Minutes – Nov. 13, 2015

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • ​Meredith Artley
  • Jim Brady,
  • Jody Brannon
  • P. Kim Bui
  • Eric Carvin
  • David Cohn
  • ​Josh Hatch
  • Steve Hermann
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Greg Linch,
  • David Smydra
  • ​Benet Wilson
  • Jose Zamora

Not present:

  • Jim Roberts

Staff in attendance:

  • ​Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
  • Irving Washington, Deputy Director
  • Trevor Knoblich, Digital Director
  • Jessica Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships
  • Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager
  • Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager

The meeting was called to order at 1:06 p.m. ET.

Old Business

The Board unanimously approved the minutes for the October 2015 Board call.

Board Business

Student Board Representative Vote: Jane said a sub-committee of Benet Wilson, Robert Hernandez, Greg Linch and Jody Brannon are looking over final applicants for this first-time appointment. There are eight finalists. Jane said the applicant group is very strong. The Board discussed term lengths and eligibility for this nonvoting seat.

Board Orientation: Jane said she will set times to conduct an orientation for new board member David Skok, as well as the student representative, in early December.

Conference Updates

ONA16 Site Visit: Jane said the ONA staff is visiting the Hyatt Regency in Denver Dec. 8-10 to start scouting venues for ONA16.
International Conference: Jane said the 2016 international conference will be held at Reuters in London again, on April 1, with focus on audience engagement.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

ONA Local / New Hire / Strategy: Jane said hiring is underway for the ONA Local position of Community Manager. Robert asked if applicants needed to be located in Washington, D.C. Jane said if a great candidate emerges who is located outside D.C., she would be willing to talk with them.

Women’s Leadership Academy: Jane said ONA has signed an agreement to have a second Academy at the Poynter Institute in May of 2016. ONA will announce this next week and have a timeline in place soon. Jae said sponsorships and programming planning are going on now.

Digital Leadership Breakfast: Jess said the first Digital Leadership Breakfast of 2016 will be held in Miami in January. Following events will be in San Francisco in March, then Austin in spring. Jess said the current Dow Jones Foundation grant for these events will last until July of 2016.

Google News Lab Summit: Jane is attending the Summit in December in Mountain View, Calif. Mandy will also be in attendance. Irving, Robert and Jody also will be attending Newsgeist in Arizona.

Ethics / Newseum: Trevor said a presentation at the Newseum on Nov. 19 will feature ONA’s Build your Own Ethics Toolkit. The Newseum is offering complimentary space for the event, which will feature Tom Kent from the Associated Press, as well as Madeleine Bair from Witness and NPR’s Standards Editor. Trevor said interest in the event is high.


Ethics: Jane said ONA is submitting a grant proposal for phase II of the Build Your Own Ethics Code. Eric said work continues to finalize the ONA UGC Ethics charter, based on suggestions from the Board about language. Eric says the News Ethics group hopes to have something to show the Board within a few weeks.

International: Jane said ONA will need a solid strategy in terms of an expansion as we add more overseas ONA Local groups. This will be discussed further at the January board meeting.

Legal: Josh said he and Jane met with ONA’s new legal counsel to discuss some of the initiatives the Legal Committee wants to examine for 2016 and brainstormed on how ONA might take more of a leadership role on digital issues.

Online Journalism Awards: Jane said, with Josh stepping down as chair, she is crafting a job description and seeking the right person to fill this important role. Jane asked for volunteers from the Board.


The next in-person meeting will be Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29, 2016 at NPR’s offices in Washington, D.C. The staff is currently working on its presentation of strategy plans and the 2015 and 2016 budgets.

David Cohn reminded everyone to make their required donations for 2015.

The call ended at 1:48 p.m. ET.

The next call will be Friday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. ET

These minutes are submitted by ONA Secretary Mandy Jenkins