Minutes – July 10, 2015

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Meredith Artley,
  • Jim Brady,
  • Jody Brannon,
  • P. Kim Bui,
  • Eric Carvin,
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch
  • Steve Hermann
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • David Smydra
Not present:
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson
  • Jose Zamora

Staff in attendance:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Strategic Partnerships Manager
  • Jen Mizgata, Social Media and Communications Manager
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm

Old Business

The Board unanimously approved the minutes for the May meeting and June call.

Nominations/Elections (Jane McDonnell, Meredith Artley): Regarding the appointment of our first non-voting student member for the 2016-17 term, Jane asked a small group of board members from the Education and Diversity Committees to submit criteria. The Board currently has seven seats open for the election, with one held back for appointment, and six imcumbents running.

General Counsel (Jane McDonnell, Josh Hatch): Jane said Michael Kovaka, ONA’s former General Counsel, has officially moved on to a new position, and Jane, Irving and Josh are conducting a wide search for a new general counsel, with a decision by August 15. Jane outlined potential firms under consideration.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

ONA Local Knight Grant (Jane McDonnell): Jane had a call with the Knight Foundation to discuss a two-year grant to benefit ONA Local programs. Jane said the foundation is meeting in September, when the grant will be discussed.

MacArthur Foundation (Jane McDonnell, Jess Strelitz): Jane announced that the foundation, a first-time supporter, will be sponsoring the opening night reception at the 2015 Online News Association Conference (ONA15) in Los Angeles through a grant.

Ethics Code/Digital Toolkit (Trevor Knoblich, Jeremiah Patterson): Jeremiah said the Build Your Own Ethics Code, funded by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, is coming along nicely and the team currently is testing and debugging with the help of the News Ethics editorial committee. Trevor and Jeremiah are completing an onboarding process for new users.

Gannett / ONA Camps (Jen Mizgata): Jen discussed the successful ONA Camp held at the Indianapolis Star in early June with more than 100 people in attendance, with many participants from the Star’s newsroom. Jen said the next Camp, a design-thinking focused program, will be held next week in Seattle, hosted by Breaking News. Jen said applications closed, with 55 of 60 spots filled. Board members David Cohn and Kim Bui will be leading sessions.

MJ Bear Fellowships (Irving Washington): Irving said applications for the fellowships for under-30 high-performing journalists will close tonight (July 10). He encouraged Board members to read and share blog posts from the current fellows.

Women’s Leadership Academy (Jane McDonnell): Jane said she is working with the Poynter Institute on the 2016 edition of the Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. The Ford Foundation provided funding for the opening reception last year.

Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education (Irving Washington): Irving informed the Board that ONA won the American Society for Association Executives’ (ASAE) prestigious Silver Circle Award for the Challenge Fund. Meredith issued congratulations to Irving, who runs the program, and the staff.

ONA15 & Online Journalism Awards

OJA Judging, Selection Committees (Josh Hatch, Jim Brady): Josh said the 2015 Rich Jaroslovsky Founder’s Award will honor the late Dori Maynard of the Maynard Institute. Josh said he is hopeful members of the Maynard family will be able to accept the award at the dinner on Sept. 26. Josh also said the first round of OJA judging is almost done, noting that he has heard very positive feedback from screeners, who spoke highly of the entries. Jim Brady said ONA is looking for freelance journalists, some working overseas, to solicit nominations and serve as the selection committee for the inaugural James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting.

ONA15 Registration (Irving Washington, Jeremiah Patterson): Jeremiah said ONA broke membership records for May and June. Membership is at 2,448, quickly closing in on 2,500. Jane said ONA’s hotel room block at the Hyatt Regency Century Plazs sold out quickly, so that block was expanded and rooms are being held in a nearby hotel.

ONA15 Panels and Keynotes (Jane McDonnell, Trevor Knoblich): Jane said of ONA15 speakers, 68 are women, 59 are men and 35 percent are persons of color. She added nine percent are from Los Angeles, 25 percent are from local news outlets (our first time tracking this statistic) and seven percent are international. Trevor said 90 percent of speakers also will lead or participate in roundtable discussions on topics in their areas of expertise.

ONA15 Sponsors (Jess Strelitz): Jess said ONA15 sponsorships have exceeded our target goal. She also noted 28 percent of sponsoring groups are new to ONA.

International Conference (Jane McDonnell, Steve Herrmann): Steve said ONA is still exploring contacts in Copenhagen for the second overseas conference in 2016, but nothing is confirmed yet. Jane said she is talking to potential groups in Prague and Japan, as well.

Legal Updates (Josh Hatch): Jane and Josh urged the Board to read over the Legal Committee’s updates on journalists.org, as it has been very active lately.

Board dinner: Jane proposed that the dinner during the week of the conference remain scheduled for Friday evening. Following discussion, Jane said she would send options for further discussion.

Jane reminded the Board there were no August or September calls scheduled due to vacations and the conference and that email updates will be sent as needed.

The call ended at 2:10 p.m. ET.

Submitted by Secretary Mandy Jenkins