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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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ASAE Honors ONA for Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education

At ONA, we’re in the business of honoring great work. We’ve recognized hundreds of people, projects and organizations through our annual awards, scholarship and fellowship programs. Our programs are the driving force in our mission to inspire innovation and excellence among digital journalists.

This month, one of our very own programs, the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, received its own honor, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Power of A Silver Star Awards. ASAE’s Power of A (association) Awards, the association industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global level.

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Online News Association opens call for 2016 Board of Director nominations

Posted in News

The Online News Association is pleased to call for nominations for the six seats open for the 2016-17 Board of Directors.

Participation on the ONA Board of Directors is a unique opportunity for digital professionals to help guide the world’s largest organization of digital journalists in shaping the future of media and building a stronger industry. Board participation is a chance to grow personally and professionally, and to develop skills, experience and connections with a team of other passionate and motivated professionals.

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Gannett Foundation renews $102K grant to ONA to train and recognize digital journalists

Posted in News

WASHINGTON, DC — The Online News Association, the world’s largest organization of digital journalists, today announced its seventh year of free digital media training, as well as continued cash awards to support journalistic excellence, thanks to a renewed grant from the Gannett Foundation.

The $102,500 in support provides $50,000 to enable ONA to continue one of its most popular programs, ONACamp, which so far has visited nearly 10,000 journalists in communities throughout the United States. The camps bring training on emerging tools and technology and using design thinking to find solutions to complex media issues.

ONACamp workshops are tailored specifically to the needs of independent, community, non-profit and major media journalists, bloggers and entrepreneurs. Trainers include leaders in their fields, covering the latest in mobile, data, metrics, development, blogging, legal and business, networking strategies, web tools and social media.

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