Minutes from March 21, 2011, board meeting in Orlando
Present: Jim Baltzelle, president; Cory Lancaster, vice president; Gil Thelen, executive director; Patty Cox, secretary-treasurer; Mark Russell, Tony Fins, Larry Sullivan, Sara Quinn, Mark Tomasik, Dave Carlson
On the phone: Rick Hirsch, Barbara Petersen.
Baltzelle called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
Approval of minutes
The minutes from the January board meeting were approved.
New board member
Baltzelle introduced Frank Denton, vice president for journalism for Morris Communications and editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union and jacksonville.com. Denton is a longtime ASNE board member and a pioneering editor in community journalism. Denton expressed an interest in getting involved in FSNE because of the new governor’s posture toward the press. Sullivan moved to make Denton a board member; Russell seconded. All approved.
The latest financial statements were distributed and approved. The organization’s financial health and reserves remain solid, largely because of a reduction in contest administration expenses. Contest income is expected to exceed last year’s. Baltzelle suggested renegotiating FPA fees because of administrative issues regarding the membership list and dues.
Baltzelle thanked the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for taking the lead on the electronic audit. Much of the content, posted on FSNE.org, arrived later than expected, said Thelen, who suggested moving up deadline for next year’s contributions. “The legacy of our organization is the founding of Sunshine Week nationally,” Thelen said. “So we need to make sure we have a special package of coverage.” The coverage was missing a voice from a statewide official. A piece was promised from Pam Bondi but never received. Baltzelle said he would ask Petersen to follow up.
The setup for the contest on betterbnc.com is taking shape. Judges have been selected. Judging is to be complete by the end of March. Lancaster reminded the board that the deadline for the Paul Hansell Award was approaching.
Tallahassee press corps update
Baltzelle saw Scott’s press secretary Brian Burgess on a recent trip to Tallahassee and asked him for an update on the board’s letter expressing concern about issues with the capital press corps. Burgess said hadn’t submitted the letter Scott because he didn’t think it would get any traction. Baltzelle said he pressed again, and Burgess said he would follow up. The slow response by Scott’s office to records requests remains an issue for several organizations.
The site’s first intern, Charlotte Porter, got a full-time position, so Thelen tapped one of his journalism students, Lydia Harvey, for the job. Harvey has been updating the site several times a week. In edition to a Facebook page, FNSE now has a Twitter account. An RSS feed is available. Analytics will be sent to the executive committee. Baltzelle suggested Harvey contact original board members for historical information on FSNE to post on the site.
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Mc Nelly Torres, associate director and reporter, spoke to the board about FCIR’s beginnings and its plan for a media network to expand access to its stories, news posts, searchable databases and multimedia reports. News organizations joining the network would receive a list of upcoming stories, access to training and the opportunity to partner on investigative projects. FCIR is also available to partner on projects. “We are here to complement what you’re doing, not to compete,” Torres told the board. The fees will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Baltzelle suggested that organizations partnering with FCIR give the membership a heads-up on the project and provide a summary of the report. Torres expressed an interest in future board involvement.
The convention will be held June 30-July 1 at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort in St. Petersburg. The theme of this year’s event is Recovery: Getting Back to Basics. Sessions will focus on beat reporting (maintaining enterprise in wake of demands) and ethical decision-making. FPA is recruiting the speakers for the joint sessions. An addition to this year’s convention is a dinner Thursday night, where some awards – Florida Journalism Hall of Fame, Waldo Proffit, Friend of the First Amendment — will be presented. Separate FPA/FSNE awards ceremonies will precede lunch, where the groups will honor the Gold Medal winners. The lunch will be the last scheduled session of the convention. Stephen Buckley, Poynter’s dean of faculty, will moderate a panel on beat reporting. Mike Wright of the Citrus County Chronicle and Jamal Thalji of the St. Petersburg Times will participate. A reporter from a mid-sized newspaper is needed for the panel. Quinn will ask a Poynter colleague to lead an ethical decision-making and recruit two panelists. Baltzelle said he would invite an AP colleague to participate as well. A conference call is scheduled in a few weeks to solidify plans.
Fins invited Jocelyn Bartkevicius, associate professor with UCF’s English department, to the meeting to discuss co-sponsoring a writers’ workshop. The dates initially proposed in August pose logistical issues for the university. Dates in February will be considered. Fins and Barkevicius agreed they would settle on a date by June 30. Quinn said she would investigate whether the National Writers’ Workshop brand can be used.
Petersen expressed concern about HB 1065 SB 1048, which as amended, would allow any public employee with information needed by the agency attorney to attend a closed meeting to allow discussion of matters regarding litigation. She was optimistic about HB 285 SB 310 that meetings of government agencies include an opportunity for members of the public to be heard before or during consideration of any agenda item on which an official act will be taken. Baltzelle thanked Peterson for her efforts on Sunshine Week.
The meeting adjourned at 2:05. Baltzelle thanked Russell for hosting. The next board meeting will be at the convention in St. Petersburg.