Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’


From the annual reports (pro)

Three of the pro chapters in Region 2 submitted annual reports this year. Here are some highlights from their reports:

Maryland

• The top program of the year was a collaboration with the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Salisbury University campus chapter: a program called “Can reporters balance activism and objectivity?”

• Chapter President Jennifer Brannock Cox was part of that panel, as well as one on President Donald Trump and the media. She gave a presentation on mobile apps at the Region 2 conference at Elon University in North Carolina.

• The chapter spoke out forcefully against the mayor of Baltimore’s decision to ban a radio reporter (and the chapter’s vice president at the time) from her weekly press briefing. Brannock Cox helped promote press freedom issues in Annapolis at the start of the the state legislature’s session.

Virginia

• The chapter in 2016 launched a program to match college students and early-career journalists to more experienced professionals. The chapter expects to expand the program.

• A trivia night mixer included the SPJ chapter and the Hampton Roads chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

• The chapter gives scholarships to college journalists to attend the annual Excellence in Journalism conference.

Washington, D.C.

• The chapter held panel discussions on coverage of D.C. regional news, election coverage, police cameras, and solutions for the newsroom.

• #HomelessNewsBlitz was a chapter effort spearheaded by board member Eric Falquero, the editor in chief of Street Sense, a street paper. Local journalists gathered to report stories for an issue of the paper.

• The chapter hosted 18 journalists from Shanghai, China, for a lunch meeting.

Hey ’19

The SPJ national board voted electronically on Dec. 22 to hold SPJ’s 2019 national convention in San Antonio.

There are a variety of reasons why this is a good thing, including a favorable bid on hotel rooms and convention space and a sensible rotation among regions of the country. The SPJ headquarters staff is very good at scouting convention sites and at running the conventions.

The Excellence in Journalism convention schedule for the next four years will be New Orleans in 2016, Anaheim in 2017, Baltimore in 2018 and now San Antonio in 2019.

The 2019 conference dates will be Sept. 5 to 7.

This brings up the annual dilemma about the best time of year to hold the national conference. Early September isn’t a great time for college students to break away from school, but there are many other factors (including cost) that sometimes necessitate picking that week.

As a side note, SPJ still needs to do better about sharing the news about votes taken by the board as they happen and letting members know in advance that the board is considering taking an action such as this. I generally try to post news about electronic meetings such as this one in advance, but didn’t this time.

I believe the board and HQ staff should publicize every meeting, even if there’s no practical way for the public to sit in on the meeting.

The following section is part of the Openness and Accountability Best Practices that SPJ encourages chapters to follow. The national board should try to follow them, too, and generally does — but not always.

  • Meetings

    SPJ meetings at the local and national level should follow the spirit of state sunshine laws (for a good description of open meeting law elements, see www.rcfp.org/ogg). Leaders should:

    — Post meeting time, date, and place information in advance for members, prospective members, and the public, on a website, Facebook page, email or other accessible venue.

    — Include action/discussion items in meeting agendas to increase meeting attendance and attract potential new members. Members should contact the president at least two days in advance of the meeting if they would like to request a topic for the agenda.

    — Allow anyone from the membership or public to observe meetings. Provide an open comment period to let people chime in.

    — Post a summary of the meeting at a chapter website promptly, preferably within five business days of the meeting, so members can keep abreast of chapter activities. Include any decisions or votes.

    — Make meetings accessible, both physically and electronically. Meetings should be held where people are welcome to attend and can easily access. Consider GoToMeeting or other electronic means of broadcasting meetings and allowing participation for those cannot get to the meeting, but are interested in what happens.

    — Account for circumstances where private discussion among leaders is necessary, similar to state open meeting laws. For example, typical exemptions that might allow meeting in “executive session” include considering/debating the qualifications of new leader appointees, rent negotiations for space, pending/potential litigation, etc. If board members do discuss matters in executive session, they should come out and make any decisions and votes publicly.

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