March 9, 2009 board meeting minutes
Attendance: Jennifer Monnin, Jane Bethard, Mike Lorz, Katy Waters, Sarah Mills Bacha, Robin Hepler, Julanne Hohbach, Chuck Nelson, Beth Gianforcaro, Joe Meyer, Kevin Kemper, Ismail Touray
President Jennifer Monnin called the meeting to order at 12 p.m. with a quorum present.
Minutes of the Feb. 9 meeting were read and approved.
Treasurer Sarah Mills Bacha said the checking account balance is currently $5,244.54. The PayPal account is currently $2,143.86 with registration money coming in for the regional conference. Thus far, she has received 34 registrations. She has also received a total of $3,000 in sponsorship donations for the conference. They are: $750 from OSU; $250 from OU; $250 from Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP; $500 from the Dispatch; $250 from the Ohio Newspaper Association; $500 from Cox Communications; and $500 from Paul Werth & Assoc.
Programming: Kevin Kemper said an ethics program on the use of public records and how much should be printed is tentatively set for April 23 at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Baca suggested the program be moved to later in May or be held at the regional conference.
Membership: Bacha said all Dispatch staff SPJ memberships are expiring at the same time in coming months.
Regional Conference: Mike Lorz suggested that displaced journalists who attend the upcoming regional conference receive a price break on registration. A motion was approved to charge displaced journalists the student rate: $45 for SPJ members, $50 for non-members.
Katy Waters said she is sending out e-mail notification of the March 20 early registration deadline. She will also have SPJ national send out a notification.
Waters also reported that all conference sessions are set, except for the two-minute video portion. Bacha suggested she contact Brainstorm Video to lead the session. Kemper suggested that session be replaced with a program on “remarketing youself” for today’s job search. It was suggested that Celia Crossley could lead that program.
Waters also suggested a representative from the Online News Association lead a session on writing for the Web. She said more professional members than students would be interested in that type of content. Beth Gianforcaro volunteered to coordinate a session on Web writing.
Kemper also suggested the conference include a session on better broadcast writing. He said writers for Palestra, a college news Web site, could lead the program.
Waters said she will complete the published program for the conference once all sessions are finalized. She will also provide the name tags and registration gift bags on the day of the conference.
Founders Day: Robin Hepler reported the Founders Day banquet is scheduled for May 7 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Campus. Dispatch Editor Ben Marrison will be the evening’s speaker. Topic: “What’s Going On With Daily Newspapers.”
Bacha suggested plans for a silent auction be cancelled in light of the current economic climate. Lorz noted that it would be embarrassing to donors if items draw very low bids. Jane Bethard suggested one or two desirable raffle items replace the silent auction. Kemper asked members to make an effort to procure raffle items from their companies or other contacts. Items signed by popular athletes or local celebrities area always desirable.
Nominations for the 2009 chapter awards include: Dispatch investigative team (DNA series) for the First Amendment Award and Jennifer Monnin for the chapter service award. It was suggested that former board member Paul Kostyu be contacted for nominations for the Brick Wall Award.
Lorz suggested the chapter send out an e-mail to managing editors in the area for nominations for the Brick Wall Award.
Julanne Hohbach said she is waiting for nominations to come in for the Faulkner Award and other scholarships.
New Business: President Monnin distributed copies of a letter the chapter received from Jeff Winbush of the Columbus Association of Black Journalists (CABJ). Winbush noted the number of layoffs at Columbus media outlets in recent weeks that have reduced minority representation at the Dispatch and WSYX-TV. His organization is concerned about the negative impact these layoffs will have on Columbus news coverage, especially in the African-American community.
CABJ sought comment from the central Ohio SPJ chapter about this trend. Any comment provided would be used in a press release to be issued by CABJ on March 11.
President Monnin said she believed it was important to have minority representation in local reporting, but didn’t know the background of these particular layoffs. Monnin said she will contact SPJ national and regional to see if they have a position on the issue.
One of those laid of from the Dispatch was board member Sherri Williams, who is also president of the CABJ. Williams has decided against renewing her seat on the SPJ board. Waters suggested the chapter contact the CABJ for nominations of individuals to replace Williams on the board.
The meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.