I have a lot to talk about, so I’ll get right to it. I’ve been advised to “keep it brief.” Not my style, but I’ll give it a shot.
The officers and governors met for a half-day strategic planning retreat on May 24 to take a hard look at where we are and where we want to go during the next year. We made some decisions that you will likely find interesting—and challenging.
We enjoy an excellent reputation in the community that has enabled us to attract new members (membership at this writing stands at 145!), many with illustrious media credentials. Your elected officers and governors form the leadership team, but we can’t do everything. We discussed ways to capitalize on the knowledge and experience of our membership to improve our service to the club and to the community. Elsewhere in this issue of Scoop you’ll find some volunteer opportunities to do just that. Don’t be shy! Let me know what you’d like to do for the betterment of your club.
NPC TO SUPPORT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
After a lengthy discussion about the upcoming lawsuit involving our Governor-at-Large Gina Edwards and Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock, the board voted unanimously to go on record in support of Gina and opposition to Brock’s position.
Many of you, especially those still in town, know that, as your president, I contributed a “guest commentary” to the Naples Daily News, covering this lawsuit. It appeared May 29.
The board feels it is imperative for NPC to weigh in on significant issues, especially those involving freedom of the press. Expect us to increase our visibility and service to the community with future commentaries and letters to the editor. We may also reach out to non-board members to write about positions they espouse. We are a press club. We are communicators. We will communicate.
MORE FROM/BY MEMBERS
Membership chair Karla Wheeler, with the assistance of Governors-at-Large Penny Fisher and Marci Seamples, will revise the guidelines on our membership application to include forms of the media not currently covered, e.g. internet news outlets.
We decided to invite our members to contribute more articles to Scoop. Members may submit to our newsletter editor, email@example.com, an article about something you find interesting—your media experience from which we all can learn, a humorous look at today’s publishing world, etc. Deadline for each issue (we won’t publish in July or August) is last day of the month preceding. Depending on how many articles you send, we may not be able to run them all in the upcoming issue. We reserve the right to reject anything inappropriate for our NPC mission.
Members can also promote newsworthy activities they are involved in, such as book launches, by submitting an email to Randy, who will distribute it as a “Scoop Xtra,” if appropriate. At each luncheon meeting we’ll set up a “members’ table” where any member can place flyers and other promotional materials about their books and/or professional services.
We will work on some kind of listing of books currently being marketed by our members.
We also voted to do more to promote our members’ businesses and background. We’ll do this by upgrading our NPC website to show brief (100-word limit) bios of all members. As soon as we have a member-volunteer to manage this project, we’ll tell you more.
OK, OK, I’m trying to be brief, but we discussed a lot!
The scholarship committee will assign each scholarship recipient (we have seven—three renewals, four new) to a mentor. The treasury currently contains sufficient funds to provide scholarships for the 2014-15 school year. Phil Beuth and Randy Jones will collaborate to develop a scholarship fundraiser when the need arises.
NAPLES PRESS CLUB JOURNALISM COMPETITION
Your Press Club of Southwest Florida is in the process of launching a new journalism competition. A committee is working diligently to finalize the guidelines and distribution list. In the next few weeks, we’ll send notice of the contest and its rules for submission to a wide-ranging list of print, broadcast, and internet media outlets. Its purpose is to honor Florida journalists whose stories demonstrate outstanding use of the public records law in the preparation of their reports. Submissions deadline is September 1, 2014, giving judges one month to determine three finalists, from whom the winner will be selected for the trophy and $500 cash prize. All finalists will be our guests at the November luncheon. Yes, other journalism contests exist, but they don’t offer a cash prize. We feel this will attract the best of the best to our contest and further boost our status in the community.
Finally, some motions that passed:
1. COMMUNITY OUTREACH INITIATIVES
We have discontinued the toiletries donations project as a club initiative. In its place, we will look for community outreach opportunities more in keeping with our press club missions. Some suggestions included collecting book donations for school libraries, sponsoring an essay contest for middle-school students about freedom of the press, providing tickets for high school journalism students to hear outstanding speakers brought in by Naples Council on World Affairs. We invite NPC members to make other suggestions.
2. LUNCHEON RSVP PROCESS
We will make sure all flyers, press releases and ads for luncheons indicate the deadline for reservations: 5 p.m. the Monday prior to the Thursday event. All non-members must pre-pay via check to the treasurer or online via Eventbrite. Because we must pay for the headcount we give to the Hilton on Tuesday, member no-shows who do not cancel will be billed. Walk-ins will be seated only if they take the place of a cancelled reservation, so we discourage walk-ins. Make a reservation! Before the deadline!
3. LUNCHEON COSTS
Members’ price for regular luncheons will remain our cost (what Hilton charges us), currently $25. Members’ spouses and significant others will pay $28. Non-members’ price will now be $35. For the December holiday party and annual meeting, because we will have an upgraded menu, members and spouses will pay $40. We will decide in September whether to keep this meeting closed, as in the past, or open it to non-members.
New applicants for club membership between January and end of June will pay dues for the full year—$50. Applicants between July and December 31 will pay $25 for that year. All members, except scholarship students and honorary members, will be billed annually for $50 dues, payable by January 30. Website’s membership application will reflect this dues structure.
Whew! I’m finished. Considering everything we talked about at the retreat, I did keep it brief. Really!