Minutes – Oct. 20, 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 Hermann
  • Robert Hernandez
  • Greg Linch
  • Jennifer Preston
  • Jim Roberts
  • Benet Wilson

Not Present

  • Mandy Jenkins
  • Richard Koci Hernandez


  • 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 September 2014 board call.

Board Elections

Jane asked the board to urge members to vote as the board election ends Oct. 14. Jeremiah said members yet to vote will get an email reminder. Meredith urged board members interested in running for one of the four Board executive offices to do so.


Jane said the Board will hold its first 2015 meeting on Jan. 30, and the spring meeting will be in Los Angeles, site of our 2015 conference, likely in May. Josh suggested spreading out the meeting dates to allow time to work on projects or initiatives between in-person meetings. Jane said she will send out a survey to determine the spring date. For the January meeting, Jennifer Preston suggested new members can benefit from gathering before the Board dinner, and Steve Herrmann agreed it is helpful to orient new members.

2014 Conference

Jane summarized the financial success of the Chicago conference, calling it the “best we’ve had” — including the more than $3,000 raised at the karaoke event. She said the expenses accompanying the significant growth of the conference should be factored into the budget for the 2015 conference. The 2013 conference had just under 1,600 registrants; attendance in September 2014 was 1,902. Irving discussed the revenue from the conference based on registration and how careful watch of expenses helped with labor costs in Chicago. Irving filed an appeal with the state of Illinois for the ONA to gain exempt status. which could bring significant savings. Jessica said feedback from sponsors, Midway exhibitors and Job Fair participants was very positive. Likewise, Trevor said the post-conference online survey on programming was “overwhelmingly positive.” Meredith commented that people appreciated the diversity of presenters and session leaders. Josh said he was pleased with the Online Journalism Awards and the addition of the Jim Foley Award for Conflict Reporting in 2015. Jane applauded the staff, volunteers and Student Newsroom for their exceptional service. Steve summarized the well-attended International meetup, in which people asked for an easier way to share ideas; that might include creating a listserv or a Facebook page. Steve also said people expressed interest in creating a group or holding a meetup in Hong Kong.


Jane continues to meet with representatives of various foundations to secure additional sponsorships and grants for new initiatives.


Jen said the Nov. 8 ONACamp at Arizona State University will feature many highlights and takeaways from the Chicago conference. Jane is seeking funding for the next phase of the ethics initiative out of the News Ethics Committee, which would develop tools that would allow journalists to customize our ethic guidelines.


Jeremiah discussed the historic trends in renewals of memberships around the conference, and now that the member backend system MemberClicks has been implemented on our site, we’ll soon have more longitudinal data to show specifics.

The next board call will be Friday, Nov. 14.

The call ended at 2:03 p.m. ET.

These minutes are submitted by Board Vice President Jody Brannon, substituting for Board Secretary Mandy Jenkins.