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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

APRIL 20, 2013


With President Sonny Albarado presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 9:18 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at the Skyline Club in downtown Indianapolis.

In addition to Albarado, the following were present: President-Elect David Cuillier; Immediate Past President John Ensslin; Secretary-Treasurer Dana Neuts; Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs Neil Ralston; Director at-Large Bill McCloskey; Director at-Large Carl Corry, Campus Adviser at-Large Kym Fox; Student Representative Meg Wagner; Regional Directors Rebecca Baker, Brian Eckert, Michael Koretzky, Patricia Gallagher Newberry (present virtually), Sue Stevens, Amanda Theisen, Eddye Gallagher, Don Meyers and Tony Hernandez.

Staff members present for the meeting were Executive Director Joe Skeel, Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon, Director of Membership Linda Hall, Director of Events Heather Dunn, Chapter Coordinator Tara Puckey and Bookkeeper Sarah Beck.


President Albarado welcomed new board members to the meeting.


Albarado spoke about the many letters he has written and signed with other organizations in support of Shield Law changes, free press, etc. Baker and Stevens urged the entire board to “toot our own horn” more and really promote our actions.

Koretzky and Albarado talked briefly about campus access issues, especially at FAMU, where students worked to fight the administration on changes within their student media. Koretzky suggests that SPJ work to promote the hiring of students who “take action.” Cuillier voiced his desire that SPJ move in and “take action ourselves.”


Executive Director Joe Skeel presented an overview of the budget and responded to Neil Ralston’s question about how SPJ actually makes money. The group discussed revenue streams from awards platforms, membership predictions, etc.

Upon proper motion and second by Ralston and McCloskey, respectively, the board approved the budget.


Puckey presented a list of chapters seeking to be chartered:

Delaware Pro
Salisbury University
Florida Atlantic University
Waynesburg University
University of Indianapolis
Texas A&M San Antonio
St. John’s University

Upon proper motion and second by Daniels and Baker, respectively, the board approved the charters for the seven new chapters.

Puckey also presented information about “cleaning house” in respect to our inactive chapters. Koretzky questioned where the money would end up once chapters are inactivated. Discussion continued about funds and chapter awards. Daniels questioned whether SPJ markets the annual report and corresponding deadline enough.

McCloskey made a motion that staff is to draft a policy to address the funds from inactive chapters. Daniels seconded the motion.


Skeel spoke about many changes at SPJ HQ. Lauren Rochester will be leaving to pursue other opportunities and Sarah Beck is the new bookkeeper. A brief discussion took place about Newsroom Memberships where Skeel was able to report that SPJ does have one Newsroom Membership.

Information was provided about EIJ, including a proposal to hold the 2016 EIJ at the New Orleans Sheraton on Sept. 18 — 20.

Upon proper motion and second by Corry and Baker, respectively, the board approved plans to hold EIJ 2016 in New Orleans.


Ensslin gave a brief report on elections. He presented a tentative slate of officers. President-Elect: Dana Neuts; Secretary-Treasurer: Paul Fletcher; At-Large Director: Bill McCloskey; VP for Campus Affairs: Kym Fox; Campus Adviser: Becky Tallent; Region 2 Director: Andy Schotz, Frank Barrows; Region 3 Director: Michael Koretzky; Region 6 Director: Joe Radske, Sarah Bauer; Region 10 Director: Pia Hallenberg; Region 11 Director: empty; Region 12 Director: Tony Hernandez; Student Representatives: Lindsey Cook.


Neuts proposed a policy for Regional Director regarding oversight of finances. Looking at the proposed policy, Hernandez recommended that No. 7 refer to the RD or the RD Treasurer. No opposition from the rest of the board.

Baker voiced concern about chapter funds mixing with regional funds. Discussion continued and Albarado recognized Dave Carlson, who spoke about his thoughts that the funds could sit where they are at the moment if there is adequate oversight. Koretzky asked that current arrangements be grandfathered in provided they meet the oversight requirements within this proposal.

Upon proper motion and second by Eckert and Koretzky, respectively, the board approved the Regional Fund Oversight proposal with two amendments: the regional director or regional treasurer can make report (No. 7) and regional accounts can be held in a separate account or the account of the regional treasurer’s primary chapter checking account (No. 3).

The group broke for lunch and the meeting was called back to order at 1:21 p.m.


Albarado spoke briefly about the social media guidelines, followed by Corry, who was able to shed light on the committees reasoning and thought process. Koretzky questioned if there was enough information to address communication between board members. Skeel made it very clear to the group that the proposal was a set of guidelines, not policy. Albarado agreed that the guidelines could be condensed and some of the specificity removed. He will take the guidelines, work on them and bringing them back in August.


The board discussed the Legal Defense Fund and how much current applicants can request ($1,000). Koretzky spoke about raising the limit substantially and pushing SPJ to take “the case” that will make a statement. Hagit Limor said that in her talks with Baker Hostetler, they felt a $5,000 limit was significant and suggested that the committee tries that for one year.

Upon proper motion and second by Baker and Hernandez, respectively, the board approved raising the Legal Defense Fund request limit to $5,000 without board approval.


Limor talked about three requests made to the Legal Defense Fund committee. First, Paul Bass, a New Haven Independent reporter — his case involves the CT state Shield Law. The stand-alone news site is taking a stand against a judge trying to compel the reporter to divulge information and asked for $2,310. The University of Memphis newspaper requested $3,024 to fight a cut in funding that the university admitted was because of the content they published. The Louisiana State University paper, the Daily Reveille, requested $3,000 to force LSU to comply with open records law.

Upon proper motion and second by Stevens and Fox, respectively, the board approved three requests for Legal Defense Fund grants.


Cuillier gave a bit of background on the chapter transparency proposal. He stressed that they are just best practices, not a strict guideline or policy. Corry also gave background into the adoption of similar best practices at the Press Club of Long Island.

Upon proper motion and second by Corry and Daniels, respectively, the board approved the chapter transparency best practices.


The board discussed the Fair Use principles and the work that has been done so far. Concerns surfaced from multiple board members that the work was too broad and there were several aspects of the project that didn’t align with SPJ’s original thoughts.

Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Meyers, respectively, the board moved that SPJ does not participate in any work relating to the project beyond what we have already done.


Robert Leger spoke about recent events and the programs that are and will be funded by the Foundation.


Albarado discussed and entertained questions about various committee reports. Ensslin was asked about the Public Service Announcement project that he was working on previously. Ensslin said he believed it was time to cancel the project, McCloskey asked that the board give it more time.

There was brief discussion about the grant process for the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, along with questions about the AEJMC accrediting process and the involvement of SPJ.


Skeel and Puckey talked about the Nepalese American Journalists Association, which wishes to become a “partner” with SPJ. There was discussion about SPJ Communities, essentially chapters without geographical ties and based on beat, ethnic interest, etc. Looking forward, Skeel believes we will add more communities, but that the Nepal American Journalists Association Community is a good place to start.

Upon proper motion and second by Hernandez and Theisen, respectively, the board moved that the Nepalese American Journalist Association be the first SPJ Community.


Small items were discussed at closing: Koretzky asked for web metrics to be included with the weekly report, Neuts spoke about the challenges and successes of the insurance programs and how they are back on the right track.


Upon proper motion and second by Daniels and Theisen, respectively, the meeting was adjourned at 4:47 p.m.

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