By Rebecca McCarthy

University of Georgia junior and Woodstock resident Michelle Baruchman has been named the first student representative on the Online News Association’s board of directors.

The nonprofit association promotes innovation in journalism and sponsors training, networking, workshops, professional development opportunities, awards and conferences.

“I saw it on the website, and it looked like a pretty easy application process,” said Baruchman, who’s a member of the student ONA chapter at UGA.

Michelle Baruchman

Michelle Baruchman

A return call asked her what she wanted to accomplish. Her answer — help strengthen local chapters and increase access to student resources — earned her a position on the board for two years.

Baruchman, 20, is a member of Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb. Her term on the ONA board starts Jan. 1.

She’s majoring in broadcast journalism and international affairs and is earning a certificate in new media.

She works as a reporter for UGA’s independent student newspaper, The Red & Black, for which she has been a news editor, a copy editor and an audience development consultant. She also reports, produces and anchors for her class broadcast program, “Grady FiveSeventy.”

In the summer of 2015 she had an internship with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s digital audience department.

The student ONA board position doesn’t get to vote, so Baruchman isn’t sure what her duties will be. She knows there are virtual meetings monthly and face-to-face meetings twice a year.

But she is ready to contribute ideas from her student perspective about how to increase membership in and support for the organization.

An ad hoc committee of ONA board members Benet Wilson, Robert Hernandez, Jody Brannon and Greg Linch selected Baruchman from a group of student applicants. Those board members also belong to ONA’s committees for diversity, education and membership, and in picking Baruchman, they cited her commitment to “promote inclusion of diverse students, educators and professors across the nation.”

When she finishes her undergraduate studies, Baruchman said she wants to do a mix of reporting and multimedia work, “using my digital technology skills. Anything where I’m reporting, that’s a job I want to have.”