Minutes – Feb. 8, 2013

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Josh Hatch
  • Burt Herman
  • Richard Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson


  • Meredith Artley
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Robert Hernandez

Staff on the Call:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Jeanne Brooks, Digital Director
  • Irving Washington, Director of Operations
  • Jen Mizgata, Social Media and Communications Manager
  • Kevin Loker, Digital Coordinator

Old Business

The January Minutes, from the two-day board meeting Jan. 17-18, were not yet fully prepared, but they will soon be available for approval via email vote.

Finances and Development

Jane McDonnell provided a 2013 budget update, explaining it will be sent to the Finance Committee, then to the full board for consideration as a step toward approval.

Jane McDonnell provided an update on grant proposals: A grant proposal has been approved by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Fund, with the money to be used for training and website development. A proposal for ONACamps is to be submitted next week to the Gannett Foundation

Jane McDonnell explained that Branden Smith’s last day as senior manager for business development is Feb. 15. Since he joined ONA, he worked on profit and loss models, contracts and strategies to build revenue. The advisory board will review a revised job description that likely will emphasize sales; then the position will be sent to the Finance Committee prior to posting. The hope is to extend an offer to a top applicant in March. In Branden’s absence, Tom Regan will work with sponsorships for ONA13.

Jane had a positive meeting with the Knight Foundation to explain the evolution of the business development role.


Irving Washington reported that a timeline is in place for planning ONA13. The conference co-chairs are Alicia Stewart from CNN and Olivia Ma of Google News; Meredith Artley is the board liaison.

Jane McDonnell explained the venue’s capacity and conference rate structure, with details for the conference to be distributed to membership in a February newsletter.

Jeanne Brooks said that ONA is helping to plan and/or produce six sessions at the Global Editors Network conference in Paris June 19-21; she also said she continues to work on programming for the International Journalism Festival in Italy and upcoming U.S. ONACamps.


Digital Manager Jeremiah Patterson is evaluating four proposals from web development companies, seeking to ensure the winning bid will meet our needs of allowing for functionality while staying within our budget. He will discuss the proposals with the website advisory committee. In the meantime, he is also looking at solutions for conference registration and award submissions.


Irving Washington reported that the Google-AP Scholarship deadline was February 8 , and blogging on the ONA site is under way with the 2012-13 fellows. Jane McDonnell added that the three MJ Bear fellowship recipients are also blogging on the site.

Josh Hatch gave an update on measures under consideration by the legal affairs committee. He said actions are updated on the website:

  • ONA joined a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press “friend-of-the court brief” on Jan. 2.
  • On Jan. 30, ONA joined 37 media organizations in sending a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, asking that a recently enacted Marshals Service policy blocking the release of federal criminal booking photographs be rescinded.

Josh Hatch said the OJA Awards team will begin initial steps to identify possible judges for this year’s contests. He and the committee will clarify the purposes of a Gannett Watchdog Award, the Knight Award for Public Service, and the Gannett Award for Investigative Journalism.

The call ended at 1:58 p.m. ET.