Important SPJ San Diego Election Updates

SPJ San Diego’s election results are in and we need your help – again.

We’ve got a tie. Board candidates Tom Jones and Erin Siegal McIntyre received the same number of votes in our recent election and our bylaws require that we schedule a runoff. Our runoff election starts Thursday, June 27 and runs through Saturday, July 7 and we’d encourage you to vote ASAP. Check your email registered with SD-SPJ for login information.

If there is another tie, the sitting SPJ board has voted to flip a coin but we’re hoping you’ll vote and help us avoid that outcome.

To help you learn more about the two candidates, we’ve asked Jones and McIntyre to answer a few questions about themselves. You can check out their responses here.

We’ve also got some exciting news.

Andrew Bowen and Brooke Binkowski have been elected to join our SPJ board. Kelly Davis, Andrew Kleske, Elliot Spagat and Megan Wood were re-elected. Learn more about Bowen, Binkowski and all our board members here.

Update on Voice of San Diego Lawsuit Fighting San Diego Unified’s New Email Policy

On May 31, Voice of San Diego filed a temporary restraining order against the San Diego Unified School District to stop a scheduled June 1 email purge, the result of a new records retention policy. On Friday, June 22, Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn heard arguments from attorneys for the school district, Voice of San Diego, and from San Diegans for Open Government, which had also sued over the policy.

The judge’s tentative ruling, issued the day before, was in favor of Voice of San Diego’s argument that the district’s records retention policy violates state law. On Friday, in order to give SDUSD the chance to respond to arguments filed by San Diegans for Open Government, Styn continued the hearing to Aug. 24, when he expects to have a final decision.

San Diego SPJ is encouraged by Styn’s tentative ruling. As we’ve noted, other large school districts in California retain emails for at least two years, and we have concerns that San Diego Unified’s email retention policy will result in the deletion of vital public records.

RSVP for the awards banquet

SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter’s annual awards banquet is coming up in a couple weeks.

We’re proud to honor 2018 Journalist of the Year: Andrew Keatts, assistant editor and senior investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego, and our region’s many talented journalists. Check out our complete list of winners here. You’ll have to wait until the banquet to find out who won what!

Please join us to celebrate Keatts and all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Tuesday, July 17, at Kona Kai.

What: SD-SPJ 2018 awards banquet

When: Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Reception at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 7 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $60 per person, $50 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here.

The event usually sells out, so don’t delay. Register and purchase your tickets today!


SD-SPJ concerned about June 1 San Diego Unified email purge

On June 1, the San Diego Unified School District will delete thousands of emails from its server as part of a new policy enacted, the district says, to save money on data storage costs (the district hasn’t provided backup on financial reasons for the change). The only emails that won’t be deleted are those employees manually archive. Going forward, the district plans to delete all emails after one year.

The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned that important public records will be deleted in the email purge.

The new policy was introduced a year ago and approved by the district’s board of trustees, though it didn’t take effect immediately. At the time, we expressed concern about the policy’s lack of specifics, including whether employees would be properly trained on which emails to archive. We noted that other large California school districts retain emails for at least two years.

Since last July, we’ve regularly asked when the policy would take effect and what guidance and training staff was being given. We learned earlier this month that the policy would take effect June 1.

We continue to have concerns about the new policy. Despite repeated requests to the district over the last two weeks, we have yet to see any evidence that staff was adequately trained on which emails should be archived.

Californians Aware, a statewide group that advocates for government transparency, is also troubled by the change. Former San Diego City Councilwoman and longtime CalAware board member Donna Frye said the group believes the change may violate state law.

“The state law governing retention of school district disposable records, in effect, requires at least a three-year preservation period,” Frye said.

Additionally, attorney Cory Briggs says that he intends to sue the district for adopting the new policy.

San Diego SPJ urges the San Diego Unified School District to reconsider the serious concerns we and others have raised about the new policy — and to provide more detail on how it will be implemented — before deleting tens of thousands of public records from its server.

SD-SPJ Asks Mayor, City Council to Prioritize Public Records Ahead of Upcoming Fiscal Budget

On Thursday, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and members of the City Council, asking staff to prioritize access to public records and information when allocating resources for the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

To read the letter, click here.

As stated in the letter, SPJ President Lisa Halverstadt and Advocacy Chair Tom Jones met with the city’s public records staff to discuss the results of a survey conducted on the city’s NextRequest public records system. More than 175 people took the survey, and many mentioned a need for additional city staff to process public-records requests and answer questions about them.  Of those surveyed, 46 percent said records were not released within the timelines initially offered by city staff.

SD-SPJ hopes the city will ensure it has adequate resources, both within the department managing the NextRequest system and within other individual departments, to respond to public-records requests.

The Board feels a more transparent government and access to information will result in a more informed San Diego community.

It’s SD-SPJ board election time

Would you like to serve on the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists’ board of directors? If you are a member of the society, you are eligible to run for the board.

The board meets monthly to plan SPJ events, oversee the annual awards contest, and weigh in on issues concerning local journalists, among other things.

The election will be held in June. If you’d like to run for the board, please submit your bio (200-word limit) by May 23 via email to Megan Wood at (subject line: SPJ Election.)

Election results will be announced in late June. Need to renew your membership? Click here.