Minutes – Dec. 12, 2014

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In Attendance

  • Meredith Artley
  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch,
  • Steve Hermann
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch

Not present

  • Robert Hernandez
  • Richard Hernandez
  • Jennifer Preston
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson


  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Irving Washington, Director of Operations
  • Jessica Strelitz, Strategic Partnerships Manager
  • Jen Mizgata, Social Media and Communications Manager

Also Attending

  • Michael Kovaka

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

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the November board call.

Board Business

January 2015 Board meeting (Jane McDonnell): Jane noted the January board meeting will be at the NPR building. Dinner will be at 706 Restaurant Thursday, Jan. 29. Orientation materials and the 2014 summary and financial statements will be distributed to the Board soon.

2014 contributions (Josh Hatch): As of the date of this meeting, there are only two outstanding board pledges to be fulfilled.

Administration, Operations

Organizational Structure Meeting (Jane McDonnell, Meredith Artley): Meredith, Josh, Jody, Jane and Irving met with Michael Kovaka (legal counsel) and Carolyn Skinner (accounting) to discuss ONA’s organizational structure to ensure ONA is on the right track in regard to its tax status and revenue growth.

Benefits update (Irving Washington): Irving said the ONA staff is switching over to Zenefits, an online technology solution for managing human resources and benefits needs. This change should make it easier for staff to manage their benefits.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

ONA London: Mobile 2015 (Jane McDonnell): Jane said ONA will be launching our first mini-conference in 2015 in the United Kingdom. It will be held on March 6 at Reuters’ UK headquarters and will focus on mobile design, content and distribution.

Women’s Leadership Academy (Jane McDonnell): ONA is working with the Poynter Institute to hold a leadership academy for women in digital media April 12-17. The curriculum and faculty are being put together now. Jane noted Poynter has been a great partner throughout the planning. ONA received its first grant from the Ford Foundation to pay for the opening reception for students and faculty. A call for applications will open up in the first two weeks of January.

Digital Toolkit (Trevor Knoblich, Jane McDonnell): Trevor updated the Board on the planned rollout of some online tools for ONA members, depending on funding. The Build Your Own Ethics Code will live online as a wizard that walks users through the process, allowing them to export the final product as a PDF. Trevor said because ONA has had other groups approach the team with compliments on the interactive schedule on the ONA14 site, the ONA staff is discussing turning that tool into a WordPress plugin for anyone to use to create their own interactive schedule. Jane noted the tools may be a small way to add to ONA’s coffers. Trevor said both tools should launch in May. ONA15

Venue, branding (Irving Washington, Trevor Knoblich): Irving told the Board that the conference hotel will be entirely taken over by ONA during the conference. The staff is reimagining the exhibits, Midway and job fair because of the increased space at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Irving also noted the staff is examining the wireless internet setup and is 90 percent certain ONA will have to hire in an outside service. Trevor said the increased space provides a lot of flexibility on conference programming. He said he is starting to organize the 2015 conference committee, so if anyone on the Board has suggestions, send them his way. As in years past, Trevor said the conference program will have a public submission process. He’s looking at late February to open the suggestion box on journalists.org. Jane said the Board and staff will have a brainstorming session on panels and keynotes at the January board meeting. Jess said she is talking to sponsors about opportunities at ONA15, as the increased space expands ONA’s offerings.

ONA17: Jane reported that the location for our 2017 conference is Washington D.C.


International (Steve Herrmann, Chair): Steve is delighted the London conference is happening. He says the International Journalism Festival is asking if we want to be involved in 2015 and they are connecting with Jane and Trevor soon. Steve also said he invited Flor Coelho, an ONA International member from La Nacion in Argentina, to join the International Committee. She’ll help in organizing activities as well as launching an ONA International Facebook group. Steve noted this is part of the committee’s response to feedback from international members in Chicago that they wanted more ways to stay in touch between conferences.

Education (Jody Brannon, Chair, Greg Linch): Jody said there are currently 800 members on the ONA Education Facebook group. Faculty are embroiled in grading right now, so it likely will be quiet for the next few weeks. Irving said ONA is planning to have a presence at the International Symposium in Online Journalism (ISOJ) and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conferences in 2015.

Legal Affairs (Josh Hatch, Chair): Josh said he hopes the Board has seen the efforts made on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill by the Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI), as it was an incredible amount of work on SGI’s part to get the legislation this far. The bill is on hold by Sen. Jay Rockefeller and participating organizations would like to see it passed before Congress adjourns for the year, but there’s a slim chance of that happening. Josh encouraged Board members to speak out about this on social media.

Meredith recognized Jane and thanked her and the team for an amazing 2014.

The call adjourned at 1:47 p.m. ET.

Reminder: No Board call in January 2015. In-person Board meetings: Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, NPR, Washington DC (dinner at 701, Thursday, Jan. 29) Friday, May 29, 2015, Los Angeles (dinner Thursday, May 28).

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Mandy Jenkins