Minutes – Nov. 14, 2014

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 Herrmann
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Greg Linch
  • Benet Wilson

Not present

  • Jennifer Preston
  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Jim Roberts


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

Also Attending

  • Michael Kovaka, General Counsel

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 p.m.

Old Business

The board unanimously approved the minutes for the October 2014 board call.

Board Business

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates (Jane McDonnell): The January board meeting will be held in Washington D.C., Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, and the board dinner on Thursday, Jan. 29. Some committee members and other board members are welcome to meet from around 4:30 p.m. before dinner. The board meeting venue is likely to be either at NPR or The Washington Post.

Organizational Structure Meeting (Jane McDonnell): Meredith, Josh, Jody, Michael, Jane, Irving and ONA accountant, Carolyn Skinner, are meeting to discuss revenue breakdown and projections, and implications for future direction of ONA, which will be discussed in detail at the January board meeting.

Contributions (Jane McDonnell, Josh Hatch): Good progress has been made on board contributions, including the successful ONA14 Karaoke fundraiser. Josh will be in touch with those who have not yet fulfilled their pledge.

Finances, Development and Partnerships

Women’s Leadership Academy (Jane McDonnell): ONA is working with Poynter on a training program in the spring to help develop leadership skills of women in digital journalism. The aim is to make the week-long program tuition-free for 25 applicants. Mandy and Kim have attended other women’s journalism leadership programs and conferences and will offer feedback on any lessons learned.

Digital Toolkit (Jane McDonnell, Jeremiah Patterson, Trevor Knoblich): Jeremiah is working on an idea to create a digital toolkit with WordPress plugins to make it easier for news organizations to perform certain tasks. One would be the Build Your Own Ethics Code project now underway. The interactive schedule built for ONA14 has also proved popular. Eric voiced his strong support. Eric, chair of the News Ethics Committee, and Tom Kent, a member who has led the Ethics Code project, will help with this.

Legal Affairs (Jane McDonnell, Josh Hatch): Josh gave a report on the legal committee and spoke about a proposal to fund original legal work, as well as recent activities as posted to legal.journalists.org.

Business Development (Jessica Strelitz): Jess reported on ONA’s revenue goals and outlined the new initiatives, which this year so far have surpassed target. She is still looking for more ways to generate non-conference-based revenue. Jane called on board members to spread the word on the ONA Career Center as a place to seek and advertise jobs.


Challenge Fund (Irving Washington): Irving reported on progress with the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, which just opened for applications for 2015-16

ONACamp (Jen Mizgata): Jen spoke about the successful ONACamp in Phoenix focused on revenue and highlighted the opportunity to do more such “deep-dive” single-issue camps in future. She thanked David for his participation.

Journalists.org (Jeremiah Patterson): Jeremiah, Greg and volunteer developers have been working to see how the ONA site can be further improved as far as a design theme. Some changes should be in place by the time of the January board meeting.


International (Steve Hermann, Chair): Steve noted that the planned ONA London event at the BBC is now looking unlikely due to differing goals and priorities, so work is to start on seeking an alternative venue.

Education (Jody Brannon, Chair): Jody said the Facebook Educators group is going well. Josh noted a discussion he has had with some members of the ONA Educator’s Facebook group on eligibility for the student category at the OJA awards. AEJMC’s conference, set for San Francisco, is seeking ONA expertise for a pre-conference session day.

Fundraising (David Cohn, Chair): David reiterated that the ONA14 Karaoke fundraiser was a great success, and at ONA15 we may be able to host our own karaoke in a space at the hotel venue.

Diversity (Benet Wilson, Chair): Benet will be working with Irving on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students, funded by a new Knight grant, who will be attending ONA15.

Board members congratulated Meredith on her new role as Editor-in-Chief at CNN Digital.

The call ended at 2 p.m. ET.

Next Board call: Friday, Dec. 12, 2014

Upcoming In-Person Board meetings:

  • Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, Washington DC (dinner Thursday, Jan. 29)
  • Friday, May 29, 2015, Los Angeles (dinner Thursday, May 28)

These minutes are compiled by Steve Hermann in lieu of Secretary Mandy Jenkins.