What We Do

The Online News Association is a leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism; a catalyst for innovation in story-telling across all platforms; a resource for journalists seeking guidance and growth, and a champion of best practices through training, awards, community outreach.

Since 1999, ONA has been at the forefront of a truly revolutionary age in digital media. The programs and services we provide help digital journalists in news organizations around the globe and across the corporate, independent and non-profit sectors adapt to the changing environment. Our mission, inspiring innovation and excellence among digital journalists to better serve the public, has never been more important.

Our leadership status is reflected in ONA’s growth — our membership has increased 18 percent since 2010. Our more than 2,200 members are the producers, content editors, news directors, reporters, bloggers, technologists, designers, academics and newsroom decision-makers who are creating and refining the online medium at breakneck speed.

Not as obvious in the data but just as critical is the spirit of ONA, which welcomes non-traditional members and fosters community, out-of-the-box thinking and excitement about the future of journalism and informed citizen engagement.

ONA already offers a variety of online and in-person trainings and exposure to the latest technology and how to use it; our new website brings these valuable resources to a wider audience. Members are offered access to expertise and best practices from the most innovative minds in the business.

Training and networking

ONA Local
ONA Local communities are at the heart of what ONA does, cultivating our most valuable resource, our members. Member-generated meet-ups, networking and training sessions have formed and grown in cities like New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C., and internationally in London, Toronto, Italy and Spain.

Free ONACamps
Full days of customized digital training are offered to journalists through our traveling training initiative, thanks to more than $130,000 in grants from the Gannett Foundation. So far, we have brought free start-up, entrepreneurial and multi-media training to nearly 700 journalists in Michigan; Florida; Birmingham, Ala., in partnership with a chapter of the National Black Journalists Association; Los Angeles, at the Asian American Journalists Association Conference; Hawaii, where the closing of the Honolulu Advertiser meant 450 lost jobs, Denver, Colo., and Missoula, Mont.

ONA annual conference
The Online News Association’s Conference & Awards Banquet has become the premier gathering of highly engaged digital journalists who are shaping the future of journalism and technology. Record-breaking numbers of journalists travel to ONA’s conference each year to learn about new tools, techniques and technologies, to discuss advancements and challenges in the industry, take advantage of the rare opportunity to network face-to-face, hear from headline-making keynotes and share best practices with peers from all over the map. They also come to soak up the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that distinguishes ONA conferences.

Redesigned in 2011, our website features content and connections designed to cut through the daily information noise, including conversations with journalists on what they’re learning in the digital space.

ONAvation webinars
Conducted in partnership with Poynter’s News University until 2012, these archived webinars featuring industry experts update ONA members across the globe on the latest innovative tools to tell stories, including emerging trends in news-gathering, multimedia and programming. Past webinars have covered metadata, mobile apps, open APIs, html5, hyperlocal and location-based services.

Professional development

MJ Bear Fellowship
Fellowships in the name of a late ONA founding member are awarded to three journalists under age 30 — two in the United States or Canada and one international, in partnership with MSN International — whose innovative work in independent, community and corporate news represents the best of new media. Fellows are assigned a personal ONA mentor for six months; paid expenses for and recognition at the annual ONA conference, and a three-year ONA membership. See our MJ Bear Fellows and their blogs here.

Student Newsroom
Each year, 20 students are chosen in a highly competitive process to work in the newsroom at our annual conference, where they are responsible for three days of coverage and the conference website. Registration and all travel expenses are covered. Students work side by side with mentors from leading academic institutions, and are encouraged to think creatively about how to communicate and share the extraordinary resources that emerge from a typical ONA conference.

AP-Google Journalism & Technology Scholarship
This program, managed by ONA, provided $20,000 scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year to six promising undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media. The program is targeted to individual students creating innovative projects that further the ideals of digital journalism. A key goal is to promote geographic, gender and ethnic diversity, with an emphasis on rural and urban areas. Applications open in the spring for the following academic year.

Discounted benefits
ONA members receive hundreds of dollars in discounts for events and training as well as first word on important fellowships and other professional development.