ONA Local is a global network of volunteer organizers hosting networking and training events for local journalism and technology communities. These collaborative and resource-sharing communities are essential to achieving ONA’s mission, connecting journalism, technology and innovation. Become a leader today to play a vital role in the success of the journalism of tomorrow.

For full details on how to start your own group, check out our Organizer’s Toolkit.

Who can be an ONA Local organizer?
Any ONA member is eligible.

Why be an ONA Local organizer?
ONA organizers help shape the future of journalism by organizing networking events, training opportunities and public discussions with and for your local journalism community. ONA organizers are thought leaders, blazing a trail for digital journalism. Being an organizer not only helps you make new contacts, it’s an opportunity to shine in front of the entire ONA network. You’ll also have access to our network of other local organizers around the world.

What does it mean to be an ONA Local group?
ONA Local groups are a great way to provide training, resources and networking to the local digital journalism community. Use the groups to create space for resource sharing, collaboration and experimentation. Events are a great opportunity to showcase the talents of local media producers and innovators and to learn and support the needs of the changing journalism environment.

How do I establish an ONA Local group?
Contact Meghan Murphy, ONA Community Manager, and provide the following:

  • The names and contact information of all co-organizers. We recommend that professional groups have a minimum of three organizers and five members from your region. For student groups, we recommend a minimum of five student leaders and one faculty adviser. All organizers must be members.
  • Ideas and goals for your group. Start with considering these questions:
    • How do you plan to recruit members for the group?
    • What community impact are you trying to achieve?
    • How often do you aim to meet?
    • What long term projects may your group be interested in collaborating on for your community
    • What local media, digital, and tech connections and resources do you plan to reach out to
    • What local media and tech connections would you like to make in the future for sponsorship, speakers, or hosting your group?

Can organizers speak on behalf of the organization?
While the group represents ONA, organizers are not authorized to speak on behalf of the organization (i.e., on policy matters) and cannot incur financial obligations without prior written approval from ONA Central.

How often does the ONA Local group need to meet?
A minimum of two events per year, either virtually or in person.

Can I start a social web presence like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or WordPress for the local group?
Any social media or website presence using the ONA name or logo first must be approved by ONA Central. ONA reserves the right to remove any unapproved use of the organization’s name or logo.

For complete guidelines, see ONA’s trademark guidelines.

How will ONA help my group get started?

Once ONA Central has received all of the above information and your leadership team has been established, you will be notified with group approval. The leadership team will be provided with:

  • Seed funding of $400
  • A Meetup.com group to organize your community online and handle registration for events
  • A journalists.org email address for the administrator of any digital accounts
  • A customized ONA Local logo
  • Promotional materials
  • Access to the Leader’s Toolkit

How do I host our group’s first event?
Start organizing your community online and offline by inviting them to join the group on Meetup.com. Hold events that range from an informal networking meet-up to a panel discussion around an emerging topic or tool. Remember to serve the needs of local journalists by asking questions and focusing on topics of interest.

Still have questions? Contact Meghan Murphy.