Minutes – June 28, 2019

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting


Board members in attendance: Kim Bui, Eric Carvin, Charo Henriquez, Mandy Jenkins, Celeste LeCompte, Nathalie Malinarich*, Shazna Nessa, Versha Sharma, David Smydra*, Benét Wilson, Ebony Reed, Niketa Patel, Rodney Gibbs, Rubina Madan Fillion, Imaeyen Ibanga.

Board members not present: Justina Sharp (Student Representative)

Staff in attendance: Irving Washington, Executive Director; Jessica Strelitz, Head of Strategic Partnerships; Jen Mizgata, Director of Programs; Adam Nekola, Senior Digital Manager; Karolle Rabarison, Communications Manager; Bill Brady, Strategic Partnerships Coordinator; Diana Lopez, Administrative Assistant; Trevor Knoblich, Head of Programs and Events; Meghan Murphy, Community Manager; Adam Martin, Meetings Manager.

*Joined on the phone


The meeting was called to order at 09:06 a.m. CT

Old Business:  The board unanimously approved the minutes for the April meeting.

How to talk about ONA (Jessica)

Jess Strelitz presented the board with useful tips and language to use when promoting ONA:

  • ONA’s mission
  • What we offer (ONA local, e-newsletters, webinars, WLA, Journalism 360, Challenge Fund, OJAs, fellowships & scholarships, ONA Insights.)
  • Why organizations love ONA: the value is in the community.
  • ONA’s values (integrity, excellence, inclusivity, journalistic ethics, community, freedom of expression.)
  • Types of ONA partners (In-kind, financial, partnership, other – food, space, travel, fun.)
  • Resources and data ONA can provide (survey information, membership info, partners we work with/relationship information/ sponsorship packages, year-round options, feedback & support.)

Strategy Overview (Irving)

  • Meghan worked with ONA local leaders to provide training sessions
  • Adam has been working with Salesforce
  • This is a record-year for OJA’s applications
  • Human resources: we hired Adam Martin and will be hiring a program manager soon.
  • Non-linear progress: we are working on resetting expectations of operations plan
  • Karolle: 20th anniversary week in July: WLA breakfast, ONA local event, Journalism 360 unconference. Founders & Firsts panel, podcasts episodes at ONA19. Timeline of milestones and ONA history on the website. Mid-July, call of action for people to share #happy20thONA  and ONA weekly archives section will feature people using the hashtag (thanks to the help of board member Niketa Patel, the hashtag will have a branded emoji.) We are also sending a birthday cake to the ONA local events happening around the world. As recommended by Shazna, we are hosting an invite-only reception in NY for key partners and influential community members.

Strategy Breakouts on Goal 1: Provide Training

The board was divided into small groups to participate in this exercise. Jessica led the

conferences portion, Trevor led the focus areas portion and Irving led the virtual learning/resource center portion of the exercise.

Lunch Break & Executive Session

Board Governance (Benet)

Bylaw changes discussion:

  • Making officer terms for the President and Vice President two years, automatically extending an officer to another full term if elected in the middle of their board term.
  • Establishing term limits to five consecutive two-year terms or 10 years.
  • Establishing a predetermined number of board appointments per year. Two appointments per year.
  • Using the (nonvoting) ex-officio position for an immediate past president of the board for a one-year term.

Imaeyen moved to approve bylaw changes, Charo seconded. Changes approved by the board.

  • Discussion regarding the number of people that can run for the board (12 maximum.)
  • Student Representative appointment discussion.

2018 Financials

Accountants Carolyn Skinner from Dembo Jones & Ricardo Trujillo from Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman deliver ONA’s 2018 financials:

  • Financial Statements
  • Independents audit report
  • Liability is going down
  • Very healthy organization
  • The audit went smoothly, very clean, we were able to provide all of the requested documentation
  • Ricardo has no new recommendations to provide to the board
  • Irving shares the financial statements
  • We surpassed our OJAs goal for this year
  • Early bird conference registration goals surpassed
  • Google did not renew its participation on J360 program this year
  • Microsoft revenue came in
  • On the expense side, there’s nothing particularly alarming.
  • Jess: we received an open donation intended for the WLA program
  • Ongoing conversations with NPR regarding our sponsorship. Working to determine new benefits so they can find more value.

Celeste moved to approve the audit. Imaeyen seconded. Board approved.

Legal Affairs (Eric)

  • ONA Legal Strategic priorities discussion
  • Access to public records, official meetings, and places.
  • Definition of a journalist.
  • Encryption-and subpoena-related issues
  • Digital safety and security, online threats and harassment of journalists
  • The ethics of emerging tech & news.

Online Journalism Awards (Kim)

  • Almost done with screening
  • There are 45 judges aligned (good representation this year)
  • New awards this year
    • Expanded audio category
    • Engagement award
    • Digital media award is back
    • Visual digital narrowed
    • Increased our revenue to 20,000. 140k in awards revenue
    • Received a 15k grant for three years from Gather to support engagement award
  • Eric is leading the Foley awards
  • Shazna is working on the community award again this year
  • Rich Jarawlosky award discussion

ONA19 (Trevor Knoblich)

  • Sheraton hotel tour coming up next
  • We have two venues this year for ONA19: Sheraton & Intercontinental
  • We are really close to half a million in registration revenue right now
  • We have about 1200 registered attendees so far
  • We met 95% of our sales goal
  • We still have rooms left on our exhibit floor and several sponsorships available
  • We moved from our regular keynote format to a featured sessions format
  • We’ll be offering walking tours of the city
  • Opening night will be on Thursday at Generations Hall
  • ONA20 will be in Atlanta

The next Board call is on Friday, August 09 2019, 12 p.m. ET.

Meeting adjourned at 04:59: p.m. CT

These minutes are submitted by Administrative Assistant Diana Lopez and Board Secretary, Shazna Nessa.