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ONA, Poynter Team Up for Innovative Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Online News Association (ONA) and The Poynter Institute will partner to create an intensive, tuition-free leadership program that addresses the unique needs of women in digital media.

The ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, April 12-17, 2015, at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Fla., will focus on critical skills for women moving up the ladder in digital journalism and technology organizations and the documented challenges they face on the path to leadership.

This partnership will combine the resources of the world’s leading digital media organization, ONA, with the global leader in professional journalism education, The Poynter Institute.

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What 100+ Challenge Fund experiments taught us

It’s been a full year since we launched the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, a $1 million competition encouraging universities to create teams to experiment with new ways of providing news and information to their communities.

The 2014 Challenge Fund winners are in their first six months of experimentation and we look forward to sharing what they’re learning, but it’s already time to look for the next batch of innovation happening in schools across the country.

Last year, we saw so many promising ideas that our partners — the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation — expanded the fund to support two additional winners, bringing the total to 12, and recognizing 13 honorable mentions.

And, as with any experiment, we learned things along the way, including what makes a great application. Here are some tips:

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What makes a winning Challenge Fund entry? Imagination

Music, maps and mold. That may not entirely sum up what we were shooting for when we opened applications last year for the first Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, but it comes close.

The $1+ million competitive fund, aimed at seeding experiments in J-schools, received 125 entries in its first year from schools hoping for the resources to reinvent their curriculum and local news. The dozen schools selected each won $35,000 micro-grants by highlighting collaboration, innovation and solid planning. Winning teams included some combination of students, researchers, media professionals, educators, developers and designers, all focused on community engagement.

The Challenge Fund is the brainchild of a collaborative that includes the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Democracy Fund, This year, the Challenge Fund is expanding with additional support from the Rita Allen Foundation.

Applications for 2015 opened November 5, and for this year’s launch, we’re highlighting just a few of our 2014-15 winners below to illustrate the diversity of focus and approaches.

Texas State University: Can journalism about music break out of routine story forms, uncover unheard voices and untold tales, and provide more useful formats to the community? Texas State University partners with Texas Music Magazine, KUT Austin, Texas Music Office, Cox Media Group, consultants from NPR, Twitter and MakerSquare to find out with “TexasMusicViz.”

University of Illinois: “Intersections” is tackling the idea that openly mapping a city’s often invisible social media conversations will change the nature of journalism in that community, working with its media partner CU-CitizenAccess.org.

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism: With “Hack the Mold,” CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and its partner, The New York Daily News, is experimenting with both in-person and online engagement with tenants when reporting on a low-income community’s experiences with mold in New York City public housing.

You can hear more details about the work and progress of many of our winners by watching them present at ONA14 in Chicago in September.

The deadline for this year’s applications is Jan. 15, 2015. Make sure to check out these very helpful resources as you’re deciding what project to pursue or applying to the Challenge Fund. In addition to the micro-grants, the competition will culminate in at least one grand prize for the project most likely to change either local newsgathering, journalism education or both. A second overall prize will be given for the best project evaluation, regardless of the experiment’s outcome.

We plan to support up to 23 projects by the end of this round. We hope yours is one of them.

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ONA Weekly #30

 ONA Weekly No. 30

Free full-day training on the business of digital news

Join some of the top minds in digital journalism for a special ONACamp focused on the business side on Nov. 8 in Phoenix. Speakers include Southern Methodist University’s Jake Batsell on business models and audience engagement, KQED’s Olivia Allen-Price and the Arizona Republic’s Megan Finnerty on how live events can support your daily journalism, Louisiana State University’s Steve Buttry on community management, NBC4’s Sara Catania on lessons from project management, David Cohn of AJ+ (formerly at Circa) on creating structured content to engage readers and more. Check out more sessions and register now.

Meet ONA’s 2015 Board of Directors

The votes are in! Congratulations to Jose Zamora, Vice President of Strategic Communications, Univision Network News, who will join the ONA Board Jan. 1, 2015, along with re-elected members Mandy Jenkins, Jody Brannon, Robert Hernandez, Greg Linch, Jim Roberts and Bénet Wilson, and appointed member Joshua Hatch. See the full election results.

Green Shoots in Journalism Education

ONA’s own Irving Washington will join a talented group showcasing innovation in j-education at Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia on Oct. 29 and 30. The event is free to attend and sessions will be live-streamed as well.

And the ONA15 free pass goes to …

Congratulations to Timothy Reck, Digital Developer at Hartford Courant Media Group, who won a free registration to next year’s Online News Association Conference by taking our ONA14 survey. We’ll see you at ONA15 in Los Angeles, Sept. 24-26!

Upcoming Events



Just posted! New jobs for journalists

Our Career Center has dozens of opportunities for journalists, editors and digitally minded professionals, all available for free viewing. New postings include:

Game on: Your feedback needed on digital security

CommunityRED, a non-profit that supports the digital security of journalists and activists in conflict places, is looking for your thoughts on digital security for a game it’s building to help journalists create their own security strategies. Please contact shauna@communityred.org.

Seeking gaming-savvy applicants for JoLT Fellowships

American University’s School of Communication is pairing game design thinkers with media leaders for the JoLT Fellowships, so they can reconsider how journalism and media can be created, distributed, engaged, discussed and produced. Applications are due by Nov. 10.

What we’re reading:

Some recent posts we’ve highlighted on the ONA Issues Tumblr:



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Univision’s Jose Zamora elected to ONA Board; slate of incumbents re-elected

Posted in News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, elected one new member to its Board of Directors and reelected six incumbents to two-year terms.

The newest director — Jose Zamora, Vice President of Strategic Communications, Univision Network News — will join the Board Jan. 1, 2015.

“Jose brings with him a long history of news, philanthropic and digital media expertise, making him a fantastic addition to the Board,” said ONA President Meredith Artley, Vice President & Managing Editor, CNN Digital, CNN, “and we’re delighted to welcome back our re-elected colleagues to continue the important work of this particularly strong, united Board.”

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