Minutes – Sept. 15, 2017

Online News Association Board of Directors Meeting

Board members in attendance: Meredith Artley, Michelle Baruchman (Student Representative), Eric Carvin, Imaeyen Ibanga, Mandy Jenkins, Celeste LeCompte, Greg Linch, David Skok, David Smydra, Elite Truong, Benét Wilson, Jose Zamora.

Board members not in attendance:  Josh Hatch, P. Kim Bui, David Cohn, Steve Hermann.

Also Present:  Velma Hart, Adrienne Semidey

Staff in attendance: Irving Washington, Executive Director; Trevor Knoblich, Head of Programs and Events; Jessica Strelitz, Head of Strategic Partnerships; Adam Nekola, Senior Digital Manager;  Jen Mizgata, Director of Programs; Meghan Murphy, Community Manager.

Staff not present: N/A

The meeting was called to order at 1:03 p.m.

Old Business:  Minutes were unanimously approved

New Business:

Strategic Planning

  • The team has been working with Velma and Adrienne for the past two months on the process of  the strategic plan.
  • A draft of the plan will be ready on January 2018.
  • The team is driving to create a draft document that includes options to determine best path going forward for ONA.
  • The team is working with a smaller strategic planning committee.
  • Staff has also weighed in; Velma and Adrienne are holding biweekly meetings with Executive Director Irving Washington and Head of Programs Trevor Knoblich and Head of Strategic Partnerships Jessica Strelitz.
  • A member survey administered at the convention will be a part of the process.

ONA Conference

  • More than 2800 attendees have registered and the event is sold out.
  • The majority of attendees so far are women.
  • More than 50 percent are first-time attendees.
  • There are 100 people on the waitlist.
  • The keynotes set and will be announced next week.

Online Journalism Awards  (David Smydra, Chair)

  • The Foley and Jaroslovsky award winners have been chosen.
  • Official judging was Aug. 15. Judges had three weeks to review entries.
  • Process went smoothly; the committee listened to feedback.
  • 800 tickets have been sold for the OJA banquet.


  • Three MJ Bear Fellows have been selected — Kelly Moffitt, Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato and Subhashish Panigrahi.
  • Six HBCU Fellows have been selected — Allana Barefield, Angelique Fullwood, Cara Hackett, Chad Rhym, Kendall Lawson and Maya King.
  • The CNN Diversity Fellows are being chosen.
  • 25 of the 26 Women’s Leadership Accelerator will be at the conference.
  • We awarded 11 grants for Journalism 360 programs.
  • The Board of Directors slate has been released. Voting begins on Oct. 3.

ONA Local (Meghan Murphy)

  • ONA has 21 new groups in past two years, one group over the goal for the Knight Foundation grant.
  • 40 people are coming to the convention on scholarships.


  • Jessica has done an amazing job with sponsorships, with record revenue.
  • Sponsors and exhibitors find Washington, D.C. an attractive location.
  • The Midway will have 23 participants and two days of panel-focused programming.
  • On Saturday, there will be an immersive storytelling session with Journalism 360 participants.
  • United has renewed its ONA partnership.

The meeting ended at 2:01 p.m. ET.

These minutes are submitted by Secretary Benét J. Wilson