Utah SPJ meeting minutes for Aug. 27, 2011

SPJ Meeting 8/27/11 – Members present: Chad Curtis, Amy K. Stewart, Jim Fisher, Don Meyers, Nate Carlisle, Tom Haraldsen, Sheryl Worsley, Shane Farver, Ben Winslow.

1- Minutes from 5/14/11 approved.

2- Treasurer’s report – Tom says we have approximately $7,000 in the account. We also received a $1,200 check from the Colorado chapter for the Top of the Rockies.

Speaking of the contest, we had 175 award winners (honorable mentions, award winners, etc.). Tom wants to encourage more broadcast outlets to get involved next year.

3- Regional director’s report – Early bird registration deadline for national SPJ convention is Aug. 31.
There was discussion about annual reports and ending the star system (as in, 4 star, 3 star, 2 star, etc.). Don said there was discussion about re-doing the annual reports. For example, hosting the regional conference would count as “2 activities.” Don believes the evaluation system needs to be less “punitive.”  Discussion was held about writing letters and meeting with national SPJ leaders to express our concerns.

At the national convention, Utah will receive an award for its FOI activity, and Linda Petersen will be honored for her work.

Don is suggesting that all chapters participate in planning the regional, but one would host it. He would set up a committee with chapters contributing speakers, etc. Ben and Jim say it may not work in application and lead to more confusion, plus added travel costs. Amy likens it to a “pot luck” dinner vs. a 5-course meal.

4- Search warrants – Nate Carlisle (and Geoff Liesik) are proposing to request the Utah Judicial Council create a system to track search warrants and place them online. They would like to have the backing of the Utah SPJ.

Ben notes that the Utah Judiciary is facing layoffs and budget cuts and that may be the biggest hurdle.  Sheryl motions to endorse the proposal, Ben seconds.

Ben mentions that the Utah Judicial Council is contemplating adding cameras in the courts. Several news organizations have already offered comment to them.

5- Utah County dispatch issue – Sheryl said Utah County’s dispatch board clarified their rule on information released to the media based on scanner traffic. That board created a policy that said no information would be released to the news media.

A coalition of various media outlets attended the last board meeting of the Utah Co. dispatch board. They agreed to study the issue, but will release the nature of the call and the address. The Utah SPJ and other media representatives will continue to be part of the discussion.

6- New Orleans Convention – Sheryl, Ben, Linda, Don and Tom will be attending the convention. Tom is proposing to set aside $1,000 for any Utah SPJ member who wishes to attend and meets the early bird registration.

Chad motions to accept it, Sheryl seconds. It passes unanimously.

7- Programming for next year – Tom wants to plan some activities, but for the benefit of chapter members.

Nate suggests partnering with IRE for some training seminars. Jim wants to have a seminar to help a start-up community newspaper. Q Salt Lake recently held a mix and mingle event for the media.

The next SPJ board meeting will be held Oct. 8, 9 a.m. Location TBA.

On a final note, this is Amy K. Stewart’s last meeting as an SPJ board member. The board wishes her well in grad school!

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