Minutes – Nov. 9, 2012

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

In attendance:

  • Jim Brady, President
  • Meredith Artley, Vice President
  • Jody Brannon, Treasurer
  • Will Sullivan, Secretary
  • Christine Montgomery
  • Joshua Hatch
  • Burt Herman
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Katie King
  • John Keefe
  • Juana Summers
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli
  • Jane McDonnell, Executive Director


  • Amy Webb
  • Cory Haik

Old Business

President Jim Brady called the group to order at 1:07 p.m. and noted that there are no October minutes due to lack of quorum on the Oct. 19 board call.

Administration and Personnel

Executive Director Jane McDonnell shared a new orgranizational flow chart and announced several staffing changes beginning December 3. Irving Washington is coming on as Director of Operations. He will oversee Branden Smith on revenue and
strategies and be responsible for efficiencies in operations. Leah Rush may be working
as a contract Operations Coordinator under Washington.

As of Dec. 3, as part of the new organizational structure, Jeanne Brooks will then supervise Communications and Social Media Manager Jennifer Mizgata, Digital Manager Jeremiah Patterson and Digital Coordinator Kevin Loker.

McDonnell noted that budgeting for 2013 needs to plan for growing staff and benefits as the organization continues to expand. She also discussed some of the new initiatives for the coming year, including updating the e-commerce and membership sections of the site to move from Drupal to WordPress.

The board discussed strategies concerning scaling staff and resources smartly to serve membership effectively, grow revenue and manage costs wisely.

2013 Board

McDonnell said that she, Brady and Vice President Meredith Artley would hold an orientation call with the four new board members in December and asked the rest of the board to send her any suggestions/feedback or let her know if they wanted to be involved.

Brady said that the board should consider using the seat vacated when Rob King resigned to make a diversity appointment to ensure that the board reflects the membership’s diversity of ethnicity, race, medium, skillset, geography, sex, etc. He asked that nominations be provided to the Executive Committee by December 4.

Membership Committee

Membership Committee Chair Robert Hernandez discussed the group’s progress on recruiting volunteers for advisory, non-board member positions to help with this committee. The group prepared a survey and will be sending it out to members in the weeks after the Presidential election to gather member and nonmember feedback on how the organization can better serve members. They’re looking to gather more datadriven information and less anecdotal feedback.

Legal Affairs

Legal Affairs Chair Josh Hatch updated the group on progress made recently with the Sunlight in Government Initiative, including seeking to remove language from the intelligence reauhorization bill that could have deleterious effects on national security reporting. The committee has also been watching a case heading to the Supreme Court regarding residency requirements for FOIA requesters in the state of Virginia, and may join an anicus brief on that issue in the months ahead.

Online Journalism Awards

Online Journalism Awards Chair Hatch said there hadn’t been much of a reaction to the proactive and transparent explanation that was sent out to members on the change in winners. The Globe and Mail contacted ONA about mistakenly entering its piece in the wrong size category — Feature, Medium. After conferring with OJA judges, The Chronicle of Higher Education, a finalist in that category, was named the new winner for its piece, “The Education of Dasmine Cathey. After the new year, the committee will start buckling down and looking at 2013 OJAs, including categories and requirements.

The call concluded at 2:02 p.m.

Next Board call: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 1 p.m. ET

January Board meeting: Thursday and Friday, Jan. 24-25, 2013