Minutes – March 8, 2013

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady
  • Jody Brannon
  • Josh Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Richard Hernandez
  • John Keefe
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson


  • Meredith Artley
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Burt Herman

Staff on the Call:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Jeanne Brooks, Digital Director
  • Irving Washington, Director of Operations
  • Jen Mizgata, Social Media and Communications Manager
  • Kevin Loker, Digital Coordinator

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the February in-person board member and the February board call.

Finances and Development

Jane McDonnell shared details of the final steps in the refining process for the 2013 budget. Upon completion, it will be shared with the Finance and Executive committees before being passed to the entire board for approval.

The check for the grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation reportedly is in the mail; the funds are to be applied toward training modules and website development.

Jane has been working with Julia DiLaura and Bridget Gallagher to produce a list of foundations worth approaching for future grants, for specific purposes and general support. Jane is optimistic the process will produce prospects for productive relationships. Some outreach is to organizations that are more technological or data-centric, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Vodaphone. Jane is receiving support from Advisory Board members Richard Gingras of Google and Liz Lufkin.

Jane will send a note to the board, asking for other leads.


For the sales manager opening, Jane said about 50 resumes were submitted; in the winnowing process, she is embarking on initial conversations with about a half-dozen candidates before setting up in-person meetings. Jim Brady said it is paramount to hire a strong candidate, even if none materializes from this round of submissions.


In a Feb. 15 email to the board, Robert Hernandez outlined a possible project that Jeanne Brooks pursued in deeper conversations with Dave Stanton, a Florida developer and member who submitted a Kickstarter proposal called For Journalism that might benefit members. The idea is to produce training modules on data journalism – initially about nine – and with our financial support our members would have unlimited access to the online learning opportunities. Jeanne also described the discount program established with Spundge through content director Craig Silverman. About 40 ONA members participated March 6 in a webinar to learn about Spundge, and Craig has said he’s open to one-on-one tutorials or deeper explanations of the aggregation/curation tool.

Based on the model presented by Spundge, other organizations have approached us about possible alliances for future member benefits.

Organizers of the National Conference for Media Reform also extended its early bird rate to our members.

Jeanne has continued to refine the six “Disrupting the Newsroom” sessions ONA will conduct at the GEN Conference June 19-21 in Paris. As part of the conference, ONA is able to sell sponsorships, and Jane said so far we have sold one.

Jane is spearheading a meeting in May with executive leaders of other journalism organizations, including five that represent diversity. She hopes the conversation will address issues such as growth, efficiencies, cooperation and other topics of joint interest.

Jane said she and Irving Washington had a call with AP and Google about moving forward on a renewing the AP-Google Scholarship.

For the 2013 AP-Google Scholarship, under Irving’s leadership, ONA received 51 applications, the same number as 2012. The scholarship committee is currently reviewing the applications.

Plans are proceeding for soliciting and selecting the next group of MJ Bear Fellows.

Jane encouraged the board to visit the ONA website to see the blog posts by the Scholars and Bear Fellows.


Jane provided an update on the ONA13 conference, specifically distribution of the “Save the Date” announcement in the membership newsletter.

For ONA13, there is a new fee structure, the details of which were shared in the last ONA newsletter. No feedback has yet been received about the price increase.

Staff is on pace to release the session selector/ programming this month.

Jane urged the board to secure their rooms in Atlanta early, although the size of the hotel should be sufficient to lodge all attendees.


Chair Josh Hatch discussed a conference call in which the Online Journalism Awards committee discussed issues that included categories and fee structures.

The MJ Bear Fellowship committee, lead by organizer Anne Saul and chair Amy Eisman, plans its first call in April; the first call for applicants will go out in April as well.

Josh shared developments of the Legal Affairs committee, including ONA joining other organizations participating in Sunshine Week to support an FOIA online portal. Also, eight individuals, including Jim Brady, representing six organizations met with members of the NCAA to discuss digital issues with the collegiate sports governing body that included tweeting and credentials. Jim said the meeting, a long time in the making, was a success.

Chair Robert Hernandez said the model with the For Journalism project is one the Membership Committee will pursue in hopes of discovering other membership benefits.

Open Agenda

Jane reminded the board that the spring Board meeting May 17-18 will be at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, starting at 9 a.m. Friday and finishing at noon Saturday.

Jeremiah Patterson and Kevin Loker are continuing discussion with web development firms while also conceiving alternate plans to ensure the ONA website is capable of handling the volume of conference transactions and registrations.

The call ended at 1:40 p.m. ET.