Minutes – Dec. 3-4, 2009

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

ONA Board Meeting

In-person, University of Miami Miami, FL

Dec. 3 – 4, 2009


In attendance:

  • Dick Meyer
  • Cory Tolbert Haik
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Neil Budde
  • Meredith Artley
  • Katharine Fong
  • Jody Brannon
  • Tom Brew
  • Liz Lufkin
  • Jim Brady
  • Ken Sands
  • Amy Webb
  • Denise Polverine
  • Jon Hart
  • Jon Dube
  • Jane McDonnell (Executive Director)
  • Sherry Skalko (Editor, journalists.org)

Via phone/partial:

  • Ju-Don Roberts
  • Katie King

Not in attendance:

  • Anthony Moor
  • Kinsey Wilson


Jane McDonnell opened the meeting by reporting that ONA had a great year in terms of partnerships, programs (events), and the successful conference.

Budget & Financials

  • Jim Brady went over all the financials for ’09 and said that he and Jane would deliver a proposed 2010 budget by early January.

Development plans/results in 09

  • We raised ONA’s profile, credibility and visibility. (through partnerships with the University of Miami, Newseum, social networking.
  • Sought and received funding from Gannett for “parachute project,” Challenge fund, others.
  • We’re moving into “thought leadership” for journalism.
  • Goals for 2010 development: (1) help members do their jobs by providing direction and services; (2) financial stability for ONA.

2010 Development plan

  • Year-round online giving campaign
  • Creation of a Rainmakers Advisory Board
  • Work on a business plan for new revenue streams which may include website, communications, events and sponsorships.
  • Build website identity and usability
  • Foundations/grants: funding for new projects

Website redesign

  • Sherry Skalko reported on the redesign goals.
  • Make journalists.org the go-to site for news, resources, technology developments, events, raining with premium access to ONA members
  • Add more current technology for more flexibility

Conference & Awards: 09 summary

  • We had 770 attendees, 84 internationals, job fair had 78 seekers, 11 recruiters; first time we did live streaming; doubled number of exhibitors to 14; OJA’s had 698 entries

ONA10 Conference: 2010 Planning

  • The board discussed looking at the conference rates next year. Jane said she would work on coming up with different levels, tables for awards, etc. The board to discuss in more detail in January.
  • Josh Hatch and Amy Eisman are co-chairing the 2010 conference. They would like to incorporate the theme of usability. The venue is the Marriott Renaissance in D.C.
  • The committee heads are in place, our key volunteers are returning and a session selector is in the works. The team is also working on keynote speakers and sponsorship packages. We will also have an operations manager and a vendor manager and a career summit and job fair.
  • Jane said we will poll our membership/attendees on what they’d like to see at the conference next year. What type of session/panel and then we’ll set it up.


  • The board discussed conducting a few webinars per year as the last ones have been well-attended.


  • The board discussed again the need to look at potential memberships with other journalism/news organizations.

Membership Review

The Membership Committee was tasked at looking at our current membership categories/structure and make recommendations on whether changes are needed. There are four issues at stake:

  • Issue 1) Membership categories: Are the categories necessary? After much board discussion, the board approved keeping membership categories. The board agreed, however, that the committee will better define the categories to keep pace with the ever-evolving face of journalism and so that each category is as inclusive as possible.
  • Issue 2) Board composition: Should the composition of the ONA board be regulated or deliberately structured in some way? The board approved an amendment that the composition of the board should be regulated, and we should add a few more board positions.
  • Issue 3) Should there be limits on who is on the board’s executive committee? The board approved an amendment that the President and Vice President board positions must be held by members in the “professional” membership category. The Treasurer, Development Officer and Secretary positions can be held by members in any other membership category.
  • Issue 4) Should there be an officer ladder?

The board voted that in ONA’s leadership ladder, the Vice President would be the presumptive President. The other executive committee positions are not involved in the leadership ladder.

The board meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.


The board meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m.

Nominations for Board Officers:

The board discussed and voted on new board officer positions.
The board unanimously approved a resolution to create an executive committee-level Development Officer position that would be in charge of fundraising and development efforts for one year.

The new board officers for 2010:

  • President: Christine Montgomery
  • Vice President/Treasurer: Jim Brady
  • Development Officer: Neil Budde
  • Secretary: Cory Haik


  • Jon Dube stressed that all committee chairs will need to focus on recruiting and retaining members.

Membership Committee: ONA is currently at 1,609 members. Jane and Sherry will send a note to members asking all to update their profiles. But committee will first make recommendations to members about updating their profiles based on new membership category definitions.

The Training and Events Committee is targeting new cities such as Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kansas City, Phoenix, more. In 2009, events have taken place all over the country.

Partnerships: More discussion today on the need to form smart partnerships. Amy Webb will head this.

International Committee – reorganization: Katie King chairs this committee.

  • Katie reported that the committee will have 5 co-chairs from various regions. They will each provide the board with bi-annual updates on ONA issues in their areas.
  • Katie said we have 175 non-US members, most from Canada then UK, 9 from Netherlands, Italy Brazil, Germany, etc.
  • Cory and Katie will coordinate as Cory helps oversee US Events committee with Ken Sands.

Education Committee: Jody Brannon chairs this committee.

Jody said we needs to work on a student program for universities. We would structure these as “student clubs”. Jody said we have past board approval and can start setting up these clubs.

Misc. announcements/discussion

  • Scripps Howard Foundation: Jane said they want to work with us. They have a robust intern program. They would support a student in an internship within digital media company. Jane will update the board as she gets more details.
  • ONA Internship: Jon said this might be a good idea to help with web site. Jane, Jon and Christine will look into this.
  • Diversity: Katharine Fong and Ju-Don Roberts reported on this. Katharine and Ju-Don said we need to work on board and membership diversity including race, platforms and geography. The board also agreed that diversity should be a full committee or incorporated into each committee and everything we do. Amy Webb suggested that we add a person of diversity to each committee.
  • Legal: Jon Hart reported on this topic. Jon Hart said we will resurrect the legal committee. Jon had very exciting news! He announced that we have formed a relationship with the Online Media Legal Network (at the Berkman Center). He said the relationship will be cross-promotional and will enable our members to get online media legal guidance. An official announcement will be made in January.

The meeting was adjourned at noon. The next board meeting (via conference call) will be set for mid-January.