Mandy Jenkins is currently serving her second year as president of the Board of Directors of the Online News Association and is General Manager of The Compass Experiment, a partnership between Google and McClatchy to explore sustainable business models for local news. Over the next three years, she will be leading the launch of three digital-only news operations in U.S. communities that have limited sources of local, independent journalism.
Prior to her work with Compass, Mandy was a 2019 John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, where she studied the disconnection between disinformation consumers and mainstream news.
Mandy got her start as an overnight web producer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She went on to coordinate online news projects at the Cincinnati Enquirer, where she eventually became the company’s first social media editor in early 2008. In 2010, Mandy was part of a team of journalists who conceived and launched Washington, D.C. local news startup TBD, where, as social media editor, she experimented in local news curation, crowdsourcing breaking news and community engagement. After a reorganization at TBD, Mandy became the Social News Editor for Huffington Post Politics during the 2011-2012 primaries, where she also coordinated the company’s citizen journalism program, OfftheBus.
She joined Digital First Media in February of 2012, where she led digital and social media training for the company’s more than 75 local newsrooms. She was part of the team that launched New York-based Project Thunderdome in the summer of 2012, when she became the Interactives Editor, overseeing the national data journalism, video, design and social media teams. She later took over the role of Managing Editor, overseeing daily operations and news projects for the national newsroom prior to its closure in the spring of 2014.
In summer 2014, Mandy joined Storyful, a social news startup working with newsrooms to find, verify and publish eyewitness journalism from around the world. Over the course of nearly four years, she managed a distributed team of journalists, worked closely with product development and collaborated with newsroom clients on social-centric editorial projects – eventually becoming Storyful’s first Editor-in-Chief.
In addition to ONA, Jenkins serves on the Board of Directors for the American Society of News Editors. A native of Ohio and a graduate of Kent State University, she lives in Mountain View, CA.
I have been an ONA member for nine years and on the Board of Directors for six years, serving as secretary, vice president and now in my first year as president.
Vision for ONA
I have been a part of ONA’s Board of Directors for six years and I feel I still have more to give the organization.
ONA has grown considerably over the years and is, by all accounts, a successful organization – but now faces a critical time to evolve to accommodate a changing industry. After all, most of the journalism world is “online news” these days – especially compared to when ONA was founded – so we have to be sure ONA, as an organization, reflects the digitally-focused present of journalism and is prepared for whatever evolutions come in the future.
I want to continue to be a part of the team setting the plan for ONA’s next phase of life. Part of that is an evaluation of ONA’s mission to ensure it is still best serving its members and another is developing a strategic plan for continued service to the industry, innovative programming and sustainable growth.
We need to focus on the strengths of ONA, and identify our areas for improvement. From this, we can continue to find opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations with complementary strengths and needs.
I want us to keenly focus on the ONA membership – celebrating and promoting its diversity and addressing the needs of underrepresented sub-communities. ONA has been like a family to me as I have grown and changed in my career, and I want it to be similarly available to all of those who are invested in journalism’s future now and for years to come.