Minutes – Jan. 13-14, 2011

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

ONA Board Meeting in-person, KQED.

San Francisco January 13 – 14, 2011


In attendance:

  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Meredith Artley
  • Anthony Moor
  • Amy Webb
  • Liz Lufkin
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Josh Hatch
  • Chrstine Montgomery
  • Will Sullivan
  • Jon Hart
  • Cory Tolbert Haik
  • Katharine Fong
  • Jane McDonnell
  • Jeanne Brooks
  • Sean Connolly
  • Ken Sands, by phone

Not present:

  • Kate King


  • Christine Montgomery welcomes new board members. Opens meeting.
  • Jane McDonnell: Agenda for the day: ONA growing strategically.


  • Jim Brady: The board went over the ending budget balance in 2010 and discussed former concern about being too tied to conference as revenue. We have somewhat moved past that and are operating in the black. Sponsorship growth year over yera is impressive. We have also grown the Job Fair portion of the conference. Discussed the 2011 projected budget that was prepared for the Board meeting.
  • Carolyn Skinner, Goodman and Company: Update from ONA’s accountant on budget. ONA has not done the conversion to accrual but will do so by year end. Carolyn went over year-end financials that were prepared for the board. There has been a lot of work around getting cleaned up and organized.


  • Jane McDonnell: We have had a good year. Word is out that we are doing good things and organizations are approaching us. Grant prospect were discussed from the following categories: Diversity, Student, Legal, Digital Archives. None of these are factored into projected budget for 2011. Bridget Gallagher and Jane McDonnell will be working on these over the next few months. MJ Bear fund and Advisory Board are going to be key in part of funding plans.
  • Bridget Gallagher, Development consultant: An update on who is helping to fund ONA and what the prospects are for 2011. All the moves made in 2010 have really captured the attention of foundations funders for 2011. We also want to drive our individual gifts program.

MJ Bear

  • Amy Eiesman and Jane McDonnell: MJ Bear passed way in December. As she was in the midst of her last days, she decided she wanted to leave donations made to go to ONA as well as a good portion of her estate. From things like internship programs in her name, to donations
  • We are working toward something at next years conference in Boston, having some sort of panel or presence for young journalists.
  • The is an idea is to put together a small group of people to work on how to budget money and execute programs ideas. A committee will be put together to organize this.

Fundraising campaigns:

  • Jane McDonnell with board discussion of these initiatives and the key times to roll them out.
  • Q1: Matching grant to MJ Bear campaign
  • Q2: Web redesign (and online auction)
  • Q3: Support a journalist
  • Q4: Year-end Institutional appeal
  • Amy Webb and Jane McDonnell: Discussion of the idea and early proposal of Tiered Corporate Members with levels at premiere sponsorship, supporting sponsor and platinum sponsorship. () Discussion of the idea Premium Memberships: President’s Circle and Sustainer’s Circle. Amy Webb and Jim Brady to have a modeled proposal for the board by February call.

Officer elections

  • Christine Montgomery and Jim Brady and board: Discussion of the idea of creating longer terms — for two years, rather than one. The concept is to help extend leadership and momentum of development. Discussion of the Treasurer, Vice-President being two separate roles.
  • The board resolved that it is the expectation of the ONA board that the officers will ordinarily serve two consecutive one-year terms. Motion by Meredith Artley, seconded by Amy Webb. Unanimous vote by the board
  • Discussion of membership categories as it relates to officer elections and who can hold executive committee roles.

Membership, training and events

  • Jane McDonnell: Growth is happening, we are close to 2000 members. Discussion around how we manage growth, how we give our members what they need and how do we manage the logistics, events and training.
  • Jeanne Brooks, community engagement manager: Three tiers of focus:
    • Organizing the resources and creating new ones.
    • Developing a member management system
    • Committing to diversity
    • Creating a ‘style guide’ and best practices for running meet ups.
    • Investing in organizing in major metro/tech hubs
    • Roadmap for meetups for ONA in smaller areas
    • Discussion around diversity in trainers and how we find trainers

Web development

  • Sean Connolly, web editor:
  • Q1 of journalist.org website redesign: A WordPress site will be built and we are in the process of securing developers. Conference site and session selector is being built. A new ONA logo is under consideration and we are looking for a designer. Membership site information architecture being established, designed and wireframed.
  • Q2: journalists.org unveiled w/ membership and e-commerce functions tied to YourMembership. Hire part-time editor to product content. Awards site built in time for entries.
  • Q3: Capacity to build is less because of the conference. Ramp up sponsorship and adversiting sales for site.
  • Q4: YourMembership will be phased out, transition to backend ready. New features drawn up for membership site.
  • Board discussion around exclusivity vs. openness on web redesign project — Discussion around content creation vs. curation
  • Idea of a social media committee or chair


  • Jane McDonnell: Idea is to bring folks in that we are interested in meeting with. Twitter, Google and Apple were all a part of our conference. Discussion of the AP-Google Scholarship opportunity which would be managed by ONA, Online Publishers Association and Future of news summit in February. Discussion around who else we reach out to and what is our strategy is? We are starting a partnership committee chaired by Liz Lufkin.


Board term limits:

  • The board resolved to remove the terms limits for directors imposed under Section 3.03 of the Bylaws. The board instructed counsel to revise Section 3.03 of the Bylaws to effect the intent of this resolution and to present the Bylaws, as amended, for board approval.
  • Josh Hatch makes a motion to abolish term limits.
  • In favor: Ken Sands, Meredith Artely, Jim Brady, Katharine Fong, Anthony Moor, Jody Brannon, Robert Hernandez, Josh Hatch, Christine Montgomery and Cory Haik.
  • Opposed: Liz Lufkin, Will Sullivan

Officer elections

  • Cory Haik, running uncontested for secretary and was elected by unanimous vote
  • Jody Brannon, running uncontested for Treasurer and was elected by unanimous vote
  • Jim Brady, running uncontested for VP and was elected by unanimous vote
  • Christine Montgomery, running uncontested for Secretary and was elected by unanimous vote
  • Discussion to add a Development officer being postponed until more people are in the room.

Diversity committee

  • Katharine Fong, diversity committee chair: Board discussion around diversity and ONA. A walk through of diversity ONA initiatives over the last year. Started diversity committee in Q1 of 2010. Discussion around diversity mentoring program.
  • Three goals for 2011:
    • Diversify membership
    • Diversity the conference
    • Develop diverse talent
  • Appointing diversity candidate
    • Discussion around the three nominations for diversity candidacy
    • The board voted in favor of Rob King to be appointed as the 15th board member

Nominations committee

  • Katharine Fong: Criteria for developing board candidates was discussed. Along with the best way to present candidates at the conference and showcase them on journalist.org
  • A discussion from new board members on how the 2010 elections went and what they think could be improved.
  • A discussion on the nomination committee and how that could be more transparent.
  • A discussion around perhaps limiting the number of candidates that can run.
  • Katharine Fong will come back to the board with recommendations on the slate and election process.


  • Josh Hatch will join the awards committee with Anthony Moor and will help with a succession plan and documentation
  • Amy Webb is chairing the Advisory Board committee
  • Josh Hatch is board liaison to ONA11
  • Katharine Fong is diversity committee chair. Meredith Artley will also help with this.
  • Jody Brannon will help with students and educators committee. Will Sullivan will join this committee
  • Katie King will continue to chair the international committee and is looking for board help
  • Legal affairs committee: Dick Meyer will continue to serve on this with Jon Hart. Jim Brady will chair this committee. Josh Hatch will also help.
  • Website redevelopment committe is chaired by Meredith Artley and co-chaired by Josh Hatch.
  • MJ Bear committee: Jody Brannon, Jon Hart, Katharine Fong and Amy Eiesman
  • Biz dev committee is still on the table, pending funding of a biz dev position
  • Issues committee chaired by Cory Haik, and including Robert Hernandez, Ken Sands, Will Sullivan and Jon Hart as consul.

The board meeting ended at noon