Minutes – May 13, 2016

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Meredith Artley
  • Michelle Baruchman (Student Representative)
  • Jody Brannon
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • Steve Herrmann
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch
  • David Skok
  • David Smydra
  • Benét Wilson

Not present:

  • P. Kim Bui
  • Joshua Hatch
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Jim Roberts
  • Jose Zamora

Staff in attendance​:

  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager
  • Meghan Murphy, Community Manager

Staff not present:

  • Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager

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

Old Business

The Board unanimously approved the minutes for the April 8, 2016, Board call.

Finances and Administration

  • Jane reported that the 2015 financial audit draft has been completed and will move to the Financial Oversight Committee, then to the full board for approval at the June meeting.
  • Jane reported that she is renegotiating ONA’s space lease with NPR for 2017 and beyond.
  • Jane noted there is no Board call in June due to the Board meeting in Denver. The next call is Friday, July 8.
  • Trevor reported that ​Shauna Gordon­MeKeon has been brought on as a new development consultant to work on the Build Your Own Ethics Code site. Jane also welcomed Ashley DaSilva as the new Online Journalism Awards consultant and Irving noted that Melinda Cook joined us as consulting events planner to help with conference logistics.

Initiatives and Partnerships

ONA Local: ​Jane said Knight Foundation has approved our strategy for its $828K grant. Meghan walked through the new city and state target groups and will discuss the strategy further at the Board meeting. ONA Locals launched in Australia, Japan and Ireland, as well as Dallas­Fort Worth and a new student group at the University of Florida. Meghan reported on her recent visit to Miami, where she met with partners and hosted a meet­up.

International:​ Jane reported a 2 percent uptick in international membership in the past month. Chair Steve Herrmann and Irving noted that an overall strategy is being developed with the committee. Board members alerted staff to overseas conferences they’ll be attending in 2016.

Women’s Leadership Academy:​ Jane and Trevor said the second week­long training at Poynter was very successful, based on immediate feedback from the 28 participants and the first look at formal evaluations of the event, which overall came in at “excellent” or “above average.” Staff and the Board will brainstorm next steps for the 2017 training at the Board meeting.

Digital Leadership Breakfast​: Jane reported that the recent event in San Francisco had good turnout and strong speakers. Jess said the next breakfast, the last in this year’s grant series, is set for Austin on June 9.

FAC Hotline:​ Jane said we will announce a new partnership with the First Amendment Coalition that offers the FAC Hotline ­­ legal advice and guidance from respected media lawyers ­­ free to ONA members.

2016 Conference

Programming:​ Trevor reported that the first iteration of programming for the conference in Denver will launch this week and sessions will be added through the end of June. He noted that it was a record year for pitches and they were very strong. Jeremiah said early­bird registration ends June 2.

Sponsorships:​ Jess said we are ahead of last year in securing sponsors for the conference, with 40 percent of packages sold to new organizations; we are already running low on floor space. Opening night and the diversity, educator and international receptions are all sponsored.


Ethics (Eric Carvin, Chair): ​Seven new supporters have signed on to the Social Newsgathering Code since its launch at the ONA London conference in April. Next step is planning how to continue the conversation at ONA16, possibly through a workshop approach on the best way to adopt standards in the newsroom.

International (Steve Herrmann, Chair)​: During a recent call, the committee discussed a strategic framework to set priorities to clarify goals and zero in on specific criteria for new countries or regions of focus. The framework will work in tandem with the one Meghan is using domestically for ONA Local.

Legal Affairs (Mandy Jenkins, Chair)​: A 2016 goal is to have strong legal resources for the digital journalism community on journalists.org. Mandy and General Counsel Alison Schary will take the lead on determining and assigning resource­gathering to committee members.

Online Journalism Awards (David Smydra, Chair):​ Entries for the 2016 awards opened on Tuesday. David noted the staff’s good work on launching on deadline. The next step is selecting screeners for submissions.

The call ended at 1:57 p.m. ET.

The next call will be on Friday, July 8, 2016

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Benét J. Wilson