Minutes for May 7, 2012, FSNE board meeting
Present (all via conference call): Cory Lancaster, Mark Russell, Jim Baltzelle, Rick Hirsch,
David Carlson, Antonio Fins, Mike Wilson, Manny Garcia, Frank Denton, Mc Neely Torres,
Chris Porter, Gil Thelen, Sam Morley
Meeting called to order by Lancaster at 1 p.m.
Approval of minutes. Carlson moved to approve January board meeting minutes. Motion
Financials. Thelen said membership dues are down about $1,500, mostly from newspapers
cutting back on additional memberships. Income from the contest appears down $7,000 over
last year. He said the board will have to figure out how to address this revenue erosion, although
FSNE continues to have a $103,000 fund balance, so it’s not an immediate concern.
Legislative session update. Thelen thanked Barbara Petersen with the First Amendment
Foundation for sending out periodic updates about pending legislation. A bill to guarantee the
public’s right to speak at meetings did not make it to a final vote but is expected to come up again
next year. One item that passed — despite her efforts and FSNE’s efforts — provides a public
records exemption to exclude phone numbers and dates of birth for some state employees.
Sam Morley, attorney for the Florida Press Association, said state Rep. Ritch Workman, R-
Melbourne, sponsored legislation on legal notices, which, among other provisions, requires
the notices to appear in print and online, and allows the public to receive email notification
about them. The legislation was just signed by Gov. Rick Scott. FPA has prepared a Q&A for
newspapers to explain the legislation, which brings legal notices into the 21st century, he said.
Lancaster said Sandy D’Alemberte, lobbyist for FPA/FSNE, has suggested we recognize Gov.
Scott for his recent move to put his email and the email of his top staff online for the public to
view. Baltzelle said this will provide a lot of good material to the media. Hirsch said it’s a good
first step, but it will not cover significant aspects of the Governor’s correspondence, such as
social media postings. Wilson said he thought FSNE should acknowledge this positive first step.
Board members agreed to send a letter to the Governor, commending him and encouraging him to
continue to expand public access to include social media postings.
Contest. Porter reported that he has two categories still left to be judged and then will be done
with the contest. He said he tried to encourage papers to enter this year, but entries were still
down over last year. Porter said he was surprised to hear contest income is down $7,000 and
thought it might be a collections issue. He will work with FPA to double-check the figures. He
expects to send the list of winners shortly to board members and then to have the plaques made.
Lancaster said she received seven entries for FSNE’s Paul Hansell Award, one more than last
year, and the judging is complete.
Sunshine Week update. Lancaster said Durkee could not make the conference call but sent a
Sunshine Week report, which was circulated to board members. Board members commended
Durkee for his efforts and recommended that he lead the effort in 2013. Lancaster said she had
asked Durkee and he volunteered to take on the project again next year.
Presidential debate/Lynn University update. Russell said the fall FSNE board meeting is set
for Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at Lynn University, a week before the Presidential debate. Professors
and students will sit through the FSNE board meeting as observers, and the college president
will speak at a luncheon with the board following the meeting. The college has agreed to use
FSNE signage on its website and building. Several panels will be organized on Oct. 15-16 by a
committee that includes Russell, Baltzelle, Fins and Torres.
Fins suggested FSNE member newspapers could provide content for the college website leading
up to the presidential debate that would include election coverage to help generate interest.
Baltzelle asked if FSNE has a broadcast partner and will work with Russell, possibly to bring in
the NBC affiliate in Palm Beach. Russell said he would prepare a draft proposal and timetable for
the panels, and provide that to the board at the next board meeting.
Writers workshop. Fins said the workshop sponsored by the University of Central Florida and
FSNE was well attended in February with about 130 attendees, mostly from Central Florida. The
UCF organizer will need approval to host the workshop next year, but Fins would like FSNE to
stay involved and find ways to boost attendance to 250-300 people. He thought the issue was
pricing — possibly $150 was too expensive. For next year, Fins would like to increase “how-to”
sessions, such as how to contact an editor. Fins estimated about a dozen journalists attended from
such papers as the Sun-Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.
Statedecoded.com update. Hirsch said the team has made a lot of progress since the last report.
The site has Florida statutes loaded in and now works. The next stage will be linking to other
useful content on the internet. For instance, people could search the statutes for Sunshine Laws
and would see links to useful articles. Hirsch hopes to demonstrate the site at the convention.
Hirsch reminded the board about an upcoming APME Newstrain workshop May 18-19 in South
Florida that will feature hands-on training in such things as social media and narrative journalism.
Convention planning/awards ceremonies. Lancaster reported that President Obama has
declined an invitation to appear at the five-state convention in Destin in July, but FPA will extend
the invitation again. FPA is still waiting to hear whether presumptive Republican nominee Mitt
Romney and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will appear. Baltzelle said it will be essential to invite key
Democrats, as well, such as U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to ensure our impartiality and
the board agreed.
Lancaster outlined the convention schedule, which is available online at Convene2012, including
two FSNE-organized training tracks. Carlson provided details about the trainings: “New Wrinkles
on Enduring Web Issues” and “Beyond Google: Search Engines and Other Tools for Journalists.”
The FSNE awards ceremonies will be held Saturday, July 7. The FSNE awards ceremony will
begin at 11:45 a.m., followed by the joint awards luncheon for the Gold Medal Awards, Paul
Hansell Award and other top awards. An FSNE general membership meeting will be added at
8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Next board meeting is July 5 at 2 p.m. Board members also are invited to a board of directors
luncheon on July 5 at noon with press associations from the five states.
Board member comments. Lancaster said she was contacted by the Banner Center at the
University of North Florida, which would like to inform FSNE members about low-cost training
opportunities. Denton said he would follow up with the center and report back to the board.
Fins said the Spanish Consulate would like to reach out to FSNE and set up meetings with
editors around the state in conjunction with its 500th anniversary celebration of Ponce de
Leon’s “discovery” of Florida, which will bring its King and Queen here. Fins agreed to gather
more information and report back to the board.
Meeting adjourned about 2:15 p.m.