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Dow Jones Foundation grant supports ONA Digital Leadership Breakfast series

Posted in News

WASHINGTON, DC — The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today announced a grant from the Dow Jones Foundation to support a series of unique networking events for digital media leaders.

The grant will make possible ONA Digital Leadership Breakfasts, four invitation-only events to be held quarterly throughout 2014 and early 2015 in New York, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco or Los Angeles.

“As digital media matures, we hear from its leaders a need for the time and space to have candid conversations, network and share strategies,” said ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell. “While we all agree competition is healthy, sharing successes and failures is also critical to the industry’s economic health.”

“As technology pushes news organizations to evolve the ways we deliver content to readers, expanding digital skills in newsrooms is of critical importance for Dow Jones,” said Paula Keve, Chief Communications Officer for Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. “The Dow Jones Foundation is thrilled to support the Online News Association, bringing leaders in digital media together to exchange ideas across the country.”

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Get ready for ONA’s DIY Ethics Code, because one size does not fit all

Most journalists understand the importance of an ethics code. But in our fast-changing profession, not everyone agrees on exactly what the code should say.

In an effort to bridge this gap, ONA is hard at work on a “Build Your Own Ethics Code” project, an outgrowth of the new News Ethics Committee. We’re curating a toolkit to help news outlets, as well as individual bloggers/journalists, create guidelines that respond to their own concepts of journalism.

An international group of about 25 contributors from news outlets, academia and social networks volunteered to write or review parts of the project, each taking a different topic. The first draft is nearly ready, and we’ll be opening it up for virtual crowdsourcing for comments in May at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

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Welcome to ONA’s new Digital Director; ONA at SXSW; and more

ONA welcomes our new Digital Director

We’re delighted to introduce Trevor Knoblich, who joined us this week in the role of Digital Director.

Trevor comes to us from FrontlineSMS, a Knight News Challenge winner, where as Media Project Director he built relationships with journalists and media companies seeking text-based mobile solutions worldwide and developed training and media-specific products for use in developing countries.

His prior experience saw him traveling around the globe to coordinate emergency response for Lutheran World Relief, and doing investigative reporting as Associate Editor for the Risk Policy Report, Inside Washington Publishers. He holds a BS in Journalism, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Ohio State University.

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ONA Opps: Win a grant. Score a scholarship. Learn data journalism.

Last chance! Apply for $1M Challenge Fund

If you haven’t submitted your great, collaborative idea for the first round of grants from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, make sure to to get it in by this Thursday, Feb. 13. The challenge: Hack the journalism curriculum using customized versions of the teaching hospital model. Up to $1 million in funding will support universities in partnering with news organizations to explore new ways of providing information to their local communities. Micro-grants of up to $35,000 each will be awarded to 15 to 25 projects during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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President’s Letter: Celebrating 15 years of ONA — and you

A lot has happened in journalism since 1999, the year ONA’s founders met at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and decided to build an organization dedicated to digital journalists and the work we do.

Since then, ONA has grown along with you, the media community, facing challenges and grabbing opportunities amid so much change and disruption. Digital journalists once in the corner are now found at all levels in newsrooms small and large, doing innovative work, attracting audiences and supporting journalism as a whole.

And the future looks so bright. I’m delighted to be part of what’s ahead as ONA’s new president. I’m honored to serve with Jody Brannon, newly elected Vice President at our January board meeting; Josh Hatch, continuing as Treasurer, and Mandy Jenkins, new to the executive committee, as Secretary.

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New ONA Board member; AP-Google Scholarship opens; free webinar on journalism trends

ONA welcomes BBC’s Steve Herrmann, new International Board appointee

ONA is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Herrmann, Editor of BBC News Online, who joined the Board in January as our international member. Steve replaces Mario Tedeschini-Lalli, whose two-year term as our first overseas director ended in December, and who worked tirelessly to build up our partnerships and community as Chair of our International Committee.

Since January 2006, Steve has had overall responsibility for the digital output of BBC News on desktop website, tablet and mobile, in the UK and internationally. He leads a team of online journalists and also oversees content from a wide range of others across BBC News who contribute to the BBC’s online, on demand and multimedia output. He is a board member of the Global Editors Network and serves on the media advisory panel of the International Broadcasting Trust. Steve also ran for election for the ONA Board in 2013. Learn more about Steve.

Apply for the AP-Google Scholarship

Now in its final year, the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship will award two $7,500 scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing innovative, creative projects in digital journalism.

Our two-year partnership with the Associated Press and Google is at an end, but we’re fortunate to have excess funds to support two more winners for the 2014-15 academic year. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21. Learn more about the scholarship, past winners and their projects.

We’re thankful to both AP and Google for supporting our inaugural program. We’re looking for additional scholarship partners for the 2015-16 academic year. If you or your organization are interested, please contact Irving Washington at

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Happy Holidays from ONA

Thanks to everyone who helped keep the ONA community vibrant and innovative in 2013, encouraging us to push boundaries in our thinking, programming and events. Our gift to you is this roundup of invaluable resources created throughout the year.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season.

Happy Holidays from ONA

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Have an ONA Local Holiday; Legal Updates; Micro-Grants for J-Education

Celebrate the holidays with an ONA Local group near you

The holidays are a perfect time to catch up with journalists in your area, compare notes about projects from 2013 and brainstorm about events in 2014. And ONA Local holiday meetups are the perfect place to do it:

  • ONA LA gathers for holiday drinks on Dec. 11. if you’re looking to get involved as an organizer, don’t miss this meetup!
  • In a non-holiday themed meetup, ONA Nairobi hosts a conversation on data journalism and public health on Dec. 11 at Internews.
  • ONA Chicago hosts a holiday social at the Sun Times on Dec. 11, and will share takeaways from the recent Google for Media: Chicago Summit.
  • ONA NC Triangle will celebrate the holidays at Carmen’s Cuban Cafe and Lounge on Dec. 12.
  • ONA DC takes over Solly’s for its annual holiday gathering on Dec. 14.
  • ONA Pittsburgh celebrates its first holiday party VIP style at Olive or Twist on Dec. 26.

Also, a warm welcome to our newest Local groups, ONA Atlanta and SPJ/ONA DePaul, both of which have events coming in January, and ONA Nairobi, which hosts its first event this month.

Updates from ONA’s Legal Affairs Committee

In May, ONA, along with other media companies and organizations, joined an amicus brief in support of journalist Jana Winter, who says a New York trial court erred in issuing a subpoena for her testimony concerning confidential sources used in her reporting on the James Holmes Aurora, Colo., theater-shooting case. On Dec. 10, 2013, The New York Court of Appeals quashed the subpoena that would have required Jana Winter to testify in Colorado about the identity of a confidential source. As Fox News reported, “the ruling spares Winter from appearing before Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. on Jan. 3, where she would have been ordered to reveal who told her about a chilling notebook gunman James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist before the shooting in July 2012. Winter’s exclusive story on July 25, 2012, was picked up by news outlets around the world. Winter had steadfastly vowed that she would go to jail rather than reveal her sources for the story.”

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Applications open for $1M Challenge Fund to hack journalism education

WASHINGTON DC — Journalism educators can now apply for a $1 million challenge encouraging universities to create teams that will experiment with new ways of providing news and information, run by the Online News Association, the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists.

The competitive Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education 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.

The fund will support live news experiments that further the development of teaching hospital models in journalism education, in which innovative projects are created by teams of educators, students, professionals, technicians, and researchers. Micro-grants of up to $35,000 each will be awarded to 15 to 25 projects to be completed during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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Local ONA events; a fond farewell to Jeanne Brooks; For Journalism courses

Get involved in ONA Local

Meet local journalists, learn about current trends in digital journalism and share your ideas at an upcoming ONA Local event. Find an ONA Local group near you.

  • ONA Philly will hear takeaways from ONA13 from attendees sent by the Center for Public Interest Journalism Nov. 13.
  • ONA Jerusalem hosts the first international #wjchat on Nov. 13 to discuss sourcing and the responsibility journalists have in the digital age. All are invited to this Twitter chat — follow @wjchat and #wjchat at 7 p.m. in Jerusalem/12 p.m. ET.

And be sure to join us in Chicago for the next Google for Media training Dec. 4 at The James Hotel. This free, full-day event will feature conversation and training to inspire and empower journalists seeking to improve their storytelling abilities. All are welcome to attend. Registration will open soon — if you’d like to be added to the list, let us know by emailing

Jeanne Brooks to depart ONA

In the sad/happy category: It’s with regret that we announce that Digital Director Jeanne Brooks will be leaving us Dec. 13, but with delight that we announce that it will be to work on a project close to her heart and to pursue other worthy endeavors.

Jeanne, with colleague Sabrina Hersi Issa, will be using a human-centered approach to create an inclusive and diverse history and narrative of the disruption of the industry, as a complement to the recent Nieman Riptide report tracing the trajectory of digital journalism.

For the past three years, Jeanne has had an enormous impact on ONA’s growth and community — growing our strategic partnerships, training, ONA Local, ONACamps, managing our digital properties and guiding and expanding programming for our annual conference, including the innovative Midway. Her creative, collaborative and agile approach has helped bring our journalists into the 21st century, and — often — beyond.

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