Minutes – Dec. 10, 2010

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Christine Montgomery
  • Jon Hart
  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Ken Sands
  • Katharine Fong
  • Liz Lufkin
  • Amy Webb
  • Anthony Moor
  • Meredith Artley
  • Jane McDonnell (Executive Director)
  • Sean Connolly (Editor, Journalists.org)

Not in attendance:

  • Katie King
  • Cory Haik
  • Dick Meyer
  • Jon Dube
  • Jeanne Brooks, (Community engagement manager)

Old business

The November minutes were approved.

New business

The board extends warm goodbyes to Jon Dube, Dick Meyer, Neil Budde, and thanks them for their years of service to ONA.

Officer elections Jim made a proposal to the board to think about before discussion at the Jan. 2011 meeting: a change in the bylaws so officers’ term limits are extended to 2 years (from 1 year), to allow for learning curve and continuity in leadership (he noted that as treasurer, it took him about a year to understand how money moves through the organization). Specifically, officers can be elected to 2 year terms, but must be elected each year and

  1. can opt out after 1 year if the job is not a good fit, or if their personal/professional circumstances have changed; or
  2. can be voted out by a majority of the board. Downside: a slower ascension to leadership, especially at the executive committee level. Jim is not advocating for a formal leadership ladder, and neither he nor Christine are suggesting that their own terms be extended.

Amy said this was the exact issue that had been discussed a year ago and rejected by the board. Jon H. thought the discussion should be broadened to include whether the 3-term limit for board members should be extended – does it push useful people off the board? Jane said that in her position as ED continuity in leadership is helpful, what with strategic planning etc. · Platforms for policy issues Christine talked about how we should figure out how ONA weighs in quickly on hot topics, such as Wikileaks. For some cases, we want to issue an ONA statement; for others, we can use Cover It Live, for example, so ONA can be a part of the conversation, and in fact lead the conversation. This needs to be addressed now, since our new website has yet to be launched. Amy said she and Cory have used Blog Talk Radio on hot topics with success. The key is to create a pool of people to participate so they can be brought on at short notice. Meredith, in her capacity as website redevelopment committee head, thought we should also have on our site discussions/forums on topics of interest to members, such as whether Gawker is turning away from blogs in its new redesign.

Updates and Discussion

  • Website Redev Committee Meredith reported that the committee will meet in person in DC on Mon., Dec. 13, for the full day, to discuss the new site and figure out how best to use the $75K. She said she had talked to the person behind the Poynter redesign, since the Poynter site is similar to ONA in terms of content and e-commerce, and it can be used as a model.
  • Events & Training Committee Jane reported that Jeanne has set up on basecamp region-specific activities, and there is a lot of activity. She is also working on the Honolulu parachute training – 2 full days, which is first time ONA has done that. ONA is now being approached by multiple people and organizations to partner in events and training. Jane, Jeanne and Sean will meet next week to break down what is ONA’s capacity for these kinds of activities and how to prioritze them.
  • Education Committee Jody says the Facebook page continues to get good response, and it’s a good solution to showcase student work. Katie wants to use it as a model for ONA international. But some things get “lost” on Facebook, so Jody et all need to figure out how to separate out the important items or make them easier to find. The page is by invite only and open to members only. Jody has been approached by the March conference of the Collegiate Press, in NYC, where 1000 students will converge. They are interested in ONA digital training. ONA needs to commit by late Dec/early Jan, and we may not be able to pull it off because SXSW is during the same time period.
  • Advisory Board Amy sent detailed notes in the advisory board meeting minutes, so refer to them. Of particular importance: we need to discuss the tiered membership strategy, and also the how/why/where we need money.
  • Partnership Committee Christine has been in touch with Vicky Krueger from Poynter, and ONA members will get discounts to the new lineup of News U webinars. We need to talk about ONAvations and who will do them. Poynter is interested in creating a “how to” section on its site, and this could possibly be done by ONA members. Meanwhile, regarding the OJA’s, we are working on an archive for digital news and best practices/OJA winners. Jane said they tried to find specific categories of winners from past OJA’s, including judges’ commentary, but they were hard to find. We will have a call about an OJA website, perhaps similar to the contest entry site that SPJ built. Anthony will be making suggestions on how to handle and judge the increasing number of entries
  • Legal Committee and Shield Law update Jon H. reports “nothing encouraging” to say about federal shield law. There is no appetite to bring up shield law in this congressional session, and it may be several years to get back to where we were this past summer. He believes the reason is because of the succession of wikileaks disclosures.Knight grant Jane updated everyone on the year and a half saga: the marketing survey is done, and it will be sent next week to Knight. She hopes to hear by end of year. The grant is $200K for a biz dev person.
  • Diversity – The board needs to appoint a member as per the bylaws. Though it’s not specifically labeled as a “diversity” seat, Jim suggests that we are not as diverse, particularly in media, as we should be. Board members should suggest names of potential appointments by Jan. 7. Send to Jim the name, the background and why the person would be a good appointment.

Board call ended at 2 p.m. ET