Minutes of the SPJ D.C. Pro Chapter Board Meeting
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The McClendon Room
The National Press Club
Present: President Kathleen Burns; Vice President Jonathan Make; Immediate Past President Julie Asher; Treasurer Amy Fickling; Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall; and board members Eric Falquero and Elizabeth Grisham
Excused absences: Board members Alice Ollstein, April Bethea and Jim Asendio.
President Kathleen Burns called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM.
HALL OF FAME DINNER
The board discussed the pricing for the upcoming Hall of Fame Dinner. Treasurer Amy Fickling said the National Press Club price for the meal had gone up $1 last year and will increase $2 this year.
She said we usually give complimentary registrations to Hall of Fame awardees and their introducers. We have offered at times complimentary registrations to the national SPJ president and the Region 2 director. So there could be 15 complimentary tickets at the most.
Fickling said we can send out an early email invitation for chapter members who will come no matter who the Hall of Fame recipients are.
The 2017 prices will be $90 for members’ early bird registration; $95 for chapter members and one guest after the early bird registration; $100 for members who register after May 12. It will be $120 for nonmembers through May 31, up $5 from last year; and it will be $125 after June 1.
The board discussed the hope that finalists for the award contest will be announced early enough to come at the lower price.
One factor is when the chapter that is judging the contest entries finishes.
The charge will be $900 for a whole table. Fickling suggested a deadline of May 22 for a table.
Immediate Past Present Julie Asher said she would accept the paper registrations at her workplace, since some people pay by check.
Board member Eric reported that most people invited to be inducted into the Hall of Fame have agreed. Asher noted we will contact the HOF winners for high resolution photos for the program.
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY MINUTES
Asher moved and Vice President Jonathan Make seconded that the January minutes be approved as amended. The board approved the minutes as amended.
Asher moved and Make seconded a motion that the board approve the minutes for the February meeting. Fickling and Burns suggested changes on the minutes. The board approved the minutes as amended. Fickling said she would email a copy of the changes discussed to Foxhall.
Foxhall noted that the board had talked about doing a renewal mailing for members whose membership will expire in the next few months. She said that included about 21 people, but we do need to get a letter written.
She also said we might use the Meltwater List to do a solicitation of membership.
Foxhall also said Joyce Wang, the awards contest coordinator, emailed that the Meltwater publicity list is working well for contest publicity. Wang said there are more entries this year and she thinks that is due both to the Meltwater list and the fact we have moved to online payment.
Board member Eric Falquero asked if we could use MailChimp for an outreach letter with flashier elements to it. Board member Elizabeth Grisham said she would look into what kind of program we could use Meltwater with. She said MailChimp assumes you are sending spam if recipients have not opted into your list. Make pointed out that our list of people who have asked to get our materials is a good list to send outreach to. Grisham said there are 692 on the list and most of them are not members.
CENSORSHIP BY PIO
Foxhall reported that national SPJ had submitted an editorial she wrote on the “Censorship by PIO,” to the Sunshine Week toolbox available to news outlets to publish. At least five newspapers, including the Charleston Post and Courier, did. She also did a three-minute talk at the DC Open Government Coalition Sunshine Week session, which the chapter co-sponsored.
In a discussion of the upcoming April 19 program on anonymous sources at the New York Times, Falquero said he could get an estimate for a microphone since that is a major thing we need to make video work for our programs.
Foxhall also noted the chapter has a start on a handbook with the material she sent in an email.
Fickling had emailed three months’ treasurer’s reports to the board. Falquero moved and Make seconded a motion that the board accept all the reports.
Fickling described to board members the options she had discussed with the chapter’s bank’s financial adviser about investments. The board agreed to leave reserve funds in the current accounts for now.
The board voted to approve the reports.
Falquero had emailed board members a draft of an electronic voting policy. He said Fickling had done research with a number of groups to put it together.
Among other things the draft called for electronic voting to be done only when there is a high-priority, time sensitive issue or when the board has agreed at the previous meeting that the vote needs to be taken. Votes must be moved and seconded, with a voting form created in Google forms, which any member can do. Rules include that eight people must participate and the vote must be affirmative. At the next meeting of the board, the vote would be ratified and written into the minutes.
Falquero moved and Asher seconded a motion that the board adopt the electronic voting policy. The board voted to approve.
Foxhall said that when the final copy is done she will add it to the handbook.
The board discussed whether it should have a place for such documents, including treasurer’s report, to be kept electronically filed and agreed we need to work on the policy further. Falquero said he would work on a file tree on Google drive.
Grisham said the February newsletter got 29 views on the website and went to 705 subscribers. It had a 20 percent open rate which is a little down from previous mailing. The reminder for the Dateline awards had an almost 27 percent open rate and an upcoming event rate had almost 30 percent. She said that her research indicates we need to be emphasizing Facebook more since the hits from younger people would be higher. Board members said we should make Grisham an administrator on Facebook.
As a reflection on the recent Cops and Camera session, Grisham also emphasized the chapter should always note FOIA can be used by people other than journalists, and that reporters should let sources know that. Make said we might have an event on that.
Burns reminded the board that she will need to finish the chapter’s annual report for national soon. Asher noted the financial documents do not need to be part of that report.
Make reported he and others are looking at possibly doing a session on Islam and journalism, potentially using a prototype the Florida SPJ chapter has built.
Make asked for clarification on the procedures for the upcoming chapter elections. Burns said she had talked to long-time member Bill McCloskey. She said the bylaws say the person who collects the ballots must not be the person who tallies the ballots.
Questions included whether the recording secretary should be receiving the ballots and whether we have used Survey Monkey previously.
Asher said last year Dan Kubiske set up the process and she would contact him.
Make said the Google mechanism would not work because people would have to sign up for Google mail and there are other complications.
The board also discussed whether candidates should have both biographies and statements sent out and what the guidelines on that should be.
Members of the board noted that last year the board sent statements from the candidates to all chapter members.
There was a question as to whether individual candidates had sent out campaign statements on their own in the past. There was agreement that should not happen now.
There was general agreement that the candidate’s names, bios and the positions they are running for will appear with a statement asking readers to see the website for further information. The board also agreed that information should be connected to the electronic ballot.
Make moved and Asher seconded a motion that the board approve the ballot suggested by the nominating committee. The ballot is:
For Vice President:
For Corresponding Secretary:
Dee Ann Divis.
One slot for a director and the slot for recording secretary are still unfilled. It had been difficult to get members to take the positions. The board can name people to the openings later.
The board voted to accept the slate.
Make moved we ratify the previous vote by email to appoint the nominating committee.
Asher moved and Make seconded a motion to approve the creation of the audit committee whose names had been provided by email between meetings.
The members are Jim Schoonmaker, Hank Wieland, Maurine Beasley and Steve Goodman. They will meet on April 29th to audit financial status and documents of the chapter.
The board approved the audit committee.
Burns said Wang, the contest coordinator, had sent a review indicating that most entrants are happy with the BNC platform, but things might be better with some adjustments.
The board meeting adjourned at about 9:30 p.m.