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Challenge Fund: Ready for round two

The best experiments start with an intriguing question. When we launched the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education last year, we hoped to spur a fresh, collaborative mindset around journalism education. Our experiment: Can we encourage more U.S. journalism schools to be thought leaders, innovators and change agents?

With our partners — the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation — we awarded $420K in grants last year to 12 schools that came up with original ideas on how to collaborate with local newsrooms on innovative projects.

It’s been an exciting journey to see these projects unfold. In the first year, our winners used new tools, relationships and processes to — just as a sampling — successfully cover the issues emerging from sea level rise; break investigative stories on the New York City Housing Authority and mold in tenements, and launch a student-run digital news portal in New Mexico. They’ve shared their learning along the way at ONA14, the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, AEJMC, Journalism/Interactive, the International Symposium on Online Journalism and on MediaShift’s EducationShift.

Although these projects are ongoing, our early, independent evaluations already show local newsrooms strongly believe they’re providing valuable partnerships, news and information.

Now it’s time to build on this groundbreaking work with our second round of winning projects. The 11 selected projects from 13 schools, each of which will receive $35,000 to test their hypotheses, cover a wide range of ambitious experiments:

  • Can virtual reality tell the stories of marginalized youth in the Georgia juvenile system?

  • Can events journalism engage a local Hispanic community to follow government news affecting Latinos?

  • Can a project tracking food truck lines show news organizations how to develop commercially valuable data?

  • Can students create a digital network for fact-checking and investigating claims about the African-American community?

With this round, the Challenge Fund now supports 25 schools in their attempts to commit journalism differently. Just as important, simply applying to the fund has pushed educators to think through their innovative ideas to bring them to life — five of the schools that originally applied or were recognized as honorable mentions actually have pursued their projects, even in the absence of funds.

Where does our experiment go from here? We’ll continue to encourage journalism educators to lead innovation within their local communities as we watch and share the work of our Challenge Fund winners in this space.

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ONA Weekly #53

 ONA Weekly No. 53

Why ONA membership is perfect for grads

J-school grads can tap into innovative resources and connect with the best minds in their field among our nearly 2,300 members and digital journalism community of 60,000 worldwide. Membership also offers a chance to find jobs, collaborators and inspiration for projects. Give your graduate the gift of ONA; get a professional membership for only $50 — a $25 discount.

2015 Challenge Fund winners unveiled at J/i

Educators, sign up to stream Journalism/Interactive sessions April 24-25 and tune in Friday to hear Deputy Director Irving Washington announce the 11 winners of the $1M Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. ONA is delighted to be a sponsor of this event for journalism educators and digital media.

‘Lead yourself first’

Laura Amico, 2011 MJ Bear Fellow, shared tips at last week’s inaugural ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Be sure to check out all of Poynter’s coverage and stay tuned for more resources from the Academy.

Upcoming Events



Journalism jobs

ONA’s Career Center has hundreds of opportunities for journalists, editors and digital-minded professionals. It’s free to browse and job-seekers can upload their resumes for free. Recent postings include:

ESPN: The Fellowship now open

ESPN: The Fellowship, for college graduates with less than five years of experience, is now seeking diverse applicants. The fellowship will feature individualized training within a common-core development plan of writing, interviewing, anchoring and production as well as opportunities in Digital Media, Radio, International/Deportes and Studio Production. Apply now.

What We’re Reading

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

Have an outstanding article on digital journalism issues to share with us? Tweet it with #ONAissues.

The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology & innovation. Learn why you should become a member.



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ONA Weekly #52

 ONA Weekly No. 52

Fostering leadership with women in media

What happens when you get 25 women who care passionately about digital media together to talk about leadership? Real issues come up. Here’s what the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media is focusing on this week. ‪Follow #digitalwomenleaders‬ for takeaways.

Volunteer at ONA15, attend free

We’re looking for volunteers to work at ONA15, our annual conference for digital journalists and technologists. This year, we’ll be in L.A. Sept. 24-26. Our video and social teams are looking for volunteers to report on the conference and we’re looking for general volunteers to help us keep things running smoothly. Get involved.

Thanks for your ONA15 session ideas!

The Suggestion Box is now closed and the program team — a diverse volunteer group of professionals and students — will review each and every idea. Check out the 279 suggestions sent in by the ONA community to see the micro to macro ideas your digital journalism colleagues are most interested in.

Upcoming Events

Journalism jobs

ONA’s Career Center has hundreds of opportunities for journalists, editors and digital-minded professionals. It’s free to browse and job-seekers can upload their resumes for free. Recent postings include:

What We’re Reading

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

Have an outstanding article on digital journalism issues to share with us? Tweet it with #ONAissues.

The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology & innovation. Learn why you should become a member.



Learn more

Launching the Women’s Digital Leadership Academy

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go! The ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media will be held next week, April 12-17. Make sure to meet the 25 participants, selected from a pool of nearly 500 applicants, who will attend the tuition-free seminar. You can also read more about the amazing faculty leading conversations throughout the week.

You can join in the conversation at #digitalwomenleaders, and stay tuned for more updates!


We’re also thankful to our sponsor, the Ford Foundation, for its tremendous support in making this dream a reality.

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ONA Weekly #51

 ONA Weekly No. 51

25 leaders in digital media to watch

Next week, the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media will bring together a cohort of 25 emerging newsroom leaders for an intensive week focused on developing their talent. Learn more about them, and follow their takeaways with #digitalwomenleaders.

ONA15 speaker and session ideas DUE FRIDAY

Deadline time! We want to hear your great ideas for this year’s ONA conference and we need them by Friday, April 10, at 11:59 ET. Send the ONA15 Suggestion Box the people and projects that inspire you, your big ideas and the failures in your newsrooms that others can learn from.

ONA at the International Symposium on Online Journalism

Headed to Austin for the ISOJ? Hear from the 2014 winners of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education about their excellent projects on Saturday, April 18, and say hi to Deputy Director Irving Washington and Digital Director Trevor Knoblich.

What challenges do newsrooms face?

ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell and Trevor Knoblich spoke with The Innovation Engine about the business and culture of news organizations and how journalists can stay current with new tools and tech. Get tips on new tools and some takeaways on how to improve your mobile journalism in the 30-minute podcast.

Upcoming Events

THREAD at Yale: Storytelling in Modern Media

June 7-10, 2015
Apply to join a group of storytellers from print, radio, and other media who will gather in New Haven, Connecticut to learn from masters in the field and from each other. Apply by May 1, 2015. Admission is rolling.
This content is sponsored by Yale University.

Just listed! New jobs for journos

Looking for a new job or just want to see what’s out there? Check out ONA’s Career Center. Job seekers can browse the latest openings and upload their resumes for free.

What is your favorite podcast episode?

NPR is interested in your favorite podcast episode. Let them know what you listen to and which episode you think is best. The only rule is that if you work in radio or on podcasts, please don’t enter anything produced by you or the organization you work for.

What We’re Reading

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

Have an outstanding article on digital journalism issues to share with us? Tweet it with #ONAissues.

The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology & innovation. Learn why you should become a member.



Learn more

From Compensation to Innovation: Agenda for the Women’s Leadership Academy

The ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media is happening April 12-17, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with the 25 amazing women and expert faculty collaborating in this inaugural group.

Find out more about the participants and the faculty.

With the high level of interest — nearly 500 applicants — in the program, we thought we’d share the emerging themes and topics for the week aimed at starting focused, candid conversations. ONA and Poynter will be creating summary materials of the event, and you can follow the ongoing conversation on Twitter using #digitalwomenleaders.

Understanding Your Leadership Skill Sets

Faculty: Katie Hawkins-Gaar (Poynter), S. Mitra Kalita (Los Angeles Times), Kelly McBride (Poynter), Jane McDonnell (ONA), Butch Ward (Poynter)

The cohort will share their goals and experiences as leaders to help set the tone for the week. Using the results of a survey, they will also dive into strategies for management styles and decision-making, and then review their own strengths as digital leaders and start developing a personal leadership plan outlining their goals.

Designs for Leadership in Digital Media

Faculty: Laura Amico (The Boston Globe), Sara Catania (NBC4 LA), Cory Haik (The Washington Post), S. Mitra Kalita

We’ll discuss challenges specific to leadership in the digital space, including creating a culture of innovation and agility, entrepreneurship, managing digital products and wrangling technology and tools.

Participants will also have a conversation with Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Blumenstein and Fusion’s Jane Spencer, moderated by Facebook’s Liz Heron, about championing colleagues for leadership roles.

Navigating Newsroom Culture

Faculty: Meredith Artley (CNN), LaToya Drake (Google), Liz Heron (Facebook), Stacy-Marie Ishmael (BuzzFeed News), S. Mitra Kalita, Will Neville-Rehbehn (VShift), Latoya Peterson (Fusion)

We’ll discuss systemic inequities in newsroom culture, focusing on creating a cohort to support diversity in leadership, strategies for balancing a career and family, developing business partnerships and the ins and outs of negotiating a compensation package.

The Business of Leadership

Faculty: Meredith Artley, Kelly McBride, Butch Ward

We’ll focus on the business side of leadership, including how to wield influence, how to manage business relationships, the ethics of women as leaders, and a look at money, budgets and revenue. Faculty and participants will engage in one-on-one coaching.

Bringing it Home

Finally, participants will have a chance to share their personal leadership plan and discuss how to keep conversations going beyond the Academy. We’ll invite the cohort to share feedback on everything from format to presenters to topics covered so that we can improve future events.

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ONA Weekly #50

 ONA Weekly No. 50

Help screen the Online Journalism Awards

Get a sneak peek at entries to the Online Journalism Awards (OJAs) and help narrow down the selections by volunteering as a screener. Each year, the OJAs honor the most innovative digital journalists and journalism projects. Help us determine this year’s winners. 
Photo: NPR’s Brian Boyer accepts a 2014 OJA

ONA supports call to make killing journalists war crime

In a recent speech, Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of The Associated Press, called for changes to international laws that would make it a war crime to kill journalists. ONA supports this call, which is in line with our recent backing of safety guidelines for media companies with freelancers in conflict zones. 
Photo: BostonBill on Flickr, used with Creative Commons

For educators: ONA at Journalism Interactive

ONA will join journalism educators passionate about digital media at Journalism Interactive, April 24-25 at the Missouri School of Journalism, where Deputy Director Irving Washington will announce the 2015 winners of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education on Friday.

ONA at the International Journalism Festival

We’ve organized seven jam-packed sessions and workshops at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, April 15-17. Don’t miss OJA Chair and Board member Josh Hatch sharing what makes award-winning journalism, and ONA’s Executive Director Jane McDonnell, International Co-Chair Mario Tedeschini Lalli and AP’s Tom Kent revealing the next phase of ONA’s ethics initiative. Festival registration is free.

Upcoming Events

Join over 600 editors-in-chief for the GEN Summit, June 17-19. The Global Editors Network and ONA are presenting a joint session on wearable news with speaker Robert Hernandez. Get 50 percent off your ticket by using the code ‘ONAfriend’ on our registration page.

Recent job postings

ONA’s Career Center has hundreds of opportunities for journalists, editors and digital-minded professionals. It’s free to browse and job-seekers can upload their resumes for free. Recent postings include:

What We’re Reading

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

Have an interesting article on digital journalism issues to share with us? Tweet it with #ONAissues.

The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology & innovation. Learn why you should become a member.



Learn more

Get involved! Opportunities for students, mentors and volunteers at ONA15

We’re recruiting talented students, mentors and those passionate about digital journalism to bring your skills to the Online News Association Conference, Sept. 24-26, in Los Angeles.

The ONA Student Newsroom, funded for the sixth year by Google, provides a unique opportunity for the best and the brightest journalism and tech students to get their work in front of 2,000 digital journalism professionals. Lodging, travel and registration are covered for 20 selected students.

We’re also looking for mentors to guide students in their coverage. Mentors receive receive free conference registration and a complimentary ticket to the Online Journalism Awards ceremony.

Apply for the ONA15 Student Newsroom

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ONA Weekly #49

 ONA Weekly No. 49

Help us create ONA15. Submit an idea.

Submit a session idea to the ONA15 Suggestion Box by April 10! We’re looking for speakers and session ideas that inspire journalists. Tell us what you’ve learned from building new projects, what challenges your newsroom is overcoming and what you can teach your colleagues.

A mobile master class from ONA London

Learn from our expert presenters at ONA London: Mobile through the video, audio, presentations and live blogs. Video recordings and speaker resources are only available to ONA members; audio recordings and live blogs are available to all.

Winners bring Online Journalism Award data lessons to UF

Four 2014 OJA winners — Meg Martin and Madeleine Baran of Minnesota Public Radio (winning project) and Ellen Gabler and Allan Vestal of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (winning project) — will bring lessons learned from their University of Florida Awards in Investigative Data Journalism to UF today. Their visit kicks off the school’s “Breaking Down the Walls: The Fight for Open Government” conference.

Upcoming Events

New Jobs for Journalists

ONA’s Career Center has hundreds of opportunities for journalists, editors and digital-minded professionals. It’s free to browse and job-seekers can upload their resumes for free. Recent postings include:

What We’re Reading

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

Have an interesting article on digital journalism issues to share with us? Tweet it with #ONAissues.

The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology & innovation. Learn why you should become a member.



Learn more

A Mobile Master Class from ONA London

On March 6, nearly 200 journalists, editors, producers, designers and CEOs traveled to Reuters UK for ONA London: Mobile, our first conference outside of North America. This day-long series of sessions, workshops and networking focused on producing the news for mobile devices, touching on everything from newsroom culture to designing better experiences on mobile.

We’ve pulled together video, audio, presentations and live blogs so you can learn from our expert presenters and knowledgeable attendees. Video recordings and speaker resources from the sessions are only available to ONA members; audio recordings of the sessions and live blogs are available to all.

You can find the full video list and speaker resources here. Not a member yet? It only takes a few minutes to sign up and get access to these resources (and more great benefits). Annual memberships are only $75 for professionals and $25 for students. Become an ONA member today.

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