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!
2014 Meeting Minutes
December 5th, 2014- Rhode Island Monthly
In Attendance: Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, president; Sue Areson, Providence Journal, vice president; Linda Levin, URI journalism emeritus, secretary; Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; John Palumbo and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly; John Pantalone, chair of URI journalism department, Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine.
Minutes of October Meeting: Not available.
Treasurer’s Report: Beginning balance was $18,464.58, and after expenses of $4,500 to the Society of Professional Journalists for online contest licensing, the ending balance was $13,964.58. Approved.
Update on ACCESS/RI: Levin, who is the president of the non-profit coalition and of which RIPA is a member, said that as a result of a statewide public records audit that it conducted, ACCESS is filing a number of complaints with the attorney general for violations of the Access to Public Records Law by state and municipal agencies. She also said ACCESS is requesting documents from the courts relating to the courts’ new e-filing case system.
Journalism Day at URI: Those board members who attended said overall it was a success. Pantalone said that while the morning workshops on ethics and digital storytelling received high marks from the students, the lunch panel was not so successful mostly because there were too many panelists and the discussion, which was to be on community journalism and jobs out there for journalism grads, veered from the topic.
Board suggestions for next year’s Journalism Day included: flyers to be distributed on URI’s campus and on other Rhode Island college campuses; advance stories and more publicity; earlier planning; assigning tasks to more people; have one person in charge, and keep all the program in one room rather than spread out over several rooms. Spetrini asked board members to come up with dates and topics for 2015 Journalism Day by the next meeting.
RIPA Annual Contest: Areson, who is in charge of the contest, said RIPA has paid for the online contest license (see treasurer’s report above), and local news organizations can register for the online contest at the
All contest entries must be submitted in PDF format online at https://awards.newportri.com. (A few specified categories will be mailed to Areson at RIPS 2014 Editorial Awards, co/ Sue Areson, The Providence Journall news department, 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI, 02902, or these entries can be delivered to the February RIPA board meeting.) Areson sad she is finishing the site set up so that credit cards will work and entries easily can be uploaded.
Spetrini said there are some new contest categories this year: the columnist’s category was divided into news/feature column and arts/niche column; general election coverage was brought back, and single topic election coverage was added; web categories were merged to become best digital presentation; two new categories for smaller news organizations are community newspaper of the year for weekly and newspaper of the year for dailies. In addition, there are three new individual awards: distinguished journalist; notable new journalist, and photographer of the year. News organizations can nominate candidates, and the winners will be notified before the banquet.
The board also clarified the multiple byline category saying that each category may include one multiple byline story from an organization.
Areson said she will contact NENPA to see if that organization will judge the community outreach award which was established last year and the distinguished journalist awards. Spetrini said he will fine tune the entry form and send it to the board for final approval before he puts it on the website. The board approved Areson and Spetrini’s reports.
Hall of Fame: Spetrini urged members to send nominations to Len Levin, hall of fame committee chairman, at Lenlevin5@hotmail.com. He said discussion of new cases and more wall space for the hall of fame at URI will be discussed at a future meeting.
Scholarship: Spetrini said Liz Boardman of Independent Newspapers will continue to chair the scholarship committee.
RIPA Website: Spetrini showed a prototype using material from the current website. He asked board members to send him ideas for web content because he would like the revamped site up and running by the banquet in late April.
Old Business: Palumbo said the board should send a thank you to the law firm Ratcliffe Harten Burke and Galamaga LLP for pro boni work to make RIPA a 501 c 6.
Future Meetings: January 9 at 9 a.m. at the Providence Journal; February 20 at 9 a.m. at R.I. Monthly, and a date in March, to be decided, at URI.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
Present: Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, president; Sue Areson, Providence Journal, vice president Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism emeritus, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; John Palumbo and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly; John Pantalone, URI journalism, and James Bessette, Newport Daily News.
Minutes of June, 2014 meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Kirsch said the beginning balance today was $18,505.59, and the ending balance was $18,464.58, which included late payments for banquet tickets and expenditures for some banquet supplies.
Making RIPA a 501(3)b: Palumbo said this involves filing minimal paperwork with the secretary of state’s office. He said his attorney will take care of it. Spetrini applauded this because he said it makes RIPA more transparent.
Banquet: Kirsch said the O Club at Quonset is only available on April 24 for the banquet. She checked other potential banquet venues and none seemed appropriate for what RIPA requires. The board discussed having a cocktail party only, having the event on a day other than Friday, or continuing to look for another venue. The board agreed to have the 2015 banquet on April 24 at the O Club. Spetrini said he would save the organization $500 and take banquet photos himself. Palumbo moved we go ahead with the same meal and menu choices and format with a slight increase in the price of the meal. No action was taken on a meal increase.
Digital Contest: Spetrini and Areson said they have information about three potential companies to handle the RIPA contest which next year will be all digital. The Better Newspaper Contest (BNC) company, which the Idaho Press Club, uses; Omni, a company similar to BNC, and INetSolutions, which sells licenses for a platform for a digital contest. BNC charges a $1,125 start-up fee and a $2,875 annual charge. (RIPA received $4,875 in contest fees last year.) Omni charges $3,500 for set-up and support for the first year and less each year after that. INetSolutions, which the national SPJ contest uses, sells its license for $4,500 with about $300 a year in continuing fees. Updates are free. Areson said she would talk with INetSolutions and report back to the board at its October meeting,
Spetrini said RIPA must move to a digital contest. He added that its ease will likely lead to more contest entries. He said he prefers INetSolutions. Areson said she would like a vendor selected by November and the final contest entry form ready by the middle or end of December. Contest entries would be due by mid-February. Spetrini said the board can discuss additional contest categories at its next meeting. He said he would like the contest committee set up by the next board meeting, and he will send an email asking for volunteers. He also said that even with a digital contest, RIPA will continue to ask for tear sheets for display at the banquet.
Spetrini said that once the board selects a platform company for the contest, it will need to discuss contest fees. Suggested new fees were $25 for the first entry and $12 for each succeeding entry and $35 for the dinner. No action was taken. Bessette said he would like reporters who were let go by a company to be able to enter the contest. Spetrini said the contest is for member organizations and not for individuals. He added this could be discussed at a later meeting.
Journalism Day at URI: Pantalone said the planning committee met and discussed ways to engage the students. He booked rooms in the Memorial Union on campus for Thursday, Nov. 13. Topics will be Journalism Ethics and Digital Storytelling. Students will meet in small groups with one or two professional journalists leading the discussions. The lunch topic will be The Future of Community Journalism with Sheila Mullowney, editor of the Newport Daily News, moderating a panel discussion. Sarah Francis will coordinate it. Suggested panelists were Liz Boardman, The Independent; Marcia Green or Tom Ward, The Valley Breeze; Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers; David Pepin, freelance reporter; Liz McNamara and Mark Shieldrop of Patch.com; and Barbara Polichetti, Providence Journal.
Suggested leaders for the Ethics workshops were: Rosenberg; Levin; Areson; Mullowney; Ernest Brown, Woonsocket Call; Michael Delaney, Providence Journal; and Brenna McCabe, former reporter now working for the General Assembly. Rosenberg and Areson will coordinate. Suggested leaders for the Digital Storytelling workshops were: Maria Caporizzo, Providence Journal; Bill Koch, The Independent; Jim Hummel, HummelReport.com; Joshua Aromin, Rhode Island Monthly; Frank Carini, ecoRI; Ted Nesi, WPRI; and Andrea Panciera or Peter Phipps, Providence Journal. The Journalism Day schedule is: 9-9:30 a.m., introductions in the Union Ballroom; 9:30-10:30, and 10:45-11:45, the workshops. Lunch is at noon.
Website Discussion: This was moved to the next meeting.
Next Meeting: It will be Friday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. at the Providence Journal.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
June 6th, 2014 - Newport Daily News
Attendance: Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, president; Sue Areson, Providence Journal, vice president Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism emeritus, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly; Chris Keegan and Liz Boardman, Independent Newspapers; Tracey O’Neill, freelance, and John Pantalone, URI journalism.
Minutes for April Meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Balance as of June 4, 2014, was $18,505.59. Banquet expenses were $12,365.06. Other expenses were $1,079.64. Newport Daily News owes $300 for banquet tickets. Kirsch said the organization spent more on the banquet than it took in. A discussion ensued on increasing the banquet tickets, raising contest fees, and/or raising dues. No action was taken.
Contest/Banquet: Feedback cards were on the tables at the banquet, and Spetrini said he received a few. Suggestions included: more magazine categories; more web writing categories; more bi-monthly magazines; and someone did not like calling all winners to the front at one time. Spetrini said that overall, the event went well. Kirsch will look into other potential venues, including the Crowne Plaza and the Radisson in Warwick, and the Marriott in Providence. Levin suggested that $34 might be a more realistic price for a banquet ticket. Meanwhile, the board asked Kirsch to put a deposit for next year on the O Club while she and Levin look at other venues. Spetrini suggested a community newspaper award might be a possibility for smaller papers. No action was taken. Spetrini said he would like potential digital judging companies to present their offerings at the September meeting. The board thanked Spetrini and Kirsch for their work on the contest and banquet.
Journalism Day at URI: A discussion was held on possible topics. They included: a panel on getting a job and the skills necessary in the digital age; a panel on how to be informed news consumers; a panel on how you tell the same story on different platforms, including blogs, websites, tweets, Facebook, and in a newspaper; an interactive panel that takes a story and decides which platforms you use followed by a panel on job skills. The programs could be open to all college students in the state. Pantalone said that the number of journalism majors at URI has declined, and those remaining students want jobs in sports, travel or food journalism. Bordeleau said the press association needs to bring passion about their work to Journalism Day. Spetrini suggested using the day to promote the RIPA scholarship. Bordeleau said RIPA should promote the scholarship ahead of the program and then have students apply that day. A committee will meet to plan Journalism Day at the Newport Daily News on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. Members are Spetrini, Pantalone, O’Neill, Bordeleau, Areson, Mullowney,
Social Media and Website: O’Neill will set up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Spetrini, Mullowney and Levin will put together materials for an updated website.
Next Meetings: The board will meet on Friday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. at Rhode Island Monthly on Allens Avenue in Providence, and on Friday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. at The Providence Journal.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
April 18th, 2014 - Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, vice president; Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism emeritus, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, Sue Areson, and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; Benjamin Branchaud, Narragansett Times; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly, and Julie Tremaine, Providence Monthly.
Minutes for March Meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: No report.
Banquet: Spetrini said everything is arranged, and the names of the contest winners have been sent to the publications. Kirsch is handling reservations. Areson suggested having the banquet on Thursday; after a discussion, the board agreed to keep it on Friday. Kirsch will buy 4x6 cards for guests’ comments after the banquet. Spetrini asked that jpegs and photos of all winning entries be sent to Rhode Island Monthly by Friday, April 25 so they can be incorporated into a slide show for the banquet.
Contest: Spetrini reported that some publications believed the contest outcome appeared to be unfair because one or two organizations seemed to win a lot of awards. The board agreed to use the Idaho Press Club again next year and then consider another press group for the following year. The board will discuss at another meeting adding some categories which may benefit smaller papers in the contest.
Scholarship: Patrick O'Brien, a URI journalism and English major, is this year's recipient.
Open Records: Levin said that the ACLU in Rhode Island is going to file a friend of the court brief for the Providence Journal’s appeal of a lower court denial of their request for records, including those from the state police, in the Caleb Chafee case. Levin said the ACLU has asked if RIPA will consider either signing on to the brief or writing a letter in support. She said she also plans to ask ACCESS/RI, of which the press association is a member, to do the same. Bordeleau suggested each news organization also write a letter in support of the appeal.
Website: Mullowney asked if the board wanted to hire a company to redo the website or have someone on the board handle it. Levin suggested several interested board members meet to decide what to do, how the site should look, and what its content should include. Areson said the board should hire someone to redesign it and then to maintain it. Branchaud said he does freelance web design and would be glad to do updates. A committee of Spetrini, Mullowney, Levin, and Branchaud will meet soon to deal with this. Spetrini said he would set up a meeting.
Misc.: Areson said the widow of Mac Fiske, a Journal copyeditor, set up a monetary award a couple of years ago for a young journalist in New England, and she has received no entries this year. Areson encouraged board members to have their young staff members apply.
Next Meeting: Friday, June 6, at Newport Daily News.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
March 21st, 2014 - Providence Journal
Attendance: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, vice president; Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI emeritus, secretary; Sue Areson, and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; Sheila Mullowney, Newport Daily News; and Benjamin Branchaud, Narragansett Times.
Minutes for February Meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Beginning balance was $21,274.41. Current balance is $24,225.94. Of this, $858.47 was primarily for contest expenses, and $3,810 was contest income.
Banquet: The cost per person will remain at $30, even though the O Club is charging $31. The association will absorb the extra. Kirsch said those attending can mail checks to her at 106 Freeman Parkway, Providence, RI, 02906. Levin said she would send all board members a “Save the Date” flyer.
Contest: Spetrini gave a recap of this year’s contest which is at the end of the minutes. He said RIPA received six entries for the new Community Outreach Award category. He said 12 member companies and 32 publications submitted 456 entries.
The board members at this meeting joined a conference call to the Idaho Press Club which has had a digital contest for the last two years. RIPA has judged it both years, and RIPA wants to go digital next year. This call was to learn about some of the pros and cons of the process.Here’s what they were told:
Before RIPA begins, it should walk through the entry process at both ends.
Get proposals from several companies to handle the contest.
Know who in our organization is uploading the entries, and who in the company will be getting the award.
Keep track of the number of entries, such as putting it all on an Excel spreadsheet, and consider using PayPal for entry fees.
The service to handle the contest could cost $3,000 for the first year and then $1,500 each year after that.
Give ourselves plenty of time to set this all up.
Give members plenty of time to understand how to upload.
Someone in RIPA needs to review every entry before it is uploaded because the system can’t make changes or fixes.
Think about administration at the end and what you will need.
Have a good flow chart set up.
Areson suggested getting the rules out to members no later than November along with some kind of online tutorial about how to upload entries. Mullowney suggested bringing in someone from the vendor we select to train people. The board agreed that the digital contest for 2014 should be announced at this year’s banquet on May 2. Spetrini said he has asked Idaho for our winners by April 11. He asked that RIPA make glossy photos of the winners in the photo categories.
Website: Levin said she would help with the RIPA website update. Discussion of this was postponed to the April meeting.
Next Meeting: It will be at the Narragansett Times on Friday, April 18, at 9 a.m. (The Narragansett Times office is on Main Street in Wakefield.
The following is a recap and analysis of the 2013 Rhode Island Press Association editorial contest prepared by Paul Spetrini, RIPA vice president.
I. Overview of 2013 Contest
All told, this year’s editorial contest drew submissions from 12 member organizations representing 32 publications. Of member organizations participating last year, only Breeze Publications—which represents the Valley Breeze—did not participate. East Bay Newspapers, which missed last year’s contest deadline, returned to this year’s contest with 17 paid entries.
The Providence Journal submitted the most material for the contest, with 118 total paid entries in all, and Providence Media submitted the second-most, with a total of 76 paid entries.
In total, this year’s editorial contest drew 456 paid submissions and six entries for the community service award, bringing the total amount of contest money to $4,870. For comparison, last year’s contest drew 458 entries for a total of $4,850.
II. Contest Categories
In last year’s contest, we were unable to garner the minimum number of submissions to fully judge a category for three categories (Arts Review or Criticism, Editorial Writer and Best Website), though we did award winners for the former two as they each received four submissions.
This year, thanks to our special highlighting of those categories, and our removal of the Best Website category, submissions were up dramatically as the Arts Review & Criticism category received 14 submissions in all and we had seven submissions for Editorial Writer.
Unfortunately, our push for two online-based categories went largely unnoticed as the Best Digital Presentation category only drew two total entries, and as such will not be judged, and the Best Use of Digital Tools category only drew three entries, meaning there will only be a winner announced.
One other change we made this year was the creation of an Arts/Feature/Niche columnist category. While we received a surprising 21 submissions for this category, the distinction appears to have come at the expense of our general Columnist/News Columnist category as that category went from 16 submissions in 2013 to just three this year.
Our most popular writing categories this year were 10- Profile or Personality Story and 12-Feature Story (In-Depth.) Each received 27 entries and we up from last year. Other notably competitive categories include 16-Unique/Most Unexpected Story (22 entries), 22-Arts/Feature/Niche Columnist (21 entries) and 15-Food & Dining Story (18 entries).
Our photography categories continue to remain quite competitive as 25-Feature Photo garnered 21 entries, 26-Personality Photo or Portrait received 20 entries and 23-General News Photo had 19 Entries.
Lastly, our design categories were on pace with last year’s entries, with the most competitive category being 32-Best Cover, which had an impressive 17 entries.
As noted above, both our two online-based categories failed to draw as much interest as we had hoped and the News Columnist category struggled as well. All other categories received at least five submissions.
III. Community Service Award
For the first time this year, we introduced the idea of a Community Service Award and it was, thankfully, met with great interest. All told, we received six very detailed entries for the contest, more than enough to award a worthy winner, and I expect the award will continue to get more popular once it is fully realized at our annual banquet. I do wonder if we will be able to run this category next year, however, as the materials were largely print-based and may not transfer over digitally.
IV. Issues with contest rules
As was the case last year, this year’s contest rules drew a lot of confusion regarding eligibility and rule changes. In all, however, disqualified entries were down dramatically as I really tried to work with member organizations whenever possible.
Most of the issues had to do with simple misunderstandings of the rules (I.E. Publications submitting multiple entries in one category by the same writer, publications misreading the rules regarding designers being limited to one entry per category or publications failing to submit TWO copies of the entry forms with a submission.)
As was the case last year, I interacted with member organizations to fix these issues whenever possible as the spirit of this contest has always been to include as many of the submissions as possible.
Of the 18 total entries which failed to properly follow the rules, I only had to ultimately disqualify two entries, one from Providence Monthly (which submitted four entries in the Most Unusual category when it was only allowed three) and one from the Providence Journal (which submitted two multi-bylined stories in the Spot News category.)
V. Designer and Photography confusion
There were two other areas in this year’s contest that caused a bit of confusion.
First, was the issue of the eligibility of designers in the Front Page/Cover categories. As we moved to limit individual designers to one submission per category, many of our member publications, which only have one person in charge of design, were forced to limit their entries to either one or enter others under the title “Staff Members.”
I received many complaints about this change, most coming from smaller publications that felt it unfairly limited the chance for their designers to compete in the contest as there are significantly more writing (23) and photography categories (6) than there are design categories (4) and even in the photography categories, individual photographers are allowed two submissions per category.
The general feedback seems to be changing the design categories to either the same restrictions as the photography categories, meaning an individual designer can enter two submissions per category, or setting a maximum number of submissions per publication in a design category regardless of who the individual designer was.
The other major issue was in regard to the photography categories themselves. This year, the Providence Journal overloaded the photography categories with as many as 10 submissions per category. After a check of the rules, this was allowable as the rules do not set a limit on the number of submissions a publication can make in the photography categories. This was a point of confusion for other organizations, who thought they were limited to three entries per category as they are in every non-photography category. For future contests, we as a board need to either set a maximum entry limit for photography categories, as we do with writing categories, or spell out in the rule book that there is no limit.
VI. Issues with payment
While I won’t go into detail here, there were multiple issues this year regarding payment of contest fees. While it is understandable that some of our member organizations have to clear checks with their publishers or corporate owners, there was far too much confusion this year regarding tracking payments, missing checks and misread totals to not raise concern.
I received no less than seven checks from organizations AFTER I received their entries and after the postmarked contest deadline and while I have no doubt our organizations are good for the money, I would caution against allowing members to participate in the contest that have not paid their contest fees as it exposes us to a potentially risky situation if the judging results come out before our organizations have paid their fees.
I believe part of this is the nature of our contest as our contest window is only open for a month and some organizations wait until the very end to gather their submissions but I am concerned with going to an all-digital contest next year that there may be even more issues to check if/when publications are allowed to submit their own material directly into an online contest system.
VI. Summary of this year’s contest and recommendations
All in all, this year’s contest seemed to run much smoother than last year’s. While there are still some issues to iron out and we must make decisions regarding the future viability of online-based categories, which seem to gain no traction with our members, interest nonetheless remains high in the contest across all of our publications and it should make for a very competitive contest for years to come.
My recommendations are as follows: 1.) We poll our member organizations to see whether or not there is interest in online-based contest categories. The past few years have shown that may not be the case. If not, I believe we should make a decision to remove these categories until the interest picks up. 2.) I believe the majority of the rule changes were well-received but some need to be adjusted/modified/clarified to remove lingering confusion. 3.) I believe the Community Service Award was a strong idea and will only continue to grow, especially during an election year. 4.) I believe we need to increase the time we give member organizations to gather their entries and put a firm rule in place that submissions will not be deemed eligible until payment for the contest is received. 5.) Lastly, I believe we must allow ourselves extra time next year to work out any issues switching to a digital contest present.
All in all, however, the contest this year was a strong success and I look forward to seeing it grow in 2015
-Paul J. Spetrini, Vice President, Rhode Island Press Association
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
February 21st, 2014 - Rhode Island Monthly
In attendance: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, vice president; Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Karen Bordeleau, Sue Areson, and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; James Bessette, East Greenwich Pendulum; Marie Shanahan, Narragansett Times; Chris Keegan, Independent Newspapers; Larry Sasso, Your Smithfield Magazine, and John Palumbo and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly.
Minutes of January meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Current balance is $21,274.41. Newspaper companies that still owe dues are Southern New England Newspapers; the Woonsocket Call and Pawtucket Times, and the Providence Phoenix. Report was approved. A discussion ensued as to whether or not the Call and Times are a separate company from Southern R.I. Newspapers which means they would pay separate dues. Murphy and Spetrini will check on this. In connection with this, the board discussed the dues structure. Levin said she would check the previous minutes to see when the current dues structure was set up. (The Jan. 26, 2007, minutes show that the board voted unanimously to implement this structure: Each company will pay $100 for the first publication it owns and $50 each for each of the next three it owns. The rest, if there are any, would pay no dues.)
Contest: Spetrini said entries are due today or postmarked today if they are mailed.
Hall of Fame: The HoF committee nominated William Foster, late publisher of the East Greenwich Pendulum; Thomas Heslin, retired executive editor of The Providence Journal, and Jim Norman, retired sports information director at the University of Rhode Island. After a brief discussion, the board approved the nominations.
Banquet: Kirsch said she expects the cost will remain at $30 a person. She will select the menu choices in March. Palumbo said he will handle the a/v, including the slide show and a photographer. Board members told him to explain to the photographer that the press association will own the photos. Bessette said RIPA should set up a Face Book page so the photos can be put there. Murphy said he will buy four more easels for displaying contest winners’ work along with information about the scholarship winner.
Website: The board discussed hiring a web person to manage the organization’s website and post on Face Book. Areson asked the board members to come to the next meeting with a job description and a stipend amount.
Registering RIPA with the State: Members asked why RIPA is not registered with either the state or the federal government and suggested we should be. (Later Palumbo checked with a local attorney and was told we should register with the IRS as a 501 c 6. Requirements are: It must be an association of persons having some common business interest and its purpose must be to promote this common business interest; it must be a membership organization and have a meaningful extent of membership support; it must not be organized for profit; no part of its net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; its activities must be directed to the improvement of business conditions; its primary activity does not consist of performing particular services for individual persons; and its purpose must not be to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit.) The board will discuss this at the March meeting.
Scholarship: Liz Boardman of the South County Independent is handling this. Spetrini said he would ask her to prepare something about the winner to be displayed at the banquet.
Open Meetings: Levin said RIPA should become more proactive on open government and other First Amendment issues.
Officers for 2014-2015: The board agreed that the slate should be Spetrini, president; Areson, vice president; Kirsch, treasurer, and Levin, secretary. The slate will be voted on at the annual banquet on May 2.
Contest: Rosenberg moved that next year contest entries all will be digital. The board approved. Spetrini will check on potential companies to handle this and get their prices.
Idaho Contest: Spetrini said he has almost enough judges (the rest were secured at this meeting) to handle the Idaho Press Club contest which is all digital. He will send entries to the judges today.
Next Meeting: The March meeting will be on the 21st at 9 a.m. at the Providence Journal.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary
January 10th, 2014 - The Providence Journal
In Attendance: Mark Murphy, Providence Business News, president; Paul Spetrini, Independent Newspapers, vice president; Nancy Kirsch, freelance, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI, secretary; Karen Bordeleau and Alan Rosenberg, Providence Journal; Julie Tremaine, Providence Monthly, and Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly.
Minutes of December, 2013 meeting: Correction: Kirsch is now a freelance writer. Minutes then were approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Beginning balance was $18,949.41; current balance is $18,974.41. Kirsch said dues notices have gone out. As the board requested at the December meeting, she checked with Citizens Bank where the RIPA checking account is to see if the organization could set up an interest-bearing account. She was told that could be done only if RIPA was a 501(c)3 organization or a business registered with the Secretary of State’s office.
Hall of Fame Update: The minor changes to the rules suggested at the December board meeting were made and have been approved via email by the membership.
Contest: Spetrini said the contest committee met and put together some rule changes. The biggest change is that associate members who create work for a member publication must go through that publication to submit an entry. He noted that the contest is for member publications and not for individuals. Individuals are allowed to enter up to one entry per category. Organizations may enter one multi-bylined entry per category but, if they do and if they win, it would be credited to the organization and not the individuals who contributed to the entry. This story would be credited to the organization and not to individual writers. In categories that receive fewer than 15 entries, judges will not award honorable mentions; in categories with 15 or more entries, judge may, if they choose, award one honorable mention if an entry merits it. The committee deleted the Storm-related Coverage and the Election categories and added Best Arts/Feature/Niche Columnist category. The Best Website category will be replaced by the Best Digital Presentation and the Best Use of Digital Tools categories. The committee also suggested the board create a Community Outreach Award as an incentive for member publications to highlight work they do outside the printed page. After a discussion, the board approved all the suggestions and changes. Spetrini said the Idaho Press Club has agreed to judge our contest. Their contest entries will be online beginning February 1 for RIPA members to judge.
Update on Access Issues: Murphy said he asked Steve Brown, executive director of the RI ACLU, to write an op-ed piece on open government that RIPA members could publish. That has not happened as of now.
Officers for 2014-2015: A discussion of this was moved to the February meeting.
Next Meeting: At 9 a.m. on Friday, February 21, at Rhode Island Monthly on Allens Avenue in Providence.
Submitted by: Linda Lotridge Levin, secretary