Minutes – March 14, 2014

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Josh Hatch
  • Richard Hernandez
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Jennifer Preston
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson


  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Strategic Partnerships Manager
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager

Old Business

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

Finances, Development and Partnerships

  • Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education Update (Jane McDonnell):

Jane said the first round of Challenge Fund winners will be announced at a lunch reception on April 4 at the Journalism Interactive Conference. ONA then will roll out a campaign in mid-April to profile the winners over the course of a few weeks.

  • ONA Digital Leadership Breakfast/Dow Jones Foundation (Jane McDonnell, Jess Strelitz):

Jane said the first in the series of this new ONA initiative will be held in April, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Dow Jones Foundation. Jess is heading up the logistics. The idea behind these breakfasts is to have an off-the-record conversation with 20 to 30 leadership-level invitees in four cities on one particular issue. The theme will likely be focused on business-related issues. Invitees will likely include top editors, publishers and business leaders. The aim of this closed-invite system is to help leaders network and learn new strategies and to expose new people to ONA’s mission. So far, breakfasts are planned in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and early next year in San Francisco. Robert Hernandez noted that there should be more events on the West Coast, as we have so many events on the East Coast. Jane noted with the conference in 2015 being in LA, there will be more opportunities.

  • Global Editors Network, International Journalism Festival (Jane McDonnell):

Jane said International Committee Co-Chair Mario Tedeschini-Lalli has several ONA-branded sessions planned for the upcoming International Journalism Festival (IJF) in Perugia, Italy. Crowd-sourcing for ONA’s Build Your Own Ethics Code initiative will be launched at the festival with a workshop led by The Associated Press’ Tom Kent. Mario and Fergus Bell of the AP will also be hosting a panel on ethics and social newsgathering, a discussion carried over from a SXSW session in Austin by board members Mandy Jenkins and News Ethics Committee Chair Eric Carvin. Jane is making arrangements to attend IJF to make connections for future sponsorships and partnerships. International Co-Chair Steve Hermann will present a “Journalism in the Digital Age” panel. In addition to IJF, Mario is also organizing a separate data journalism workshop in Turin.

The Global Editors Network conference will be held in June in Barcelona. ONA UK will also hold its next event June 10 at the BBC College of Journalism, planned by Steve. Jess and Jane are attending both events in hopes of making more connections and sponsorship opportunities for ONA. Jim Brady and Jim Roberts also will attend.

  • ONA14 Sponsorships (Jess Strelitz)

Jess said sponsorship efforts for ONA14 are going well, with several sponsors renewing and new signups in process. There’s a new sponsor in place for the opening night event. ONA brought on Erin Polgreen, who has deep contacts in Chicago, to help coordinate the Midway.


  • News Ethics, Ethics and SXSW (Jane McDonnell, Eric Carvin)

Jane said board members Eric Carvin and Mandy Jenkins gave a well-received session at SXSW on ethics and social newsgathering that trended on Twitter. Eric said the ONA News Ethics working group, which was established at ONA13, met weeks before and identified five key challenges in UGC ethics, which were compiled into a blog post on journalists.org and were the basis for the SXSW session. Eric said he promoted Tom Kent’s Build Your Own Ethics Code initiative to garner interest. Jane said Tom is creating outlines of case studies and collecting best practices to help news organizations build their own ethics policies. She said she’d like to bring this initiative to ONA14 with some sort of interactive session. The committee will have another call in the coming weeks to determine next steps.

  • Diversity (Benet Wilson, Jane McDonnell)

Benet said the committee had its first planning call March 13 and narrowed its plans to two major initiatives. Diversify Journalism With Me is a contact resource for those seeking journalists of color in the digital space for conferences and panels. The committee is working on ways to grow this effort. Jennifer Preston reported she and other committee members are developing a possible opportunity for The New York Times and other news organizations to come up with a joint program on diversity in journalism.

  • ONACamp on Digital Security (Jane McDonnell):

Jane reported Jen Mizgata is planning for the second ONACamp of the year, funded by the Gannett Foundation. The first ONACamp of 2014, on mobile journalism, was held in Chapel Hill, N.C., and was a great success. The second, on digital security, will be held in late March at the Indianapolis Star. Jane reported the design thinking Camps seem to be popular with attendees. Two more are scheduled for the rest of the year.

  • Website Development (Jeremiah Patterson, Greg Linch):

Jeremiah said he is working with volunteer Yuri Victor of the Washington Post and Website Committee Chair Greg Linch on the journalists.org template changes ahead. The ONA14 conference site is live and active. A new membership center is almost complete and will be ready for testing by staff before the end of March. This new feature should be ready by the time registration opens for ONA14.


  • Timeline for Programming and Registration (Jane McDonnell, Jeremiah Patterson):

Jeremiah said registration opens April 8. He is working with our web development contractor to build out the ONA14 session Suggestion Box, which will be featured on the official ONA14 site this year instead of Tumblr.

  • ONA’s 15th Birthday (Jane McDonnell):

Jane said the first planning call will be March 27, with a small planning committee plus four founding members and ONA staff shaping ideas around this important anniversary. A lot of the existing ideas already overlap with the plans of the Fundraising Committee. Jane intends to further discuss the initiative at the next in-person board meeting in May.


  • Fundraising (David Cohn, Jess Strelitz):

Jess said Kim Bui and Dave Cohn volunteered to be co-chairs of this committee. So far the committee has been brainstorming ideas to reach new people for donations. The Board gave feedback on these ideas and offered others for the committee to discuss.

  • Legal Affairs (Josh Hatch, Chair):

Josh reported that back in January, ONA joined a letter to the European Court of Human Rights regarding their position on third-party website comments. The Court ruled that the website hosting comments was responsible for their content. ONA’s letter argued the court should reconsider its opinion. The Court currently is reconsidering, which, Josh noted, rarely happens.

The committee has also been discussing a class action lawsuit aimed at Google revolving around selling user data. Google has argued all of the court documents around this case should be sealed. ONA is part of a coalition arguing these documents should not be sealed from journalist access, but is not joining the class action case itself.

The committee is also keeping an eye on Federal Aviation Administration legislation on drones.

Jane suggested rescheduling the next monthly Board call from April 11 to April 18 at 1 p.m. ET Board tentatively agrees, but will discuss via email. Jane reminded everyone that the board meeting dinner is at 7:30 p.m. on May 8 in Chicago, with the next in-person meeting commencing on May 9 at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel & Towers.

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

The call ended at 2:01 p.m. ET.

The next call will be April 18 at 1 p.m. ET, pending email approval.

Submitted by ONA Secretary Mandy Jenkins