Minutes from Sept. 12 board meeting

FSNE meeting called to order by conference call by President Cory Lancaster at 9 a.m., Sept. 12, 2011

Departing FSNE board member Patty Cox says thanks for well wishes – she says it is very tough to leave.  She is working on identifying a replacement from the St. Petersburg Times for the FSNE board.

Roll call; Jim Baltzelle, Rick Hirsch, Cory Lancaster, Mark Russell, Patty Cox, Dennis Durkee, Mike Connelly, McNelly Torres, Gil Thelen, Tony Fins

Starting with Dennis Durkee and Sunshine Week. Dennis presented a written list of goals.

One involves presenting a DVD on open records for high school students. FAF has prepared this, it’s 10 minutes long and quite good. Dennis says teenagers will relate. It’s on the FAF website.

Another goal is to encourage newspapers around the state to write profile stories.

The AP will produce a story we could all could use.

On the Sunshine Symposium event – around Sunshine Week – there was a discussion on where to hold.

Discussion of Florida Voices idea. Proposal to donate $3,000 to Florida Voices, which was started by former Tampa Tribune staffer Rosemary Goudreau. More research needs to go into what we’ve done in the past before we approve the expenditure.

Lancaster is researching the donation and whether we have ever donated money to a non-profit group before. We verbally agreed to make the donation contingent on us taking a vote later. That can happen on Nov. 1.

Update from Lancaster, Thelen on the Tallahassee lobbying proposal. The lobbying will focus on what bills of interest to the media, FSNE are popping up in the Legislature. Thelen stressed that it’s important that we get to a point where we know what’s coming up in the state capitol. The Thomas LoCicero firm of Tampa is helpful to FSNE as well.

Sam Morley, attorney for the Florida Press Association, Lancaster and Thelen will convene a conference call every Friday to discuss government access issues in regard to our joint lobbyist, Sandy D’Alemberte. The time will be communicated to board members, who are welcome to join those calls.

For Nov. 1-2 board meeting/AP legislative day, Jim Baltzelle said FSNE board members will have access to the same room block that AP has reserved for a daily room rate of $90-$99. The board meeting is Nov.  1, and the legislative day is Nov. 2. Baltzelle said he expects “decent attendance.”

Tony Fins described the upcoming UCF/Writer’s Workshop, planned for Feb. 17-18 (Friday-Saturday). FSNE has committed $1,000 and needs volunteers. Group agreed that we need to trumpet the workshop on social media via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as the FSNE web site. Text messages or blast e-mails to editors, other schools should be explored. Fins said some of the speakers, such as Paige St. John of Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Geo Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, have been confirmed and he asked whether there are other suggested speakers from board members. Some discussion ensued. Board members will contact Fins directly with suggestions.

Discussion of First Amendment Foundation and Florida Statutes/State Decoded project. Rick Hirsch made a motion to authorize the expenditure of $500 as FSNE’s half of $1,000 spent by the First Amendment Foundation to purchase an XML version of the Florida Statutes for use in our State Decoded project. It was seconded by Mark Russell and approved unanimously by the board members on the call. The minutes from the previous board meeting were approved unanimously.

Chris Porter described early contest planning and said we are track for the next year’s contest.

Cory Lancaster described the interest of Lynn University of south Palm Beach County in getting either a VP or presidential debate in 2012. Lynn has asked FSNE to do three things: Hold its quarterly board meeting at the Boca Raton campus; Write a letter from FSNE in support of the Lynn bid; and ask our member newspapers to write editorials in support of Lynn’s bid to hold a debate.

FSNE board members discussed Lynn’s request and agreed that we could do the first two items, but we cannot ask member organizations to write editorials in support of the proposal. Rick Hirsch made the last point forcefully.

Tony Fins moved that we write a letter of support of Lynn’s bid and hold one of our quarterly board meetings in 2012 at Lynn’s campus. It was seconded by Cory Lancaster. And it was unanimously approved by the board members on the call.

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