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12/22/11 SPJ Board
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12/1/10: Exec. Committee
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11/18/09: Exec. Committee
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12/7/05: Exec. Committee

9/12/04: SPJ Board
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10/6/99: SPJ Board
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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

Meeting of the Board of Directors
Sigma Delta Chi foundation
August 25, 2013
Anaheim Marriott
Anaheim, California
Meeting Called to Order

With President Robert Leger presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was called to order at 9:05 a.m. Sunday, August 25 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, California.

Roll Call

In addition to Leger, the following board members were present: Vice President Irwin Gratz; Secretary Jane Kirtley; Treasurer Howard Dubin; Directors Sonny Albarado, Fred Brown, David Carlson, Al Cross, Dave Cuillier, Brian Eckert, John Ensslin, Steve Geimann, Todd Gillman, Bill Ketter, Al Leeds, Dori Maynard, Bill McCloskey, Gordon “Mac” McKerral, Dana Neuts, Sue Porter and Kevin Smith.

Staff members present included Executive Director Joe Skeel and Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon.


Upon proper motion and second by Brown and Smith, respectively, the board approved the meeting minutes from April 21, 2013.

SDX Foundation President’s Report

SDX Foundation President Leger informed the board that the Dow Jones Industrial average was up 15.09 percent for the year. The Foundation's holdings rose 7.8 percent for the year through July 31 and total holdings on that date were $11,876,691.

Taken from President Leger's board report:

The purpose of journalism remains the same as it was a century ago: to be the interpreter of today's events and the mirror of tomorrow's expectations, performing with a vigilance that knows no midnight and a courage that knows no retreat. But the means by which we report truth are rapidly changing. The purpose of journalism may be eternal, but how it is delivered is not. Creative destruction is all around us.

I believe this raises a question for us. Our mission will not change, but do we need to consider new ways of delivering it? If so, what form should they take? How do we encourage and support quality journalism in SPJ's second century?

These are not questions for today's meeting, but this is a conversation we should engage in over the next year. What is the Foundation's future?

SPJ President’s Report

SPJ President Sonny Albarado shared an update from SPJ’s board of directors meeting, which took place the previous day. In addition, he indicated most of his time was spent on press freedom issues.

Treasurer’s report

Dubin indicated that some assets are being cashed in for the operation budget.

Foundation Staff Report

Vachon reported that from Aug 1, 2012 to Aug 1, 2013, $26,883 was contributed by individuals. For comparison purposes, $20,230 was donated during the same time frame in 2011-12. She also reported that the spring 2013 handwritten appeal generated $3,000 for the Foundation. Vachon submitted a grant proposal, on behalf of the Foundation, to the Gannett Foundation for funding JournCamps. The Gannett Foundation will send notification of the board's decision regarding the proposal in September or October.

SPJ Staff Report

Skeel shared that auto-dues billing is up and running and that a full-blown marketing plan will be in place after the national conference. The auto-dues process also allows for auto-donations.

The Scripps Leadership Institute has trained 70 chapter leaders so far in Memphis, Denver and Indianapolis. The move to talking the program on the road has been successful so far thanks to the support of the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Skeel provided a brief overview of the status of SPJ training programs based on the Foundation's Training Place grant to SPJ:

JournCamps: In 2013, JournCamps were held in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. SPJ feels these programs have been successful.

On Demand Videos: In 2013, a new track of training videos launched on the topic of data visualization. The trainer was the Chicago Tribune's Andy Boyle.

Webinars: New software, Adobe Connect, was purchased for this monthly series.

Newsroom Training Program: Two programs will be held in 2013 at college campuses.

Projects Committee

Committee chair Todd Gillman reported that the projects committee has recommendations to present to the board:

SPJ Investigative Journalism Institute with IRE and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR): The committee recommends $48,500 for IRE and NECIR to conduct three two-day workshops followed by two webinars. In addition, IRE and NECIR would host several web hangouts and offer consulting services.

SPJ/NPPA Street Shooters: $12,500 would be given to NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) to conduct five programs aimed at eliminating friction and confrontation between police and photojournalists. Each program would consist of three parts: workshop for journalists and police, followed by an evening panel discussion with a journalist, a police official and a First Amendment lawyer.

For Journalism: The committee recommends $10,000 to For Journalism. For Journalism is a start-up organization that aims to expand and improve the technology skills of journalists. The courses are comparable to semester-long college classes.

Upon proper motion and second by Gillman and Smith, respectively, the board approved $48,500 to IRE and NECIR; $12,500 to NPPA and $10,000 to For Journalism on the condition that appropriate documentation is provided by For Journalism as to their corporation/tax status and that is reviewed by the Executive Committee.

Board Member Elections

The following slate of board members are being offered to the board for three year terms:

Dave Carlson

Al Cross

Howard Dubin

Steve Geimann

John Ensslin

Russell Pulliam

Dave Aeikens

Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Smith, respectively, the board approved the appointments of the board members.

Officer Elections

The following slate of officers are being offered for the board’s review:

President - Robert Leger

Vice President - Irwin Gratz

Secretary - Jane Kirtley

Treasurer - Howard Dubin

Upon proper motion and second by Carlson and McCloskey, respectively, the board elected the slate of board officers.

History Book

President Leger informed the board that he had been in communication with Jim Schuette from Marion Street Press, the company putting together the history book, and that the company will have the book completed by the 2014 convention.

Ethics Book

Board member Fred Brown indicated that he is working on updates to the ethics book and is waiting on any Code of Ethics revision discussion updates.

Ethics Adviceline

Board member Fred Brown reported he talked with Casey Bukro from the Ethics AdviceLine and they agreed to cross reference each resource, the SPJ Ethics Hotline and the Ethics Adviceline, by mentioning that the other resource exists when they have communication with folks.

Rainbow Source Book

An RFP was put together with the purpose of finding someone to update and maintain the Rainbow Source Book. A flyer promoting the RFP was distributed at the AEJMC conference. The RFP will also be promoted through the regular SPJ methods of communication until the January 2014 deadline.

Pulliam Editorial Fellowship Award

Pulliam Editorial Fellowship chair Todd Gillman reported that the 2013 award was given to Connecticut Post assistant editorial page editor Hugh Bailey. He plans to examine abandoned (and often polluted) manufacturing plans that stand as the most prominent, expensive obstacles to redevelopment of industrial cities.

Gillman suggested that the organization provide more promotion of the project after it is completed. One suggestion is displaying the book (if a book is involved) at BookMart.

Staff to start collecting post-Fellowship report from the grantee and then sharing it with the board.

Pulliam First Amendment Award

Grants and awards committee chair Mac McKerral reported that the winner of the 2013 Pulliam First Amendment Award went to reporters at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for their expansive coverage of issues related to the Milwaukee Police Department.

During the committee's review of the 21 applications, the committee noted that award's criteria needs to be reviewed. In addition, a suggestion was made to consider a separate award for student media.

The committee will review the criteria for the award, and will discuss the concept of a student award, and will report back at the April board meeting.

Executive Director Evaluation

The board went into executive session to review Executive Director Joe Skeel's performance evaluation. Executive session ended and the board resumed regular business.


Upon proper motion and second by Carlson and Smith, respectively, the board voted to adjourn the meeting at 11:10 a.m.

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