Minutes of the SPJ D.C. Pro Chapter Board Meeting
Wednesday, May 10, 2016
The McClendon Room
National Press Club
Present: President Julie Asher; Vice President Kathy Burns; Treasurer Amy Fickling; Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall; and board members Al Leeds, Jonathan Make, and James Plante.
Excused absences: Corresponding Secretary Joe Starrs and board members Daniel Young and Gideon Grudo.
Also attending were newly elected board members Elizabeth Grisham and Eric Falquero.
CALL TO ORDER
At 7:10 p.m. President Julie Asher called the meeting to order.
SUMMER PICNIC: Asher still looking for a place where we might have a summer picnic.
HALL OF FAME DINNER: Reporting on the upcoming Hall of Fame Dinner, she said invitations to chapter members and to the finalists for the Dateline Awards contest have been mailed out.
She also indicated she had ordered the obelisks for the Hall of Fame inductees as well as the Distinguished Service Award plaque.
She noted that the SDX Foundation of Washington (SDX-DC) is awarding seven scholarships to journalism students. She is not sure how many of them will be attending the dinner, but there is usually an expectation that their tickets will be comp’d. She will find out more from SDX-DC President Reggie Stuart. The plans for the dinner are proceeding on schedule, with Dan Kubiske handling questions as point of contact listed on the invitations. Eric Falquero is assisting with logging RSVPs and making sure the checks get to Treasurer Amy Fickling.
ANNUAL REPORT: Asher also said the chapter’s annual report is due to the SPJ national offices soon. Vice President Kathleen Burns is writing up the report on the programs we have had this year and Asher will provide the other material.
An in-person financial audit will be done on the chapter’s bank accounts with the Audit Committee and Fickling, and that information will be included in the annual report, as required.
Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall had submitted draft minutes of the April 12, 2016, board meeting in advance.
Al Leeds moved that the minutes of the April 12, 2016, board meeting be approved and Burns seconded the motion. The minutes were approved with corrections submitted by Fickling and Burns.
Treasurer Amy Fickling had sent the monthly Treasurer’s Report to the board members earlier by email. Leeds moved that the report be approved and Burns seconded the motion. After some verbal clarifications, the report was approved as submitted.
Fickling said that four chapter members will make up the Audit Committee, which will meet in person soon. She will be providing them with 12-13 Treasurer’s Reports and other materials. She noted bank statements will have to be sent to the national office, along with the Audit Committee report, to fulfill requirements of the financial section of the annual report.
VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT
CHAPTER PROGRAMS: Burns reported on recent programs the chapter has held.
Board members noted that the program on May 4 on local news coverage, with three local reporters, had low turnout. Starting with this program, the chapter is experimenting with live streaming events.
Fickling brought up the question of whether people don’t want to get together for such events, just watch as much as they want online.
Foxhall said she and others are working on a manual on how to publicize events for the chapter.
Asher said that Jonathan Make and Alice Ollstein are working on an event that they hope the Newseum will host.
Burns noted the chapter needs to make plans for a holiday party early because the venues for that time of year fill up their calendars quickly.
Coming up on July 1 is the chapter night out at the Nationals’ baseball game for interested chapter members.
Board members are also looking into a place for a chapter picnic in July or early August.
Other events board members are looking into include a showing of the movie “Spotlight,” possibly at the National Press Club, since the national SPJ headquarters has arranged licensing rights to allow local chapters to have a viewing.
Another possibility is a mixer for summer interns in Washington co-hosted by the Student Press Law Center. Asher noted that people at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies on Massachusetts Avenue would like to continue to work with the chapter on events.
In addition, the board discussed Burns’ suggestion of an outing again to a Kennedy Center performance, with group rates at $70 to $90 each.
OUTREACH: The board discussed combining and further organizing our lists of contacts and email addresses on the WordPress website, Evite, Eventbrite and Mailchimp, as well as the list we built using the Hudson’s publicity list. Further work on that will be done soon.
LEADERSHIP TRAINING: It was noted that in a few days Foxhall and Daniel Young will be attending the Scripps Leadership training session in Baltimore sponsored by the national SPJ. Expenses for them to attend, including the $50 registration fee and travel expenses, will be paid by the chapter.
‘CENSORSHIP BY PIO’: Foxhall noted that work on the “censorship by PIO” issue is continuing at the national SPJ level. Incoming national SPJ President Lynn Walsh is particularly active on this issue.
On this topic, James Plante asserted that some federal agencies are not as bad as others. He said at his agency, the Bureau of Economic Analysis within the Commerce Department, there are lists of experts on various issues and reporters are free to talk to them, without asking anyone else. The designated expert files a report afterwards.
Foxhall said there is no way to know how such a system will be used under, say, a Donald Trump presidency.
Burns said that the chapter should find something to do on the issue, including, perhaps, a press conference, writing about it in SPJ publications, and working with Region 2 on it. She asked for a list of potential things we can do.
CHAPTER BYLAWS: Asher said she will get the chapter’s Bylaws Committee activated and working on issues in them that should be addressed, including term limits.
NATIONAL SDX FOUNDATION: Board member Al Leeds reported on the recent meeting in New Orleans of the SDX Foundation board, of which he is a member. In addition to giving out grants, the SDX board voted to decline a $26,000 potential donation from Stephen Glass, the former journalist who fabricated a number of stories. Glass repaid publications what he was paid at the time for articles he later admitted were fabricated, and sought to donate the $26,000 to SDX for restitution of payment he received from a now-defunct publication.
CHAPTER WEBSITE: Elizabeth Grisham discussed updating the chapter’s website.
SDX FOUNDATION OF WASHINGTON: Fickling noted that the Kiplinger Foundation has been providing the SDX Foundation of Washington with $10,000 a year in matching funds for its fundraising efforts, and that will be cut to $5,000 starting this year. She called for other fundraising ideas to pass along to SDX-DC.
A motion to adjourn was approved unanimously at about 9 p.m.