Board Meeting Minutes — Sept. 27, 2014

SPJ Board Meeting 9/27/14

In attendance:

George Severson, Sheryl  Worsley, Tom Haraldsen, Jim Fisher, Nate Carlisle, McKenzie Romero, Linda Petersen, Connie Coyne, Eric Peterson

1. Motion to approve the minutes of the last two meetings was made by Sheryl and seconded by Jim

All aye

2. Membership update – McKenzie

Our number of memberships is currently hovering in the 50s. However, there is growth in prospective members with students at UVU working to get a chapter going. Utah State has also expressed interest in building up its chapter again. Their charter is still valid.

3. Finances: Tom

Current balance is $6196.34. Tom said we are in much better financial shape than we were last year.

We need to cut a check of $26 to Ben Winslow for domain names.

4. EIJ:  McKenzie & Sheryl gave a report on the national convention

A motion to change the name from The Society of Professional Journalists to The Society for Professional Journalism died. Sheryl expects to see it again as the motion’s author Michael Koretsky is passionate about it.

A new national code of ethics was approved. Sheryl said there are just minor changes. (copy attached). Sheryl voted for it. The new version is online at

[Sheryl was a write-in regional 3 director candidate for RTDNA. She has accepted the position.]

5. Video Pool: Sheryl

Eric Johnson, a family law attorney, has been pushing for him and his associate Brian Godfrey to be allowed be part (and sometimes representative) of the media pool which shares video feed of court proceedings. The court has responded to his requests by closing family law cases to the pool. Godfrey, while not formally a journalist, was able to get a judge in the Uintah Basin to allow him to be designated as “pool” in a particular case which ended up being cancelled.

Court officials told Godfrey he needed camera equipment. He contacted KSL to ask them what equipment they used.

This has produced an unusual situation which court officials are at a loss to handle. There was some discussion on whether SPJ could come up with some guidelines. However, board members were reluctant of being put in the position of defining who is or isn’t a journalist, and were concerned that could make the chapter liable if those guidelines were questioned.

After much discussion, the board came to a consensus that instead of producing such guidelines, it would be best if Johnson and Godfrey address their issues with the courts and that SPJ should address the closing of family law hearings by the courts separately.

McKenzie made the motion to table the topic until after the media pool committee meets on Sept. 30. Sheryl seconded the motion.

6. Survey – Nate

Nate has prepared a survey to go out to all journalists in the state.  It asks for demographic info. and seeks feedback on how SPJ could help them.

Sheryl suggests adding “manager” to the occupation category. Nate will also add “freelance.” George suggested asking what topics they would like to see SPJ address but Nate was concerned about the survey being too long.

The survey will go out Oct. 1 with a deadline of Oct. 14. Nate will handle publicity. The survey will be sent to all those on SPJ’s mailing list, along with UPA, all news outlets, universities, broadcasters

Nate will report on the results at the next board meeting.

(Note: Nate later realized he had a scheduling conflict so the surveys were issued Sept. 30 and remained open through Oct. 13.)

7. Bylaws update – Connie

Connie presented board members with copies of a draft of updated bylaws. She suggests making as few changes as possible  and just updating the bylaws instead.

Some of the changes she’s proposing are

– a mechanism to add board members

– being able to nominate officers from the floor during a meeting for the election

– that board members can only miss two board meeting in a year without the approval of the president

-that board votes must carry by a majority of 50% +1.

8. Blogger training: Eric

Eric has put out feelers out with Utah Political Capital (3-4 likely to attend) Utah Politico Hub  (8-10 likely to attend). Both groups are interested. Most people we are targeting are along the Wasatch Front. The suggestion was made to film it and to also make it a webinar so we can send it out and post it on our website.

Some suggested topics that were discussed:

-doing things on the cheap

-how to get on media lists

– contact info. for PIOs

– Xchange

– legal liability (ethics)

– FOI, resources (tips, appeals); how to file a GRAMA request

We tentatively planned it to be:

Nov. 15, three 50-minute sessions over lunch (SPJ will provide food), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., BYU SL.

Eric will reach out to Libertas, other outlets.

9. Nate and Trent Nelson want to put on a photo & video workshop for professionals and aspiring professionals in the spring, possibly in March.

We discussed taking boot camp on the road to Cedar City. SUU has volunteered some cash if we do. No date was set.

Sheryl reported that RFCP is putting on an IFOIA webinar  in January. She suggested that we could record it and send it out to our membership.

In the interest of time, McKenzie suggested that everyone who had a program suggestion draft a program proposal and send it out to the board.

Nate suggested that SPJ needs to write a letter against Forest Service charging fees for taking pics in the wilderness. He will write it.

Tom was contacted by our new regional director Tom Johnson from New Mexico. He would like to get the regional director monies Headliners has been holding since Don Meyers resigned.

He wants FOI to be a big issue.

He is going to be out of the country for several months and needs an assistant R.D., Tom H. agreed to do it.

Our next board meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 at Jim’s house, 331 Argyle Court, SLC.

The meeting was adjourned.


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