Minutes – June 14, 2014

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Josh Hatch
  • Burt Herman
  • Richard Koci Hernandez
  • Robert Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Juana Summers


  • Meredith Artley
  • Jim Roberts


  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Director of Operations
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager;
  • Jess Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Sales

Old Business

The board agreed to approve the May 2013 Board of Directors in-person meeting minutes via email vote to give them time to properly review (the minutes were later unanimously approved).


ONA has received funds from the Gannett Foundation to continue traveling training camps (ONACamps), as well as its support of the Online Journalism Award cash prizes and an ONA13 sponsorship.

Jane reported that the Knight Foundation approved the ONA final report that included a request for an extension to apply remaining funds from the original two-year grant toward Jess Strelitz’s salary for business development. Additionally, Knight may fully sponsor the Midway at the conference.

Jess Strelitz reported she has prospected via phone or in face-to-face conversations with more than 50 organizations, discussing various opportunities for support. Options include industry partnerships, discounted registration at the conference or toward memberships, sponsoring local events, and training opportunities. She has talked with job board vendors to explore strengthening our job listing presence online and making it part of our revenue strategy.

Christine Montgomery voiced her appreciation of Jess for her early efforts in outreach.

NPR has approved providing free space for ONA staff on the sixth floor of its new headquarters in Washington DC. The sole ONA costs will be about $70 per month for Internet and liability insurance. The ONA team expects to move in by July 1. The one-year agreement is renewable.


Jane reports that the search is on for a Membership Coordinator, who will be hired on a contract basis. Irving Washington reports 35 applicants so far; he and Jeremiah have been conducting screening calls, and will have in-person interviews in early July. This hire will be heavily involved in membership, data and customer service.

Jane reported on calls with the new Board Development committee. The group agreed to blend the development and nomination committees. Those on the five-member committee will be Jim Brady, Robert Hernandez, Nominating Committee Chair Teresa Hanafin and two former board members. The group will assemble soon so it can gather names for the open seat held for board appointment to develop depth in business acumen or fundraising.


Jane mentioned that Jeanne Brooks has programmed two full days with a large contingent of ONA representatives who will be at the Global Editors Network conference in Paris. The goal is to train and network with the mostly European attendees as well as current and prospective members from Asia and the Mideast.

The staff is moving forward with an off-the-record social media “hack” day using McCormick Foundation funding to examine coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, with the goal of using teams and design thinking to come up with best practices and drafts of tools to help improve coverage of breaking news. Jane asked for suggestions on participants.

Regarding ONA13, Jeanne and Jen met with Programming Chair Lisa Williams and other volunteers in New York City to draft a program, hoping to get it distributed to the Co-Chairs by the end of June. Greg Linch said the IEEE VIS 2013 conference will be held at the same hotel and will overlap on dates and the conference committee is looking for possible synergies.

ONA is more than halfway to its sponsorship goals, thanks to efforts by Sponsorship Manager Tom Regan and Jess. The block of available guest rooms will be increased as 1,100 of the available 1,300 room nights are already booked. The Student Newsroom has secured 16 mentors and is now sifting through 116 applicants from 116 U.S. and 19 international students. The winners will be announced in mid-July. Volunteer Chair Laura Cochran has 75 people signed up and will be making assignments soon. The Job Fair will be extended to two days. So far there have been 144 conference registrations and 51 banquet tickets sold. Early-bird registration ends July 15. Jess reported she secured a 5 percent discount fare and 10 percent full fare from Delta.


Irving reported that the winners of the AP-Google Scholarship have been selected and each will introduced on the website with a video explaining their projects.

The MJ Bear Fellowship, in its third year, received 64 applicants, the highest so far. Organizer Anne Saul is reviewing applicants, with winners to be selected by the full committee this month and announced in August.

Chair Josh Hatch reported on the Legal Committee efforts. ONA joined one letter concerning the Bradley Manning case and another to provide press passes to court stenographers in a trial where journalists are excluded. Another ruling was made in a case ONA joined in October 2012, which concerns courts allowing review of executive FOIA classifications; the ruling was favorable to the Obama Administration.

Josh also provided an update for the OJAs. He has fielded many questions regarding the new categories. A panel of 24 judges from around the world have been selected. He asked for additional nominations for the (Rich) Jaroslovsky Award, recognizing highest service to ONA and digital journalism.

With the newly formed ONA Student group, summer interns are being asked to blog about their experiences, to be shared on the ONA site and its Facebook page.

There will be no call in August. The next call will be July 12.

The call ended at 2:02 p.m. ET