Minutes of Fall 2014 Board Meeting

Minutes of Fall 2014 Board Meeting

FSNE Fall Board Meeting


Poynter Institute, 801 Third St. South, St. Petersburg, FL

October 25, 2014


In attendance: Carlson, Church, Denton, Goudreau, Irby, Korten, Orsi, Petersen, Porter, Ray, Spencer.

By phone: Garcia

Absent: Marques, Gabordi


1. Call to order: Denton 10:05a.m.

2. Approval of April Minutes: Ray


Orsi motion to approve. Carlson second. Approved unanimously.

3. Treasurer’s report: Thelen reported we will about break even for the year with $109,000 reserves.

The board discussed possible ways to attract additional members, including greater value with website currency, weekly news summary and keys to pay walls. Denton and Thelen will pursue discussion of keys with FPA. Gil will reach out to top editors to promote more subeditors to join FSNE. Gil, Frank, Dave and Kenny will talk in conference call about enhancing value of website, including more visuals. We will ask editors names of local bloggers who would be potential members. Orsi cautioned bloggers need to operate within constraints of news values.

4. Possible content sharing service. Porter explained proposal to establish new content sharing service among members. Discussion was about similarity to existing but under utilized AP service. Frank and Gil will pursue with AP and FPA.

5. Contest committee report: Ray

“The FSNE Journalism Contest is the premier competition for quality print journalism in Florida.  Still, over the past four years, the number of entries and the associated revenues for FSNE have declined 31 percent, from $26,520 in 2011 to $18,390 in the current year.  The contest represents two thirds of FSNE’s annual budget.

“Concern has been expressed within FSNE leadership about the rigor of the judging, the limited number of categories for Spanish-language publications, and the format for awards presentation at the summer convention.

To address these concerns, along with the general health of the contest, the following changes are proposed for consideration by the FNSE board:

“Judging: We implement a juried approach. Entries would continue to be submitted through the BNC web-based system. Four judges would be selected to serve as our panel. They would evaluate all the entries separately, then gather for a weekend to make final selections. FSNE would pay expenses at $1,000 each, plus a $500 honorarium. Total cost would be $5000.

“Entries: We have several categories that relate to breaking news coverage that could be combined: “Daily Deadline”, “Breaking News Online Slideshow” and “Use of Social Media in “Breaking News. The category for “Photo Story” would be rewritten to allow slideshows, eliminating the category for “Enterprise Online Slideshow.” Two other categories that get few entries each year, “Editorial Cartoons” and “Niche Site/Channel” would be open to entrants of all sizes, without circulation divisions.

“In addition, Spanish-language publications would submit their photo entries (and design) into general circulation divisions. Other categories for Spanish-language entrants would remain.

“Student contest: We add a division for student journalism. We would launch this for the spring contest. Categories might include “Breaking News,” “Investigative Reporting”, “Sports Reporting”, “Commentary,” “Still Photography”, “Print Page Design,” and “Innovation.” Categories other than “Print Page Design” wouldn’t be defined by publication platform. We would need to figure out how to deal with content that came from student publications versus content developed by interns in mainstream newsrooms. Perhaps a separate division could be created for student work in professional publications, and prevail on editors to enter work from their interns who often work for little or nothing.

“If there are perhaps 400 journalism undergraduate students in Florida, and we could get 100 of them to make an average of two entries, it could yield 200 total entries, enough to offset recent losses or to fund the juried judging approach.

“Raising our profile: We use social media and emails to more aggressively market the contest beginning at the first of the year. Emails would go out to FSNE members in January, urging them to begin gathering entries. We would send out separate emails related to the Waldo Proffitt and Paul Hansell Awards, both before entries open and the call for entries. After the general call for entries, we would send out reminders every two weeks until the deadline.

“In addition, the congratulatory ads that have been built will be made available the day of the convention to winning newspapers. We will follow up with editors to see if they have been placed for publication.”

The board approved the report for enactment with a $5,000 limit on additional judging expenses. The board expressed interest in using award winners in a training day.

6. NewsTrain

The board agreed to make application to APME for a two-day NewsTrain program in Central Florida in 2015. Gil will manage process.

7.  Legal report. Barbara Petersen

Petersen said FAF is involved in more litigation than ever before. She emphasized the importance of fast answers from editors on coalition requests. She said government agencies are choosing to litigate Sunshine requests rather than comply. She urged FSNE editors to bring Sunshine issues to FAF for possible legal action.

8. Sunshine Week

Goudreau led discussion of possible changes to make Sunshine observance more edgy and newsy. We will consider focusing efforts on one day rather than an entire week to get more member participation. We will develop presentations editors can make to civic groups to increase understanding of Sunshine access. We will strongly consider compliance audits of state agencies. Another focus will be fees and cost of records. Hippa and Ferpa problem of access to records is a possible convention program.

9. Visioning

Church will immediately discuss with Thelen and intern Brandi Hollis ways of making website more useful and beginning weekly digests of Sunshine-related news. His full report was ready for this meeting. But in deference to travel plans of others and a lack of time at this meeting, Church deferred his report to our next meeting.


Adjournment at 2:10 p.m.


Next meeting Jan. 27 in conjunction with AP legislative day in Tallahassee.