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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

Meeting of the Executive Committee
Society of Professional Journalists
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 2013


With President Sonny Albarado presiding, the Executive Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 9:05 a.m.


In addition to Albarado, the following were in attendance: President-Elect David Cuillier, Secretary-treasurer Dana Neuts, Immediate Past President John Ensslin, Vice President of Campus Chapter Affairs Neil Ralston and at-large members Bill McCloskey and Brian Eckert. Also in attendance were Executive Director Joe Skeel, Chapter Coordinator Tara Puckey, SDX Foundation President Robert Leger and guests Bob Becker, Sue Kopen Katcef, Paul Fletcher and Andy Schotz.


Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Neuts, respectively, the minutes from Jan. 19, 2013 and April 9, 2013 were approved.


Albarado reported that he went to San Antonio and the centennial Wells Key event in Wisconsin on June 1. He has been working with the national coalition regarding the Shield Law media coalition and hopes to see some action in the late Fall on the shield law.


Leger updated the group on the account balances, which were up $650k over the prior year, and shared that the handwriting campaign returned over $2,500. Also, Jerry Robert's donated a significant amount of stock to the Foundation.


The group discussed the need for an updated investment policy, now that there is money again to invest.

Upon proper motion and second by Ensslin and Eckert, respectively, an updated investment policy was adopted. (Appendix A)


Skeel shared an investment proposal, put together by SPJ’s investment banker at PNC, which included a combination of a money market, low-risk mutual fund and laddered CDs. The committee discussed various investment options.

Upon proper motion and second by Neuts and Ralston, respectively, the committee voted to invest $400,000 in the low-risk mutual fund, $100,000 in CDs and $100,000 in the Money Market.


Chapter update — Puckey shared information about chapters and annual reports: She talked to each RD about every chapter in their area and created a list of chapters that are alive and dormant. She reported that she would have a mechanism in place to let members of each chapter know when the chapter is inactivated.

Chapter affiliations — Skeel shared the situation with chapter affiliations and how the web upgrade has affected the practice of affiliating members based on zip codes. Therefore, headquarters staff would no longer automatically affiliate members with chapters based on zip code. New members would only be affiliated with chapters if they decided to join.

SPJ Communications/branding — Neuts shared her report and asked that the Executive Committee consider the possibility of hiring a higher-level communications/branding person. The committee discussed the need of such a position and how it would be funded. Albarado agreed to develop a task force to look at the possibility of what a higher-level communications position might entail.

Education Committee Request — Ensslin moved to endorse Journalism Education Committee proposal to start the ball rolling on their study/project related to high school journalism. Dave asked for an additional explanation of request from Becky Tallent. He questioned if SPJ should get in the business of funding research.

Upon proper motion and second by Ensslin and Ralston, respectively, the committee voted to ask the SPJ Board to recommend that SDX fund the project at the $1,800 level.

Nominations process — Neuts shared her memo about the process while Ensslin shared his experience of recruiting members. He named three major criteria for his struggles in getting nominations: Apathy (people view it as a chore, not an opportunity). Getting journalists on board is challenging because of lack of employer support. SPJ own collegial atmosphere leads to people not wanting to run against others. Group discussed ways to engage future leaders.

Social Media guidelines — Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Ensslin, respectively, the committee voted to recommend the full board adopt the social medial guidelines. (Appendix B)


Echeslman Award: Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Ensslin, Mike Reilly is chosen. The group asked that staff emphasize in the award language that it is based on the adviser role only.

Distinguished teaching in journalism: Executive Committee would like to thank the Journalism Education committee for vetting the candidates and make recommendations. Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Ensslin, Foley is chosen. The group asked if, moving forward, we can require that a CV be submitted as well?

Ethics in Journalism: Upon proper motion and second by Cuillier and McCloseky David Boardman is chosen. Neuts abstains.

Fellows of the Society: Brian will contact John Carroll. Send him an email to remind him to reach out and see if he can come. Group discussed whether to give out more than one award. Upon proper motion and second by Cuillier and Ensslin, Martinez is chosen.

First Amendment Award: Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Ralston, the Human Rights Defense Center is chosen.

First Amendment Award: Upon proper motion and second by Ensslin and Neuts, the committee votes to merge SPJ’s First Amendment Award with the SDX Pulliam First Amendment Award.

Sunshine award: Upon proper motion and second by Ensslin and McCloskey, Rosenfeld, Donahue and Sunlight Foundation are chosen. Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Eckert, Donahue is chosen. Upon proper motion and second by Ralston and Cuillier, the Sunlight Foundation is chosen

Historic Site in Journalism: Upon proper motion and second by Cuillier and McCloskey, Washington Square is chosen. The committee asked for future nominations from American Journalism Historians Association.

Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism: Upon proper motion and second by Cuillier and Neuts, Trumbell is chosen.

Howard Dubin award: Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Ensslin, Patti Cross is chosen in the small chapter category. Upon proper motion and second by Eckert and Neuts, Andy Schotz is chosen in the large category. McCloskey abstains.

Upon proper motion and second, the committee entered executive session to discuss confidential awards.

Regional Director of the Year: Upon proper motion and second by Neuts and Ralston, Eckert is chosen.

Wells Memorial Key: Upon proper motion and second by Neuts and Ralston, David Carlson is chosen.


Upon proper motion and second by Neuts and McCloskey, the committee adjourned at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.

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