Minutes – June 12, 2015

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jody Brannon,
  • P. Kim Bui,
  • Eric Carvin,
  • David Cohn,
  • Josh Hatch,
  • Steve Hermann,
  • Robert Hernandez,
  • Mandy Jenkins,
  • Greg Linch,
  • Jim Roberts,
  • David Smydra,
  • Benet Wilson,
  • Jose Zamora

Not present:​

  • Meredith Artley,
  • Jim Brady

Staff in attendance​:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director;
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director;
  • Jessica Strelitz, Strategic Partnerships Manager.

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

Old Business

Jane announced the May minutes from the in-person Board meeting were not ready for a Board vote. Mandy will distribute to the Board via email at the end of the month for an email vote or they will be tabled until July’s meeting.

May Board Meeting Follow-Up (Jane McDonnell)

2014 Financial Audit and 990 (Jane McDonnell): ​Jane said the 2014 financial audit and 990s are complete and ready to be filed. They are also posted to journalists.org in the Accountability section.

2016 Nominations / Elections (Jane McDonnell): ​Jane reviewed Board seats for 2015, and said the Board will have six seats up for re-election, as the Board voted to hold back a seat for appointment. Six current Board members are running for re-election, including Meredith Artley, David Cohn, David Smydra, Steve Herrmann, Kim Bui and Eric Carvin. Jane said ONA would also be holding an extra appointment for a non-voting student member. Board nominations will open in July.

Partnership Updates (Jane McDonnell): ​Jane upated the Board on potential partnerships with Google, AEJMC and Poynter. Board Travel/Event Calendar (Jane McDonnell):​Jane and the staff have started a travel calendar for planned attendance at any industry-related conferences and events, and asked the Board to drop in their own travel dates to help coordinate ONA representation at events. Board members should also alert Jane to any events at which they believe ONA should have a staff presence.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

Digital Leadership Breakfast (Jane McDonnell, Jess Strelitz): ​Jess said the next Digital Leadership Breakfast is scheduled for Thursday, June 18, in New York City. Declan Moore of the National Geographic Society and Carla Zanoni of the Wall Street Journal will be talking about hosting news content on platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook. This is the fifth and last breakfast in the Dow Jones Foundation funding cycle.

ONA Local / Knight Proposal (Jane McDonnell):​Jane said ONA is awaiting approval from Knight Foundation on the proposal.

Gannett / ONA Camp Indianapolis (Jane McDonnell):​Jane said an ONACamp was underway in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Star, with Jennifer, Jeremiah and Trevor in attendance. Mandy, who was calling in from Indianapolis as one of the presenters, said the event was over capacity, and included many staff members of Indy Star. She said lots of attendees are learning about ONA for the first time. Jane encouraged the Board to watch the hashtag. Robert asked if ONA would ever host a Camp in New Orleans and Jane said that was a great idea. She said the next Camp will be in Seattle in July.

MJ Bear Fellowships (Irving Washington):​Irving said applications for the next round are opening soon, with current fellows’ blogs being published concurrently. He said a change this year will be a group coaching experience, matching current fellows with a three mentors for one-on-one sessions instead of one mentor for the duration of the fellowship. Irving said the staff might be calling on the Board to participate in those sessions.

Challenge Fund (Irving Washington):​Irving is focused on seeing new winners settled into their projects and getting winners from last year to complete their final reports. He said there would be a lightning talk-style session on Aug. 9 at AEJMC with the 2014 Challenge Fund winners. Jane said Irving would be setting up a call with all of the funders in July to plan for the next round.

Women’s Leadership Academy (Jane McDonnell): ​Jane told the Board she is sending a final report to the Ford Foundation on the 2016 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. She is reaching out to Ford and the Knight Foundation about funding to support this year’s participants who cannot afford to attend the 2015 conference in Los Angeles.

Digital Toolkit (Jane McDonnell):​Jane said Jeremiah and Trevor are finishing up the Build Your Own Ethics Code tool, and the editorial team is writing the last of the content. She will talk with the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation (EEJF) about additional funding for the Toolkit, which will continue to evolve.

ONA15 & Online Journalism Awards

Online Journalism Award Entries (Irving Washington, Josh Hatch): ​Irving said the OJA entry period closed Friday with many of the usual last-minute entries — 60 percent in the final two days, for a total of 994 entries. Josh said judging has started, with the first round of screening underway. There are 134 screeners participating so that five people can judge each entry. Josh explained the highest-ranked entries (the 80th percentile or higher) will move to the next round. Jane noted Jim Brady is putting together the criteria for the new James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting. Jane has been in touch with James’ parents, Diane and John Foley, who may join the committee and attend the awards ceremony.

ONA15 Registration (Irving Washington):​Irving reported attendance for ONA15 is currently at 304 registered attendees and revenue is running the same as last year at this time. Early bird registration ends next week and he is expecting another rush at that time. Irving also said the hotel block is 60 percent booked. Eric asked how an organization could set up bulk registration at a discount. Irving said anyone in need should email support to get a discount for registering more than 10 attendees.

ONA15 Keynotes (Jane McDonnell):​Jane said the first keynote panel on online harassment is set, and staff is talking with WNYC about hosting a podcast accelerator at ONA15. Jane noted there are a few other high-level sessions that might rise to a keynote level.

ONA15 Sponsors (Jess Strelitz):​Jess said ONA has secured more than $400,000 in sponsorships for ONA15, well ahead of last year at this point. She reports 14 new groups are involved as sponsors in some fashion and there is extremely limited exhibit and Midway space still available. Jess added there would be a diversity breakfast on Friday, which will be an invitation-only event, co-sponsored by ProPublica and Mashable, to match up senior and junior-level journalists for mentoring. Irving said ONA will be opening up a new diversity conference scholarship, as well as announcing the second year of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) scholarships, funded by Knight.


International (Steve Herrmann):​Steve reported the committee is working on finding a venue for the next ONA International conference in 2016. The committee is also working on setting up an international event at ONA15.

Legal Affairs (Jane McDonnell):​Jane said the search is underway for a new General Counsel now that Michael Kovaka will be leaving his current firm.

Board Business​

Jane said the Board will discuss potential changes to the ONA15 Board dinner on the next call, as well as Board elections and the election lightning talks. Jane suggested Board members register soon for the conference and hotel rooms.

The call ended at 1:55 p.m. ET.

The next call will be on July 10, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Mandy Jenkins.