Headshots for Charo Henriquez, Niketa Patel, Andrew Fitzgerald and Ashley Alvarado

Charo Henríquez is ONA’s new Board President

Niketa Patel and Ashley Alvarado take on new leadership roles as Vice President and Secretary; Andrew Fitzgerald is re-elected as Treasurer

By on January 31, 2024

The Online News Association’s Board of Directors has elected Charo Henríquez, Editor, Newsroom Development and Support, at The New York Times, as the new ONA Board President. Charo takes the helm from David Smydra, who served in the top leadership role for two years. The new slate of officers leading the ONA board also includes Niketa Patel, Vice President; Andrew Fitzgerald, Treasurer; and Ashley Alvarado, Secretary.

The board voted on these leadership positions during the Jan. 25-26 meeting, and officers assumed their roles immediately. The President and Vice President will hold office for two-year terms, while the Treasurer and Secretary will serve one-year terms. The Immediate Past President will continue to support ONA in a non-voting role for one year.

Charo Henríquez, President, joined the board in 2018 and was recently re-elected by ONA members to serve her fourth term. Charo heads the Newsroom Development and Support group at The New York Times and is part of the Cultures and Careers department’s leadership team. Throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate for inclusion, digital innovation and nonlinear or less traditional paths into journalism and to leadership positions. With ONA, she frequently contributes her expertise as a speaker at conferences and events, advises leadership training and mentorship programs and has played a significant role in the impact of the Women’s Leadership Accelerator.

Niketa Patel, Vice President, is Senior Director of Leadership Programs at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. In this role, Niketa is responsible for curriculum development, instruction, recruitment, fundraising and marketing efforts for executive programs focused on driving innovation and developing sustainable business models for news. Niketa joined the board in 2019 and served as Secretary in 2023.

Andrew FitzgeraldTreasurer, has made his mark in a variety of journalism roles, from newsroom producer to leading global curation for a major tech platform to building new business models as an executive. He is currently the SVP of Streaming Video Services at Hearst Television, where he works to bring local news and original, local programming to streaming audiences across the U.S. Andrew joined the board in 2021 and is serving his second year as Treasurer.

Ashley Alvarado, Secretary, is Vice President of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives at Southern California Public Radio (KPCC + LAist). Ashley has explored and led the organization’s initiatives around audience development, engaged journalism and digital transformation for over a decade. Ashley has frequently contributed her community engagement expertise to ONA training programs, the annual conference and the Online Journalism Awards. She joined the board in 2021 and has been elected to her first officer position.

David SmydraImmediate Past President, is Vice President of Product at POLITICO. David is a media leader with deep expertise developing growth strategies and scaling product and content teams. He has served on the ONA board since 2014. His many contributions to ONA include volunteer roles as co-chair of the ONA15 conference, chair of the Online Journalism Awards from 2016–2018, Board Treasurer from 2018-2019 and Board Vice President from 2020-2021.

By providing strategic guidance to ONA’s mission and work, ONA board members play a critical role in shaping a sustainable future for the journalism industry. We are grateful to David Smydra for his dedication and leadership as the most recent President. We also extend many thanks for the incredible support of board members who completed their terms of service at the end of 2023: Fergus Bell, CEO and Founder of the news consultancy and creative studio Fathm, and Anita Li, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Toronto local outlet The Green Line.

Learn more about the Board of Directors

The Online News Association was founded in 1999 as a forum for digital news pioneers to collaborate on common challenges and encourage the highest journalistic standards. Become an ONA member or make a donation to sustain our mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.

To learn about the latest training opportunities and resources from ONA, subscribe to the ONA Weekly newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ONA.

To explore opportunities to invest in ONA’s programs and events, contact Head of Strategic Partnerships Hanaa Rifaey at hanaa@journalists.org.