Minutes – July 11, 2014

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting


  • Meredith Artley
  • Jody Brannon
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch
  • Steve Hermann
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Jennifer Preston
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson

Not present:

  • Jim Brady
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Greg Linch
  • Richard Hernandez


  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Irving Washington, Director of Operations
  • Jessica Strelitz, Strategic Partnerships Manager
  • Jen Mizgata, Social Media and Communications Manager
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager
  • Michael Kovaka, Legal Counsel.

The meeting was called to order at 1:04 p.m.

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the June board call.

Board Business

Net Neutrality Statement (Josh Hatch, David Cohn): Meredith reminded the Board about ONA’s statement on net neutrality previously circulated by Josh and David in response to the FCC’s call for comments. David noted the statement draws on inspiration from ONA’s principles and rests upon the idea that a “rich, diverse media ecosystem should be considered and protected”. The statement has been through several drafts, with a lot of feedback from board members. Josh noted the board did not have to vote to approve the statement, but a vote might be useful so that board members can be on the record as recusing themselves if need be as per conflict of interest policy. The board in attendance unanimously voted to approve the statement, with nine votes for approval and two recusals (Eric Carvin of the Associated Press and Jennifer Preston of The New York Times).

Nominations/Elections (Meredith Artley, Jane McDonnell): Meredith encouraged board members to review the candidate list prepared by the executive committee and Nominations Chair Teresa Hanafin. Mandy, Robert, Josh, Greg, Jim Roberts and Benet will run for reelection in the fall of 2014. Meredith encouraged board members to consider running for officer positions, especially treasurer, as Josh plans to step down from that position after this term. Jane said Board nominations will open on the site on July 15. Nominated candidates will be evaluated to see if they meet the stated criteria.

ONA14 and Online Journalism Awards

Registration updates (Irving Washington): Irving said conference registrations are trending higher than last year at this time and are on schedule to meet or exceed goals. The Chicago Sheraton hotel block is close to 65 percent full, which is in line with our attendance levels.

Interactive program launch (Trevor Knoblich): Trevor said the interactive conference program has launched online and speakers are identified for some sessions that are not yet on the schedule.

ONA14 sponsorships (Jessica Strelitz): Jess said sponsorships are at 84 percent of goal, with quite a few large contracts expected to close in coming weeks. She has reached out to 200 interested organizations, with about half coming from brand new sources. Weekly newsletter sponsorships are also doing very well, she said, with all but two spots sold through September.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

Grant update (Jane McDonnell): Jane said the Democracy Fund, a supporter of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, has now broken off from the Omidyar Network as its own foundation.

The call ended at 2:03 p.m. ET.

Note: There will be no board call in August or September because of vacations and the annual conference. The Board will next meet at the annual board dinner on Friday, Sept. 26, at ONA14 in Chicago.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Mandy Jenkins