2023 Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award winner

Mandy Jenkins

About Mandy Jenkins
Headshot of Mandy Jenkins

Mandy Jenkins

Digital news pioneer and beloved mentor Mandy Jenkins left her mark on news organizations across the U.S., developing strategies to help them connect with audiences online and adapt to rapid transformations in the digital age.

Mandy was most recently Head of Product at Factal, a global breaking news and risk intelligence company. She previously worked as General Manager of The Compass Experiment, a partnership between McClatchy and Google to explore sustainable business models for local news. Her work with the project included the launch of Mahoning Matters in Youngstown, Ohio, and The Longmont Leader in Longmont, Colorado. In 2019, she completed the John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University, during which she conducted independent research on the relationship between the media and consumers of disinformation.

Mandy died Feb. 26, 2023, in her hometown of Zanesville, Ohio, after nearly four years of cancer treatment.

Contributions to ONA

Mandy embodied ONA’s mission. As a self-described news nerd in a legacy newsroom that “often didn’t know what to do with [her],” Mandy followed the ONA annual conferences from afar until a new job finally gave her a chance to attend. She started her ONA experience as a volunteer at the registration desk and continued to serve the community in many ways for the next decade, including as Board President. ONA friends, collaborators and mentees have described her as the type of person who moved in the world without pretense and made each person feel valued and seen.

ONA is honored to recognize Mandy posthumously with the Founder Award. Here are some of the highlights of her contributions:

  • 2010: Mandy volunteered at the annual conference and became an ONA member.
  • 2011–2019: Returned to the annual conference as a frequent speaker.
  • 2012–2019: Served on the Board of Directors, including in executive officer roles as Secretary (2013–2016), Vice President (2016–2018) and President (2018–2019).
  • 2015: Played a key role in the development of the Women’s Leadership Accelerator, and served as a featured speaker and mentor for multiple cohorts.
  • 2015–2017: Contributed her expertise in social media, breaking news, mobile content, audience research and more as a moderator and speaker at smaller, themed training programs, including ONA Insights.
  • 2018–2019: As Board President, led the organization through a strategic planning process and helped plan the celebration of ONA’s 20th anniversary.

Read more about Mandy’s legacy at ONA and tributes from peers.