09-19-2020 Valley of the Sun SPJ meeting minutes


Meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists, Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter

Sept. 19, 2020, 9 a.m., via Zoom

Started: 9:10 a.m.

Attendees: Tim Eigo, Deb Krol, Mark Scarp, Teri Carnicelli, Doug Mackenzie


  • Secretary’s report and approval of minutes from July 11, 2020 – unanimously approved. Mark will have minutes of the July 25 special meeting for approval at the board’s November meeting.
  • Treasurer’s report – Teri reports investments are doing well. She made two deposits of $19.55 each from WordPress over a miscalculation on their part on the renewal of our license to use their platform for the chapter website.
  • Mark’s Mighty Minute!
    • First Amendment Coalition recently agreed to have its attorney Dan Barr write an amicus brief to the Arizona Supreme Court supporting the American Civil Liberties Union, which is the plaintiff in a public records case stemming from 2013 asking for Department of Child Safety records (then the Child Protection Service); plaintiff alleges that the entire database where records are located is a public record while DCS maintains it is not. Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the database is a public record and DCS must search it to find the requested records.
    •  Mark informed the board that he had written to and appeared before the national SPJ board Sept. 5 to object to a plan to hold the 2022, 2023 and 2024 conventions in the same city, likely Washington, D.C. National board is likely to vote on a compromise plan at its next meeting Sept. 26.

Old Business

  • SPJ convention follow-up – Tim was impressed with how well SPJ ran a virtual convention. Board members discussed a controversy that had arisen when the regional coordinators unanimously endorsed a candidate in this year’s election. Deb Krol was asked to be chair of the 12-member regional coordinators’ group; she is thinking about it. Doug, who also attended the convention virtually, said he was impressed with “two pretty long days” packed with events.
  • Chapter annual report/financial report: Tim reported that both were filed successfully. He thanked chapter members Doug MacKenzie, Nicole Greason and Ryan Boyd for their help.

New Business

  • Update on SPJ/PRSA “Switching Seats” event on Wednesday. Sept. 23: Mark said there were about 50 attendees signed up for the virtual Zoom event. The organizing committee was to meet Monday afternoon (Sept. 21) for final planning and instructions. Mark, as moderator, met last week with speakers to go over the order of the day, and all said they were ready.
  • Chapter awards and scholarship essay contest: Board members agreed not to bestow the chapter’s annual awards in 2020, returning to doing so in 2021, possibly in partnership with the Arizona Newspapers Association or some other organization. Motion (Mark), second (Teri), unanimously approved. The scholarship essay contest will go forward, however, to give students a chance to earn scholarship money. Tim will come up with a topic and will share it soon with board members, then get out word of the essay contest. Motion (Mark), second (Teri), unanimously approved.
  • Update from Region 11 and National SPJ: Deb Krol said she submitted her resignation over recent controversies, but it was refused by incoming SPJ President Matt Hall.
  • Discussion of possible December holiday mixer: Board members decided to hold off on a final decision pending more favorable COVID-19 conditions and what can be worked out in a location. Teri suggested another Survey Monkey survey of our chapter list to gauge their interest in attending, including some of our non-member friends.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING: 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, via Zoom.

Adjourned: 10 a.m. (50 minutes)

Respectfully submitted,

Mark J. Scarp, Chapter Secretary