In what is no doubt the least surprising news you will read this week, this year’s postponed ONO Conference has now been cancelled.
The ONO Board met last week and confirmed that international conditions mean it is simply not possible to try to reschedule the postponed conference for any time during calendar year 2020.
We will now work towards having the best conference ever in 2021, at a time and date to be advised.
In the meantime, keep reading for news about a virtual annual meeting to take place next month.
“VIRTUAL” ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Despite the cancellation of our conference, the work of ONO goes on. That means we will need to hold our annual general meeting to elect some replacement board members, hear about our finances and membership and discuss any other organisational matters including some minor proposed changes to our by-laws (see below for more details).
This meeting will be held on Wednesday June 17 at 1100 UTC, and we will be conducting it via Zoom.
Although only full members of ONO are able to vote on any formal decisions, we encourage all members (including associate, retired and honorary members) to join us.
To make the meeting a more useful and relevant occasion for us all, we have also decided to include a general discussion about life as an ombudsman or standards editor during the current coronavirus pandemic. Many members have raised with us the challenges of our work during this time, and we feel there is much to discuss. We are therefore encouraging all of you to give this some thought and come along ready to ask any questions and discuss any issues you would like in relation to how our work has changed and/or been affected by these difficult times.
Keep a lookout for more information in due course on the meeting, including a formal invitation with details on how to log in and participate in the discussion.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS NEEDED!
At least two of the current ONO Board are finishing up this year as they move into different professional roles.
We will thank them properly for their service at the appropriate time, but that means we will be looking for new board members.
All those interested in putting their names forward for consideration should contact the ONO Executive Director, Alan Sunderland, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the ONO by-laws, if we have more nominations than there are positions to be filled, there will be an election process at our meeting in June.
We would like to encourage any full member of ONO who might be interested to let us know, and by all means contact us if you would like a little more information.
The ONO Board meets via a telephone or video hook-up about once a month for around an hour to discuss relevant issues, plan for forthcoming conferences, encourage growing membership and generally keep the organization ticking along. Participation as a board member is a great way to make new contacts with other members and to enrich the experience of being part of ONO.
You can see the list of our current board members here. Feel free to email any of them if you want to know more.
The ONO Board is currently finalising an update of our by-laws to make sure they are relevant and up-to-date.
The details will be provided at the annual meeting in June, but essentially the changes are designed to:
- Formalise the name change of the organization to “Organization of News Ombudsmen and Standards Editors”
- Spell out the complete range of different memberships we now offer – full, associate, retired and honorary.
- Make it clear that we are permitted to charge different fees for different classes of membership.
- Tweak the rules around the annual meeting so that we don’t HAVE to hold it during the annual conference if we don’t want to (covers problems like this year, where the annual conference had to be cancelled)
- Confirm that ONO can have a voluntary, unpaid Executive Director role (since Alan Sunderland is now the third person to hold that position!)
- Tidy up some other out-dated wording, including (for example) that all mail must be sent by the US Postal Service
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
It is easy to forget at the moment, but there is still a world out there and things are happening.
Here are some links to useful articles relating to ethics in journalism, many of them featuring contributions from our own members:
- New NPR Public Editor and new ONO member Kelly McBride on how her organization handled the sexual abuse allegations against Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden: https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2020/05/06/850967345/npr-was-too-slow-on-tara-reades-story
- Tamedia Ombudsman and ONO member Ignaz Staub sent through this interesting piece from Nieman on the battle for media freedom in Australia: https://niemanreports.org/articles/australian-medias-fight-for-press-freedom-should-be-a-lesson-to-journalists-worldwide/
- The age-old debate about the difference between the public interest and what interests the public gets another airing: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/05/clicks-and-dollars-trump-ethics-for-media-that-published-leaked-photos-of-dean-laidley
- Facebook has a new editorial oversight board. Has it been set up properly, and will it work? Here is former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger explaining why he agreed to sign on – https://onezero.medium.com/why-im-joining-facebook-s-oversight-committee-f5b0c30f2d14 – and here are some critics of the new board – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/06/facebook-accused-left-wing-bias-appointing-ex-guardian-editor/
- A new scandal in the UK claims the scalp of a reporter who listened in on private Zoom meetings: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/mark-di-stefano-resign-ft-independent-zoom-a9494991.html
- Journalism ethics and COVID-19: https://scotscoop.com/editorial-ethical-journalism-is-part-of-the-cure-for-covid-19/
- In Minneapolis, social media posts bring down yet another journalist accused of crossing the line: https://www.startribune.com/on-sven-sundgaard-s-firing-journalists-need-to-respect-neutrality/570255042/
- From A.S. Panneerselvan, ONO Member and Reader’s Editor at The Hindu, a timely reminder of the importance of corrections: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/Readers-Editor/being-wrong/article31495426.ece
Bjarne Schilling Alan Sunderland
ONO President ONO Executive Director