April 4, 2009 special board meeting minutes
Attendance: Jennifer Monnin, Jane Bethard, Mike Lorz, Katy Waters, Sarah Mills Bacha, Robin Hepler, Julanne Hohbach, Chuck Nelson, Joe Meyer, Kevin Kemper, Ismail Turay
President Jennifer Monnin called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. in the Delaware Room of the Doubletree Hotel with a quorum present.
Purpose of the special meeting was to hold a personal dialogue and vote on the annual chapter awards to be presented at the Founder’s Day dinner on May 7 at the Fawcett Center.
Nominees for the First Amendment Award were:
- Investigative team of The Dispatch (Geoff Dutton and Mike Wagner) for their series on DNA-based criminal convictions in Ohio, “Test of Convictions.” Nominated by Chuck Nelson
- Randy Ludlow of The Dispatch for his blog “Your Right to Know” that points out public records and open meeting violations across the state. Ludlow also aggressively pursued access to public records last year for a story about child deaths in Ohio. His investigation found that 87 of 234 children who died of abuse or neglect were under the watch of Ohio’s children’s services agencies. Nominated by Alan Miller.
The Dispatch investigative team was selected by unanimous vote for the First Amendment Award.
Nominees for the Brick Wall Award were:
- The Olentangy School District’s Board of Education for its private review of superintendent candidates by conducting individual interviews rather than through committee, thus circumventing the open meeting process. Nominated by Joe Meyer.
- The Ohio Department of Public Safety for an illegal public records policy that was changed after the Dispatch exposed it. The department also was illegally destroying public records. The governor again made them stop; and they reached what they hoped would be a secret and “confidential” settlement agreement with an assistant Ohio State Highway Patrol superintendent that barred him for years to come from making public records requests. Nominated by Randy Ludlow.
The Olentangy School District was chosen for the award with one vote of abstention (Monnin).
Nominations for the Distinguished Service Award were: Katy Waters, Mike Lorz and Jennifer Monnin. Mike Lorz was unanimously chosen to receive the award.
Chapter Appreciation Award nominees were:
- Dominic Cappa, editor of Business First — Under Cappa’s guidance, Business First has supported its editorial employees who are board members of the Central Ohio Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Board members who worked at Business First include Brian Ball, Robin Hepler, Kevin Kemper, Paul Kostyu and Katy Waters. In addition, Business First has paid for both the national and local SPJ membership dues of all its reporters and editors, the only news outlet in Central Ohio to do so. Nominated by Katy Waters.
- Paul Kostyu, Ph.D. — Paul has had a distinguished career as a reporter, copy editor, layout editor, bureau chief and journalism professor. In 2000, Kostyu started working for Copley Newspapers as statehouse bureau chief, covering state politics and legislative issues. In 1999, he was the recipient of the National Geographic Magazine Faculty Fellowship. In 1995, he participated in the Institute for Journalism Excellence. Dr. Kostyu has worked on projects for Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal and U.S. News & World Report. Kostyu also spent 11 years as a board member of the Central Ohio chapter of SPJ, holding most officer positions in the process.
- Kirk Arnott — Kirk is a humble, unassuming newsman who wants nothing more than to pick up the paper or go online and find a timely, compelling, precise and accurate report of the day’s news. Most important to him is accuracy. He is a stickler for precision in reporting and writing, but he is not overbearing. As a result, he is both an editor and teacher, one who has the respect of all who work with him in The Dispatch’s newsroom and beyond. His work ethic might best be described by the mantra espoused by Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcok: It’s about the work. And work he has for 32 years — in Sports, Features and News — giving his all each day with an extreme passion for accuracy, fairness and doing right by the readers. Kirk will soon transition to a part-time copy editing job in The Dispatch newsroom. He will tell you that it is a way for him to ease into retirement. The rest of the story is that his decision, coming when it did, saved a job for one of his colleagues in a newsroom that is experiencing layoffs. Nominated by Alan Miller.
Dominic Cappa and Kirk Arnott were unanimously selected to receive the Chapter Appreciation Award.
In other matters related to Founders Day, Julanne Hohbach provided an update on the Faulkner, Dohn and Meckstroth scholarships. She has received two nominations for the Faulkner scholarship — one each from OSU and OU. She has received one for the Dohn scholarship at OU. She is waiting to hear from OSU on Meckstroth nominations.
President Monnin adjourned the meeting at 1:55 p.m.