MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS
AUGUST 27, 2009
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER
With President Dave Aeikens presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 9:07 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009, at the Westin Indianapolis.
In addition to Aeikens, the following were present: Immediate Past President Clint Brewer; President-Elect Kevin Smith; Secretary-Treasurer Hagit Limor; Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs Neil Ralston; Directors at-Large Michael Koretzky and Bill McCloskey; Campus Adviser at-Large Sue Kopen Katcef; Student Representative Erin Riley; Regional Directors Luther Turmelle; Ann Augherton, Darcie Lunsford, Jeremy Steele, Liz Hansen, Gordon Govier, Holly Edgell, Scott Cooper, John Ensslin, Scott Maben, Sonya Smith and Sonny Albarado.
Staff members present for the meeting were Interim Co-Executive Directors Chris Vachon and Joe Skeel and Director of Development Amy Posavac.
Others in attendance were SDX Foundation President Steve Geimann and FOI Committee Chairman Dave Cuillier.
MEETING MINUTES APPROVED
Upon proper motion and second by Limor and Turmelle, respectively, the board approved the minutes from the April 18, 2009 board of directors meetings.
President Aeikens commented on the difficult year we have all experienced with the loss of Executive Director Terry Harper and with the challenges in the journalism community.
Aeikens went on to recap the centennial celebrations in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Greencastle and Indianapolis.
Next, he touched on the many accomplishments of this board during its tenure.
Finally, Aeikens thanked the board for their time and talent throughout the past year. He enjoyed his term and thanked all for their support.
REPORT OF THE SDX FOUNDATION PRESIDENT
Steve Geimann reported that the Foundations endowment took a hit this past year, but he feels that the endowment is starting to come back.
Geimann informed the board that the centennial book was paid for by the Foundation with the money the Foundation typically uses to pay for the Pulliam Fellowship.
Stacey Woelfel, RTNDA chairman, was able to join the meeting for a short while. He spoke about RTNDAs interest in the joint 2011 convention. He indicated that the goal of the partnership is to reduce cost. He indicated that both RTNDA and SPJ staff are working together on the recommendation of the location for the event. Finally, he indicated that he would like to see a combined committee that will work on the initial stages of the conference.
Vachon and Skeel reported that it has been a disappointing year financially for the Society. The main culprits for the poor performance are advertising revenue, registration fees and membership fees. Together, these three revenue streams account for 75 percent of SPJs budget variance.
In addition, Skeel and Vachon updated the board on the happenings at the convention that will be going on to recognize the centennial, the Legal Defense Fund and Terry Harper.
Finally, upcoming changes for our awards programs were outlined. The programs will be moved to online submissions. Additionally, Web site changes are coming down the pike as a Web summit is planned for this fall to begin the redesign of our site.
Upon proper motion and second by Turmelle and Brewer, respectively, the board approved an application for provisional status of the College of Brockton Chapter.
COMMITTEE TERM LIMITS
Sonya Smith proposed that the board repeal its decision from several years ago to set term limits for committee chairs. Her proposal indicated that term limits violate the SPJ bylaws (Article 6, Section 5).
Upon proper motion and second by S. Smith and McCloskey respectively, the board voted to repeal the board action that set term limits for committee chairs.
CHAPTER DOCTORS REPORT
The Chapter Doctors, McCloskey and Koretzky, put together a report highlighting the good work of some of our chapters from information gathered through the annual reports.
Additionally, the doctors will be making recommendations on improvements to the reporting forms in order to make the job of reviewing the reports more consistent and less time consuming.
CHAPTER STAR RANKING/ANNUAL REPORTS
The Regional Directors have been meeting and discussing revisions to the star ranking and the annual reports. Their goal was to improve the process for the chapters, the Regional Directors and the staff.
Upon proper motion and second by Steele and Govier, respectively, the board voted to adopt the Ranking and Reporting recommendations put forth by Steele that contain two critical changes: 1) remove the requirement of convention and regional conference attendance for a four star ranking and 2) add a requirement of quarterly Regional Director contact with chapters.
FUTURE OF JOURNALISM COMMITTEE
Aeikens reported to the board that he has tasked Scott Maben with chairing a Future of Journalism committee with the goal of keeping abreast of the happenings in the journalism community. The committee consists of Limor, Sonya Smith, Robert Leger, Phillip Meyer and Greg Lynch. It was recommended that someone from the Digital Media and Government Relations committee be added.
Holly Edgell proposed an idea for a toolkit on spj.org with the goal of beefing up its online offerings when it comes to employment, training and career survival. The toolkit would include the following elements: a blog; an aggregate of the current career, freelance and training sections of the Web site; a guest employer/recruiter column; a resume and cover letter clinic; and a career hotline.
Upon proper motion and second by Edgell and Ensslin, respectively, the board approved the development of a Career Toolkit.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN
McCloskey, chair of the Capital Improvement Plan committee, provided a thorough report to the board about the committees work. The committee was charged with reviewing the capital improvements needed at the headquarters building over the next five years. The committee laid out a five year plan, including costs and depreciation information, for the board. The committee also requested that the board approve adding a capital improvements fund line item to each years budget.
Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Turmelle, respectively, the board approved the addition of a budget line item for a capital improvements fund and they also approved the following schedule of improvements:
Spring 10-Roof replacement and exterior repairs and paint
Aug 10-Replace boiler and associated heating system
Spring 11-Parking lot (mill, re-pave, seal and stripe)
Fall 11-Replace carpeting and interior painting
Spring 12-Replace air conditioning unit if necessary
HARPER MEMORIAL FUND
A committee Lunsford, McCloskey, Ralston and Lee Ann Harper was established in June 2009 with the purpose of making a recommendation to the board as to how the Harper Memorial Fund was to be used.
Upon proper motion and second by Lunsford and Kopen-Katcef, respectively, the board approved the creation of an endowment to provide scholarships to SPJ members to attend SPJ programs.
LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
LDF Chairwoman Julie Kay submitted a request for a $5,000 grant to Mike Anzaldi, a freelance videographer who was arrested by Chicago police while filming a crime scene involving a police shooting last year. Anzaldis video was seized and he spent 28 hours in jail.
Last year, Anzaldi was awarded $1,000 from the Chicago Headline Club and the $1,000 from the Legal Defense Fund. He spent $15,000 of this own money defending himself. Therefore, Kay has requested an additional $5,000 from the Legal Defense Fund.
Upon proper motion and second by Brewer and Lunsford, respectively, the board approved an additional $5,000 from the Legal Defense Fund for Mike Anzaldi.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH
Chairs of the search committee, K. Smith and Limor, reported that 180 applications were received for the Executive Director position. The 180 applicants were narrowed down to 20 for phone interviews. From those phone interviews, the list will be narrowed even more in order to conduct the upcoming on-site interviews.
A motion was made by Koretzky and Turmelle to adjourn the meeting at Noon.