Yesterday, Jane McDonnell announced she will retire as executive director of ONA at the end of the year. It marks the end of an era for the Online News Association.
That era began in 2008, when Jane was named executive director. At that time, Jane was one of two ONA employees overseeing a budget of less than $400,000 and supporting about 1,700 members. Now eight years later, Jane oversees a staff of six, plus a handful of consultants, runs a multimillion-dollar budget, and our membership has surpassed 2,600. Without question, nobody is more responsible for the success of ONA than Jane, and she’ll be leaving our organization healthier than ever, with a supremely talented staff and a bright future.
As hard as it will be to see Jane go, it’s going to be even more difficult to find someone to fill her shoes. Nevertheless, that is a responsibility of the board and we take it seriously. We have posted the job and will be conducting a thorough search to find our next leader to help us continue Jane’s work.
What are we looking for? In short, we want someone who is as passionate about digital journalism as all of you are, and who has the energy and vision to build on Jane’s work and carry us into the future. We know there are excellent candidates both within and outside of the ONA community and we’re eager to talk to them all. Our posting provides greater details, including how to apply, or you’re welcome to email me with questions.
Our goal is to select a new executive director to be introduced at the conference in Denver this September. Then we’ll begin a transition that will take us through the end of the year.
Not only has Jane been an incredible leader for the organization, but on a personal note, she’s been a friend for nearly 20 years. Her dedication to ONA is second to none and we are lucky to have benefited from her leadership. It’s not going to be easy to say goodbye, though we’ll be sure to thoroughly thank — and embarrass — her in Denver. In the meantime, please join me and the rest of the board in thanking Jane for all she’s done and congratulating her on the next chapter in her life. She deserves it.