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9/12/04: SPJ Board
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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

JAN. 28, 2012


With President John Ensslin presiding, the meeting of the executive committee of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 28, 2012, at the American City Business Journals building in Charlotte, N.C.


In addition to Ensslin, the following were present: President-Elect Sonny Albarado; Secretary-Treasurer Dave Cuillier; Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs Neil Ralston; Immediate Past President Hagit Limor; Director at-Large Bill McCloskey; Region 2 Director Brian Eckert.

SDX Foundation President Steve Geimann was in attendance.

Staff members in attendance were Executive Director Joe Skeel and Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon.


Upon proper motion and seconded by Limor and Eckert, respectively, the committee approved the minutes from the following executive committee meetings:

— July 16, 2011, Ft Lauderdale
— Dec. 13, 2011, Conference Call


Ensslin has written 11 columns to the Freedom of the Prez blog. The site has garnered about 2,000 page views, including about 500 on a post about journalists arrested during various "Occupy" demonstrations.

Ensslin has done numerous interviews, including one with a Cambodian journalist who wanted an opinion on covering the Khmer Rouge War Crimes tribunals and a British researcher looking at trends and business models in American journalism.

Ensslin instituted the Volunteer of the Month, recognizing members through Leads for their contributions to the organization.


President Steve Geimann reported that the Foundation accounts are over $10 million.

SABEW, who is hosting its annual conference in Indianapolis in March 2012, approached Geimann for support; however, he is waiting for additional information from the organization.


Executive Director Joe Skeel reports that new revenue streams are coming to fruition. The partnership with NAHJ is going well and the renting of HQ’s upstairs is moving forward. The next possible revenue stream is selling the Society’s awards platform. All this work is being done to keep membership dues as low as possible and to expand products and services over time.

The renting of the upstairs does come with an initial cost that we will be recouped in about two years. Another upcoming large cost is the final touches on the database upgrade. It is near completion and will be a big benefit to both staff and members.

The SDX Awards Banquet will take place Friday, July 20, 2012 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

SPJ has retained the services of a publisher’s representative based out of Chicago. He is now managing all aspects of our ad sales efforts and administration.


The Executive Committee took some time to review the Society’s strategic plan. Moving forward they will review each of the six sections in the plan. The first section to be reviewed is the Operations section. It will be discussed at the summer Executive Committee meeting.


The committee considered grant requests to endorse before they are considered by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Diversity Committee: The committee submitted a proposal to continue funding the Diversity Leaders Program, which brings five or six members to the convention in order to educate them on the importance of national involvement within the organization.

Upon proper motion and seconded by Limor and McCloskey, respectively, the committee voted to support the grant request.

Communications Committee: The committee is proposing a national public service announcement campaign to raise public awareness about journalists being the watchdogs for the public.

Upon proper motion and seconded by McCloskey and Albarado, respectively, the committee voted to support the concept of the grant request, but asked that the committee work to reduce the travel costs included in the proposal.

Washington Coalition for Open Government: Supported by the Western Washington Pro Chapter, the WCOG submitted a proposal for funding for a series of community forums designed to educate citizens and journalists on their rights when it comes to public records and open meeting laws.

There was no motion.

Charlotte Chapter: The chapter gave a presentation and submitted a proposal for funding in conjunction with resources/events tied to the Democratic National Convention taking place in August 2012 in Charlotte.

The Executive Committee recommended that the chapter pursue the workshop training idea and the stylebook idea in terms of grants to the Foundation.


The committee discussed spring conferences and assigned committee members to attend the 12 conferences.


Tara Puckey, former board student representative, submitted a memo requesting financial support to attend the annual CMA conference in March 2012 to represent SPJ.

The Executive Committee agreed to send representatives to the CMA conference in March 2012.


The Communications Committee submitted a memo outlining tactics and deliverables to emphasize the Society’s commitment to ethics and the public’s right to know.

Upon proper motion and seconded by Limor and Albarado, respectively, the committee voted to encourage the Communications committee to deliver on their plans outlined in their memo.


The ad hoc committee established to make a recommendation about the concept of virtual chapters recommended that the Society not pursue virtual chapters at this time. The committee does think that affinity or interest groups may work for the organization.


The International Committee was tasked with working on the concept of international chapters. The committee recommends that the Society continues to encourage international members, but that the organization does nothing at this time when it comes to international chapters.


2012: Vachon reported that working with RTDNA for the conference is going well as they have a new Executive Director and a new Meetings Manager.

2013: The hotel contract has been signed with the Anaheim Marriott.

2014: Staff will be going to Opryland in March for a site visit with RTDNA staff.


President Ensslin surveyed the Executive Committee, prior to the meeting, about possible nominations for the Fellows award. Ensslin’s intent is that at least one of the Fellows can be given an appropriate amount of notification of the award so that he/she may attend the convention. Receiving the award will be conditional on the award recipient attending the convention.


Limor reported that the One Member, One Vote Committee has met several times and that within the committee there is a technology committee, a communications committee and a process committee.


Upon proper motion and seconded by Limor and McCloskey, respectively, the committee approved the minutes from the following convention business meetings:

— October 3, 2010, Las Vegas
— October 5, 2010, Las Vegas
— September 25, 2011, New Orleans
— September 27, 2011, New Orleans


The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m. for an Executive Session to discuss HQ personnel. The Executive Session was adjourned at 4:05 p.m. and the Executive Committee was adjourned at 4:06 p.m.

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