Minutes – March 16, 2012

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady, President
  • Jody Brannon, Treasurer
  • Will Sullivan, Secretary
  • Joshua Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Burt Herman
  • Rob King
  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Sean Connolly, Digital Manager
  • Irving Washington, Scholarship Manager
  • Jennifer Mizgata, Communications and Social Media Manager


  • Cory Haik
  • Meredith Artley, Vice President
  • Jeanne Brooks, Director of Innovation and Community Engagement
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Amy Webb (joined at 1:51 p.m.)
  • Katie King


Roll call was taken

Jim Brady moves to approve January and February final minutes, seconded by Jody Brannon, unanimously approved.


Jody Brannon delivered an investment update on the MJ Bear Fellowship money to maximize the investment and growth. The sub investment committee is currently working on a proposal with some instruments and companies that are major brands behind investments.


Jane McDonnell updated the group on the Business Development position. She’s started interviewing people and described some of the current potential candidates. She hopes to have the decision made by the end of the month, with them starting in April and attending the board meeting in May.

Jim reiterates that if board members have any rockstar candidates to suggest, please send them asap.

Jane updated everyone that Jen Mizgata has officially taken the position of Social Media Manager and the other staff members have new titles to better reflect what they’re doing.

ONA12 & ONA13:

Jane updated the group on the situation at the Hyatt Regency with the union for ONA 12. Several board members have been contacted and Jane has been in communication with them.

For ONA13, she was very close to deciding on Denver but that location was also a Hyatt. They investigated Washington DC, but the Omni didn’t have space available, so they looked at Atlanta, which is offering a good deal at the Marriott Marquis. They’re pursuing this. Board members discussed how Atlanta offers CNN, AJC, Cox, The Weather Channel, Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse and other potential local partnerships. The Delta hub based there also makes it easier to get to. Board members acknowledged that Atlanta isn’t exactly ‘middle of the country’ but given the time frame, financial and size constraints, it is a good compromise. Jane will continue to pursue this option.


Sean Connolly said he’s working with Aten Design Group on developing the e-commerce portion of the ONA website, which will handle registration, memberships, award entries and donations. Conference registration opens April 10 and the ecommerce tools should be set up by then.

He’s also working with Miranda Mulligan on the awards rebranding, to keep it within ONA’s core brand, while also keeping it special.

For the ONA12 website, Larry Buchanan and Daniel Bachhuber are helping get the site up, which will line up with the awards and conference registration projects.

Online Journalism Awards:

Josh Hatch updated the group that all the final categories are set up. He said they better honor the best of web journalism without getting into very medium-specific categories like “best photo slideshow.” He and Will Sullivan conducted a survey of members to figure out size categories and how to split them up among small, medium, large.

He’s looking for suggestions on judges for the contest and looking for a variety of skills and mediums. Suggestions should be posted to the Writeboard on Basecamp. Once entries open, he’ll nail down the group of judges.

Sunshine Government Initiative:

ONA has signed on to the SGI and will announce this on the first of the month. Josh is the contact person for the monthly meetings with them.


Irving Washington updated the group on the AP-Google Scholarships. Irving and Jane were notifying the winners later in the day. He said the group is very diverse in projects, geography, ethnicity and education, with lots of self-taught, self-starters. He thanked the great committee for helping out with the judging: “they took a lot of time and care helping out.”

Membership Update:

In Jeanne’s absence, Jen updated the group on ONA Local and the launch of the group maps and guide. In group news, she said ONA Twin Cities and Miami launched and that the ONA Camp at Montana was finalizing speakers and suggestions and should be open for registration soon.

Membership Committee:

Robert Hernandez updated the group on the Membership Committee, which held a meeting in February. He said they’re working on identifying non-board members to bring in to the group to help represent on the committee and specify the goals, serve and represent the members.

MJ Bear Fellows:

Jane updated the group that the campaign for the next class of MJ Bear Fellows is starting up. They’re looking to bring in younger, more diverse members to the committee. The Fellow blogs are doing great and offering a great way to promote the fellows, as well as the application process and fundraising campaign opening soon.

Education Committee:

Jody said that a group of 11 volunteers have stepped forward to write on topics for tools. She’s talking to Jeanne about strategy about making a wiki-esque system for publishing the information; specific tools are not certain yet. They’re hoping to have a late spring mockup and fill it out during the summer.

International Committee:

Jane said there’s talks with the the International Center For Journalists about partnering on an event of some sort. There’s potential discussion about a mini-conference in London in the Spring of 2013.

Unity Conference:

Robert and Jeanne are working on doing a mini-ONA Camp before Unity in Las Vegas. Details are still being worked out.

Next Board call: Friday, April 13 (::DUN DUN DUN!::), 2012, 1 p.m. ET