Minutes – Dec. 16, 2016

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

Board members in attendance:

  • Meredith Artley
  • Jody Brannon
  • David Cohn
  • Steve Hermann
  • Josh Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Jim Roberts
  • David Skok
  • Benét Wilson

Board members not present:

  • Michelle Baruchman (Student Representative)
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Smydra
  • Jose Zamora

Also Present:

  • Alison Schary (Davis, Wright Tremaine, General Counsel)

Staff in attendance:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships
  • Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager
  • Adam Nekola, Senior Digital Manager
  • Meghan Murphy, Community Manager

The meeting was called to order at 2:04 p.m.

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the November 11, 2016, board call.


  • Jane we’re in good shape. Irving is on top of everything.
  • If anything comes up, Jane will be available to make sure everything is ok.


  • Trevor introduces Adam Nekola, who is the new senior digital manager, and says the staff is thrilled to have him on board
  • Adam gives an overview of his previous ONA involvement going back to 2011.
  • Journalism 360 full-time consultant position received nearly 50 applicants. Irving says top finalists have been narrowed down and interviews will begin early January. Irving says it’s a strong group they’re confident in finding a good candidate.
  • Negotiations with NPR for new two-year lease continue and Jane hopes they will be completed before she leaves


  • January board meeting is coming up. There will be a board book sent around beforehand. Jane will be writing some of it and Irving will be paying attention to the financial pieces
  • Great orientation call with three new board members, which included Jane, Irving and Josh

Women’s Leadership Accelerator

  • Jen says planning continues and everything is awesome
  • All of the 25 women selected accepted and the cohort will be announced before the holidays
  • Great line-up of speakers, including some already announced
  • Additional mentors will also come in to talk with fellows
  • Second round of programming TK
  • Jen is happy to answer any questions
  • Jane says we’ve come a long way since the lady leadership lightning talks and cited Jen’s great efforts on the accelerator

Events ONA attended

  • Google News Lab included breakout session with advice for ONA on how best to conduct J360 initiative
  • Irving attended White House office of technology with 40 tech leaders. ONA was the only journalism organization in attendance; others were STEM groups. Focus on how to get more women and people of color involved from the early stages.
  • Irving says it was good to network with others, see similar opportunities among fields, etc.


  • We have two conferences: ONA17 and ONA Dublin
  • Trevor says they’re putting together the ONA17 program team and making sure it’s a diverse group; they need to have strong enough networks to help as well as time to sort through pitches for the eight tracks
  • Email Trevor with any suggestions
  • Save-the-date for the ONA17 website coming soon, which will also include link for attendees to reserve their hotel rooms
  • Jess says they’ve had lots of early sponsor interest and emphasizes that it’s never too early to let other know about that. She asks for any connections to help with that.
  • Jess says ONA Dublin is all set for May at Facebook’s HQ there. We’ll have sponsors and booths.
  • Trevor says there was one theme for the previous ONA London conference. This year there is no overarching themes.
  • Steve went to Copenhagen for Danish ONA conference, which included more than 100 attendees and he can discuss further at the January board meeting

Finances, Development and Partnerships

  • David Cohn says there will be one final reminder for the board to donate before the end of the year.

Outgoing board members and staff

  • Josh thanks Jody for her 10 years of service on the ONA board
  • Josh thanks Robert and says he looks forward to Robert’s continued involvement with J360 initiative
  • Josh thanks Jim Roberts
  • Josh thanks Jane for making ONA what it is today

The meeting ended at 2:29 p.m. ET.

The next call will be in February because of the January board meeting.

These minutes are submitted by Greg Linch