No special introduction is needed. You all know that times have changed. Everything is different, including Press Club of Southwest Florida Board meetings. In the past, we would meet in person. Now, we meet on Zoom. And normally, we would continue our discussions about strategies to expand geographically and to offer a wider variety of programs, including “pop-up Newsmaker” events, at different times of day, to meet the needs of working journalists who primarily work and live in Lee County. But now, we talk about ways to stay connected to our members though social distancing.
Thanks to the efforts of Mark Young and Karla Wheeler, our newsletter SCOOP has moved from a monthly to a weekly online newsletter. Mark has been able to secure a number of timely and interesting articles to share with our members and prospects. Please feel free to share your weekly copy of SCOOP with friends who may be interested in the topics.
Mark also has been diligently posting timely articles on our Facebook page. If you are on Facebook and have not yet liked and followed our Facebook page, please do so today.
As you know, our April and May lunch programs have been cancelled. The June 4 program is now being planned as a virtual Zoom meeting. David Silverberg, our Vice President–Programs, is taking the lead with interviews you will see on the topic of voting and elections in Lee and Collier counties. We also will be celebrating (and meeting) the new scholarship recipients for the Press Club’s Terrence J. Miller Scholarship program and our FGCU Endowed Journalism Scholarship student. Details to follow.
Under the guidance of Press Club Board Members Rhona Saunders and David Silverberg, the Press Club will be the lead for a coalition of organizations planning and hosting a debate for the 19th Congressional district in September or October. A location is being secured, but note that no audience will be at the event. It will be live-streamed and may also be posted live on Facebook.
Board members Bob Orr and Gregg Ramshaw are securing new members to the Press Club Young Journalist Awards Committee, which will review our selection criteria, begin promoting the award opportunity to young journalists, and will review the entries before awards are presented at the December Press Club Annual Meeting.
Finally, we welcome new member Frank Farrell to the Press Club of Southwest Florida. His sponsor was Frank Cipolla. Please encourage your colleagues to join us. Membership remains at $50 year and membership applications are available on our website.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, our mission continues: We always have, and always will, continue to advocate for quality journalism, defend both the First Amendment and the public’s right to know, and support future journalists through scholarships and mentoring.
Consider becoming more involved. Your expertise and enthusiasm will help us support the First Amendment and current and future journalists. There are a variety of opportunities, including serving on the board, joining the program committee, assisting with PR, and serving as a correspondent to write articles for SCOOP or summaries of the monthly lunch programs and other events. Please let me know where you’d like to make your contributions to creating a more vibrant and relevant organization.