Minutes – Dec. 9, 2011

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Christine Montgomery
  • Anthony Moor
  • Katie King
  • Meredith Artley
  • Katharine Fong
  • Josh Hatch
  • Cory Haik
  • Will Sullivan
  • Amy Webb
  • Ken Sands
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Liz Lufkin
  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Jane McDonnell (Executive Director, ONA)
  • Jeanne Brooks (Community Engagement Manager, ONA)

Not in attendance:

  • Jon Hart
  • Sean Connolly (Web Editor, ONA)
  • Rob King

Old Business

  • November minutes were approved. Robert Hernandez and Will Sullivan abstained from approving the minutes.

Development, Finances, Partnerships (Jane McDonnell, Executive Director)

  • Gannett “holiday” grant from Gannett for $7,000 in general support came in with a personal note from David Payne, SVP and Chief Digital Officer. They are happy with the work that is being done on ONA Camps. We have three more planned for 2012 at the moment.

Strategy plan update:

  • Contractor Chris Shaw and Jane have a meeting planned on Dec. 20 and will get as much work as they can before the break. They will be getting the full plan to the staff and strategy committee ahead of the board meeting.

2012 Budget update:

  • Jane is meeting with Jim Brady and Jody Brannon ahead of the board meeting to have the draft budget ready. Jane is hoping to have this finished by then but If not the board will vote by mail.

AP-Google Scholarship deadline:

  • Jane encouraged board members to use their networks to get word out. Irving Washington and Jeanne Brooks are pushing the scholarship through social channels and plan a live chat. Deadline is Jan. 27.

Membership, Events (Jeanne Brooks, Community Engagement Manager)

  • We are nailing down rules and templates for rolling out a ONA Local leadership program to help them in launching groups. The structure will be finalized in January. We are growing and hosting many events and we want to have a formalized process, as well as reporting. Please see the monthly report about events last month.
Membership renewal and January membership/profile campaign (Jane McDonnell)
  • There was a question about membership renewal drop. This is the normal drop in registration that we see every year. But the drops are occurring at different points in the year than they have in the past. Jane sent around the draft of the membership renewal campaign, which includes a campaign about member benefits and what we have done over the last year and a drawing for three different prizes. This went out to about 2,000 people. This campaign will go on until the end of the month.
  • Board conversation about membership strategy and growing our organization.


  • MJ Bear Fellows blogs: Will Sullivan reported that we will begin posting MJ Bear Fellow blogs in January, with each fellow producing two blogs a month. This is will be used as content and also as important note in our campaign to get MJ Bear applications for 2012.
  • We are posting many pieces of quality content on journalists.org. We are asking the board to use their networks to point folks to content. Jeanne and Jen Mizgata are pushing content to ONA Issues Tumblr one to three times a week.

Content and membership backend update (Jane)

  • Sean is working on the membership backend with our developer, Aten Design Group. We will continue to do some upgrading work throughout the year.
  • All website and social media metrics are in the November report.


  • San Francisco/Hyatt visit (Jane)
  • Jane and Jeanne met the event and AV managers at the Hyatt in December and stayed at the hotel. We feel good about the space. We have the run of the hotel for three days and more space than we thought. We also met with potential committee members.
  • Christine, Jane and Jeanne attended an Ethics Leadership Roundtable at Santa Clara University.
  • The staff will be meeting for a retreat on Dec. 14 to talk about strategy, timeline and ONA12.


  • Holiday closings update: Closed on Dec. 26 for Christmas holiday, and Jan. 2 for New Year’s.