January 9, 2001 Meeting Minutes

Members Present
Judy Borger, president; Kathleen Hansen, secretary; Duchesne Drew, president-elect; Gary Hill, past president; Dave Aeikens, Doug Glass, Jane Kirtley, Jeff Kummer, Rick Kupchella, Caroline Lowe, board members.

Thanks to the Star Tribune for hosting the meeting.

Letter to the University of Minnesota athletic department
Members discussed Lincoln’s draft of a letter protesting the way the athletic department handled a column in the Minnesota Daily about the men’s basketball team. After minor editing changes, Aeikens moved and Kirtley seconded a motion to send the letter to VP Tonya Moten Brown, with copies to Men’s Athletic Director Moe, Coach Monson and Women’s Athletic Director Voelz. Passed unanimously.

Hill discussed the move by the Minneapolis City Council to the federal building, and the effect that the move has had on access to the meetings of the City Council. The federal building prohibits the use of cameras anywhere in the building. This may violate open meeting provisions. Board members unanimously passed the following resolution (moved by Glass, seconded by Aeikens), to be sent to the City Council and the media (Borger will be the contact):

The Board of Directors of the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists unanimously agrees that the decision of the Minneapolis City Council to meet for the next six months in the Federal Building, which bans visual and audio recording, violates the public’s right to know how the City Council is conducting public business. The Board calls on the City Council to find a meeting location that is amenable to the public’s right to have access to the City Council’s conduct of public business.

Walsh, via e-mail, reported that the Dakota Police Chiefs Association will be meeting on Feb. 14 at the Southview Country Club. Borger and Hill suggested that it would be good for chapter members to be present to discuss recent and ongoing concerns about access to accident and police action scenes, access to data and other issues. Walsh, Borger, Hill and perhaps one other chapter member will try to attend the meeting and stick to a tightly focused agenda of
concerns and issues. Kirtley provided advice about the most fruitful topics on which to focus.

Borger spoke to Jay Furst about the incident in Rochester regarding seizure of media film at the scene of an accident. Furst is pleased that the SPJ Chapter has offered to provide assistance. The Post Bulletin is going to do another story soon and will issue a statement, quoting the SPJ Chapter President. The Post Bulletin did not file an internal affairs complaint with the State Patrol, but troopers are invited to come to the February 14 meeting in Dakota County. The Board will take action after Mark Anfinson gets back to the Post Bulletin with his opinion and Furst writes another piece on the issue.

Regional Conference
We will not have Taishoff funds this year, contrary to earlier information. The theme of the joint conference is “convergence.”

Aeikens provided a schedule of possible program ideas for the conference. Board members expressed their preferences and asked Aeikens to bring those forward to the January 13 joint planning meeting with the NBNA board. The plans call for a uniform fee of $50 for professionals in any of the sponsoring groups’ member organizations, $20 for students, and all meals a la carte.

Board members suggested Nancy Cassut Ison from IBS for the Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon speaker.

Board members discussed the problem of media sponsorship of SPJ sessions and possible conflict of interest in choosing a speaker. The Pioneer Press has sponsored the MOE luncheon but would prefer not to feature a Star Tribune speaker at that luncheon. Upon further discussion, board members agreed to keep the issue in mind in the future when planning conference sponsorships.

Page One Program
The Tampa Chapter will swap with our chapter for judging duties for the Page One Awards. Their calendar is the same as ours and the timing works out well.

Kupchella said he thought he might be able to get Barry Scheck as the speaker. By partnering with the MN Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers, we might be able to get Scheck to come and speak about his “Innocence Project.” Kupchella said he would contact Scheck to inquire about a date in the 3rd or 4th week of May.

Drew said we should post the submission forms for the Page One Awards online and do some promotion for the categories that did not have any entries last year.

The entry forms should be mailed to newsrooms and posted on the website. Members reminded the Page One volunteers that the entry fee this year has increased to $20.00.

Finance Report
Knaak reported by e-mail that the checking account has a running balance of $7,164.16. The 2000 Page One Contest and Banquet produced a profit of $6,148.70. The 1999 Page One Contest and Banquet produced a profit of $4,366.05. The 2000 Regional Conference cost the chapter $5,123.41. The
1999 Regional Conference produced a profit of $948.89.

Member discussed what might be done with a healthy balance of funds besides earn interest. Several members suggested that we should make a commitment to funding something each year, as long as the chapter does not fall below some floor amount of funds. For instance, if the chapter had a balance of $10,000 in CDs, then we should fund a scholarship or some other type of activity.

Kupchella moved that the first meeting of the new board in July should include consideration of a scholarship program.

New Business
Drew said the Star Tribune Foundation has funded a program, to be held at the University of St. Thomas, to recruit and train high school students of color. Funding includes three years for $25,000/year. The two-week program will involve professionals and professors. The program will attempt to fund a 4-year scholarship for 1 student who comes through the program.

Anfinson, Hill, Kummer and Walsh are working on a proposal to change the rules regarding the availability of license plate data so that it will be included in “privileged” data. This would put license place data on the same footing as drivers license data.

Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on February 8 at 6:00 at the Minneapolis offices of the Associated Press. Glass will e-mail directions and parking instructions.