Minutes – Jan. 9, 2009

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting


  • John Dube (President)
  • Jane McDonnell (Exec. Director)
  • Ken Sands (Board Member)
  • Amy Webb (Board Member)
  • Katharine Fong (Board Member and 2009 Conference Committee Chair)
  • Ju-Don Roberts (Board Member)
  • Christine Montgomery (Board Member)
  • Katie King (Board Member and International Chair)
  • Neil Budde (Treasurer)
  • Jody Brannon (Board Member)
  • Cory Haik (Board Member)
  • Tom Brew (Board Member)
  • Anthony Moor (Board Member)
  • Tom Regan (Previous Acting Exec. Director)
  • Sherry Skalko (ONA Web Editor)

Note: Denise Polverine was ill and unable to take notes during the meeting.

Amy Webb prepared these minutes in her absence.

Meeting called to order at 10:09 am by Jon Dube.

December Minutes: Approval of December minutes tabled until more members arrive.

Partnership Update: Pew survey was distributed on Jan. 8. Jane has asked Pew to keep track of respondents and to give the Board updates. The survey went out to 1,200-1,300 people, all of whom work at news outlets.

Although this survey asks for no demographic information, another survey collecting demographic information will be sent out to ONA members prior to the membership recruitment drive.

The Poynter NewsU/ONA partnership is officially in place. Jan. 28th will be the first session. There will be three more sessions coming up, dates TBD.

Jane is working on a partnership with Rich Beckman and the bootcamp program held at the University of Miami. They want ONA to promote the partnership and bootcamps, which happen throughout the year.

ONA has been asked to partner with the University of Maryland on a digital conference to be held at the Newseum in January. We will likely reach 250-300 journalists in DC area.

Challenge Fund Campaign

ONA’s Challenge Fund campaign announcement was sent to the entire database Jan. 8th. The message reached beyond just the membership.

Jane is working on social giving sites to give ONA more of a presence with younger journalists. Sherry reports that donations are beginning to come in for the 10th Anniversary campaign.

Training calls are being set up to help board members learn more about fundraising. Two calls will be held in the coming weeks.


Anthony Moor reported on awards. This year, six awards will have cash prizes associated with them. Anthony is reworking how the groups of judges are set up.

Anthony explains that there is a two week period where the committee is submitting changes or new awards.

2009 Conference

Katharine Fong reported Jan. 14th is the start of the biweekly conference calls. Committees that are currently coordinated include: Keynote, “Celebrities” (people they want to participate in conference), Programming (Josh Hatch and Laura Cochran), Student Newsroom (Sarah Kelly and TBD), Job Fair (Joe Grimm and TBD), Reception (TBD), 10th Anniv. Committee (TBD), Communications/ Marketing/ PR (TBD), Conference Website (TBD), Sponsors/Vendors (TBD), Daylong Workshops (TBD), Multimedia Learning Lab (Cory and TBD).

Sponsorship/ Vendors: The first outreach went out Jan. 4, and a section of the site was set up for vendors. Tom and Jane will begin calls next week.
Thanks to Paul Harris, we were introduced to the nonprofit option within Salesforce, a powerful CRM software tool. Sherry, Tom and Jane are being trained by Paul next week, and they will in turn train Board members.

2010 Conference

Meeting with Marriott in January. Jane, Josh (2010 Conference Chair) and Tom have updated requirements. They will have to negotiate room blocks as well.

New Board Members Confirmation

Anthony motions, Ken seconds. Katie, Cory and Amy are confirmed as new Board members. Existing Board members are reconfirmed. The vote is unanimous.


Jane reports that we need to retain members who have expired and not renewed. Since the new site launched, every newsletter has encouraged people to log on to the new site.

Katie wants to reach out to international members who have not renewed. Sherry reports that in Dec., there were 91 new registration transactions.
Jon says we need to send letters to those who have not renewed. Anthony suggests that a newsletter should just be targeted to people whose memberships are about to expire. This is in addition to the automated alert. Other Board members agree.

Amy recommends that Sherry check email bounce backs. Perhaps members who didn’t renew couldn’t, because the email went to a previous place of employment – and they no longer have access to that email. Amy asked if the new system has two fields for email addresses, one permanent and one for work, in order to prevent email bounce backs in the future. Sherry and Jane are looking into this.

Membership Recruitment Campaign

A new campaign will be starting in late Feb. – March. Jane will talk more about that strategy at the next meeting.

Other Committee Reports

Regional events: Ken is reaching out to groups. There are queries for regional events in Seattle, Michigan, Ohio and Nashville. Also possibilities for DC and LA meetups.

Jane reports that Temple University in Philadelphia has a conference in January for multimedia.

Other Business

2009 Board meeting dates are still in flux. There will be an in-person meeting in April/ May. Jane will send out an e-mail soliciting possible dates. The April/May meeting will be held in DC. There might be an in-person meeting in December.

Meeting adjourned at 11:15 am.