The Press Club of Long Island wants you!

Dear Friend,

I’m Scott Brinton, president of the Press Club of Long Island. I know this sounds clichéd, but I somehow cannot believe I’m completing a year as president.

If you are a PCLI member, you should feel proud to belong to one of the nation’s largest and strongest chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. If you’re not a member, and you’re a working or retired journalist, journalism educator or journalism student on Long Island, I would strongly encourage you to join. Simply go to

Brinton_Headshot8_WebNext March 20-21, PCLI will host the Region I SPJ conference, when we will welcome roughly 200 of our fellow journos to the beautiful Hofstra University campus for two days of learning and networking. If you are interested in helping to organize this event, we can use as many volunteers as are willing. Just email us at

Member or not, I urge you to attend our Holiday Party in December. I also encourage you to enter our annual Media Awards contest in the spring of 2020.  Proceeds from the holiday party and contest support our activities and scholarships to deserving high school and college students who have demonstrated a commitment to becoming journalists.

And look out for our emails and/or check back regularly on the site for upcoming panel discussions, seminars, movie nights and mixers, all held here on Long Island.

On April 17 this year, SPJ celebrated its 110th anniversary. The organization was founded to protect our First Amendment right to a free press. Rarely has the need for such an organization been more vital than it is today. The journalism profession is under attack in never-before-seen ways, both from our elected leaders and corporations that seek to gut newsrooms in the name of bolstering the proverbial bottom line.

Over the past year, PCLI completed 18 panel discussions and projects. Below, please find our full annual report to SPJ National, detailing all of our activities. As you can see, we are very active throughout Long Island, working together to help preserve a 300-year tradition of American journalism.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Scott A. Brinton
President, Press Club of Long Island

Your Annual Report Submission
Chapter name: Press Club of Long Island
Region: 1
Name of person submitting report: Scott Brinton
When did you most recently conduct officer elections? 06-07-2018
Chapter president: Scott Brinton
Chapter vice president: Keith Herbert
Chapter secretary: Diana DeRosa
Chapter treasurer: Bill Bleyer
Additional board members: Carl Corry, David North, Brendan O’Reilly, Jamie Lynn Ryan, Chris Vaccaro
How many programs and projects did you complete between 5/1/2018 and 4/30/2019? Do not include business meetings of officers. 18
Was your chapter represented at Excellence in Journalism 2018? Yes
If yes, who represented your chapter? Scott Brinton, Keith Herbert, Diana DeRosa
Was your chapter represented at your regional conference? Yes
If yes, who represented your chapter? Yes, Bill Bleyer, who served as a moderator and speaker, Carl Corry and Chris Vaccaro
What is the total balance of your account(s) as of April 30, 2019? $41,870
Reviewer #1 name and email: Name: David North
Reviewer #2 name and email: Name: Brendan O’Reilly
Reviewer #3 name and email: Name: Jeff Bessen
Did your chapter file a 990? Yes
If yes, are you submitting a copy of your 990 with this report? Yes
Are you submitting copies of bank statements with this report? Yes
Are you submitting copies of your bylaws with this report? Yes
Are you attaching a report that details your chapter’s income and expenses? Yes
YOUR PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: What was your signature effort this fiscal year? What was the event that drew the biggest audience and the most attention? Our signature effort was a series of programs that we held and statements that we published in the summer of 2018 in the wake of the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting in Annapolis, Md. In August, we held a poetry reading/fundraiser at the birthplace home of journalist-poet Walt Whitman, with wine and cheese served. We had 15 readers, who paid a fee to present their original poetry. All proceeds went to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

We followed up in September with a panel discussion, “Journalists: Friends of Democracy or Enemies of the People?” The event was held at Newsday, and explored the the public’s perception of the media and safety issues now facing journalists. A combined 50 people attended the two events, with another 45 watching the panel discussion from home via Facebook Live.

Additionally, the Press Club of Long Island website served as the clearinghouse for all Long Island newspapers that published #Enough editorials on Aug. 20, denouncing President Trump’s continued attacks against the press.

Below are links to the stories on our events and statements posted on the PCLI website:
• Statement on Capital Gazette massacre:
• Statement on the expulsion of two journalists from Rep. Lee Zeldin’s political rally:
• Long Island newspapers’ #Enough campaign:
• Poetry reading fundraiser at Walt Whitman birthplace:
• “Enemies of the people” panel discussion:

The event that drew the largest crowd was our annual awards ceremony and board election, held on June 7, 2018, which was attended by 225 people. Eighty-eight awards were handed out.

SPJ OUTREACH: What did your chapter do to train or engage the public? We’re looking for anything you did to teach non-journalists about journalism. We teamed up with Stony Brook University, the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre and Hamptons Doc Fest to screen a series of films about journalism that were open to, and widely attended by, members of the public. Films included “A Private War,” “Under the Wire” and “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists.” Panel discussions, with our board members as moderators, followed each showing. Here are the links.


Also, on Nov. 29, 2018, PCLI board member David North represented the club at the Long Island Fair Media Council’s “Real & Powerful Symposium,” moderating the “Establishing Relationships” panel, which was all about how members of the public can develop relationships with the press.

And PCLI President Scott Brinton gave a talk on May 17 before the Molloy College Senior Enrichment Group about the current state of press freedom in the U.S.

STUDENT OUTREACH (Pro chapters only): Did your chapter present sessions at scholastic press association conferences or college media conventions? Did you visit high school or college classes as guest lecturers? Did you hold programs with campus SPJ chapters? July 15-21: PCLI gave a $3,000 grant to Stony Brook University’s Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists, attended by 25 students from Long Island and New York City. Press Club Board members Bill Bleyer, Carl Corry and Chris Vaccaro volunteered throughout the week to edit students’ work before it was published on the Greene Gazette website. 20, 2018: Bleyer, Corry and Vaccaro, all past PCLI presidents, and Brinton gave a talk for participants in the Greene Institute offering tips on how to secure internships and break into the journalism profession.
July 23-28: Brinton hosted the weeklong High School Summer Journalism Institute at Hofstra University. PCLI provided a $1,000 grant to support the program, which works to increase diversity in the media. The 10 participants came from three low-income, racially diverse communities — Elmont, Freeport and Hempstead.

Dec. 12, 2018: Brinton and Vaccaro served as speakers for Hofstra University’s annual High School Press Day. Brinton spoke to newspaper club advisers, and Vaccaro to aspiring sports journalists.

Feb. 11, 2019: Corry hosted a workshop, “How to Get a Job in Journalism,” at Suffolk Community College for the SCC journalism club and students at the school in general. Bleyer moderated the panel discussion.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Did your chapter offer high school and/or college scholarships to students pursuing a career in journalism? The $3,000 awarded to Stony Brook University’s Greene Institute was earmarked to pay the expenses of two student journalists, Taylor Yon and Zoe Gordon, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the site of a mass shooting in February 2018. Taylor and Zoe helped to inform an ongoing discussion on guns in America.

Brinton interviewed Taylor and Zoe on July 20 and published their story in Herald Community Newspapers and on the PCLI website.

The 2018 PCLI Outstanding College Journalism Scholarship was awarded to Erik Peter from Suffolk County Community College, while the Hank Logeman/News 12 High School Journalism Scholarship went to Zoe Malin of North Shore High School. The scholarship amounts were $2,500 and $1,500, respectively.

Summer of 2018: PCLI provided a total of $1,000 in stipends to a half-dozen high school and college interns at Long Island weekly newspapers to help them offset their travel and incidentals costs. PCLI also helped to place a half-dozen interns at Long Island weekly newspapers.

ETHICS: Did your chapter discuss journalism ethics with journalists or the public in your area? At our September panel discussion, “Journalists: Friends of Democracy or Enemies of the People,” a large part of the discussion centered on the role that journalists have played, ethically, in detracting from our mission of informing the public with accurate and credible information.

The panel featured a Fox News commentator, a New York City public relations representative (formerly press secretary to Republican senator and Trump supporter Alfonse D’Amato) and Pat Biancaniello, editor of Smithtown Matters, one of the two editors who were expelled from Rep. Lee Zeldin’s campaign rally in July 2018.

FOI: Did you hold FOI programs? Work with other organizations to defend press freedom in your area? Lobby or speak out on FOI or open government issues? On March 27, 2019, PCLI hosted a Freedom of Information Forum at Hofstra University, led by Carolyn James, our FOIA chairwoman. Roughly 50 school district administrators, police officers and college students attended. A light breakfast was served before the presentation. The talk featured Bob Freeman, director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, who came down from Albany for the event; Cliff Richner, publisher emeritus of Herald Community Newspapers; and Afreen Wright, chief deputy town attorney for the Town of Babylon. Here is a link to our story:
DIVERSITY: Did you examine diversity in journalism with journalists or work with diversity media groups to promote the concept? In addition to the weeklong journalism camp that Brinton organized at Hofstra University to encourage students from minority school districts to consider careers in journalism, he and five of his Hofstra students met every other week for eight weeks with Freeport High School students who were studying journalism. Brinton and his students assisted the high-schoolers in one-on-one sessions as they crafted their very first articles. Freeport is a low-income, largely minority school district.

Also, one of Brinton’s students from the Hofstra Summer Journalism Institute, Momna Chourdy, a student at the Crescent School in Hempstead, started a student-run newspaper at her school after having attended the institute. Momna and other members of the new newspaper club came to Herald Community Newspapers on Dec. 16, 2018, to tour the facility with Brinton and chat with journalists.

OTHER PROGRAMS: List all other programs your chapter held during the time period of this report. Add a short phrase, if needed, to explain what the program was. Do not repeat programs listed elsewhere? • July 31, 2018: PCLI publishes a statement on its website opposing the Trump Administration’s tariffs on newsprint.

• Sept. 20, 2018: PCLI publishes a statement on its website opposing massive newsroom cuts by media conglomerate Altice to News 12 Long Island.

• Oct. 6, 2018: The Society of Professional Journalists Region I joins PCLI in decrying cuts to News 12.

• Nov. 29, 2018: PCLI hosts the panel discussion, “The Leadership Test,” on newsroom leadership, at Newsday. Roughly 35 people attend.

• Dec. 16, 2018: PCLI hosts its annual holiday party at Watermill Caterers in Smithtown. Food and drink are served. More than 60 people attend.

• Jan. 2, 2019: PCLI opens its annual Media Awards competition for entries. The club receives 715 entries, the second most in our history.

• Jan. 17, 2019: PCLI hosts a Google Sheets training at Herald Community Newspapers, featuring Google trainer Frank Bi, a digital engineer at SB Nation. Twenty-five people attend.

• Jan. 20, 2019: PCLI publishes a Society of Professional Journalists membership appeal letter on its website:

• Feb. 12, 2019: The club publishes a PCLI Scholarship Fund appeal letter on its website:

• March 1, 2019: Bleyer and Vaccaro meet with the journalism faculty at the State University of New York at Old Westbury to begin developing ideas for an internship program between PCLI and the school.

• May 18, 2019: PCLI hosts Wine Country mixer at Martha Clara Vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork.

SPJ SUPPORT (Pro chapters only): Did your chapter help judge the Mark of Excellence or Sigma Delta Chi awards? Regional or other chapters’ awards? Contests from other organizations? Yes, PCLI representatives helped to judge the Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards, and Vaccaro chairs the Region 1 MOE Awards.

Also, PCLI helped to judge the Oklahoma Pro Awards as part of the organized SPJ awards swap.

MEMBERSHIP: How many members did you gain or lose this fiscal year? What specific actions did you take to retain or recruit members? Any innovative efforts? In addition to publishing a membership appeal letter on our website, we blasted it out to all past and current members via MailChimp, as well as streamed it through social media. At a number of our events, we encouraged participants to join. We actively worked to develop a wide variety of events that would attract the widest possible audience and appeal to members and non-members alike. We picked up three new members as a result of our membership appeal letter. Here’s a link to the letter:
COMMUNICATION: What did your chapter do to keep members informed about chapter activities? Do you publish a newsletter? Communicate by email? Provide links to a chapter website, Facebook page, Twitter account, or other ways you reach members. For every event, we preview it at least two to three weeks ahead of time on our website, and blast the announcement via MailChimp and stream it through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. After each event, we write up a story that is posted on our website and streamed through our social media channels. Additionally, we have streamed events via Facebook Live.

We have also published several statements relating to press freedom and the state of the media industry, all of which were also blasted out via email and streamed through social media.

• Facebook:
• Twitter: @PCLI

FUNDRAISING: Did your chapter conduct any fundraising activities this year? Explain your efforts and the results. Proceeds from our annual awards dinner in June and our holiday dinner in December go to support scholarships for high school and college journalism students.

Also, we published a scholarship appeal letter on Feb. 12, 2019:

Did your chapter complete any other activities during the year not explained above? Do any of the above activities require elaboration? If desired please provide no more than 250 additional words to support your annual report. I have attached a timeline of all our activities, projects and website statements.








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