Non-Voting Student Representative

ONA will appoint one non-voting Student Representative to the Board of Directors for a two-year term, starting Jan. 1, 2020. This appointment is designed to include ONA student members’ perspectives in initiatives and determine how ONA might best serve student journalists.


The Student Representative will serve as a liaison between the Board and all active student members of ONA, bringing to light student issues, concerns and needs that may inform initiatives and programs. The seat will give the Student Representative 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 and ineffective.

I had a seat at the table with industry professionals I long admired to engage in rich conversations about the future of the organization and the future of journalism. The position also gave me mentors who continue to guide my career.

Student Representative Board Responsibilities

As a non-voting member of this 501(c)3 organization, the ONA Student Representative agrees:

  • To participate in a monthly conference call and attend two in-person board meetings each year
  • To be committed to contributing the student perspective 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
  • To be committed to editorial independence, journalistic excellence, freedom of expression and freedom of access in digital media
  • To review ONA’s history and bylaws (in Appendix 4 of the ONA Board of Directors Orientation booklet and at
  • To practice discretion on all Board matters, including Board contact information, content of emails, Board phone calls and meetings
  • To make a small contribution to ONA to maintain the Board’s 100% donation participation rate

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants for the Student Representative seat must:

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student in a U.S. college or university as of September 2019*
  • Be an active ONA Student member
  • Provide a current college transcript
  • Be available and have permission to travel to two in-person Board meetings a year during 2020 and 2021
  • Journalism, media, multimedia, data, computer science major or relevant experience preferred

*In the event the Student Representative is a rising senior or in a one-year graduate program, he or she can remain in the seat for one year after his or her graduation.

Note: ONA will cover the travel and lodging expenses for the Student Representative to attend two annual meetings, up to a $2,000 limit. If the student plans to attend the ONA20 and ONA21 conferences, he or she must cover food, travel and lodging expenses. ONA will provide complimentary conference registration (estimated at $150).

Selection Process

The student will be selected by a Student Board Representative Ad-Hoc Committee made up of members of the Board.

The committee will solicit applications from ONA students members via the ONA Weekly newsletter, which will include eligibility requirements and an ONA contact ( Students will then fill out a form that includes their name, school, contact information, a recommendation letter from their teacher/educator and a current transcript. The committee also will solicit recommendations from ONA academic members.

The committee will review all applications and select and interview two candidates, one as back-up in the event the first selection is not able to commit to the role and its responsibilities. The selected Student Representative will undergo an orientation prior to the Board’s first meeting of 2020.


  • Oct. 23: Applications open
  • Nov. 14: Applications close
  • November/December: Application review period
  • Dec. 18: Board orientation
  • Jan. 23-24, 2020: Full board meeting