Minutes of the SPJ D.C. Pro Chapter Board Meeting
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The National Press Club
Present: President Kathleen Burns; Vice President Jonathan Make; Treasurer Amy Fickling; board members Jim Asendio, April Bethea, Eric Falquero, Elizabeth Grisham and Alice Ollstein; and Immediate Past President Julie Asher
Excused absence: Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall
Guest: Steve Taylor, chairman of the chapter’s Hall of Fame Committee
Prior to the meeting tonight:
1) President Kathleen Burns announced the official resignations of board member Al Leeds and Corresponding Secretary Joe Starrs.
2) Board-appointed board members April Bethea and Jim Asendio, who are filling out the remainder of the second year in the unexpired two-year terms of former board members Al Leeds and Daniel Young, were sworn in January 7, 2017.
3) President Kathleen Burns announced that the meeting agenda would be shortened to allow more time for discussion of proposed bylaws revisions. The usual monthly discussion and vote on the Treasurer’s Report and minutes of the previous board meeting were tabled, along with several committee reports.
4) Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall notified the board that she would be unable to attend the meeting due to illness; President Kathleen Burns asked for a volunteer to record the minutes for this meeting, and Treasurer Amy Fickling agreed to act as recording secretary.
President Kathleen Burns called the meeting to order at 7:09 p.m.
HALL OF FAME 2017 AND DATELINE AWARDS AND HALL OF FAME DINNER
Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Steve Taylor led the discussion about nominees for the 2017 class of inductees, also reminding the board and filling in the new board members about the qualifications: 25 years in Washington, D.C., journalism and agreeing to attend the induction.
There will be three inductees for 2017.
By the time discussion concluded at 8:06 p.m., Taylor had board instructions about approaching selected nominees, with the goal of having diverse media represented among the finalists, who will have promised to attend and speak, and agreed to invite an introducer of their choice. Taylor also will get more information about several Distinguished Service Award nominees.
Immediate Past President Julie Asher is chair of the Dateline Awards and Hall of Fame dinner this year. With information provided by Treasurer Amy Fickling about ticket prices from several previous years’ dinners and about cost increases in the dinner contract with the National Press Club for this year, Asher led a discussion about ticket prices for 2017. A few ideas that emerged: having an early-bird price, having a special rate for companies buying a table, and tying in a membership drive with the dinner ticket sales, perhaps having the difference between the member price and the non-member price significant enough to make joining the chapter an instant savings. Depending on how long it takes to finalize the list of Hall of Fame inductees, dinner promotion and solicitation of RSVPs may have to start before names can be announced.
Jim Asendio moved that the board empower Julie Asher and Amy Fickling to come up with a ticket price schedule for the 2017 Dateline Awards and Hall of Fame dinner and report back to the board; April Bethea seconded; all voted in favor.
SUNSHINE WEEK EVENT AT NPC WITH DC OPEN GOVERNMENT COALITION
Kathryn Foxhall had emailed the board ahead of the meeting that she would like to propose that the chapter contribute $300 to the DC Open Government Coalition to help co-sponsor their event traditionally held during Sunshine Week in March at the National Press Club. She forwarded an email from Bob Becker, who is a former chapter board member and a current DCOGC board member, reporting that the coalition board will be meeting Jan. 19, after which he should have information on the theme for the event and the exact date, thought to be March 14 at this point.
Burns said that since the chapter would like to be included as a co-sponsor in printed materials, she would like to move forward with a vote rather than wait until the February meeting.
Jonathan Make moved that the board approve, on behalf of the chapter, a $300 donation to the DC Open Government Coalition for its Sunshine Week event at the National Press Club; Asendio seconded; all voted in favor.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS REVISIONS
At 8:21 p.m., the board moved to discussion of various proposed revisions to the chapter constitution and bylaws. Available in printed form were some submitted by the Bylaws Committee and some submitted by Burns, separate from the Bylaws Committee, on which she served. Ground rules had been established ahead of the meeting, allowing for timed discussion by individual board members. Once discussion was set to begin, the board agreed to first consider the list of suggested revisions from Burns.
Various board members agreed to craft suggested language for individual revisions, as discussed. The board agreed that progress was made at this meeting, and discussion is continued to the next board meeting in February.
FEBRUARY BOARD MEETING
A Doodle poll for February 2017 board meeting dates sent out by Elizabeth Grisham yielded a popular date that was not good for Make, and he requested that a few other dates be added to the original poll to see if another date would work for everyone. Grisham will revise the poll.
JANUARY 30 PROGRAM
Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C., bureau reporter Sarah Wire is featured speaker, talking about covering the California congressional delegation, for the January 30 program at The Fund for American Studies. RSVPs have exceeded the original limit of 25, with reservations now at about 40. It was agreed that no further promotional push is needed. The venue has a capacity of 100, and Eventbrite is set to allow that many reservations. It was also decided to continue with the program in the event of snow, provided TFAS is open, and that to the extent possible, registered attendees will be notified by email if it needs to be cancelled or rescheduled.
Without objection, the meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Amy Fickling, Treasurer
Acting Recording Secretary
January 18, 2017