Tech conferences have taken their share of hard knocks for failing to reflect and promote industry diversity. Among them is the annual meeting hosted by the Online News Association, which focuses on the convergence of technology and journalism.
But ONA’s 2015 conference… looks different. It has a more diverse lineup of presenters than in past years: 52 percent are women, and 36 percent are people of color. But the diversity push goes beyond racial and gender lines—25 percent of the speakers hail from local news organizations, and 8 percent come from other countries.
ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell and Deputy Director Irving Washington, CAE, acknowledge that the association took some heat over a lack of diversity at past conferences.
“As ONA struggled to help journalists deal with cataclysmic changes over the past 10 years, diversity slipped out of focus,” McDonnell and Washington wrote in a blog post. “That loss is difficult to make up, but it’s nowhere near as daunting as annual discouraging data suggests. The really hard part? Starting.”
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