Minutes – Dec. 13, 2013

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Meredith Artley
  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Josh Hatch
  • Burt Herman
  • Richard Hernandez
  • Robert Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benét Wilson

General Counsel:

  • Jon Hart


  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes of the November 2013 board call.

Board Discussions

Jim Brady offered his gratitude and thanks for the work of exiting board members Juana Summers, John Keefe, Burt Herman and former president Christine Montgomery. He also noted that Mario decided to step down as our international Board appointee. The Board discussed nominees for the new international appointment. Jim Brady called for a vote on appointing nominee Steve Herrmann of BBC to a two-year term to begin Jan. 1, 2014. The vote was unanimous. Mario said he enjoyed serving and agreed that Steve would be a great replacement.

A motion was made and seconded to increase the size of the board to 16 voting members for 2014 so as to add a director with financial acumen to help with the organization’s growing budget. The motion carried. Jane presented names of individuals recommended for our financial appointment and asked the board to send other recommendations to her so that the discussion and approval can continue via email.

Jane discussed the orientation call for new Board members. Benét, Josh, Meredith, Jody and Mandy, along with Jane, agreed to meet with the incoming Board members before the January Board meeting to answer any questions about service and procedures. The Board meeting will be held Jan. 24 at the ONA staff offices in the NPR building. Mandy suggested various committees might meet before or after to discuss specific matters and/or action.

Jane said interviews are underway with the finalists among the 85 candidates who applied as ONA’s Digital Director. Senior Communications Manager Jen Mizgata will take over organizing events for ONA Local and ONACamps, with Jane’s help.

Jane addressed the work of the Website Committee, now chaired by Greg, who summarized ongoing research on association management system options and the help of volunteer developers in rebuilding the membership backed. Jane said that Jeremiah is talking with development firms as well. Jeremiah and Greg will assemble a timeline for the rollout of site improvements.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

Jane gave an update on the October conference in Atlanta. She said the post-conference survey indicated 95 percent favorable comments from attendees. She urged Board members to share their comments so they may be considered for incorporation into 2014 plans.

Jane and Irving addressed the preliminary financial outcome of the conference, based on sponsorships, registrations and expenses. A call is planned for next week to detail finances.

Jody asked about ways to trim conference costs. Jane said the major expenditure is food costs and warned that as our attendance grows, that is the most direct way to reduce costs. She said much of the January Board meeting will address the degree to which we grow the conference.

Jim said he continues to hear buzz from members, partners and sponsors a month after the conference, a sure barometer of success. He congratulated the staff on all of their hard work. Jane applauded the staff as well. She also extended her appreciation and best wishes for Jeanne, whose last day with ONA is Dec. 13.

Jane is confident of hitting the 2014 goals for sponsors, exhibitors and Midway participants. She said this year we had 16 new organizations either exhibiting or in the Midway. Overall, we had more than 70 paying organizations. Jess said both exhibitors and Midway participants seemed pleased with their location and experience. Jane said sponsors enjoyed working with Jess and applauded her contribution.

Jane and Irving discussed the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, which now stands at $850,000, with the possibility of exceeding $1 million if an additional interested funder follows through.

The call was called to order at 1:05 p.m. ET and ended at 2:02 p.m. ET.