Highlights from FSNE board meeting Jan. 26, 2010

Highlights from FSNE board meeting Jan. 26, 2010

FSNE members:

Our board met recently in Tallahassee, and we wanted to bring you up to speed on key points regarding FSNE leadership, membership, Sunshine Week, our multimedia training efforts and the 2010 FSNE contests. Our next meeting, by the way, is April 19 at The Miami Herald in Miami.

Here are the highlights from Jan. 26:

New leadership

We have three new board members who bring great experience and journalistic heft to our organization.

  • Mark Russell, print manager at The Orlando Sentinel, has also held top leadership positions at The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Boston Globe. In addition to managing editor, he’s been a business editor and city editor, and his reporting experience includes several years at the Wall Street Journal.
  • Manny Garcia, executive editor of El Nuevo Herald, is a former Miami Herald city editor, investigative editor, investigative reporter, cops, leading member of two Miami Herald Pulitzer reporting teams (Elian and Vote Fraud 2000), IRE board member and Pulitzer Prize judge.
  • Sara Quinn, visual journalism faculty at the Poynter Institute. is formerly AME for visuals at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and presentation director at the Wichita Eagle.

First Amendment Foundation and Sunshine Week

  • The FAF has hired Jim Rhea as its general counsel. Jim has vast legislative experience and open records knowledge..
  • Barbara Petersen and FAF have launched the Florida Sunshine Challenge, a fund-raising drive to support FAF and organizations like it. We ought to reach into our own pockets to make a difference on this issue. Read more in the attached word document.
  • Barbara gave her report on open meeting/Sunshine legislation. There’s some good legislation from the work of the Open Government Commission, and some that is threatening. Our voices will need to be heard. A piece of good news is that the FPA lobbying effort will be led by Peter Harris and Sandy D’Alemberte, replacing Curt Kiser, who has become a member of the Public Service Commission.
  • The Knight Foundation has funded a $2 million, three-year grant the National Freedom of Information Coalition to create a fund that supports open government groups and will pay for start up costs, filing fees, depositions and consultation on open government lawsuits.
  • Bob Gabordi is leading our Sunshine Week effort. It will include aggressive coverage of open government issues during the legislative session, and through it, Florida newspapers will be sharing their coverage of this legislation throughout the session. The Miami Herald/St. Pete Times Tallahassee bureau and Gannett’s Capital bureau have agreed to share out stories with newspapers statewide. We’ll work with Jim Baltzelle and AP on the best ways to do this. Bob will follow up shortly board members.

2010 FSNE Journalism Contest

  • A number of new categories are added for this year. By popular demand, we brought back a headline writing category, as well as editorial cartoons. We’ve expanded online categories for videos and slideshows. And for the first time, four categories are open to journalists who are not affiliated with a traditional news organization. See www.fsne.org for a complete list of contest categories and rules.
  • Deadline for all entries is Feb. 19, 2010. Entry fee: $30 each.
  • Most of the judges have been confirmed. Judging for Divisions A and B will take place by conference calls in March.
  • Judging for Division C (papers below 40K circ.) will be done by FSNE board members, as in past years. Gil Thelen has graciously offered space at USF on Friday, March 12. Please email Cory Lancaster, if you’d like to volunteer for judging.


Over all dues collection is down, not unexpected in the economic downturn, particular among Spanish language members. Our new initiatives with academic and unaffiliated members has generated a few new members, but we need to reach out to universities and digital journalists.

Multimedia Training

  • On Feb. 20, FSNE is assisting the Online News Association with ONA’s Parachute Training Day at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
  • On March 13, FSNE presents its next all-day workshop at the University of South Florida. Co-sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association, the workshop again will provide low-cost, hands-on training in video, graphics, multimedia, databases, legal issues and more. You can find course descriptions and and a registration form here.

Rick Hirsch