Minutes – April 8, 2016

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jody Brannon
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • David Skok
  • David Smydra
  • Benét Wilson

Board members not present:

  • Meredith Artley
  • Michelle Baruchman (Student Representative)
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Steve Hermann
  • Jim Roberts
  • Jose Zamora

Also Present:

  • Alison Schary Davis
  • Wright Tremaine, General Counsel

Staff in attendance:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager
  • Meghan Murphy, Community Manager
  • Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Staff not present:

  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager

The meeting was called to order at 1:06 p.m. ET.

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the March 2016 board call.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

  • Staff is working on getting auditors all financial information for the 2015 audit, which will be ready for review and approval at the June Board meeting.
  • Jane and Irving Interviewed two strong candidates for the OJA Awards consulting coordinator, who will be hired shortly.
  • Irving is interviewing for an events planning coordinator and Jen is putting the final touches on a job description for a social media / communications consultant.
  • We are in the contract stage for a web consultant, who will make design and content updates to the Build Your Own Ethics Code.

Conference Updates

ONA London: Audience Engagement, held at Reuters UK headquarters on April 1, was hugely successful. Attendees noted that the opening featured three women keynotes. The event had six sponsors, and most were new. The opening reception on Thursday evening was hosted by Google, with more than 100 people in attendance. The day closed with Lindsay Grace of American University connecting journalism and game theory. Video for all sessions will be available next week for ONA members only.

ONA 16: The Suggestion Box closed on March 31, with a record­breaking 345 submissions for session ideas. Trevor said he has reviewed all and sent to the Program Team. There were many submissions around social media, video, VR/Augmented Reality and Digital Audio. The goal is to have a rough draft of the program by end of the month. Workshops will be released during the second week of May so attendees can see panels before Early Bird registration expires. Jess reported that, for the first time, we have a sponsor for the growing International reception, and we already have a sponsor for the opening night reception. Sponsorships are at 40 percent to goal for the year, with five months to go. The convention hotel is sold out Wednesday and Saturday. Trevor reported that, for the first time, ONA will post a code of conduct for the annual conference.

ONA18: Irving reported that we have contracted with the JW Marriott in Austin for the 2018 conference, which will run September 14-­16.


Website redesign: The redesigned journalists.org was released during the London conference. Jeremiah, Trevor and Greg Linch worked on the site, which is responsive and features stronger navigation.

ONA Local: Meghan updated the Board on the status of our newest ONA Local, ONA Japan, which launched with about 20 members. The Knight Foundation is currently reviewing our two­year ONA Local strategy, submitted on April 1


Digital Leadership Breakfast: Jess reported that the third in this year’s series will be held in San Francisco on April 22, focusing on how to forge smart, useful tech­media partnerships.


Ethics (Eric Carvin, Chair): ONA released the Social Newsgathering Ethics Code, which has been three years in the making, at the London conference. Eric worked with a team of journalists and educators, led by Mandy Jenkins and Fergus Bell, who also led a packed session and office hours on the code in London. Founding supporters, now up to 15, include the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, Storyful and reported.ly.

Legal Affairs (Mandy Jenkins, Chair): The committee, along with General Counsel Alison Schary, plan to gather, curate and create more robust legal resources for journalists on the new website.

Online Journalism Awards (David Smydra, Chair): David and Kim Bui and staff are refining the categories for clarity, with input from Board members, the industry and past judges. A blog will be posted to explain the revisions when the OJAs open for entries.

The meeting ended at 1:56 p.m. ET.

The next call will be on Friday, May 13, 2016.

­­These minutes are submitted by ONA Secretary Benét J. Wilson.