Non-Voting Early Career Board Officer

ONA appointed Elizabeth Gabriel as the first non-voting Early Career Board Officer to the Board of Directors for an 18-month term that started on July 1, 2022. The role provides an opportunity for entry-level journalists to be active participants in shaping ONA’s mission.


The Early Career Board Officer brings to light the issues, concerns and needs of entry-level journalists that may inform ONA’s initiatives and programs. The seat gives the Early Career Officer real-world, media industry leadership experience, as well as an appreciation for the nature of nonprofit organizations; the roles and responsibilities of boards, staff and volunteers; how nonprofit boards function and what makes boards and individual board members effective.

Early Career Officer Board Responsibilities

As a non-voting member of this 501(c)3 organization, the ONA Early Career Board Officer agrees to these responsibilities:

  • Participate in a monthly conference call and attend in-person board meetings when they’re comfortable doing so
  • Contribute their perspective as an early career journalist in developing and supporting a new generation of digital journalists through ONA’s programs, particularly its annual conference, the Online Journalism Awards, professional and leadership development, ONA Local events, training, publications and partnerships with other media or technology organizations
  • Commit to editorial independence, journalistic excellence, freedom of expression and freedom of access in digital media
  • Review ONA’s history and bylaws (also included in Appendix 4 of the ONA Board of Directors Orientation booklet)
  • Practice discretion on all board matters, including board contact information, content of emails, board phone calls and meetings
  • Contribute any amount to maintain the Board’s 100% donation participation rate

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants for the Early Career Board Officer seat must meet the following requirements:

  • Early career professional with no more than three years of experience in journalism, OR a graduate student or student in their final year of college/university
  • Active ONA member
  • Available and have permission to travel to two in-person board meetings a year
  • Demonstrate interest within our five focus areas:
    • Developing strategies for emerging technology in journalism
    • Sharing best practices for audience engagement and metrics
    • Cultivating and developing newsroom leaders, culture and diversity
    • Experimenting with innovative news storytelling to serve local communities
    • Discovering revenue and business models that are sustainable and successful

Note: If the Early Career Board Officer does not have employer-sponsored or college-sponsored travel covered, ONA will cover the travel and lodging expenses to attend two annual in-person board meetings and the annual conference, up to a $2,000 limit per meeting/event. ONA will also provide complimentary conference registration.

Selection Process

The ONA Governance Committee, made up of members of the board, appointed the Early Career Board Officer from a pool of ONA members who applied to the role. Applicants completed a form that included their name, school or organization, contact information, motivation to serve on the board and a recommendation letter.

The committee reviewed all applications and selected Elizabeth Gabriel, who joined her first board meeting on July 13–15, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

For questions about the process, email ONA Program Coordinator Diana López at


  • Mar. 9: Applications opened
  • April 7: Applications closed
  • April: Application review period
  • May: Early Career Board Officer orientation
  • Jul. 13-15, 2022: Full board meeting