Minutes – April 13, 2012

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:
Jim Brady, President
Meredith Artley, Vice President
Jody Brannon, Treasurer
Will Sullivan, Secretary

Joshua Hatch
Amy Webb
Juana Summers
John Keefe
Christine Montgomery
Cory Haik
Burt Herman
Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
Katie King (Joined at 1:31 p.m. EST)

Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
Irving Washington, Scholarship Manager

Robert Hernandez
Rob King
Sean Connolly, Digital Manager
Jeanne Brooks, Director of Innovation and Community Engagement
Jennifer Mizgata, Communications and Social Media Manager

Old Business

Jim motions to approve the March meeting minutes, Meredith seconds. Unanimously approved.


Jane said there will be a presentation at the May board meeting regarding the 2011 audit update. She also mentioned that Gannett has renewed their grant to support the Online Journalism Awards and conference Career Summit & Job Fair.


Jane said the Senior Manager of Business Development and Sales has been hired. He lives in Reston, VA, and has about 10-15 years of business development experience at places like Thompson Reuters, The Weather Channel, MTV and more. Jim and Meredith interviewed him, along with Jeanne and Sean. He has a good personality and sense of humor and knows the business. He starts Wednesday, April 18, and will also attending the board meeting.

Jane mentioned that they’re putting together pieces for a potential new position for a Content Producer/Editor, as Latoya’s contract ends this month and she might have another opportunity. They’re also working on a position for a Membership/Administrative Coordinator to work under Sean and help with the administrative and database accounting procedures, HR and personal accounting procedures that are done by current staff.


Irving Washington said the AP-Google Scholarship winners have been announced and profiled and will start blogging for the site. AP & Google were very happy and have committed to the second year, hopefully with the potential to expand if the project continues to go as well as it has. Local media picked it up in their hometowns and social media helped spread the word too. He also mentioned that setting up the ONA ‘pressroom’ for sharing photos, bios and other info resources with outside media paid off and worked well.


Jane said the board meeting will be held May 11-12 in San Francisco. An agenda hasn’t been set yet, but the Board will tour the venue and possibly the opening reception space.

Jane said the registration for ONA12 was opening on April 20. The website is open and up and a new logo is coming. They’ve already received a bunch of interest, especially from people who were tracking the openingdate (because the date was listed earlier than the 20th, initially). Tiered rates will be used again and pricing hasn’t changed. Josh noted that the rate not changing for several years now should be noted. Juanna added that promotion comparing the rate to other tech conferences in the area should be shared also.

Programming Chair David Cohn is working with Jeanne and 10 programming co-chairs who are organizing sessions into four strong tracks. The schedule should be announced in late May (earlier than normal).

Jane said the student newsroom had more than 450 applicants this year, hugely up from last year, largely due to lots of outreach to students and educators (through scholarships, MJ Bear Fellowships, Google-AP Scholarships, the ONA Educator Facebook page, and student groups), that is all paying off. They need to select 20 out of that group, which the Student Newsroom Coordinators Michelle Johnson, Curt Chandler and Sara Kelly, are currently working on.


Jane said that ONA has signed a contract with the Marriott in Atlanta to host ONA13 there. The hotel rate is $139/day and ONA has the full run of the hotel and a low minimum room block, so we can test opening up attendance and expanding the conference without the risk of losing money.

Other potential events were discussed among the group, including a smaller event in London in 2013 and 2014 conference options.


MJ Bear Fellows Committee
Jane said that the MJ Bear Fellowship is opening applications on April 17. Some of the application requirements have changed based on experience from the first year’s group, who provided great feedback, especially on the mentorship portion. The current fellows also said that their experience really helped move their careers forward, citing promotions, new job and funding opportunities from their experience with the fellowship.

Education Committee
Jody updated the group on the progress of the ONA Educators group and said she’s working with Jeanne to create an ONA “Topics” for educators (similar to ONA Issues) to share their expertise with other ONA members.

International Committee
Mario updated the group on the Perugia Conference coming up, which he, Katie and Robert are attending and spreading the word about ONA, including one panel showcasing previous award winners work. Josh is helping pull together the finalists and award winners into a database, collecting screenshots through 2005 for nearly all the winners.

Katie mentioned that there’s two new UK co-chairs, Steven Wilson-Beales and Federica Cocco.

ONACamp & other events

Jeanne was in Montana for the ONA Camp there during this call, but Jane shared that they had more than 65 people registered for the event.

There was discussion about other events coming up this year where ONA could hold side events (i.e. Unity, NABJ, etc.) to build partnerships, give topical workshops and grow membership.

Board meeting

Jane reminded the group to send topic items for the board meeting agenda. There was discussion about possible topics and how to approach them, as well as get through the operational items quickly and make more effective use of the group being together in one place for more strategic decisions.

Next Board meeting: Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, San Francisco Hyatt Regency