Minutes – May 15-16, 2009

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

May 15-16, 2009

Washington, D.C.


In attendance:

  • Katie King
  • Katharine Fong
  • Amy Webb
  • Cory Haik
  • Anthony Moor
  • Tom Brew
  • Jody Brannon
  • Dick Myer
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Jonathan Hart
  • Jon Dube (Board President)
  • Ken Sands
  • Neil Budde
  • Jim Brady
  • Ju-Don Roberts
  • Jane McDonnell (Executive Director)
  • Sherry Skalko (Editor, Journalists.org)

Not in attendance:

  • Denise Polverine

Minutes: Minutes from April meeting approved.

Fundraising: Jon Dube discussed identifying fundraising opportunities. We are also looking at potential sponsorship and advertising on our Web site.

Grant Proposals: Jane McDonnell outlined potential funders with a focus on training, leadership, community and cutting-edge technology, and presented “Training in a Box,” a module-based training program, to support ONA’s mission; meet members’ needs for training; form basis for future revenue stream; and raise ONA’s profile.

The board continued to discuss the proposal, amount we’re requesting to initiate, logistics. Jane said she would gather feedback and respond back to the board.

Revenue plan

  • Advertising: Jane said she is looking for board volunteers to head an advertising steering committee with a focus on newsletter and Web site advertising (July). Anthony Moor volunteered to help out with background and information on ad sales and a tech vendor showcase.
  • Events: We are focusing more intently on registration and sponsorships for regional/local events (June start).
  • Challenge Fund update: Jane updated the board on the progress of the Challenge Fund. Discussion tabled until next day.

2010 Board Elections update: Kinsey Wilson said the nominating committee process starts in July.

The board discussed that fundraising by board members is becoming more important while service is still necessary. Discussed pros and cons of creating advisory board vs. voting members.

Eight board positions open; 4 incumbents, 4 new.

Neil Budde suggested we create a committee to find several non-voting members to add to Board. Amy Webb will lead the committee.

Amy made a motion that she’ll chair a committee to find up to five people for the board to talk with between June 1 and July 1. The motion was approved.

ONA09 update: Co-Chairs Katharine Fong and Liz Lufkin gave the update. The conference goal is to serve member needs, prove how the intersection of technology and journalism can come together, and to make money.

The pre-conference workshops are hands-on, all-day sessions to differentiate from main conference. Will include video storytelling, data-driven storytelling, IDEAO field trip, social media apps, foundation-funded community journalism.

The Career Summit & Job Fair will be as much about reinvention and rebranding as the job fair itself. The plan for this is to be a stand-alone event — open to public.

Keynotes: The board discussed all the confirmed keynoters: Evan Williams, Lisa Stone and Leo Laporte.

Panel: Streamlined from last year. Less panels, more networking time. Broken into two tracks: Content / backbone, ideas, structure

Liz Lufkin outlined panel subjects and topics for conference; Katherine described plans for the student newsroom and web editor Sherry Skalko discussed plans for external communication and public relations, including outreach to national and local media, colleges as well as journalism and tech organizations. Jane discussed plans for Internet live streaming channels.

Jane told the board that sponsorship sales are going well considering the economy. The board discussed the costs and logistics for the conference.

Wireless costs last year were $45,000 and are expected to be less this year. The board discussed a proposal to purchase wireless at a deeper discount.

The board also discussed audio-visual costs and other potential cost reductions while maintaining high quality.

Awards update: Anthony Moor said that the awards opened for entry at beginning of last month with 28 statues up for grabs, up from 23.

10th anniversary campaign: Jane said work on the 10th anniversary is being done throughout the year and she detailed a possible partnership to archive past online journalism awards.

Budget: Neil Budde detailed the proposed 2009 budget, noting he anticipated monies in memberships, conference registrations, sponsorships, vendors and individual contributions. Jane will work on reducing costs and finding new fundraising sources and revenue streams.

Dube and other board members stressed that the budget needs to be as conservative as possible during this year of economic uncertainty for many members.


Jane led discussion about how to meet Challenge Fund requirements. She noted that the board needs to continue working on how to raise dollars through August.

Discussion around messaging, social media, membership involvement, other fundraising efforts. Amy Webb will lead a smaller committee that will make recommendations to the board in the next couple of weeks on a possible new campaign for Support a Journalist.


  • Jane and Christine Montgomery to rework some of our messaging by end of next week.
  • Amy Webb will develop a social media/membership drive piece.
  • Jon and Neil will work on dollar amounts to ensure we cover costs on conference registration giveaways.
  • Katie and Jane to capture logistics on how to administer the free conference registrations and selection process
  • Sherry to work on online donation piece/Support a journalists page on site.
  • Cory to help with marketing plan
  • Raffle idea for conference: Cory and others
  • Anthony to work on tech showcase
  • Christine to make contacts on ad network
  • Ken and Jody to help coordinate a “parachute” effort in Tucson. Training of out-of-work journalists.

Meeting adjourned at 12 p.m.