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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

AUGUST 24, 2013

With President Sonny Albarado presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists was called to order at 9:04 a.m. on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at the Anaheim Marriott, in conjunction with the Society’s annual Excellence in Journalism conference.

In addition to Albarado, the following were present: Immediate Past President John Ensslin; President-Elect Dave Cuillier; Secretary-Treasurer Dana Neuts; Directors at-Large Bill McCloskey and Carl Corry; Campus Adviser at-Large Kym Fox; Student Representative Meg Wagner; Regional Directors Rebecca Baker, Brian Eckert, Michael Koretzky, Patti Gallagher-Newberry, Susan Stevens, Amanda Theisen, David Sheets, Eddye Gallagher, Don Meyers, Ian Marquand, Teri Carnicelli and Tony Hernandez.

Staff members present for the meeting were Executive Director Joe Skeel and Chapter Coordinator Tara Puckey.


President Albarado began his report thanking everyone for their hard work and blaming all mistakes on Immediate Past President John Ensslin. He spoke about progress with the shield law; partnerships with other organizations; his many interviews about SPJ’s stand on issues that really matter to journalists and the wonderful things the Society has accomplished over the past year.


Upon proper motion and second by Theisen and Fox, respectively, the board approved meeting minutes from the April 20, 2013 meeting.

The following edits were requested:

April 20, 2013: Addition of Tony Hernandez to the roll call and correction to the spelling of “Leger.”


He spoke briefly about how happy SDX Foundation is to have supported and sponsored EIJ and the board is making plans for the year moving forward.


Skeel delivered the report of the executive director and reported that more than 1,450 people pre-registered for EIJ13 and he expects to top 1,500. He shared breakdown of membership affiliations for those who were registered — a little more than 30% were SPJ members — and explained that 70 booths packed the Expo hall. Skeel also reported that NAHJ voted to not join EIJ14. Baker urged Skeel to continue working with other small groups to come to the “EIJ party.”

Corry asked about managing three different organizations and Theisen asked if most of our sponsors will leave with NAHJ. Baker urged staff to keep all conferences in September instead of August.



Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Meyers, respectively, the board approved to inactivate all chapters listed in the board book.

Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Hernandez, respectively, the board voted to approve the charter for Western Carolina University.

Puckey spoke about revoking the charter for Greater Philadelphia Pro chapter for failure to comply with the minimum requirements set forth by the board. Eckert explained that all the Regional Directors and especially the Region 1 Director, Rebecca Baker, support the action. His thoughts were echoed by Ensslin and Corry.

Upon proper motion and second by Eckert and Corry, respectively, the board voted to revoke the charter of the Greater Philadelphia Pro Chapter.


Albarado talked about the communications plan and the efforts to form a committee to develop a way for SPJ to be more effective in promoting the message to others and those within SPJ. Cuillier and Albarado asked that the discussion take place at the April meeting once a committee is formed and more concrete information is available.


Brief discussion about the Social Media Guidelines took place after Albarado brought back a condensed version. He stressed that they are guidelines, not policy or rules. Sheets questioned if the guidelines should address specific social media tools and Neuts countered that, with the constant change, it would be difficult to keep updated.

Upon proper motion and second by Corry and Neuts, respectively, the board voted to approve the Social Media Guidelines.


Puckey answered questions about chapter funds when a chapter is inactive or a charter is revoked.

Stevens requested a change in the first bullet point of the proposal from SPJ HQ and was supported with a friendly amendment by Marquand.

Amended motion reads:

Money returned to national HQ from dormant or deactivated chapters is to be set aside and used only for the purpose of building and strengthening chapters.

Upon proper motion and second by Stevens and Carnicelli, respectively, the board voted to approve the (amended) proposal for directives of deactivated chapter funds.


Skeel spoke briefly about HQ no longer automatically affiliating members with the nearest local chapter and how it will impact chapters and their delegate numbers. Schotz congratulated staff for their progress with this issue.



Eckert spoke about the challenge of regional travel and attending meetings out of town. He stressed that Regional Directors simply do not have the funds, especially since companies are no longer sponsoring or supporting the travel costs and time necessary to connect with chapters in multiple states. Eckert said the Regional Directors considered asking for $500 more than the Directors At-Large stipend.

Corry said that he appreciates the time and cost Regional Directors put into connecting with their chapters, but he doesn’t think they should just ask for more than what the Director At-Large stipend is — in fact, he should ask for more since his stipend was spent after his first convention this year. He estimates he is out more than $2,500 from his own pocket.

Newberry suggested a hardship fund to help people who need additional help since there are board members who don’t always use their entire stipend amount.

Albarado directed staff to 1) find out how much money can be reasonably allotted for stipends within the budget, and/or 2) review an RD proposal for how the money should be raised and the amounts.

McCloskey suggested all members of the board make a good faith estimate about their expenses and Carnicelli urged the board to take action now.

Upon proper motion and second by Baker and McCloskey, respectively, the board voted to create a fund using the unspent stipends of the national board to reimburse expenses of board members over and beyond their stipends.

Skeel will review stipend receipts and overage requests on Sept. 30 and work with the finance committee to review the process and possibility of increasing the stipend amounts in the near future.


Koretzky said the Regional Directors expressed interest in having the money from the Chapter Grants program. Fox asked about where the requests would come from given a large area and Carnicelli questioned if the money would be available up front.

Leger explained that money for the Chapter Grants program comes from the Foundation and needs to be disbursed by HQ. However, that request can be changed and resubmitted if the group chooses to do so.

Upon proper motion and second by Koretzky and McCloskey, respectively, the board voted to give $500 from the SPJ general fund for Regional Directors to use as extra chapter grants starting immediately.


Steve Geimann provided information about the ACEJMC and how the council is thinking about requiring accredited schools to be in compliance with all nine standards in order to be reaccredited.



Kopen Katcef talked briefly about how the committee has worked hard to update categories, including combining the Public Service Award across all categories. Carnicelli expressed concern about combining two and four year colleges for online information and Schotz provided information about how the committee used previous year participation as a guide.


Becky Tallent spoke about the proposal by the Journalism Education Committee to research the state of journalism in American high schools. The committee is requesting $1,800 to cover expenses.

Upon proper motion and second by Koretzky and Hernandez, respectively, the board voted to recommend the $1,800 Journalism Education Committee’s request to the SDX Foundation and that $250 be taken from the SPJ general fund to cover current expenses for the committee.


Linda Petersen talked about the FOI committee and corrected her report that funding for the advocacy fund will be applied out of the SPJ general fund, not the SDX Foundation.


Upon proper motion and second by McCloskey and Meyers, respectively, the board entered executive session to discuss the Executive Director’s evaluation.

The board exited executive session and adjourned at 12:26 p.m. Aug. 24, 2013.

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