Minutes – July 29, 2016

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Meredith Artley
  • Michelle Baruchman (Student Representative)
  • Jody Brannon
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • David Skok
  • David Smydra
  • Benét Wilson
  • Jose Zamora

Not present:

  • Steve Hermann
  • Greg Linch
  • Jim Roberts

Staff in attendance:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships
  • Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager
  • Meghan Murphy, Community Manager

The meeting was called to order at 1:03 p.m. ET.

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the June 24, 2016, in-person Board meeting, held in Denver.


  • Jane said there will be no Board call in August due to vacations. The next Board call will be on Friday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. ET. Joshua said there will be at least one extra Board-only call in August during the search for a new Executive Director
  • Jane noted the the ONA16 Board dinner is on Wednesday, Sept. 16, in Denver.


  • Josh said the deadline for Executive Director resumes is July 31; the selection committee is reviewing applications.
  • Jen reported that we’ve brought on a communications consultant, India Kushner, who is working on social campaigns.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

  • Jane said that the Dow Jones Foundation approved a grant to support the new Women’s Leadership Accelerator, tuition-free training for women journalists and technologists.
  • Jen said the very successful ONA Camp held in Toronto was sold out, with 120 attendees.
  • Meghan said the ONA Local groups have been growing; she launched a new group in Nashville and a reboot of Research Triangle group in North Carolina.
  • Irving reported that the selection committees are wrapping up all fellowship winners, including CNN Diversity, MJ Bear and HBCU.

2016 Conference

  • Trevor reported that programming is finishing up, with two more keynotes to be announced, as well as Unconference and Lightning Talks; pitches will open in August.
  • Jeremiah said that registration is running ahead of last year.
  • Jess reported that sponsorships are at a record 118 percent, ahead of goal, with 88 sponsors. There is some space left in the Midway.


Ethics (Eric Carvin, Chair): He is planning a workshop at the conference on how to apply the Social Newsgathering Ethics Code and hopes to have more organizations sign up for it.

International (Steve Hermann, Chair, and Irving): Next event is the international reception in Denver, but we are looking at ways to connect attendees beforehand. Staff is also reviewing options for the 2017 international conference location.

Legal Affairs (Mandy Jenkins, Chair): We released four updates in the last newsletter; the committee is getting more involved in issues on technology and digital side, along with traditional journalism. The decision on Microsoft Cloud space was a big win.

Online Journalism Awards (David Smydra, Chair): Our emcee for the Saturday night awards dinner at ONA16 will be Al Letson, host of Reveal podcast. OJA entries closed June 10, with 1,050 submitted. Entry screening finished in early July with 356 semifinalists; 20 final-round judges will choose the finalists. Winners for the James Foley Award and Rich Jaroslovsky Award have been chosen and notified.

The call ended at 1:48 p.m. ET.

The next Board call will be on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Benét J. Wilson