SPJ Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
September 9, 2004 - Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City
Meeting Date: September 9, 2004
Meeting Place: Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City, New York
Meeting Called to Order
With President Mac McKerral presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, September 9, 2004, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.
In addition to McKerral, the following were in attendance for all or a portion of the meeting: President-elect Irwin Gratz; Secretary-Treasurer David Carlson (via telephone); Immediate Past President Robert Leger; Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs Jim Highland; Directors at Large Jim Parker and Christine Tatum; Advisers at Large Mead Loop and Neil Ralston; Campus Representatives Tasha Braggs and Amanda Lutz; Regional Directors Guy Baehr, Ann Augherton, Holly Fisher, Bruce Cadwallader, Vicky Whitaker, Dave Aeikens, Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell (via telephone), Travis Poling, Scott Maben and Clint Brewer; Executive Director Terrence G. Harper; and Deputy Executive Director Julie F. Grimes. Deidre Connor, staff reporter for The Working Press, was also present for the meeting.
Weekend Business Activities
Leger reminded the board of its policies regarding election campaigns: no sitting board member should actively campaign for a candidate in a contested race. Candidates in contested races will speak at the Friday business session, and elections will be held Saturday afternoon.
The following board members will oversee elections during the following regional meetings: Gratz in Region 1; Parker in Region 4; Highland in Region 5; Leger in Regions 7 and 9; and Ralston in Region 8.
During the delegate sessions, the following board members will serve as sergeants-at-arms: Aeikens, Lutz, Braggs, Brewer and Loop.
The Credentials Committee will include Membership Chair Mark Scarp, Chapter Doctor Kyle Niederpruem, and others to be named by McKerral.
Approval of Minutes
Upon proper motion and second by Parker and Cadwallader, respectively, the board of directors approved the minutes from the May 15, 2004 board of directors meeting.
McKerral briefly reviewed the past year’s activities.
Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs
Highland briefly referenced his report, which was available in the board packet.
Reports from Regions 2, 3, 6, and 12 were noted in the board packet.
At Large Directors
Tatum noted that she spoke recently about media coverage in times of disaster. Parker reported that his recent activities included responding to questions about the proposed bylaws changes.
Executive Director’s Report
Harper referred to his written report, available in the board packet. Financial reports were distributed electronically the week prior to the board meeting. Harper asked the board to discuss his initial marketing and branding report.
Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Aeikens, respectively, the board voted to create a Public Relations Committee. The committee should review the organization’s mission statement and make a report to the board about potential changes.
Harper reported that a study of nonmembers currently being conducted should provide useful information regarding marketing and branding.
Board affirmed its support for the current direction of the communications/marketing plan.
Harper reported that the 2005 Convention will be Oct. 23-25 – a Sunday-Tuesday pattern – at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Future convention possibilities include Williamsburg, Va., in 2007 and Indianapolis in 2009, for the organization’s centennial anniversary.
The board discussed the organization’s proposal to provide a headquarters and support for the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
The hosting arrangement would be a team effort between SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. The organizations would provide physical space, bookkeeping, tax and audit services, and some other administrative services.
Upon proper motion and second by Parker and Ralston, respectively, the board reaffirmed its commitment to host that National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Next, Harper reported that hiring an editor for Quill would be his first priority when he returned to Indianapolis. He is sensitive to the Committee on Quill’s recommendations, which will have to be balanced against the organization’s budget and resources.
Board members discussed the need for an editorial plan and a revenue plan. They questioned SPJ’s current advertising arrangement and noted the need to research why ad accounts ended in the past. SPJ also needs to provide advertising representatives with targeting information for advertisers, including return on investment.
Harper reported that leadership continues to research opportunities for a partnership with the Foundation for American Communications. Currently, FACS will provide programming for local chapters and regional conferences.
Board members discussed The Journalist magazine, which was launched at a reception at Forbes Magazine on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and was provided to all convention participants. It will be distributed to all SPJ members with the September issue of Quill magazine.
Gratz asked board members to carefully consider this year’s effort and make recommendations for the magazine’s future. This information will be compiled and a presentation will come before the board at its spring meeting.
Magazine publisher Amy Lemel reported that she was meeting with the head of Barnes and Noble to negotiate distribution of the magazine in college bookstores. Lemel said the biggest obstacle with the magazine had been that there was nothing for advertisers to see when making a decision about advertising with the magazine.
SPJ printed about 3,000 extra copies of The Journalist. Staff will make a decision about the best use of those copies.
Upon proper motion and second by Parker and Lutz, respectively, the board voted to formally acknowledge and thank all those involved in the production of The Journalist for their hard work.
The report from Steve Geimann, representative to the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications report was available in the board packet.
Changes to Green Eyeshade Awards
Baehr proposed the following changes to the Green Eyeshade Awards program:
Collapse the large and small market broadcast categories into one market size
Eliminate the following broadcast categories
criticism and editorial
Combine the broadcast categories of deadline reporting and non-deadline reporting into a single general news reporting category
Combine the online categories of deadline reporting and non-deadline reporting into a single general news reporting category
Addition of SPJ’s “accuracy requirement”
Discounted entry fee for SPJ members
It was noted that adopting the above changes would reduce the number of categories from 70 to 39 which would be much more manageable. It was noted that the SPJ staff would be coordinating the Green Eyeshade Awards program and banquet to allow the chapter to focus on membership and other chapter development activities. The chapter is in agreement with this course of action.
Upon a proper motion and second, the board approved the changes to the Green Eyeshade Awards outlined above.
Ethnic Media Award Collaboration Created
Baehr presented a proposal to create an Ethnic Media Award to be developed by the Awards & Honors Committee, in conjunction with the Diversity Committee. The award will be created and marketed this year. It will be marketed with the Sigma Delta Chi Awards brochures but will not be part of the SDX awards program at this time.
Upon proper motion and second by Highland and Whitaker, respectively, the board created the Ethnic Media Award as outlined by Lehrman and Baehr. Tatum abstained.
The Ethnic Media Collaboration Award proposal is attached to these minutes as Exhibit A.
The board reviewed the report of the Chapter Doctor and the staff notes about chapters requiring board action, based on the recently implemented star ranking system.
A motion and second by Leger and Poling respectively to refer the list of chapters to the Executive Committee for appropriate action at the January 2005 meeting was withdrawn.
The board reviewed the list of 18 chapters; regional directors were asked for input about the activity level of the chapters.
Chapter Charters Revoked
Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Cadwallader, respectively, the board revoked the charters of the following professional chapters:
Chapters Placed on Probation
Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Whitaker, the board placed the following professional chapters on probation for one year and recommended that by January 2005, there be a plan in place for contact and assistance to these chapters.
The report from the Membership Committee was available in the board packet. Committee Chair Mark Scarp highlighted the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Young Journalists and recommended that the board approve membership opportunities for international journalists, with perhaps the establishment of an international chapter.
McKerral instructed the Bylaws Committee to work with the International Journalism Committee to make a recommendation regarding non-U.S. citizen memberships, to be considered by delegates at the 2005 convention.
Committee on Quill
Carlson reviewed the report of the Committee on Quill. The report was available in the board packet and included the results of Quill survey with 570 responses. Carlson reported that the committee recommended that Quill be retained as a print magazine but its content be focused more clearly and shifted to differ from that of CJR and AJR. The committee suggested an “edgier” magazine with more “how-to” content, personality profiles and in-depth reports. The committee further recommends that most SPJ news continue to be segregated from the rest of the magazine content. The committee also recommends the Society find the resources to hire a seasoned editor and commission an outside design firm to recreate the “look” of the magazine.
The group discussed whether SPJ’s marketing strategy was considered in making recommendations. They also discussed the adequacy of funds allocated to the magazine.
Carlson suggested he would like to see a vote of confidence from the board supporting the committee’s recommendations.
McKerral named Brewer to chair an ad hoc committee that will develop a business plan for Quill magazine. Gratz also will appoint an editorial advisory board to work with the magazine.
Upon a proper motion and second by Highland and Parker, the board commended Carlson and the committee for an outstanding job.
Model Anti-SLAPP Statute and Lobbying Plan
Bruce Sanford, Baker & Hostetler LLP, presented the Model Anti-SLAPP Statute and Lobbying Plan drafted by the firm at the request of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. He reviewed the importance of the plan to the press and the public.
He encouraged local chapters to examine steps they can take and encouraged the FOI Committee to select a couple of states to approach chapters about participating and focus the organization’s efforts. Sanford also would like to see Quill do something with the information.
Sanford will soon provide a list of states lacking Anti-SLAPP laws and information about which states have good laws and which ones need improvement.
The group commented on the value of Baker & Hostetler’s quarterly newsletter, and Sanford indicated that parts of it might be available for publication in Quill. The board is interested in developing ways to get Baker & Hostetler’s information and resources directly in the hands of SPJ members.
Sanford distributed and briefly reviewed Baker & Hostetler’s Annual Report to the Board of Directors.
Young Journalists Committee
The report of the Young Journalists Committee was available in the board packet. Fisher reviewed the report and recommended the creation of “Generation J,” a young journalists committee.
Fisher presented the new guidelines for stipend use by board members.
Upon proper motion and second by Aeikens and Whitaker, respectively, the board approved the stipend guidelines for board members and committee chairs.
The guidelines are attached to these minutes as Exhibit B.
Gratz briefly updated the group on the organization’s presence at the 2004 UNITY Conference.
Tatum suggested that SPJ continue to build a relationship with Keith Woods at The Poynter Institute.
Ethics Book Update
Gratz and McKerral updated the group on the plans for a new edition of “Doing Ethics in Journalism.” McKerral said he hopes to see the book back in print within a year. At this point, the authors need to complete their timeline and decide on the division of labor. This time, SPJ will focus on self publishing opportunities and distribution/fulfillment agreements, rather than utilizing a publisher.
Anonymous Sources Resolution
A copy of a proposed resolution concerning the use of anonymous sources was included in the board packet. McKerral instructed board members who had thoughts about the proposed resolution to contact Resolutions Committee Chair Al Cross as soon as possible during the weekend.
McKerral recognized all board members who would be leaving the board after this convention. He specifically noted Whitaker’s 10 years consecutive service to the board.
There being no further business to come before the board, McKerral entertained a motion from Leger to adjourn. Lutz provided the second. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:40 p.m. on Thursday, September 9, 2004.
Date: August 26, 2004
From: Sally Lehrman, Diversity Committee
Guy Baehr, Awards and Honors Committee
SUBJ: Ethnic media collaboration award
For: Board of Directors
Last spring the executive committee discussed the possibility of a new award that would acknowledge the importance of ethnic media and the need to report fairly, accurately, and in an engaging manner on immigrant communities in the United States. The committee agreed on the idea in principle, but wanted to submit it to the full board for a vote.
NEW AMERICA AWARD FORCOLLABORATIVE REPORTING ON U.S. ETHNIC AFFAIRS REPORTING or
NEW AMERICAN AWARD FOR PUBLIC SERVICE in ETHNIC AFFAIRS REPORTING
What the award would honor:
Collaborations between ethnic and mainstream media that result in depth coverage of an important issue facing immigrant, African American, Spanish-speaking, or American Indian communities in the United States.
Why the ethnic media?
If SPJ takes leadership in this area, it could have powerful impact. Ethnic print and broadcast outlets represent an increasingly important sector of the media. An award would help promote excellence in their work, as well as encourage productive bridges between the ethnic media and mainstream media. Many news organizations that want to do a better job covering their multicultural populations are recognizing the benefit of collaborations. The ethnic media bring access, cultural competency, and an intimate knowledge of their communities to the mainstream outlets, which in return contribute resources, professional skills, and access to the institutions of government and industry. Encouraging collaboration, not just good reporting, promotes exchange that can contribute to better reporting on and within ethnic communities.
We may want to consider a “diversity” award at some point, but other organizations already offer these.
We propose the following:
Start with a “pilot” SPJ award that could later be wrapped into the SDX offerings.
To mitigate costs, however, the award would be publicized together with the SDX lineup (as a flier insert the first year) and the winners would accept their award at the national SDX Awards dinner. This plan serves a second purpose of making the ethnic media more aware of the importance and prestige of the SDX Awards.
Start with simply an honor, but consider a cash award within a couple of years. ($1,000 to each organization, for instance.)
Encourage people to provide their own translations with their entries, but incorporate a backup system of our own translations of finalists. New California Media has said they will help us with this, although they would like us to help pay for translators. ($3,000)
SPJ would be responsible for judging, but we may want NCM or IPA-New York to help select finalists and then have our committee select the winner. We also could ask them to contribute one or two judges to our panel for this purpose.
Enlist New California Media, IPA-New York, and the Journalism Resources Institute to publicize both this and the regular SDX awards.
NCM would announce the award at their own gathering, the NCM Expo and Awards, in addition to the SDX Awards event.
Some context from my Knight Foundation report on diversity, “News as American As America”:
A widening influence
While mainstream media leaders struggle with diversity issues, the ethnic and community media continue to grow. These “niche” outlets reach 84 percent of Californians who self-identify as Hispanic, African American or Asian American, according to a New California Media survey – and many turn to these news sources first. In New York City, half of African Americans said they relied on black-generated media and nearly one quarter said these were their most important source of news.
Thanks for considering this proposal.
Society of Professional Journalists
Stipend Guidelines for Board Members and Committee Chairs
effective September 12, 2004
As of Fiscal Year 2005, officers, board members and committee chairs receive the following stipends for work and travel done on behalf of SPJ:
Immediate Past President: $1,500
Regional Directors (12): $750
Committee Chairs (10): $500
Directors/Advisors-at-large (4): $750
Vice President Campus Chapter Affairs*: $3,540
Student Representatives (2)*: $1,700
*There is no set limit on stipends for the VPCCA and Student Representatives, but the Executive Director must approve any reimbursable expenses for the people serving in these offices before the expenses are incurred. The dollar amounts listed here for VPCCA and the Student Representatives are approximations.
Board members and committee chairs receive annual stipends for work they do on behalf of the Society. They should remember they have a fiduciary responsibility to the Society and stipends should be used strictly for work related to SPJ. Board members and committee chairs also should solicit support from their employers (when applicable) to help cover expenses incurred while conducting SPJ business.
Approved reimbursements include:
Mileage for personal vehicle (prevailing IRS rate)
Meals (up to $50 per day)
Miscellaneous travel expenses, including parking fees, cab fares and toll fees
The following expenses will not be reimbursed:
National Convention and Regional Conference registration fees within the home region (including meal event tickets)
The goal of the stipend is to offset travel expenses for regional directors traveling within their regions, for directors-at-large traveling around the country for SPJ business and for officers who makes trips and visits on behalf of SPJ. Board members and committee chairs should use their best judgment when requesting reimbursements.
Board members should make every effort to stretch the SPJ dollar by using the least expensive form of travel. Mileage reimbursement requests should not exceed the cost of the lowest non-refundable airfare.
Board members are free to secure their own lodging for any SPJ event, however, the reimbursement request should not exceed the rate at the “headquarters” hotel.
Expenses incurred for spouses/significant others are not eligible for reimbursement.
A key word to insert before all eligible reimbursements is “reasonable.” SPJ does not expect volunteers to stay in shoddy hotels and eat every meal at fast-food establishments. Likewise, staying at five-star hotels and dining at expensive restaurants every night is similarly discouraged.
Requests should be submitted using an SPJ expense account form (available from SPJ headquarters). Receipts or copies of receipts must be included with all reimbursement requests.
All requests for reimbursement should be submitted within 30 days to SPJ headquarters. Expense reports submitted more than 60 days after the expenses have been incurred shall not be reimbursed.
The stipend timeline runs from the close of the national convention to the close of the following national convention in accordance with board member and committee chair terms. This ensures outgoing board members or committee chairs do not tap into their successor’s stipends.
Questions about reimbursements or requests for waivers should be directed to SPJ’s Executive Director.