Minutes – June 22, 2018

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

Board members in attendance: Justina Sharp (Student Representative), P. Kim Bui, Eric Carvin, Josh Hatch, Charo Henriquez, Imaeyen Ibanga, Mandy Jenkins, Celeste LeCompte, Greg Linch, Nathalie Malinarich, Shazna Nessa, David Smydra, Benét Wilson, Jose Zamora, Elite Truong.

Board members attending virtually: Versha Sharma, Celeste LeCompte.

Also present: Nell Edgington, President, Social Velocity; Carolyn Skinner, Dembo Jones (accountants).

Staff in attendance: Irving Washington, Executive  Director; Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director; Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships; Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager; Adam Nekola, Digital Manager; Meghan Murphy, Community Manager; Karolle Rabarison, Communications Manager; Anique Hameed, Strategic Partnerships Coordinator.

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m CT.

Old Business

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

Community and Connections (Meghan, Karolle, Jen, Adam)

  • A welcome to Anique Hameed, new strategic partnerships coordinator.
  • Local (Meghan): Our final grant report is being finished for Knight. ONA Local is now more than 14,000 people and has doubled in size in the past two years. Lessons learned: Investing in leadership, not budget lines. We’ve done three leadership seminars, our latest in Detroit had about 75 attendees. We’re working on taking the cohort model to local leaders. We’re also looking at supporting leaders in programming. Speakers Bureau has hosted 24 events and some webinars.
  • Question on are more cities in the West (ie Montana), students and International: We’re starting to get more inquiries from smaller or under-represented cities. We have interest from international cities. A large 80+ person event based on WLA was just held in the UK. Student groups have different needs.
  • Journalism Mentorship Collaborative (Meghan): This is a broad community and a smaller group of fellows with existing mentorship programs in place. What’s next: Fellows have created resources together, looking at presenting that at ONA18 and making them available to the public.
  • MJ Bear (Jen): 2017 fellows completing fellowships, they’re blogging on journalists.org, just completed the last webinar. Currently accepting fellow applications for 2018.
  • Question on sustaining benefits: Some anecdotal evidence that it’s helped, high-touch support and introductions has been most helpful. Suggestion of alumna group for graduates.
  • CNN Diversity Fellowship (Jen): This is the fourth year of this fellowship, geared toward getting people to the conference. Currently accepting applications for 2018.
  • Journalism 360 (Jen): Collaborative between Google, Knight and ONA. ONA has taken a stronger lead this year. Journalism 360 unconference is sold out, but demo day has space. 2017 grantees are finishing their final report. The Wall from USAToday and Arizona Republic won a Pulitzer.
  • More targeted community building events like mixers and events at conferences.
  • Challenge Fund (Jen): $35,000 awarded, currently reviewing applications, will announce grantees at AEJMC. Four grantees are extending into the fall, due to constraints. Working with Circle, research organization.
  • Women’s Leadership Accelerator (Jen): Summer Checkin for 2018 cohort in July, will bring them to ONA18. Created new workshops and feeding to the ONALocal community. Had a workshop at ONALocal summit and one to come at NAHJ.
  • Communications (Karolle): Karolle has spent past six months getting up to speed and meeting folks.
  • March was 200th issue of ONA Weekly. Created survey and re-engagement campaign. People wanted more jobs, more reading material, more international, and more tools and how-tos. Tweaks being made.
  • Journalism 360 newsletter was launched. Seeks to highlight projects and showcase leadership in the space. First issue sent in May, four issues have been sent.
  • Laura Bertocci is back to help on social campaigns and copy-editing as well at ONA18 newsletter. Karolle and Laura will be exploring more Instagram.

2017 Financial Audit (David, Irving, Carolyn)

  • Digital security has been improved, with password managers and GDPR compliance.
  • The audit was clean.
  • Sponsorships and registration revenues were much higher than 2016.
  • Imaeyen moved to approve the audit, Greg seconded. Unanimously approved.

Digital updates (Adam)

  • GDPR: Many spreadsheets from Google are being uploaded to SalesForce. Most of forms have been updated, terms of service to come this summer.
  • Moving hosting: We are moving hosting to WordPress VIP as part of an in-kind partnership. Should be more stable and fully moved over by early August.
  • Alley: Alley is building us a centralized resource hub on journalists.org as part of an in-kind partnership. Project was kicked off a few weeks ago and will include resources from all conferences within topics/tracks. Should launch around the time of the conference.

Strategic Planning (Nell, Irving)

  • Strategic planning committee has been meeting, and will continue to over the course of the year.  Staff has also been working on this. Nell presented an overview of the strategic process and timeline.
  • Plot position → Staff embarks of market research → Refine mission/vision → Create goals and objectives to strategic plan → Create budget → Create operational plan
  • Deliverables: Theory of change, revised vision and mission, 3-6 goals for next 3 years, 3-8 objectives per goal, budget projection, and Year One plan.
  • The board viewed and discussed a draft copy of the document.

Governance (Mandy, Josh)

  • Changes suggested are based on discussions of strategic planning and research.
  • Board Election Ties: Came up for the first time last year. Change suggested that the board gets to determine how a tie is resolved. Board preliminarily agrees.
  • Term Limits: Suggestion is to have five terms as the limit. Partial and/or appointed terms were discussed, principle of having term limits agreed to.
  • Board Officer Terms: Suggestion is to extend terms to two years, or keep them one year and change how we do elections, or extend officer terms if the director term is up in the middle of the officer term. As a result, extending director terms to three years was discussed, but the board decided against it. The board discussed one-year officer terms, with the expectation of two years. The executive committee will to investigate ex officio path for automatically extending officer’s terms as a director, potentially adding another seat for that period of time. No decisions were made.
  • Extension of Vice President Term: A clause in the bylaws automatically extends the VP’s term if they are in their second year. The suggestion is to remove the clause. Board agrees.
  • Past President Role: Creation of a new position on the board of past president ensures continuity of knowledge, with a two-year term. Board agrees.
  • Board Appointments and Recruitment: To ensure that some potential board members who might add value to the Board, the suggestion is to set the board to a 16-person board, with four appointments, two in alternating years. The appointed seats would serve at the leisure of the executive committee. The board discussed potential term limits for the new appointed seats. There was also discussion on the expected involvement of these seats, and whether appointees should be officers. The Board preliminarily agrees to a 15-person board with two appointments in alternating years.
  • Effective date: The Board discussed whether the changes would go into effect immediately.
  • Board candidate vetting: Josh brought up whether ONA needs to be more stringent with vetting potential board candidates. He asked the board think about it.

Awards (Kim, David)

  • OJA Submissions are closed, currently in screening process.
  • The NEW Community Award will be open for nominations July 5.
  • Foley Award: Diane Foley is going to be involved this year and committee makeup is changing slightly. Winner decided in late July.
  • Rich Jaroslovsky Award: The Board discussed potential awardees for this award.

Development / Partnerships (Irving, Jess)

  • ONA18 Sponsorship (Jess): We are at 99.5% of our goal. Several sponsorships still available.
  • Lots of new sponsors including Sony, LexisNexis, Meredith, etc.
  • Midway continues to be robust, with 20+ groups.
  • ONAU is back and a local mixer with many Texas organizations as well as a ONALocal mixer.
  • Women’s Leadership Accelerator (Jess): $200K + committed, still seeking fundings
  • Career Center (Jess): More interest in this. Anique will help.
  • Newsletter (Jess): This has been sold out since the beginning of the year.
  • In Kind (Jess): United partnership renewed, new resources project with Alley, ONA18 streaming, cameras and transcriptions.
  • Foundations (Irving): All of our programs are probably going to get additional funding, with the exclusion of the ONALocal grant (so far). Many funders are extremely supportive and want to be involved with ONA. Fellowships are impactful, but take resources. Creating named fellowships for multiple partners is hard, we are working through what might happen if we create mega fellowship/scholarships. Irving outlined our gift acceptance policy as they relate to potential funders.

Conference (Trevor)

  • ONA18: Registrations are going very strongly, and are a bit higher than ONA16 at this point. Attendance will be likely be more than 2,500.
  • Brian Duff has been brought on as a consultant to help with programming.
  • Programming is almost locked down, a few confirmations outstanding.
  • Next year (2019) is our 20th anniversary!

The meeting ended at 5:13 p.m. CT.

The next call is TBD.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary P. Kim Bui