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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

MAY 4, 2008

With President Steve Geimann presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was called to order at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2008, at the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In addition to Geimann, the following board members were present: Vice President Robert Leger; Secretary Irwin Gratz; Treasurer Howard Dubin; Directors Dave Aeikens, Ann Augherton, Clint Brewer, Fred Brown, David Carlson, Al Cross, Deb Hurley, Bill Ketter, Jane Kirtley, Sue Kopen-Katcef, Al Leeds, Neil Ralston, and Kevin Smith.

Staff members present included Executive Director Terrence G. Harper, Associate Executive Directors Julie Grimes and Chris Vachon, Quill Editor Joe Skeel, Controller Jake Koenig and Administrative Assistant Amanda Mohl.

Upon proper motion and second by Dubin and Brown, respectively, the board approved as amended the minutes of the October 4, 2007, board of directors meeting.

Geimann referred to his report, which was presented in the board packet. He asked the board to consider whether the Foundation needed a more directed, focused mission that would help in fundraising, grant-making and director recruitment. The general consensus was to maintain a mission that mirrored SPJ’s mission statement.

Harper referred to his report, which was distributed electronically prior to the meeting. He noted that the Foundation would be asked to consider its staffing needs as Associate Executive Director Julie Grimes has shared her plans to leave the staff at some point in the future. Harper explained that SPJ also was considering its staffing needs. Board members discussed staffing priorities centered on the organization’s fundraising goals and strategies. It was determined that those strategies should be further developed.

SPJ President and Foundation board member Clint Brewer presented a verbal report on the recent activities of SPJ.

Leger, chair of the Grants and Awards Committee, presented the committee’s recommendations for grant funding in 2008-09.

Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Smith (with one abstention by Ralston), the board approved the following grants, totaling $312,500 in the coming year:
— SPJ: $37,500 to support educational components of the 2008 SPJ National Convention
— SPJ: $15,000 for Mark of Excellence Awards staff support
— SPJ: $24,000 to support the Media Credibility Project
— SPJ: $50,000 for a professional development coordinator position
— SPJ: $75,000 to support SPJ training programs
— SPJ: $20,000 to purchase the Journalists Toolbox
— SPJ: $63,000 to support the Reporters Institute (two programs)
— University of Georgia Foundation: $3,000 per year for three years to support the annual surveys of journalism
— National Freedom of Information Coalition: $5,000 to support the 2009 NFOIC National Conference
— Student Press Law Center: $10,000 to support the production of “Covering Campus Crime,” a handbook published by the Student Press Law Center Reporters Committee for — Freedom of the Press: $10,000 to support production of “How to Use the Federal Freedom of Information Act,” a guidebook published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Gratz, respectively, the board approved the following specified gifts:
1. A grant of $50,000 to SPJ (specified gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation) to support the 2008 Ted Scripps Leadership Training Institute.
2. A grant of $500 to the University of Utah SPJ chapter (specified gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation) to support the chapter’s educational and training programs.

Leger presented a proposal from the Grants and Awards Committee to make revisions to the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writers. Leger noted that committee members had talked with past fellowship recipients, judges and a member of the Pulliam family while considering these revisions.

Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Cross, respectively, the board approved the following changes to the fellowship. These changes will begin with the 2009 fellowship:
— Each fellowship recipient will become a mentor to the following year’s recipient.
— Fellows will provide a post-fellowship written report on how fellowship funds were used.
— Open the applicant field to part-time editorial writers, thus allowing journalists at smaller papers the same opportunity to recharge their batteries.
— Open the applicant field to columnists.

The group reviewed the budget proposal available in the board packets. Harper asked the board to repurpose funds currently allocated to the Ward Neff Internship and the Archibald Communications Internship. Those programs, as currently established, would end and a new post graduate communications internship would be established.

Upon proper motion and second by Dubin and Hurley, respectively, the board approved the Fiscal Year 2009 budget to include the grants approved earlier and the repurposing of funds for the post graduate communications internship program.

The board reviewed the Morgan Stanley executive performance summary available in the board packets. Dubin and Harper explained that SPJ’s money manager at Morgan Stanley has left the firm to join UBS. The Foundation should decide whether to follow the money manager to UBS or stay with new managers at Morgan Stanley.

Upon proper motion and second by Cross and Aeikens, respectively, the board decided to remain with Morgan Stanley.

At the fall board meeting, board members will receive a performance evaluation of the Foundation’s current investment services.

Brown updated the group on progress made on revisions to the SPJ ethics textbook, “Doing Ethics in Journalism.” The book will include 48 case studies. Sixteen will need to be pulled from the previous edition by staff. A foreword to the book also needs to be prepared.

Brown and Cross discussed the continuing need for a public-relations and/or advertising campaign to remind Americans and journalists of the ethical principles that should guide and define journalism. The efforts of SPJ and SDX for such a campaign are on hold, pending more information and activity from the Liberty Tree Initiative, which is working to create a “branding” campaign for press freedom and other First Amendment rights. Brown and Cross said our likely role remains as envisioned a year ago: A campaign that plays off the Liberty Tree effort but is more about responsibilities than rights, and that is aimed at journalists as well as the public. The board agreed that as projects are developed, SPJ officers need to be included in the planning.

It was the sense of the board that the fall meeting should be scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6, if possible. Staff will confer and notify board members of the date as soon as possible.

Board members received a copy of the SPJ membership survey, which the board commissioned last fall. The survey polled previous members who had not renewed their memberships.

There being no further business to come before the board, Geimann declared the meeting adjourned at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2008.

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