SPJ Board Meeting Minutes – Jan. 14, 2013


In attendance: Sheryl Worsley, Tom Haraldsen, Don Meyers, Jim Fisher, Shane Farver, Chad Curtis, Trent Nelson, McKenzie Romero, Geoff Liesik (via conference call)


McKenzie, who will be over publicity for Utah SPJ, asked for information on SPJ events that she could push via Facebook and Twitter. She announced plans to rekindle the organization’s Twitter account.

Last meeting’s minutes were approved.

Boot camp
Jim described his ideas for an upcoming SPJ boot camp, to be held on Feb. 9 at the University of Utah’s Languages and Communication (LNCO) building. The free boot camp will be targeted toward new journalists, but all journalists are welcome to attend.
Board members agreed to hold sessions on style/grammar, ethics, feature writing, news writing basics and law. The board designated teachers/presenters for the various sessions.

  • Broadcast Basics: Chad
  • Ethics: Jim
  • News Writing: Geoff
  • Style and Grammar: Shane and Chad
  • Features: TBD
  • Law: TBD

In addition, Geoff said he could provide a handout on new rules for allowing cameras in the courtroom.
The board decided that many of sessions will occur twice during the day. Two different sessions (e.g. features and news writing basics) will occur simultaneously. Thus, if someone cannot attend a session in the morning, that person can choose to attend after lunch. The one exception will be ethics, which will be a group session intended for all attendees.
Sessions, which will last about 50 minutes each, will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. A half-hour lunch break will occur at 12:30 p.m.
Sheryl agreed to be responsible for getting lunch items.
Geoff left the meeting following the boot camp discussion.

In preparation for the upcoming contest, Tom provided a handout of several award categories that had not seen entries in two years and asked the board if Utah SPJ should continue offering these categories. After discussion on what categories to remove, the board decided to heavily promote those categories for this year before deciding on whether to remove them.
In addition, Tom made a motion that the categories of “Editorial Cartoon” and “Headlines” be made general categories rather than being offered for each circulation category of newspaper (A, B and C). Don seconded the motion, which the board unanimously passed.
The board also unanimously passed Don’s motion, which Jim seconded, to pay Trent $1,000 from SPJ funds for the setup and maintenance of the Utah SPJ awards website. This is the third year that Trent has overseen the website.
The board directed Trent to have the site up and running by Thursday, Jan. 17.
Don made a motion that the name for the “Pioneer in Journalism Award” be changed to the “Josephine Zimmerman Pioneer in Journalism Award.” Jim seconded the motion, which the board unanimously approved.
Trent left meeting following the contest discussion.
The deadline for Utah SPJ contest entries to be 5 p.m. on March 15.

IRE Event
The board unanimously approved a motion by Jim and seconded by Don to co-sponsor the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2013 Salt Lake City Watchdog Workshop, which will take place on March 15. The Salt Lake Tribune will also sponsor the event.

Sunshine/Black Hole awards
Tom suggested that Utah SPJ split with the League of Women Voters for Sunshine Week because the latter organization hasn’t done anything with it for some time. The board agreed with the split and also agreed to write a press release regarding nominations for the awards during sunshine week in March. The awards will be announced during the Utah SPJ annual award ceremony in July.

Survey Monkey
Sheryl asked the board if anyone had a survey monkey account that board member Linda Petersen could use for a survey to journalists on PIOs. However, no present board members had an available account.

Sanpete Messenger/Utah Highway Patrol
In a follow-up to a falling out between the Sanpete Messenger and the Utah Highway Patrol, Sheryl reported that she met with Dwayne Baird, public information officer for the Utah Department of Public Safety. Board members learned in earlier meetings that the Utah Highway Patrol has refused to discuss things with journalists at the Messenger and insists that journalists file GRAMA requests for information that was previously freely given.
The board had previously heard that the UHP’s reticence could be a form of reprisal for a State Records Committee decision in the newspaper’s favor. The decision mandated that the UHP release the name, age and address of a juvenile accident victim. However, Baird told Sheryl that the lack of communication was not due to that decision, but rather various inaccuracies that Sanpete Messenger has reported. Sheryl said she has asked UHP to provide documentation of those inaccuracies. She also said she would continue to act as a liaison between UHP and the Sanpete Messenger and hopefully schedule a meeting between Dwayne Baird and the managing editor of the newspaper.
Sheryl also said she is expecting to hear from Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City police chief, when a new, real-time call log from his department is available online.

The board decided to schedule the publication of our next quarterly newsletter for March 8.

Best Practices
Sheryl informed the board of an email from David Cuillier, national SPJ president-elect, requesting an outline of the Utah Headliners Chapter’s best practices. She discussed wanting to post minutes online in a prompt fashion and perhaps more transparency regarding finances.
Tom also reported that an earlier discrepancy with the IRS regarding tax status had been cleared up.

Chad requested that, for the next meeting, the board address the Salt Lake County Sherriff’s Office decision to not provide mugshots.

Next meeting:
Thursday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m.
Location: Salt Lake Tribune


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