FSNE April 2013 Board Meeting Minutes

FSNE April 2013 Board Meeting Minutes

FSNE Board Meeting

Monday, April 29, 2013

Via conference call


Present on the call: Mark Russell, Doug Ray, Dave Carlson, Jim Baltzelle, McNelly Torres, Frank Denton, Chris Porter, Dennis Durkee, Bob Gabordi, Kenny Irby, Mike Wilson, Cory Lancaster, Gil Thelen.

President Russell called the meeting to order at 10:31 a.m. The minutes of the January board meeting were introduced, moved, seconded, and approved.

The financial report was brief as your secretary/treasurer had not seen the financials for the first quarter. Gil Thelen explained that because of a recent surgery he had not seen them either, but that he expected the organization’s balance to be around the usual $100,000.

Neither Sam Morley nor Barbara Petersen was on the call to give the legislative report, but Gil offered that it has been a difficult session, with legislators moving to curtail public access to records and FSNE fighting back with some success. Frank Denton said the Times-Union has a particular interest because it sued the state over teacher evaluation data, only to have someone introduce a bill to retroactively except that information from the Sunshine Laws. He reported that his lawyers, along with Sam and Barbara, stepped in quickly and got the bill killed. Bob Gabordi said Sam and Barbara have done a fine job this session of keeping us all informed.

Chris Porter provided a contest update. Our South Carolina colleagues are judging the entries now and all is going well. We received 680 total entries, down from last year. On the positive side, all of the entries have been paid for through PayPal. Russell said he would like to convene a smaller group to talk about making the awards presentations more special at the convention. Gabordi reported that we got five entries for the Paul Hansell Award and will have a result by June 1. Kenny Irby reported that he had lined up judges from New England to do our photo categories, but because of the Boston Marathon bombings he is moving in another direction.

Russell took a moment to congratulate the Tampa Bay Times and Sun-Sentinel on their Pulitzer Prizes, and noted that the Times also had two Pulitzer finalists.

Dennis Durkee provided a Sunshine Week review. He said we had good participation, with many papers using shared opinion content and columns. Jim Baltzelle said the AP Sunshine Week project went well and credited Terry Spencer for fine work. Durkee said the symposium in St. Pete was a highlight.

Rick Hirsch was unable to be on the call so the State Decoded update was tabled.

Russell made a presentation on the Orlando convention set for July 18-19. Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts will give the keynote address on Thursday, he said. Russell thanked Rick Hirsch for his help arranging that. Doug Ray said he has sent invitations to panelists for the paywall discussion, but is still looking for academic or contrarian view. He asked whether funds are available to bring in a speaker, and President Russell said yes, we will pay airfare and one night hotel.

Russell spoke about the planned panel on Trayvon Martin and lessons learned. The moderator will be Eric Deggans, book author and media columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. Other panelists will include editors from the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel, a community activist  and the Sanford city manager. The president reminded all of the informal board dinner at Rocco’s Tacos at 7 p.m. on July 17, the night before the convention begins, and of the $75-a-person golf outing on Saturday July 20 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course.

Thelen asked about a panel discussing links between editorial quality and business success. He said Esther Thorson from Missouri is doing quantitative research on the subject. Denton said Thorson is a good friend and has done the research for the Times-Union. Frank said he would call and invite her to participate on a panel on Friday morning. (Postscript: Frank called Thorson after the meeting and she accepted the invitation to appear at the conference.)

Denton also updated the board on a panel focusing on enterprise and public records training. It’s tentatively set for 2 p.m. Friday July 19. Thelen aid we will begin to vigorously promote the convention panels in May.

The president asked whether there was any new business, and hearing none, called for a motion to adjourn. The meeting ended at 11 a.m., exactly 30 minutes after it started.


Mike Wilson