Minutes – Feb. 10, 2012

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady, President
  • Jody Brannon, Treasurer
  • Will Sullivan, Secretary
  • Meredith Artley, Vice President
  • Cory Haik
  • Joshua Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Sean Connolly, Digital Manager
  • Jeanne Brooks, Director of Innovation and Community Engagement


  • Amy Webb
  • Burt Herman
  • Katie King
  • Rob King

1 p.m. Eastern


Roll call was taken

Approval of the meeting minutes from January were delayed to an email vote for further review

ONA 12 update

Jane announced that the ONA12 session selector has been released publicly and distributed on social media. She also mentioned that sponsorships are selling well so far with several new ones coming to the table and if any board members companies are interested they should contact Tom Reagan as soon as possible because key spots are filling quickly. The list of sponsor packages are available on the ONA 12 website.

March Board Call

Due to many board members attending South By Southwest Interactive next month when the normal board meeting is scheduled, Jane suggested we move the March call to the following Friday, March 16th at 1 p.m. Eastern. There was a consensus agreement to the move. Board members who can’t make it should email Jane.

ONA Finances Update (Jane McDonnell, Executive Director)

Jane reviewed the 2011 budget for final approval and audit. ONA hit the 2011 planned budget at 100.4%, due to very good planning and some luck. Jane said expenses that went to the ONA programs was 72%, which is on the high end of what orgs spend on programs.

A draft of the 2012 budget was submitted for board approval before the auditors work on it.
Christine motions to pass the budget. Mario seconds. Board votes aye – Unanimous, No opposed.

For 2012 Jane said that expenses will be higher this year due to staffing increases but also that OJA entries should be up, membership fees should be up too.

Financial details about the ONA12 hotel wifi, video production and insurance costs were discussed. Revenue growth opportunities with ONA Local events were discussed, as well as legal expenses and how they could increase this year with new initiatives including the Sunshine Government Initiative involvement.

Josh moves to approve draft of the 2012 budget. Jim seconded. The board votes aye unanimous, none opposed.
ONA12 and the Hyatt Regency

Jane reminded board members of the information she sent about the Hyatt Regency and the union negotiation and what it might mean for the event and asked if there was any questions. Jim mentioned that several board members have been contacted directly and lead to believe that Jane hadn’t responded, but she has and all board members if they are contacted should tell the representatives to contact Jane.

Juana suggested we should figure out a way to transparently mention this to attendees and Jane said if this isn’t settled by the time registration opens, ONA will prepare a FAQ on what is going for attendees and also offer suggestions for other hotels if people don’t feel comfortable with the Hyatt.

Membership, ONA Local & ONA Camp Updates

Jeanne said they are working on an ONA Camp at the University of Montana on April 13th in partnership with the Montana Newpaper Association. ONA Camps before the NABJ convention and Unity are also planned.

New ONA student groups formed include Colorado State University and Gainesville (University of Florida) and an ONA Pittsburgh chapter is also in the works.

Jane said ONA Local guidelines and rules will be released soon to help guide local group formation. Jeanne added that local groups will soon be featured on the ONA site, as well as content from their events.
Business Development Position

Jane said the business development position is now open for applicants and it needs help promoting it from the board, as well as suggestions for candidates and job boards to place advertisements.

AP-Google Scholarship Update

Jane said the AP-Google Scholarship has had 51 applicants with a good mix of diversity of ethnicity, geography and gender. Applications are now ready to be judged and Irving is moving forward with that and they should be selected and announced around March 17th. Will suggested that we should get the winners involved in the ONA website, posting their experiences, tutorials and project information to give them some promotion, like the MJ Bear Fellowship posts, which have been popular.

Online Journalism Awards

Josh said the new categories for the Online Journalism Awards have been finalized, combining from 13 to 11 and changing some of the definitions to focus on the journalism more than the content format. A student category will be added also for the individual categories. Will and Josh are putting together a survey to get a feel for how to redefine what small, medium and large sites are based on different metrics to get a more fair assessment (Potential data points are: staff size, digital staff size, monthy pageviews, monthly uniques, etc.). Josh said these are fairly substantial changes but help keep pace with the changes of the industry and solicited feedback from board members.

Jim said that Josh put together a great page for the Legal Committee and suggested that the other committee chairs should help facilitate this and prepare something for each to have a page on the ONA website, updating what they’ve been up to and how it’s serving the membership.

South By Southwest Interactive

ONA is co-sponsoring an event for SXSWi, Jeanne will send out information and an update once the details are finalized.

Meeting adjourned

Next Board call: Friday, March 16, 2012, 1 p.m. ET