Online News Association



Washington, DC

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $1,989,301
Expenses: $2,271,171
Assets: $2,598,413


Professional Membership Association


LaSharah Bunting

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The Online News Association is a professional membership association for individual internet-based journalists. The organization was formed in the late 1990s shortly after the advent of the online news industry and, like other journalism-related organizations, promotes a variety of left-of-center ideologies and is funded by major left-of-center grantmaking foundations. The association hosts professional development programs for various demographics within the journalism industry and hosts an annual conference.

The group claims to have over 2,000 individual members who include journalists, support staff, executives, and other professionals connected to the online news industry. Among the notable left-of-center foundations that fund the organization are the Democracy Fund, the Ford Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 2


The Online News Association was founded in 1999 as internet-based news sources became more widespread. The association is an individual membership-based professional society comprised of individual members in the digital media profession including “journalists, technologists, executives, students, educators and other digital media professionals.” 3

The focus of the organization includes developing strategies for emerging technology including “insights into trends and best practices for using immersive reality, artificial intelligence and other emerging tools for journalism.” The group also shares aggregated online engagement metrics and digital media engagement, invests in training and events that explore alternative revenue and business models for online media companies, and promotes diversity-based hiring practices. 4

The Online News Association’s largest event is the annual Online News Association conference, which is attended by many journalists and other digital media staff members in the association’s membership. The group also administers the annual Online Journalism Awards. 5


The Online News Association conducts a variety of programs and hosts events catered towards professionals working at digital media companies. According to the organization’s 2022 retrospective, the organization engaged more than 5,200 individuals through its programming, including events, cohorts, and fellowships. In addition to programming centered around innovation, networking, career development, and industry trends, the organization also has stated a commitment to advancing left-of-center diversity, equity, and inclusion ideology and policy in the digital journalism industry. 6

Other programs hosted by the Online News Association include women’s leadership programs, a student newsroom program, a digital media fellowship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the MJ Bear Fellowship, named after a late founding member of the organization, for journalists under 30. 7


LaSharah Bunting is the executive director of the Online News Association and assumed her current position in 2023. She previously was a vice president at Simon & Shuster and the director of journalism at the left-of-center John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds the Online News Association, where she directed giving to journalism-related organizations. She also spent 13 years as an editor at the New York Times, ultimately working as the senior editor of digital transition. 8


The Online News Association is funded by several left-of-center foundations including the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the Inasmuch Foundation,  the Dow Jones Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Carpenter Family Charitable Fund, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Diversity Pledge Institute, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, McCormick Foundation, and the Open Media Foundation. 9 10


  1. “Our Supporters.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.[‘/note] 1 “About.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  2. “About.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  3. “About.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  4. “About.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  5. “2022 Retrospective.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  6. “Programs.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  7. “LaSarah Bunting.” LinkedIn profile. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  8. [1] “Foundations.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
  9. “Our Supporters.” Online News Association. Accessed August 26, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1999

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $1,989,301 $2,271,171 $2,598,413 $169,890 Y $1,435,351 $508,707 $17,909 $228,079
    2020 Dec Form 990 $2,619,791 $2,628,784 $3,153,402 $474,051 Y $1,636,321 $975,019 $6,421 $592,564 PDF
    2019 Dec Form 990 $3,295,150 $3,455,137 $2,969,383 $289,969 Y $2,130,679 $1,159,013 $5,458 $539,274 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $3,751,510 $3,656,161 $3,260,180 $438,631 Y $2,631,433 $1,112,826 $7,251 $349,984 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $3,585,859 $3,043,532 $3,372,222 $635,302 Y $2,254,123 $1,323,030 $6,441 $154,361 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,215,299 $2,375,069 $2,460,178 $276,120 Y $2,202,044 $1,008,963 $4,292 $271,658 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,630,384 $2,274,449 $1,622,121 $282,455 Y $1,653,109 $969,663 $7,612 $159,115 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,201,263 $2,129,864 $1,167,616 $180,338 N $1,416,119 $778,873 $4,897 $159,096 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,172,334 $1,641,408 $1,088,630 $172,133 N $1,532,180 $636,592 $3,562 $185,038 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,281,398 $1,548,521 $563,811 $185,024 N $184,006 $1,092,687 $2,030 $154,923 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,486,085 $1,112,145 $795,798 $147,640 N $432,759 $1,050,519 $545 $155,741 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Online News Association

    Washington, DC 20002-7502