Minutes – Dec. 11-12, 2008

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

San Francisco Hilton

In attendance:

  • Jon Dube
  • Anthony Moor
  • Cory Tolbert Haik
  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Tom Brew
  • Denise Polverine
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Katharine Fong
  • Ken Sands
  • Neil Budde
  • Sherry Skalko (Editor, journalists.org)
  • Jane McDonnell (Executive Director)

Not in attendance:

  • Dick Meyer
  • Teresa Hanafin
  • Kurt Greenbaum

The meeting was convened on Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. PT.

Minutes: The board unanimously approved the November meeting minutes.

10th Anniversary: The board discussed this opportunity to reach out to potential members and really look at how we can better serve our membership. We need to really be the beacon of hope for journalism in these changing times.

Brand discussion: What is our brand? ONA Journalism. Innovation. Excellence. Where journalism, innovation and excellence meet (we would use this tagline for conference- related marketing and at the event)

Membership Benefits: The board discussed the need to look at more surveys, partnerships, continuing to improve the Web site, restructuring committees to make more relevant, advisory boards, etc.
Corporate members: We have heard from more companies this past year saying they find our conference valuable to their employees. We continue to look at corporate membership.

Grants: Jane is handling our grants. She recently met with Gary Kebbel of Knight.

Government and Legal issues: The board discussed what we currently do in this area and how we can make improvements in ’09. We will talk to other organizations like the Online Publishers Association to see how they handle these issues.

More on 10th anniversary Campaign Initiatives:

  • January – July: Partnership with NewsU on Webinar training series (training)
  • February: Awards sponsorship academic partner (best practices)
  • March – April: First survey of state of online journalists with Project for Excellence in Journalism (benchmarking).
  • June: Crowd-sourcing on Journalists.org (networking and technology)
  • Sept – Oct. ONA09: 10th Anniversary Celebration. Starting to build up. We really want to find a way to better display it online by Fall.

2009 Timeline: Quarter-by-Quarter Priorities: The Board went over first, second, third and fourth quarter priorities.

In-depth look at ’08 revenue and expenses: Neil Budde walked the board through our financials for ’08.

Fundraising Plan: The board discussed various levels: Friends of ONA, Current Board Members, Large Donors, Member Donations

Conference Co-Chairs: Katharine Fong and Liz Lufkin updated the board on the progress made for the ’09 conference. We want to support and celebrate ONA’s 10-year anniversary. We will leverage the resources in Silicon Valley and the Bay area and the technology here. We will rely on local talent in this area.

  • Josh Hatch will handle panels (USA Today) with Laura Cochran • Joe Grimm will handle the job fair
  • Chris Wu will handle Social Media again
  • Katie King is managing International issues
  • Keynotes: Katharine and Liz are looking at 2 or 3 keynote speakers (no super panel this year). Amy Webb has talked to John Battel. He has agreed to get involved in some way.
  • We are developing three tracks for this conference and more time for networking and mingling.
  • Katharine and Liz discussed having a Demo derby where companies and entrepreneurs can pitch their wares in a fun and engaging way with the emphasis on new, cutting-edge technologies.
  • Sponsorship Opportunities: The Board discussed sponsorship opportunities for this conference.

Awards: Anthony Moor went over a new, proposed fee structure that is less complicated. The board approved Anthony’s plan. Anthony also updated the board on potential academic Award partners.

Break for evening.

Meeting resumed at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12.

New Site: Sherry Skalko went over all the user-facing benefits/functionality, member networking, career center, etc. Goal in 2009 is to increase page views by 25% through August. Use site functionality to increase membership. The board discussed that the ONA site (journalists.org) needs to convey the latest technology. Create a Web Site committee that keeps us abreast of industry trends and contribute to the redesign/development.

Development: Do we need training in getting donations? The board also discussed contributions, awards and endowments.

Audit: Jean is prepping for our audit and getting all books and finances in proper order.

More about 10th anniversary: The board discussed getting T-shirts made and asking users to submit videos on what journalism will be in 10 years.

Membership: The board went over renewal rates and membership breakdown by member type.

  • Recruitment campaign: survey (lets them know we want to stand out). Interaction, site, e-communications, social media, committees (getting membership involved)
  • Targets: Technologists and vendors, independents (high-level and start-ups), students, academics, transitional journalists, international, diversity
  • New Membership Levels: Vendors. Corporate/Group. Vendor pages on ONA site.

2009 Partnerships: Groups and Academic: We are going to meet with several universities to discuss working with them on various programs and initiatives.

Events: Ken Sands gave an overview of status of various meetings, like those planned in Ohio. He discusses the possible financial commitments in jointly sponsored events. How much could we charge in order to not lose money but to ensure a strong agenda? We’ve learned that charging something to register helps ensure people will show up. An ONA Event Planning Guide was created for members to use if they want to plan an ONA event.

NewsTrain: Jim Brady says NewsTrain has 5 more events next year and they want us to be involved.

Newsletters: Newsletter is being redesigned. New design allows space for potential sponsors.

Academics: Jody says she is looking at using the meet-up strategy for the university setting. Jody would like to get student groups set up. Jody could use help. The need among academics is huge. Tom Brew may help Jody.

Jody said students would like to get an ONA member on campus to do a Q & A with. Maybe set up a Saturday event that students can attend.

Sherry Skalko said she is thinking about having meet-ups at Chicago Universities. Jody would like to contribute to the newsletter to update progress in this area.

We have 118 student members. Ask members who want to be mentors and students who want mentors.

Committees: Do we need to prioritize?

  • Web site committee: developers, technologists,
  • Board members head the committee and then recruit members.
  • Do we have a pool of volunteers? Jane says we can create a pool and dip into it as needed. -Should each board member chair a committee, find a non-board co-chair and recruit members? Membership (bloggers, magazines, international, diversity, etc.) Development, Education, Legal, Events/Training, Conference, Awards, International
  • Web site, Partnerships, Innovation Watch
  • Jane will shape up our priorities and send out to board.

2010 Conference: The conference will be in D.C., based on survey results. We are still looking at two possible hotels.

Board meetings: We went over upcoming meetings for ’09.

Executive Session: The board then went into executive session.

The meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, PT.