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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2011 Meeting Minutes

December 9th, 2011- East Bay Newspapers

Attending: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Jill Rodrigues, East Bay Newspapers, vice president; Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald, treasurer; Linda Lotridge Levin, URI journalism, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, Providence Journal; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly Magazine; Paul Spetrini, Southern R.I. Newspapers, and Matt Hayes, East Bay Newspapers.

Minutes of November meeting: Approved.

Treasurer's Report: Kirsch said the balance in the account is $17,234.60. Dues notices will be sent out in early January.

Contest: Rodrigues said the Idaho Press Club will judge the 2011 RIPA contest. RIPA will judge the Idaho contest which will have about 330 entries which should arrive in Rhode Island in early February. She said she will ask the New Hampshire Press Association to judge ours next year. The board voted to include the following new categories in the RIPA contest:

Design: sports front page and feature front page.

Split up the News Stories into Long News Stories (over 1,000 words) and Short News Stories (under 1,000 words).

Add Overall Best Website category with the criteria to be determined before the January 13 board meeting.

A discussion to include advertising categories as a part of the RIPA contest was postponed.

Warwick Beacon Case: The RI/ ACLU is filing a suit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that bans the use of a person's name or picture for advertising purposes without the person's written consent. This stems from an issue that arose last fall when the Beacon ran an ad that included a photo of the city council president. The ad had been placed by a local resident upset over an action by the city.

URI Journalism Survey: Murphy said he will send the survey to members of RIPA.

Next Board Meeting: Friday, January 13, at 9 a.m. at the Providence Journal.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

November 4th, 2011 - The Warwick Beacon

In attendance: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Linda Levin, URI journalism department, secretary; John Howell, Beacon Communications; Karen Bordeleau, Providence Journal. Guest: Professor John Pantalone, the new chair of the Department of Journalism, URI.

Minutes of previous meeting: Approved

Treasurer's report: Murphy read the report submitted by Nancy Kirsch, treasurer. Current balance is $17,234.60 which includes a payment to Levin of $265.86 for pizza and sodas for the student lunches at URI Journalism Day. Those who still owe annual dues for this year are Southern R.I. Newspapers, and Donna Harrington and Scott Pickering, associates.

Journalism Day report: Levin said it went well. Attendance at the second program was less than the first program because more journalism students had classes at that time. She asked the board to be thinking about topics and times for next fall.

Access to public records update: Murphy said Pickering, immediate past president of the board was asked to attend a meeting at the State House on November 16 with members of ACCESS/RI to discuss ways to improve access to public records in the state. Pickering can not attend, so Murphy asked for volunteers to represent the association. Murphy also handed out a copy of a Providence Journal story reporting that the state Department of Public Safety has withdrawn some controversial proposed regulations relating to the access to police records.

Contest: Murphy said because of a few concerns from the New Mexico Press Association, a contest RIPA recently judged, we should be more systematic in our organizing of a contest judging.

May Banquet: Murphy said Kirsch reserved the O Club and sent a deposit for May 4, 2012.

New Business: Howell asked the press association to back the Warwick Beacon and the ACLU in trying to have repealed Chapter 9-1 of Title 9 of the RI General Laws that allows a person who name, portrait, or picture is used for commercial purposes without permission to ask the Superior Court to restrain the person or company from using the image. Howell said the issue arose after the Beacon ran an ad with a photo of the city council president. The ad had been placed by a local citizen upset over an action by the city. The press association board said it would consult Joseph V. Cavanagh who often represents the association on legal issues.

Pantalone asked board members to continue to work with the journalism department to take on interns, reminding the board members it was beneficial to both the newspapers and the student interns. He also said he is working with a senior journalism major on a project looking at how individual newspapers in the state are using the web. Pantalone said he and the student are developing a questionnaire. Murphy said he will e-mail it to RIPA members.

Date and time for the December meeting will be announced later.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

September 16, 2011 - Jewish Voice & Herald

Attending: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Larry Sasso and Ron Scopelliti, Your Smithfield Magazine; and Scott Pickering, Patch.com.

Treasurer's Report: Dues were received from Rhode Island Monthly, Jamestown Press, Providence Media, Newport Daily News, and Sun publishing, bringing the balance in the treasury to $17,567.51.

Minutes of June Meeting: Approved.

Report on Journalism Day: It will be Thursday, October 13, at URI. Levin said panelists are in place for the two morning programs which will be followed by lunch for journalism students and faculty and the panelists. The press association will pay for the lunch.

Access to Public Records: Pickering said the ACLU filed a suit against the State Police for holding closed meetings to approve new guidelines regarding access to their records. The ACLU asked him if the Press Association would join the suit. Pickering said he could not speak for the board. The board took no action.

New Business: Changes to the contest categories will be discussed at the next meeting.

Next Meeting: November 4 at 9 .m. at the Warwick Beacon.

Following this meeting, members of the board and representatives from several member newspapers spent the day judging the New Mexico Press Association contest. This group had judged the RIPA contest last spring.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

June 10th, 2011 - The Newport Daily News

Attending: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Jill Rodrigues, East Bay Newspapers, vice president; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald, treasurer; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; Sarah Francis, R.I. Monthly, and Paul Spetrini, North Kingstown Standard-Times.

Minutes of March meeting: Approved.

Treasurer's Report: Rodrigues, outgoing treasurer, said the account currently has $16,927.07. All banquet debts have been paid. Dues have been collected from 16 of the 25 members/news groups. Those who still owe are Providence Media, Sherman Publishing, Block Island Times, R.I. Monthly, Island News, Southern R.I. Newspapers, and Sun Publishing, and associates Donna Harrington-Leuker of Salve Regina University and Scott Pickering of Patch.com.

Banquet Report: Rodrigues said this year's attendance at the banquet was 150. The board agreed that it was highest in memory. Francis said R.I. Monthly needs new certificates and a new plaque for two of their winners whose names were spelled wrong. Sasso said he needs two plaques redone because of misspelled names. The board voted to book the Quonset O Club for next year's banquet on Friday, May 4, is it is available.

Old Business:

New Mexico Press Association Contest: Since this group judged RIPA's contest this year, we agreed to reciprocate. Their entries will be here toward the end of August, Murphy said. Levin said she will try to book the University Club at URI for the judging which will be done on one day in late August. Monday or Thursday during the week of August 29 were suggested dates.

Access to Public Records Bill: Levin said the last she heard from John Marion of Common Cause and Steve Brown of the ACLU the bill appeared to be dead for this session.

New Business:

Journalism Day at URI: It will be held Thursday, October 13. The board decided that two morning programs 9:30-10:45 and 11-12:15 and lunch might work better than one morning and one afternoon program. Topics will be 'The Role of the Social Media in Journalism' and 'When is News Really News.' Suggested panelists for the first program were a URI student and a Bryant University student; Scott Pickering of Patch.com, and Ted Nesi of Channel 12. Possible panelists for the program on News were the editor of a newspaper that is actively using a website; a student, either journalism or non-journalism; a media critic or two. Levin said anyone can send her additional suggestions for panelists.

Next Board Meeting: Thursday, September 16, at the Jewish Voice and Herald if the space there is available. Otherwise, to be announced.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

March 18th, 2011 - Providence Business News

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, Patch.com, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Jill Rodrigues, East Bay Newspapers, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine; and Paul Spetrini, North Kingstown Standard-Times.

Minutes of February Meeting: Approved.

Treasurer's Report: Rodrigues said the account has $17,071, with several outstanding bills. Dues notices were going out today. Sasso suggested we revisit the dues structure in the near future.

Banquet: May 6 at Quonset O Club in North Kingstown. Cocktails at 6, dinner at 7. Cost of $30 per person. Entree will be a choice of herb-crusted chicken, grilled salmon, or pasta primavera. The O Club has a limited number of easels, so Murphy will look into buying some; Rodrigues will look into renting.

Contest: Murphy said the New Mexico Press Assn. will judge the contest, and we will reciprocate later this year. He said there were not enough entries to judge in the categories of 'flood photos,' 'headlines,' and 'editorials.' He said he will ask the contest committee to be the set-up crew to display the winning entries at the banquet. Levin will send the banquet announcement to the press association listserve. Murphy said he should have the winners by early April.

New Officers: No report. Pickering suggested the board elect the officers at the May 6 dinner, which constitutes the organization's annual meeting. Board agreed.

Next Meeting: June 10 at the Newport Daily News at 9 a.m.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

Feburary 18th, 2011 - Providence Business News

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, Patch.com, president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Jill Rodrigues, East Bay Newspapers, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, Providence Journal; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Larry Sasso and Cynthia Cambio, Your Smithfield Magazine; Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald; Rick Snizek, Rhode Island Catholic; Sarah Francis, R.I. Monthly, and Paul Spetrini, North Kingstown Standard-Times.

Minutes of January Meeting: Approved.

Treasurer's Report: The bank balance is $14,535 which includes remaining reimbursements for last year's banquet tickets and association dues. Dues notices for this year have not gone out.

May 6 Banquet: The board suggested keeping the ticket price as low as possible. Rodrigues said she has given the Quonset O Club a deposit, and she will negotiate for the use of a screen, projector and at least four long tables or 20-30 easels. Ticket prices will be announced at the March meeting.

Hall of Fame: Sasso said the Hall of Fame Committee selected three inductees: Kimball Burgess, former publisher of the Observer Publications; Linda Levin, journalism professor and chair of the department at URI, and Carol Young, retired deputy editor of the Providence Journal. Board approved. They will be inducted at the May 6 banquet.

State Police Update: Pickering said the state police approved some minor changes in their open records policy, including redacting in an arrest report the date of birth and place of employment of the person arrested. He said they may not release complaint reports if the incident is still under investigation. Pickering said the concern is that local police departments will adopt the state police changes. Sasso suggested checking to see what the national police accrediting agency says about the regulation changes.

Access to Public Records Legislation: Pickering said that the open government coalition put all proposed amendments into one bill. He noted he is encouraged about the potential for the bill to get out of the House committee because the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee is Rep. Edith Ajello, who has sponsored the APR amendments in the past.

Contest: Entries are due today. Murphy said he will be looking for volunteers to sort the entries. The date to notify winners will be about April 1.

Officers for 2011-2012: Mullowney will put together a slate of officers to be voted on at the next meeting.

March Breakfast Meeting at URI: Levin said she will check on this. (She did, and the URI president's schedule will not accommodate it.)

Next Meeting if not at URI: March 18 at the Jewish Voice and Herald office in Providence. (Later the location was changed to the Providence Business News.)

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

January 7th, 2011 - The Jewish Voice & Herald

In Attendance: Scott Pickering, Patch.com., president; Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, vice president; Jill Rodrigues, East Bay Newspapers, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Nancy Kirsch, Jewish Voice and Herald; Karen Bordeleau, Providence Journal; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine, and Rick Snizek, Rhode Island Catholic.

Minutes of Last Meeting: Approved.

Treasurer's Report: Rodriques said the treasury has $14,465. She said dues notices will be going out this month.

Contest: Murphy said contest forms are being updated and will be loaded onto the association's website (www.ripress.org) in a week. In addition, he will e-mail the forms to member news organizations next week. Contest deadline is February 12. Pickering said Sheila Mullowney, editor of the Newport Daily News, asked him if her company's publications that come out less than once a month are eligible to enter the contest. The board said that would be fine.

Banquet: It will be Friday, May 6, at the Quonset O Club. Rodriques said she has sent the club a deposit.

Hall of Fame: Levin said she will remind Len Levin to call a meeting of the Hall of Fame committee this month.

Scholarship: Pickering will ask Betty Cotter, editor of the South County Independent, to chair that committee.

State Police Public Records Hearing: Pickering said he attended, and it was apparent that the police wanted to confirm rules that already are on the books. He said no changes will be made until state police meet with representatives of open government groups.

Access to Public Records Legislation: Pickering said two ideas have been presented by open government supporters. One would be to amend the law but exclude any amendments to the police records and personnel portions of the law. The other would be to put all the amendments to the law into one bill. The board discussed these two ideas and by consensus supports flexibility in modifying the law.

Bylaws Changes: Pickering said that after the board discussed amending the bylaws to include electronic news publications as members of the organization, word got out to publishers who protested the inclusion. So he said he would withdraw his amendment to the bylaws. The board had a lengthy discussion about incorporating e-news outlets and broadcast outlets into the association and concluded that this should be an ongoing discussion with broader participation.

Next Meeting: Friday, February 12, at Providence Business News.

Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary

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