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R.I. Press Association Meeting Minutes. June 1, 2018, at the Newport Daily News

Attending: James Bessette, The Providence Business News, president; Mike McDermott, The Providence Journal, vice president; Sarah Francis, R.I. Monthly, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism emerita, secretary; Ron Scopelliti, Smithfield Times; and Lynne Tungett, Newport This Week. Guest: Steven Brown, executive director, R.I. Affiliate, ACLU.
Revenge Porn Legislation: Brown said the bill, which he expects the governor to sign very soon, lacks an “intent to harm” clause although it does allow as a defense “if published in the public interest.” He said all this could leave the news media in the state vulnerable to being successfully sued if it publishes or broadcasts a photo that a court said intended to do harm to someone under this law. Brown said the ACLU believes the law will be declared unconstitutional, and he asked the association to find a news outlet willing to provide a test case. He said the ACLU would handle the legalities. Tungett suggested also contacting the television stations. Bessette said he believes that the press association should wait until the bill is signed into law and then weigh the options. The board agreed.
Minutes of March Meeting: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: March starting balance, $16,657.14; ending balance, $19,547.14 (this includes dues paid by Southern RI Newspapers; RIM; BI Times; Gatehouse Media; and R. Scopelliti). April starting balance, $19,547.14; ending balance, $17,214.79 (includes banquet costs); April ending balance, $17,214.79 (includes banquet payments). May starting balance, $17,214.79; ending balance, $13,720.14. Approved.
Banquet: Board members agreed that it went well. The board voted to hold next year’s banquet at the Quonset O Club again. The date will be Friday, April 26. McDermott will see if someone at the Journal wants to handle the photography.
Contest: McDermott said there were some problems with website security and were fixed. A discussion ensued about who should host the contest website. The Newport Daily News has been the host, but the board agreed that it should be on the press association’s own website beginning next year.
High School Journalism: Scopelliti said the committee is still working on finding high schools that want to work with the association to bring in speakers or hold journalism-related events for their students. Later in the meeting, Tungett said the association should contact high schools to get local journalists involved in career days.
New Business: McDermott said a hearing will be held soon on an amended complaint involving public release of the list of names and other information about jurors in a recent trial. Scopelliti asked about the status of the association’s Hall of Fame, and Bessette said he and Levin were planning to meet this summer with the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at URI, the physical location of the Hall of Fame. Bessette said the association will reschedule the workshop on access issues sometime in the fall. Bessette said he wants to have some social networking events to bring together younger journalists to try to get them involved in the association.
Next Meeting: Friday, Sept. 14 at Providence Media.

Submitted by Linda Lotridge Levin, board secretary

R.I. Press Association Meeting Minutes. March 2, 2018, at East Bay Newspapers.


In Attendance: James Bessette, Providence Business News, president; Sarah Francis, Rhode Island Monthly, treasurer; Linda Levin, URI journalism emerita, secretary; Ron Scopelliti, Smithfield Times; Matt Enright, The Independent; Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers; and Lynne Tungett, Newport This Week.

Minutes of January Meeting: Approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Starting balance for February, $14,982.14; Debit, $25, Authnet Gateway Billling; Deposits, $1,675 for dues, Prov. Media, $250; Beacon Comm, $250; Sentinel, $200; East Bay, $250; Larry Sasso, $25; Linda and Len Levin, $50; Jewish Alliance, $100; Westerly Sun, $100; PBN, $100; Valley Breeze, $200; Nancy Kirsch, $25; Rudi Hampe, $25, and Newport This Week, $100. Ending balance for February, $16,657.14.

Legislation: Levin said two bills amending the Access to Public Records Act and the Open Meeting Act will be heard at the State House at a time to be announced, probably later this month.

FOIA Workshop: This will be held at Providence Media in Pawtucket on Saturday, April 7, from 10-noon. Seating is limited to 12. Deadline to register is March 25. Register with Levin at

High School Journalism: Enright has met with some teachers; Scopelliti has contacted several. Nothing new to report.

Banquet and Contest: Some papers have been having trouble with the contest website; this will be on the agenda at the next meeting. Judges are needed for the Idaho Press Club contest,

Hall of Fame: The board had a lengthy discussion about the location and format of the Hall of Fame at URI. Two suggestions were made: have additional cases made and installed in Chafee Hall to hold current and future plaques, and work with Adam Roth, associate dean of the Harrington School, to write a grant to fund a digital display of the Hall of Fame in Ranger Hall, home of the Harrington School. Bessette and Levin will meet with Jeanette Riley, dean of Arts and Sciences whose office is in Chafee, to discuss putting up more cases, and they will talk with Roth about the digital display and report back to the board.

Scholarship: Bessette will contact Dan Kittredge, scholarship chair, to make sure he has notified the colleges.

New Business: Enright suggested RIPA meet with the broadcasters’ association in Rhode Island. Board will discuss this at a later meeting. Bessette reminded the board that the RIPA website has a jobs’ site for free postings.

Next Meeting: This will be June 1, Friday, at 10 a.m. in Newport. Location to be determined.

Submitted by Linda Lotridge Levin, board secretary

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