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Press Association Meetings & Minutes

The Rhode Island Press Association meets once per month from September-June at the offices of our member organizations. In addition to covering the business of the press association, including discussing matters related to the annual awards contest and banquet, these meetings serve as an opportunity for our orginzations to touch base with one another to discuss all of the issues they are currently facing in the world of Rhode Island journalism. 

Meetings typically last 90 minutes, with coffee and refreshments provided by the press association. Our meetings are open to all active, associate and honorary members of the press association. 

Active members of the press association are individuals who are active employees of publications qualified for membership in the Association. Associate membership is available to individuals from newsgathering organizations, feature syndicates, public relations and advertising agencies; and individuals, firms or corporations engaged in servicing or supplying the Rhode Island print media. Associate membership is also open to faculty members in journalism, writers, graphic artists and photographers, whether active or retired. 

Lastly, honorary members may be elected at any regular meeting for reasons deemed appropriate. Persons inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame are automatically made honorary members for life. 

Interested in attending a meeting of the Rhode Island Press Association for the first time? Contact us!

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2009 Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2009 - Rhode Island Monthly

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, NorthºEast Independent, treasurer; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly.

Minutes: Approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report: The association’s balance is $14,378.89. Lucier said Sun Publishing and the Jewish Voice and Herald now are current on their dues. The Providence Phoenix is the only publication with outstanding dues for this calendar year. Lucier will try to contact them again before the next meeting. The new balance also reflects a check of $375 from the Providence Journal for its 2001 contest fees, which were not deposited at the time due to a mix-up. Debits this month were $231.06 for the Journalism Day lunch and $167 for a train ticket for one of the Journalism Day panelists.

Banquet, 2010: Lucier said the main room at the Quonset ‘O’ Club was booked for April 30, May 7 and May 14, though a secondary room was available. Pickering suggested looking at other venues with the possibility of the board subsidizing part of the banquet to keep the ticket price at $30. Lucier said he would contact the Crowne Plaza, the Providence Mariott and the Atlantic Beach Club to see if they could offer a similar price to the one offered by the Quonset ‘O’ Club last year.

Journalism Day recap: Pickering said the first two panels of the day and the lunch were well-received. Murphy said the evening panel was interesting, but had a low turnout. He suggested that while the topic may have been interesting to journalists and the business community, it may not have resonated with students. Pickering said the board has not always held the late panel and that it may want to consider only holding day panels unless there is a big name to draw people in or a clearly topical issue to discuss, like the election wrap-up held in the evening last year. Murphy said the board should decide in advance if the panel is intended for students or for journalism professionals and market accordingly.

Contest committee: Murphy said the contest committee met last month and talked about issues surrounding the upcoming editorial contest, specifically the future participation of the Providence Journal and the fact that several categories were failing to draw enough entries to judge. Murphy spoke with Deputy Executive Editor Carol Young this week about how the Journal planned to enter the contest now that the regional editions have been eliminated. Although there were some concerns from the Press Association about the Journal being able to enter without restrictions, the board decided to open the contest up to the entire Journal staff and evaluate the results. Murphy said the contest committee also decided to eliminate the Spirit of Rhode Island category because it was no longer receiving a large group of quality submissions, and to combine the News Series and Investigative/Analytical Series categories. Several other categories will be re-evaluated after the contest. Sasso said the group discussed eliminating more categories, but decided not to make drastic changes because of the decrease in entries last year. Finally, the board agreed to add a Web site category for the upcoming editorial awards, with the possibility of adding more multimedia categories in the future. Murphy will study the parameters used by the The Alliance of Area Business Publications in its Web site contest and accept suggestions from Press Association members on what the category should entail.

Next Board Meeting: Jan. 8, 2010, at the Community College of Rhode Island, 400 East Ave., Warwick.

Submitted by: Bryan Lucier, treasurer

October 9th, 2009 - Providence Business News

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly, and Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News.

Minutes: Approved with typos fixed.

Treasurer's Report: $13,876.95. Westerly Sun and Phoenix still owe dues.

Banquet, 2010: Lucier spoke with Quonset O Club, and it's booked for May 7. He will ask about May 14.

Journalism Day at URI: It will be Nov. 5. Morning panels are

"Police Records: Privacy v. Right to Know" Atrium 1, Memorial Union

Tim White, investigative reporter, Channel 12; Michael Field, chief, Open Government Unit, R.I. Attorney General's office; Capt Jeffrey Allen, South Kingstown police; Howard Merten, attorney and partner, Partridge, Snow, Hahn; Linda Levin, chair, URI Department of Journalism, moderator.

"Should you Pay to Read a Newspaper Online?" Atrium 1, Memorial Union

Sheila Mullowney, executive editor, Newport Daily News; Neil Ryan, URI journalism major; Peter Phipps, managing editor, online, Providence Journal; Scott Pickering, managing editor, East Bay Newspapers, moderator.

Lunch will be pizza and soda with students and working journalists.

The 7 p.m. program is "Who Failed More? Banks or Journalists?" Swan Hall

John Kostrzewa, assistant managing editor for commerce and consumer news, The Providence Journal; Dan McCrum, columnist for the Financial Times, based in New York; Karl A. Kozak, president and CEO, Pawtucket Credit Union; Mark S. Murphy, editor, Providence Business News, moderator

Contest Committee: The subcommittee will meet on Oct. 23 at Providence Business News to work on rules changes. These will be brought to the next board meeting for discussion and approval.

Next Board Meeting: Nov. 13 at RI Monthly at 717 Allens Avenue across from the Cactus Grille.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

September 11, 2009 - East Bay Newspapers

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism, secretary; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; and Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald.

Minutes: Minutes of last meeting approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Lucier said the treasury has $13,876.95. He sent out second notices and e-mails and made phone calls in an attempt to collect the remaining 2009 dues. Kirsch said her news publication would like to join. Lucier suggested she pay $25 for an associate membership for this year since the year is nearly over and full membership for 2010. Levin will ask Steve Brown, publisher of the Phoenix, if the paper wants to continue its membership because Lucier has not heard back from him.

Journalism Day at URI , Thursday, November 5: Levin will try to find a room for the lunch in the Memorial Union. Morning programs will be in the Atrium Room in the Union.

The 9:30 a.m. panel on access issues: Lucier will call a police office to be on the panel; Pickering will try to get Michael Field from the attorney general’s office, and Joe Cavanagh; and Levin will ask Tom Heslin (Providence Journal) to suggest a reporter from the Journal.

The 11 a.m. panel on to pay or not to read a newspaper online: Levin will find a student panelist and ask Peter Phipps of the Journal to be on the panel; Pickering will ask Sheila Mullowney or Bill Lucey from the Newport Daily News.

The evening panel will be at 7 in Swan Auditorium. Pickering said Mark Murphy (Providence Business News) vice president of RIPA, is working on panelists with help from Levin. The topic is on how well the media have been covering the economy.

Access to Public Records: Pickering said the Senate passed the bill that RIPA supported; the House made amendments that gutted key parts of the bill and would make the current law even less effective. Representative Ajello said she will try to get it back on the agenda when the General Assembly meets this fall.

Contest: Board suggested forming a committee to revise the contest rules and categories. Mark Murphy (Providence Business News) is the contest chair. Other committee members will be Francis, Kristen Cyr (CCRI and former RIPA president); Kirsch, Sarro, and possibly Carol Young from the Providence Journal.

Pickering said he wants a report from the committee by the November meeting.

New Business: Lucier said he will call the Quonset O Club to ask it they can hold the same rate for the dinner as last year. Board agreed. Preferred date is Friday, May 7.

Next Board Meeting: Friday, October 2, 9 a.m. at the Providence Business News office.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

June 5th, 2009 - The Newport Daily News

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield magazine; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Tom Heslin, Providence Journal; Chris Barrett, Block Island Times; Peter Wells, The Providence American; and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

Minutes of March meeting: Approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Lucier said the account currently has $13,396.95. The contest, banquet, and dues brought in $8,040. Expenses for the banquet and contest were $6,737.

Banquet: Lucier said 90 attended at a total cost of $2,754, including seven guests. Board members said they heard positive comments about the location, the Quonset O Club.

Contest: Board discussed complaints about the fact too few publications won too many awards. The board also is concerned that four categories had too few entries to be judged. Lucier handed out a memo from former RIPA president, Kristen Cyr, with some thoughts on the contest. The board agreed to read the memo and discuss it at a future meeting.

Website: Question was raised about a postings link on the website. Pickering and Barrett said they would develop a topic and post it so readers could comment.

New Business:

Correct Count Campaign: Wells said he is the governor’s point person to get the message out that people need to be counted in the 2010 federal census. He said an accurate count is important, and he asked board members to promote the census through news stories and editorials. Wells will supply Levin with more information, and she will e-mail it to board members to use.

Access to Public Records Legislation: Pickering said the House approved the version of the bill that passed the General Assembly last year but was vetoed by the governor. However, he said he has been working with Senator Lenihan on the Senate’s version which has some aspects relating to the amount of time police have to release the narrative that RIPA has been concerned about, so he presented them to the board, saying these are compromises and we probably should approve them. The board approved. Levin said she testified last week before the Senate judiciary against a separate amendment to the APR Law that would keep secret the name of police involved in a “deadly force incident until the culmination of a grand jury.” Lucier checked and found that bill was tabled.

Journalism Day at URI: It will be held Thursday, Nov. 5. Tentatively, there will be two programs in the morning and a third either in the afternoon or evening. Pickering will handle the morning programs, and Murphy and Barrett will work on the afternoon/evening program. Topic suggestions for the morning programs were anonymous postings on news websites and access to public information in Rhode Island. A program on business coverage of the economy was a possibility for the third program.

Next Meeting: Friday, September 11, at 9 a.m. at East Bay Newspapers.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

March 27th, 2009 - The University of Rhode Island

In attendance: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary, and John Howell, Beacon Communications.

Minutes of Previous Meeting: Approved.

Treasurer’s Report: The account has a balance of $12,094.25. Lucier will pay the $300 bill for the Hall of Fame plaques. He will send out dues notices soon. Because of the closure of the last of the suburban bureaus of The Providence Journal, the board voted to assess the Journal at the maximum dues rate which is $250, the same amount it paid last year.

Contest Update: Murphy is sending out entries next week to the Pennsylvania Publishers Association for judging.

Banquet: It is May 8, Friday, at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown, with cocktails at 6, dinner at 7. Tickets are $30 each with a choice of entrees. Pickering will print the programs. Banquet information will be put on the RIPA website,

Scholarships: Howell suggested the board contribute $1,000 to help a journalism student at URI because the university’s endowments, including those for scholarships, are unable to pay out money this year because of the stock market drop. The board agreed and said the money should go to a journalism student with need and a high grade point average.

Open Records Legislation: Howell said he has met with Senator Lenihan who is sponsor of a bill to amend the state’s Access to Public Records Law, and representatives of the police chiefs’ organization and the attorney general’s office, to discuss the amendments to law.

Next Meeting: In June on a date and at a place to be announced.

Feburary 13th, 2009 - Providence Business News

Attending: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Larry Sasso and Ron Scopelliti, Your Smithfield Magazine, and John Howell, Beacon Communications. Guests: Professor Barbara Meagher, URI and president of ACCESS/RI; Steve Brown, executive director, RI ACLU; Jeff Guimond, Michael Field, and Joee Lindbeck, office of RI attorney general.

Minutes of Previous Meeting: Approved.

ACCESS/RI Legislation: Meagher and Brown brought the board up to date on the status of a bill to amend the Access to Public Records Law that passed the General Assembly last spring but was vetoed by the governor. It has been reintroduced this year. The representatives from the attorney general’s office talked about changes the a.g. wants to make in the law. Howell said he will meet with Senator Mike Lenihan, who introduced the ACCESS bill in the Senate, and members of the police chiefs’ organization next week to discuss both the ACCESS bill and the a.g.’s amendments. The general consensus of the press association board was to continue working on the ACCESS bill and to continue the dialogue with the attorney general.

Treasurer’s Report: There is $12,294.25 in the account.

Contest: The deadline is today.

Banquet: Lucier said of all the places he looked at for the banquet, the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown was the most affordable with good menu choices. The board voted to hold this year’s banquet there on Friday, May 8.

New Business: Sasso said he is working on a journalism career workshop at Bryant University.

Next Meeting: It will be held after the annual Media Breakfast in Green Hall at URI on Friday, March 27. Details to come.

January 16th, 2009 - CCRI/Warwick

Attending: Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Bryan Lucier, Northeast Independent, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Larry Sasso and Ron Scopelliti, Your Smithfield Magazine; and Christopher Barrett, Block Island Times. Guest, Mark Schieldrop, South County Independent.

Minutes of Previous Meeting: It was noted that the date was incorrect. Levin will change it to Dec. 12, 2008.

Treasurer’s Report: Lucier said the treasury has $12,244.25. Dues notices will go out in mid February. Lucier asked if the board would consider inviting additional newspapers, such as college papers, and other print new media to join the association. The board agreed to discuss this at another meeting.

Contest: Contest forms are on the RIPA website, with a February 13 deadline for entries. Levin said she would e-mail the board membership with this information.

Banquet: Lucier said the cost last year was $45. Board members agreed the cost this year should not exceed that, or, if possible, be less. Lucier said he will be checking on costs for a buffet and for a sit-down dinner.

Legislation: Pickering said he and John Howell of the Warwick Beacon will be meeting later this morning with the attorney general to talk about the Access to Public Records legislation.

Schieldrop, a reporter for the Independent, said he noticed last year that the Narragansett police were redacting information in 911 calls. In a meeting he and his editor had with the police, they were told the attorney general has told police that contents of 911 calls are confidential. Now, he said, Narragansett police are redacting only some information. He said he is concerned about the lack of uniformity. Levin noted there is a state law that prohibits police from releasing contents of 911 calls. Pickering said he would try to get a verbal opinion on this from the attorney general during his meeting today. He also suggested Schieldrop talk with ACCESS/RI.

Workshops: Sasso said Bryant College would like to hold a workshop for students pursuing careers in journalism. Pickering, Murphy and Lucier volunteered to it.

Website: Barrett said Creative Circle, which designed the RIPA webstite, can set up an interactive discussion site on for $300. Board approved.

Next Board Meeting: Friday, February 13, Providence Business News, 9 a.m.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

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