported she and Nonahal will be going to Bank of America on Thursday to make changes to the bank account now that Hendrickson is no longer with us.
Carol Hendrickson, Dick’s wife, would like to create a SPJ/LA scholarship in her late husband’s honor. We will be accepting donations from board members and the public. Some board members and people in the community have already donated.

IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards –Streifler and Marcellino
No report
b. Banquet – Walton
The banquet will be March 20, 2019. We’ve paid the deposit for the Omni. Walton is looking for ideas for speakers.
c. Courts – Marcellino
No report.
d. Diversity – Lopez
Lopez had two panel ideas. One of the ideas is a panel on pay disparities for women and minorities in newsrooms, as various studies have been released about the issue.
The other panel idea could be the challenges of covering the migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the US/Mexico border.
The board was interested in the panel on pay disparities in newsrooms. Lopez will reach out to potential panelists and plan to schedule the event in early November, possibly on Nov. 14 at USC.
e. Ethics – Bellman
Bellman gave an update on our Public Records Act request to UCLA for emails about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s visit. Bellman received another correspondence last week from UCLA which they stated they’ll respond to our request in November. The university has delayed for more than 8 months to respond to a simple, narrow request about a specific event.
Bellman would like to go public about the feet dragging from UCLA regarding our Public Records Act request.
Walton suggested posting a news release on our website and social media channels expressing our frustration with the delay from UCLA. We then could ask other journalism organizations to sign on to our cause.
Bellman and Bluestein will draft a statement.
f. FOI – Zahniser
No report
g. Generation J – Bluestein
No report
h. Membership – Nonahal
Nonahal reported she received information from National about our membership. She will share the information with the board.
i. Nominations – Bray
Bluestein said Bray had reached out to someone who is not available to consider being on the board until June 2019. She encouraged board members to send Bray suggestions.
j. Scholarships – Saxton
Saxton reported that Hendrickson sent checks to the scholarship recipients.
Hendrickson had requested that we consider doubling our scholarship amounts. We will consider it for next year.

V. Old Business

VI. New Business
a. Resolution in honor of Dick Hendrickson – Nonahal
Nonahal would like to submit a resolution in Hendrickson’s memory to SPJ National’s Resolution Committee. She distributed the resolution to board members. If approved, the resolution will be voted on during the EIJ National Convention later this month. Nonahal will also reach out to the Cleveland Chapter to see if they would like to sign on.
Nonahal will also speak about Hendrickson during her remarks at the convention when she receives the Howard S. Durbin Outstanding Pro Member Award. Hendrickson, along with Wax, nominated Nonahal for the award. Nonahal asked board members to send her suggestions for her remarks.
Nonahal moved, Wax seconded to submit the resolution to SPJ’s Resolution Committee in memory of Hendrickson. Approved.
b. Appointment of interim treasurer – Bluestein
Marcellino has offered to be our interim treasurer.
Nonahal moved, Favot seconded to appoint Marcellino as our interim treasurer. Approved.
c. Vote to remove past treasurer from bank account – Bluestein
Nonahal and Bluestein will go to Bank of America on Thursday morning to remove Hendrickson’s name from our account. For now, Nonahal and Bluestein will remain on the account. A letter has been drafted that Bluestein, Bellman and Favot will sign making this request to the bank.
Bellman moved, Lopez seconded to submit the letter to the Bank of America. Approved.
d. SPJ sponsorships at EIJ national convention – Bluestein
Nonahal and Bluestein, as delegates, want to know how the Chapter feels for any motion that might be submitted to the convention floor.
Board members expressed their concern about Koch Industries, one of the sponsors at the national convention, given the attacks that the organization has made against a New Yorker journalist.
Bellman said national’s Ethics Committee chair told him the donation was not signed off on by the committee.
Some board members said they would like national to return the donation, however it will likely be too late as the convention is in three weeks. Bellman cited Koch’s attack on Jane Mayer, a journalist SPJ should be defending, as a reason SPJ should return the donation.
Saxton noted the Koch’s generous donations to numerous journalism organizations and cancer research and questioned the evidence and any proof that the Kochs “attacked” New Yorker writer and Dark Money author Jane Mayer. Saxton said the donation should be accepted and that SPJ donation protocol should be reviewed.
Bluestein agreed national’s 2003 policy should be updated, specifically regarding the provisions that a SPJ staff member can approve donations (we believe sponsorships should be voted on by a committee) and who SPJ will not accept donations from, which reads domestic and foreign governments and political organizations. (We believe donations from organizations that attack journalists and our mission should not be accepted).
Nonahal will check with national to see when the deadline is to submit a resolution.
Bluestein will check in with the Chicago and Florida chapters to see if they are submitting a resolution.
The direction of the board is to express that we would like to see the policy updated and we were outraged to see that the donation was not vetted through a committee.
e. Endorsements for national elections– Bluestein
Matt Hall, our Region 11 director, is running to be SPJ Executive Committee’s treasurer-secretary and has asked that we endorse his candidacy.
Wax said we’ve never endorsed a candidate. Board members felt that we couldn’t speak for our entire Chapter and declined to approve an endorsement.
f. High School Journalism Workshop contribution (Oct. 20 event) – Bluestein
The high school journalism workshop at CSUN has requested a donation. The event is a chance for high school journalists to compete in news, feature, sports, opinion contests. The money is used for breakfast and lunch for the students. We have donated $500 in the past.
Mottek moved to donate to $1,000 to the High School Journalism Workshop, Bellman seconded.
Bellman moved to amend the motion to donate $750 to the High School Journalism Workshop, Lopez seconded.
The amended motion was approved.
g. College grad request–financial assistance for EIJ ’18 – Bluestein
A CSUN graduate student has asked financial assistance to attend the national convention. She has made several efforts to raise funds.
Board members said they weren’t inclined to give a donation for a student to attend the conference without opening up the opportunity to other students and were wary of the precedent it would set. Bluestein will tell the student the board declined to give her a donation and will encourage the student to apply for a scholarship.
h. Possible Grading the Media event – Bluestein
Bluestein received an inquiry about holding a “grading the media” event. We’ll discuss this next month.
i. Walton requested $250 to buy appetizers at the Long Beach Post event on Thursday
Wax moved to authorize Walton to spend a maximum of $300 for appetizers at the Long Beach Post event, Mottek seconded. Approved.
j. Mottek reported that the Shanghai Grill where we hold our annual Christmas party has closed. He will find a new location. We have scheduled the party for Dec. 5.

VII. Adjournment
Bluestein moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 p.m. in memory of Sue Manning, a local AP editor, who died on July 16; L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold, who died on July 22; and our own beloved board member Richard Hendrickson who died on July 29, Bellman seconded. Approved.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 at Louise’s Trattoria


The Society of Professional Journalists Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter has sent the following letter to J. Alex Tarquinio, President of SPJ, and Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ President-Elect and Chair of a newly-formed Sponsorship Task Force:

Dear Alex and Patti:

I am writing to you on behalf of SPJ/LA to express our chapter’s appreciation that a task force has been seated to develop recommendations and guidelines for future event sponsorships. It is our deepest hope that the task force will incorporate language of the resolution that was approved Sept. 29 by delegates at the Excellence in Journalism (EIJ) conference in Baltimore. In part, the resolution calls on SPJ to “consider rejecting dollars from entities whose actions are at odds with SPJ’s journalistic mission and using the SPJ Code of Ethics as a guide to vet donations.”

The issue that brought this to a boiling point was the EIJ ‘18 panel ostensibly assisting journalists in navigating the Freedom of Information Act, sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute. SPJ/LA believes the task force’s report must include a full account of how the Koch Institute panel sponsorship was handled — and to what extent Koch and other sponsors have controlled the content of conference programming.

We also believe that any new policies must cover not only sponsorship at annual conventions that are planned with other journalism organization, but all events and programs held under SPJ auspices and should cover chapter events as well.

SPJ should lead, not follow, in establishing and honoring “best practices” in journalism, not just in journalists’ professional conduct in the course of their jobs, but in our conduct as an organization dedicated to promoting professional journalism. We are looking forward to hearing the task force’s recommendations and seeing a report on the Koch Institute panel sponsorship.


Stephanie Bluestein
President, Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter of SPJ

SPJ/LA Hosts a Seminar on Producing 360VR and 180VR Video Content

Are you an experienced storyteller, journalist, or content creator looking to add VR to your skill-set or marketing media mix? Join the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for an introduction to producing 360VR and 180VR led by Oculus Launchpad Fellow, Marlon Fuentes. Walk away with an understanding of the equipment, software, and field-tested methods and approaches necessary to create meaningful in-headset experiences.

360VR and 180VR video content seminar

Led by Oculus Launchpad Fellow, Marlon Fuentes

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
7 to 8:30 p.m.

Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design (CMD)
1660 Stewart Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Free parking is available after 6 p.m. in the parking garage on Pennsylvania Avenue near Stewart Street. Be sure to park head first in a space NOT marked “staff.”

The event itself is free and open to the public. SPJ/LA will provide light refreshments.​


Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins

Navid Nonahal
(818) 317-2234