Minutes – Aug. 23, 2018

Online News Association Board of Directors Special Meeting

Board members in attendance: Justina Sharp (Student Representative), P. Kim Bui, Eric Carvin, Josh Hatch, Charo Henriquez, Imaeyen Ibanga, Mandy Jenkins, Greg Linch, Celeste LeCompte, Shazna Nessa, Versha Sharma, David Smydra, Elite Truong, Benét Wilson, Jose Zamora.

Board members not present: Nathalie Malinarich.

Also present: Carolyn Skinner, Dembo Jones.

Staff in attendance: Irving Washington, Executive  Director; Trevor Knoblich, Head of Programs and Events;  Jen Mizgata, Director of Programs; Jessica Strelitz, Head of, Strategic Partnerships; Adam Nekola, Senior Digital Manager; Meghan Murphy, Community Senior Manager, Communities and Local Journalism Initiatives; Karolle Rabarison, Communications Manager, Diana Lopez, Administrative Assistant.

The meeting was called to order at 12:05 p.m.

Old Business

The board delayed approving minutes until the next meeting.

Board business

Partnerships (Irving)

  • We had an extensive conversation around partnerships. The staff is still working through the gift acceptance policy.

Strategic Planning (Irving)

  • A reminder we no longer have three committees, but we now have one larger group and they met the day before the June board meeting.
  • Nell has taken the feedback from that meeting, staff, and the June meeting and is also doing extensive market research. The group will meet in October and then in December. The full strategic plan should be available in January 2019.

Board Elections/Appointments (Irving)

  • Board elections closed last night at midnight. The staff is performing a membership check and making sure nominations have the necessary materials (nomination and candidate form). Candidates will be announced on August 29.
  • Versha asks about voting and the process because the percentage has been on the lower end (15-20%). Josh says he does not think it’s unusual for peer organizations.
  • Voting will open on September 11, right before ONA18. Irving says there will be a daily conference newsletter during ONA18, staff could highlight the election in that.
  • Eric brings up with a large number of candidates, perhaps the board should raise the bar for nominations because large pools of candidates can be difficult and candidate forums can be difficult. Josh mentions more than 10 years ago, the hurdle was a lot tougher and some potential candidates felt it was exclusionary. Because things have changed, perhaps things have changed. David agrees it may be a disservice to the community to have so many candidates. He suggests diving into this topic in an upcoming board meeting.
  • Mandy and Irving mention that the board should be thinking of who we might appoint to the board.

990 (Carolyn)

  • The 990 is the annual information return that all non-profits file. ONA’s will not need to be filed until November. This is a public document.
  • There are a few changes to the return, with updated narratives on what ONA’s service accomplishments are, the full board is now listed on the return and there are some more disclosures on international events like ONA’s international gathering and the international OJA recipients.
  • Carolyn also points out the Schedule A, which shows ONA’s public support. ONA more than meets the threshold for public support as opposed to grants.
  • Irving reminds the board the numbers in the 990 are mostly from the audit.

Staffing Updates (Irving)

  • Welcome to Diana, our new administrative assistant.
  • The strategic partnerships coordinator listing will be open in time for ONA18.

Resource Portal / Digital (Adam)

  • The staff has been working on this with Alley Interactive and hopes to have this launch at the beginning of the conference.
  • All resources from conference sites will be moved over, and the testing phase should begin soon.
  • The portal offers all the audio, video, and speaker presentations will be available. There will be a track feature curated by staff and available to ONA members only.
  • This was spurred by the Journalism Mentorship Collaborative and allows ONA to have a “course” for them and other programs.

Online Journalism Awards (Kim)

  • Judges were impressed with the process this year and some calls were women-only.
  • International judges noted that they could not view some sites due to GDPR, the committee has noted that for next year.
  • Shazna notes that it was a difficult decision coming to the recipient for the Community Award, but there were some thoughtful conversations and the committee is very excited.
  • Eric notes that it was great to have Diane Foley as part of the process this year.
  • David congratulates the true community effort from beginning to end.

ONA18 (Trevor/Jess)

  • Jess: There are still new sponsors coming on board. Sponsorships have set a new record for ONA this year. The annual food post has gone out and the party post will go up next week.
  • Irving: there are 2,000 attendees at the moment. Staff anticipates ~2,400 attendees. This will be bigger than 2016, but not as large as 2017. A board agenda will be distributed prior to the conference.
  • Trevor: There will be a virtual first-timers orientation for the first year.
  • Wednesday will be a community gathering day. UT and Texas State are hosting ONAU this year and there is a media law workshop as well.
  • Knight Foundation will have a conversation and gathering Wednesday evening. Dana Boyd will be the opening featured conversation. There are more than 70 options otherwise. John Carreyrou, author of “Bad Blood,” will also be a featured conversation.
  • RSVP session will open today. Attendees can see the RSVP function on the session listing. The RSVPs open at 2 p.m. today.

The meeting ended at 1:07 p.m. ET.

The next call October 25 call will be rescheduled soon.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary P. Kim Bui