October 4, 2000 Meeting Minutes

Members Present
Judy Borger, president; Mike Knaak, treasurer; Gary Hill, past president; Kathleen Hansen, secretary; board members Dave Aeikens, Jane Kirtley, Rick Kupchella, Jeff Kummer, Craig Lincoln, Jim Walsh; guests Joe Corbett and Amy Becker .

Thanks to Judy Borger for hosting the meeting and providing sandwiches.

Freedom of Information

Walsh shared the draft of a letter, prepared by Star Tribune attorney Randy Lebedoff, to be sent to Don Gemberling regarding the fees charged for access to the databases of historical and background check records from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Walsh said Lebedoff invited anyone to sign the letter.

Kummer suggested that the Department of Public Safety was going to turn over the letters about who else had complained and that SPJ members should contact those to see if they wanted to be signatories to the letter.

After discussion, board members said the letter would be signed by the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press, Duluth News-Tribune, KSTP-TV, WCCO-TV, and SPJ.

It was moved and seconded to approve the letter and ask the signatories to join. Passed unanimously.

Walsh asked if the “FOI Roadshow” program should rent a space in a hotel to hold the program, in conjunction with NATAS. The program is going to be on how to work with the Data Practices Act, with the second half of the program on storytelling.

The group agreed that no one should be charged to attend the program

Board members moved and seconded that we authorize Walsh to spend up to $200 on the program to rent a space. Passed unanimously.

Walsh said he got a call from Ian Marquand from SPJ National to ask if someone wanted to go to Columbus at the end of October to talk about the FOI Audit. Hill, Aeikens and Borger are planning on attending. If it doesn’t conflict with Hill’s other speaking commitments at the conference, he will do the session on the FOI Audit.

Kirtley provided draft language for the award for a public servant who is doing good work in the FOI and records access area:

“An award could go to an individual:

1) who has diligently and forcefully advocated and defended the right of the citizens to have their public business conducted in a public manner,

2) whose first concern has been to uphold the law and thus uphold the tenets of a free and democratic society,

3) whose willingness and enthusiasm to advise and assist all who have need of his/her services has been an exemplar to all public servants.”

This language will be discussed at the next meeting.

Releasing Member Names

The language about the policy on releasing names was amended to include on more sentence and was approved as below:

“Occasionally, SPJ will share its membership list for purposes that are consistent with SPJ goals, such as professional development opportunities, awards contests and conference notices. The list is released only after an affirmative vote by the SPJ Board of Directors. Members who do not wish to have their data released should notify the chapter President.”

This statement should appear in the newsletter, on the website and on all communication from the chapter.

Borger reported that Gary Gilson from the MN News Council has a list of some kind that he is using for mailings. She will call Gilson and ask what list he is using and request that he stop doing do.

Web Hosting

Joe Corbett described that SPJ’s website is now being hosted by IBS on a very old system. Corbett wants to host the website on his own system which is more interactive. He could add job postings, e-mail updates, the ability to post things directly, etc. His system runs on a 256 DSL line vs. the T1 line at IBS. He has two servers and can run backups. He has had a very secure system that has foiled hackers .

After discussion, the board voted to move the website to Corbett’s system by a vote of 10 yes, 1 no.

Blom Webcast

Hansen reported that the official tally of outside viewers of the webcast of the September panel discussion on the Blom trial was three people. Firewall protection systems in newsroom computers created problems in every newsroom that was discussion.

Corbett will put a capture feature on the SPJ site to see how many people are looking at the Blom webcast archive so we can continue to have a tally of viewership.

The group agreed to do a post-election panel at the University on November 14, but not to do a webcast again until some of the technical and access issues are more clearly resolved.

Hansen will make 10 copies of the tape of the program and send one to Minnesota and border WI J-schools with a letter saying we’re providing this as a service of SPJ. We will also send a letter to news librarians at the daily newspapers with a notice about the availability of the tape for a modest fee ($10) to cover postage and handling.

Internship Program

Lowe reported that she used the mailing list from Karen Boros to send flyers to all of the schools. The program is scheduled for October 19 at WCCO-TV from 6:30 – 8:00. Representatives from the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, WCCO-TV, KARE-TV and KSTP-TV will be on the program.


Knaak reported that the chapter has a running balance of $8,446.95. He has placed $5,000.00 in a 6-month CD at Wells Fargo bank.

Regional Conference 2001

Aeikens, Hansen and Borger will attend the October 7 planning meeting with representatives from NPPA, NBNA, NATAS and the other sponsoring groups.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be called by Borger.