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Slate announced for 2016 ONA Board of Directors election

We’re happy to announce the slate of nominees for the 2016 Board of Directors for the Online News Association.

Under the bylaws, the board may be comprised of up to 15 voting members. For the 2016-17 Board term, there are seven seats open, with one seat reserved for appointment, leaving six seats open for election. Terms are for two years and begin Jan. 1, 2016.

Five new candidates and six incumbents, representing a wide and diverse range of digital media, are running.

Here is the slate; head to this page to find out more about the candidates and their vision for ONA.

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Meet ONA’s 2015 MJ Bear Fellows, under-30 digital journalism stand-outs

The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today announced its fifth class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under age 30 whose innovative work in independent, community and corporate news represents the best of new media.

The selection committee combed through 59 applications from 23 countries to choose these up-and-coming digital journalists — two in the United States or Canada and one international, in partnership with MSN International — who are making their voices heard in the industry.

“Once again, applicants were leading, not following, in their newsrooms,” said Amy Eisman, MJ Bear Fellowship Committee Chair. “The breadth of their entries was stunning — from deep data work and creative crowdsourcing to building tools to help news organizations in the future. In the end, we are struck by their deep devotion to news and information, to including diverse voices, and to serving their readers, listeners and viewers.”

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2015 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Finalists for the 2015 Online Journalism Awards, representing a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media, and emerging technology organizations from around the globe, were announced today by the Online News Association.

Ten of the awards now come with $60,000 in prize money, courtesy of Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. These awards honor data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation and general excellence.

New categories for 2015 include “Sports” and “Pro-Am” within the Student awards. ONA also debuts the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, which will honor one of the many journalists reporting under the most challenging conditions. A special committee will select the first recipient later in the year.

“This year, judges were swayed less by bells and whistles that didn’t add to the content, and instead zeroed in on high-quality journalism that was able to take flight on digital platforms,” said Joshua Hatch, ONA Board member and Online Journalism Awards Committee Chair. “It goes to show what a democratic force technology has become to journalists around the world.”

A group of 134 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals teamed up to screen 994 entries and select semi-finalists. Fifteen judges representing a diverse cross-section of the industry then conferred to determine finalists and winners.

The winners will be announced at the 2015 ONA Conference and Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday, Sept. 26, in Los Angeles.

The finalists, many pushing the envelope of innovation and excellence in digital storytelling and distribution, are:

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Using design thinking to reimagine mobile news in Seattle

How might we better design the news experience for mobile consumers? This was the central challenge for over 50 reporters, designers, developers and others passionate about journalism at ONA Mobile dCamp: Seattle on July 17. Hosted by Breaking News and organized by ONA, this free daylong workshop was a crash course in design thinking that spurred brainstorming new approaches to creating mobile experiences for news consumers.

We started by creating a collaborative environment so that everyone could draw on the support they needed from their teams. That required some advance prep:

  • We invited Tran Ha and Daniel Stringer, experts from Stanford’s d.School, to explain practical ways newsrooms can use human-centered design to create products that respond directly to user needs.
  • We asked participants to apply to the workshop so we understood their areas of expertise and their experiences creating mobile experiences.
  • We built teams to take advantage of diverse skill sets and backgrounds — journalists, designers, developers and product managers.
  • Each team member got a toy animal when they checked in at registration to mark their team identity. We brought art supplies and other toys to foster creativity and playfulness for the protoyping phase.
  • We brought in team leaders from a range of local and national newsrooms to work closely with groups throughout the day, guiding them through identifying user needs, brainstorming, prototyping and refining their vision.
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Solving a problem: Designing usable interactives for mobile

This is one of a series of blog posts from the fourth ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Fellow Aaron Williams is data visualization editor at the San Francisco ChronicleYou can watch for our forthcoming announcement about the next round of fellows here.


Photo by Flickr user Japanexperterna.se

Designing interactive graphics for desktop and mobile is tough work. A designer can sometimes change the graphic’s scale to fit on mobile. Other times, it’s better to create a separate graphic for mobile viewing. What’s the best path?

A group of us tried to answer this question at the SRCCON (Source-con) conference last month.

I co-facilitated Data Viz for All: Help Us Make Interactives More Usable for Mobile with Youyou Zhou and Julia Smith. In the session, we tackled accessibility and usability of interactive graphics on mobile.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we found.

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