December 13th, 2011
SPENDING HOURS TO RECORD MINUTES
By Michael Koretzky
When the Columbia Journalism School’s SPJ chapter records its meeting minutes, it really records its meeting minutes.
Members meet every Sunday from 8 p.m. till damn near midnight so they can do this…
It’s been going on for three months now, and no one outside their SPJ chapter ever knew about it. I stumbled across their Vimeo channel by accident, and I was so impressed and jealous that I emailed the chapter with some questions. Went like this…
Where the hell did you get this crazy idea?
Our chapter president Jake Heller took a look at last year’s Columbia SPJ website and thought that it was fantastic that they were posting all of their minutes online. But the minutes were super boring. And he was sure that nobody read them. So to try to get students interested in what SPJ was doing – and to continue the transparency of past SPJs – he thought it would be fun to make video minutes.
How long does it take to do each one?
We meet every Sunday at 8 p.m. and are usually done somewhere between 11 and 12. The editing can take a few hours as well, but we generally have the videos up by Monday.
What’s the reaction?
It’s fun! People like it. We get great feedback. And it’s a great way to keep people informed about what we’re doing. It didn’t make sense to merely post our written minutes to the site when our generation is used to receiving information across multiple mediums.
We also feel like the entertainment value encourages students to pay attention to the minutes – if the videos weren’t fun, nobody would watch them. Plus, we think that the videos help to set a tone for our class. Columbia is a well-known institution, and it can be quite intimidating for many students. We wanted to make the marble walls a bit more welcoming and let students know that we have fun here!
Would you be willing to judge a video minutes contest if I could convince SPJ to add it to the Mark of Excellence? (Fat chance, but the question stands.)
For sure! But we doubt that other schools’ minutes could top ours…
In all seriousness, though, we would love to, but we would want Nathan Vickers and Andrew Parsons, the two guys in the first video who aren’t Jake, to help us judge. Hopefully this can get off the ground!
Since the purpose of the Blue Sky Committee is to find more creative ways of doing things, I believe we need to first recognize and reward the creativity we’ve already got.
If Columbia doesn’t win Student Chapter of the Year – they also told me, “We’ve been working with underprivileged local high schools, teaching their students journalism; we just sent off some care packages to troops fighting in Iraq” – then they should at least win one of those Circle of Excellence Awards for “chapter communications.”
But more importantly, SPJ needs to communicate this crazy crap to other chapters. Challenge them to be just as fun. Because while I love SPJ – and I know you do, too – we can probably agree that SPJ isn’t known as fun-loving.
In closing, here are the minutes to the chapter’s most recent meeting…