Utah SPJ October meeting minutes

SPJ Board Meeting 10/9/10—KSL-TV, Salt Lake City

Board members present: Jim Fisher, Sheryl Worsley, Tom Haraldsen, Linda
Petersen, Allison Barlow-Hess, Shane Farver, Lisa Carricaburu. Present via
conference call: Geoff Liesik and Don Meyers

1. Board minutes of September 18 approved.

2. Lisa Carricaburu from the Salt Lake Tribune was introduced as a new board
member. Jennifer Weaver from the Spectrum in Cedar City will also join the
board at our November meeting.

3. Four members of the Jordan River Restoration Network made a presentation
to the board regarding their lawsuit against Salt Lake City. The network has been
seeking documents regarding a soccer complex to be built on the west side of
SLC. City officials have withheld some documents on grounds they are exempt
under GRAMA, and has also denied the group fee waivers in some cases. Jeff
Salt, representing the network, is seeking support from SPJ and the media in
their efforts. The board discussed possibly writing a friend-of-the-court brief on
behalf of the group. However, Lisa expressed concern that the GRAMA request
might have been too broad. The board agreed and tabled the matter until it can
review documents outlining the network’s request of the city.

4. Linda presented a request from attorney Pat Shea and his client Dennis
Morrill, who has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gary Herbert’s recruitment
committee for the state school board. In short, Shea asked if SPJ would agree
to be a “collection” point for funds to pay for Morrill’s legal expenses (filing fees,
etc., as the attorneys have taken on the case pro bono). This was deemed as
largely a request to take advantage of our chapter’s non-profit status. Linda
sought council from several sources on this—attorney Jeff Hunt who does
legal work for the media in SLC, and Charles Davis of the FOIA. Davis said the
proposal “strikes me as radioactively infused with politics.” Sheryl motioned to
deny the request, Allison seconded it and the board unanimously voted to deny.

5. Linda gave an update on the federal shield law now before Congress. She
reported that the proposed law, now in the Senate Judiciary committee, has
been severely compromised by Sen. Diane Feinstein and others. The definition
of journalists in the bill is now too narrow and would not cover those who are not
directly associated with a news organization. SPJ national has agreed to back
the bill for fear that is either a compromised version of the bill that passes or no
bill at all. Many board members feel SPJ national should not compromise. Allison
moved that Jim write a letter to national expressing our chapter’s opposition to
such compromise. Sheryl seconded, and Jim agreed to write the letter which will
be reviewed by board members and then sent to national.

6. National convention recap: Overall sentiment was that journalism is still solid.

Attending members felt the emphasis on social media was overblown and there
also seemed a lack of cohesion. While attendees agreed that there could have
been a wider selection of classes, Don said the ethics classes were good. Next
year’s convention will be held in New Orleans along with radio and television
news directors.

7. Regional conference for 2011: Tentatively agreed to a date of Saturday,
April 9 at the University of Utah. Tom is pursuing a Google representative who
presented at national and had a very interesting presentation. Assignments will
be defined at the November board meeting.

8. SPJ contest for 2011: Tom nominated himself co-chair for the contest, with
Sheryl as co-chair. Geoff and Jim agreed to serve on the committee. Linda will
again coordinate the awards.

9. Don mentioned that judging for the Mark of Excellence Awards will be starting
shortly. Jim and Shane agreed to be judges. Allison and others might also help
with judging.

Next meeting: Saturday, November 6, 9 a.m., at the Salt Lake Tribune

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